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May 25, 2017 Thursday     

High and Low

One of most appreciated and best works of legendary filmmaker Akira Kurosawa remains HIGH AND LOW (1962) which is a highly engrossing police investigative thriller revolving around a mistaken kidnap of a wrong kid. The film is loosely based on King's Ransom (1959) - An 87th Precinct series novel by Ed McBain, with certain changes made in its cinematic adaptation by the maestro.
The story talks about a supposedly rich executive of a shoe company who gets caught in a moral dilemma when his chauffeur's son gets kidnapped by mistake instead of his own son and he is now being asked to pay the ransom. An outstanding police/detective film with a gripping story and brilliant sequences, its polished script progression keeps you hooked on to the screen, once the chase gets started. And without going into the extremes of high paced actions sequences shot in some appealing outdoor locations, the film successfully maintains a fascinating tension throughout staying indoors (mostly) and is a perfect example of the command, Kurosawa had on the creative medium.
With some excellent performances by the well chosen cast led by Kurosawa’s favourite Toshiro Mifune, HIGH AND LOW further becomes an even more important film with a social message, when the viewer actually gets to understand the hidden meaning behind its title HIGH AND LOW, pointing towards the ugly cast system prevailing in our societies since eternity. The original Japanese title of the film is HEAVEN AND HELL and the particular scenes showcasing Mifune’s lavish hilltop mansion from a low camera angle, beautifully sums up the theme representing the High (Heaven) and the Low (Hell) precisely.
In India, the film was unofficially well adapted by Raj Sippy for his INKAAR (1977) featuring Vinod Khanna, Shreeram Lagoo, Vidya Sinha and Amjad Khan in the lead roles. But reportedly it had a major negative impact in Japan itself when incidents of kidnappings went on a rise after the film’s release in the early 60s. Plus (as per IMDB) Kurosawa himself received threats regarding kidnap of his daughter Kazuko, whereas he actually wanted to make a completely opposite impact on the kidnappers, hoping for some tougher sentences for the crime.
So if you really wish to see a thrilling yet meaningful investigative drama directed by one of finest directors of world cinema, then do watch HIGH AND LOW at the earliest and have a great time with the visionary master Akira Kurosawa.
Directed By Akira Kurosawa
Starring : Toshiro Mifune, Yutaka Sada, Tatsuya Nakadai and more.
Tags : High and Low (1963 - Japan), Movies To See Before You Die World Cinema Thriller, Must Watch Movies List by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, Akira Kurosawa's must watch films, World Cinema gems, Not To Be Missed Films List by Bobby Sing, Worth Watching Films List, High And Low, Heaven and Hell.
16 June 2014 / bobbysing /
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Beginning with a warning right away, please don’t opt for this movie if you just watch cinema only for your timely entertainment and don’t wish to do any serious thinking about our society, motivated by an alarming projection on the screen. Also don’t watch it if you are not used to witness such teasing movies, since this is certainly going to be one of the most disturbing psychological films you have ever seen till date due to its highly sensitive yet frightening issue brought forward for the very first time in the history of world cinema.
Shockingly talking about a hidden, burning truth of our visibly deteriorating social structure, THE HUNT / JAGTEN forces you to think weirdly and the very thought that this can happen with anybody around in our world too, truly blows your mind away in a seriously worrying manner like never before.
To clear the doubts further, the film has no bloodshed, no brutality or no heinous crimes being committed crossing the extreme limit. Yet it deals with a pretty scary, thought provoking subject, raising many relevant questions about our present common life styles involving the innocent kids. Without revealing its key plot, though it focuses on an extremely complex issue related with child abuse, still the director doesn’t step into the obvious zone of vulgarity ever, which is another noticeable merit of his insightful direction indeed. And believe me, whatever you might be having in your mind reading the word ‘child abuse’, is just not what the film is all about and its actually based on something completely inconceivable by a sane mind, not even in his or her dreams.
Now to get over the curiosity, you can immediately visit the films IMDB page and know everything about its scandalous theme reading the reviews there. But in case you wish to surprise yourself with a completely unexpected, horrifying, emotional ride executed beautifully then just go for the film without having any preset notions and witness one of the darkest films ever made, revolving around a literally unimaginable plotline to say the least.
To give you an idea, just try to visualize what can be the awful consequences if a child of just 6-7 years accidently sees some porn running on a tablet displaying the key figures very clearly. What will be the thoughts coming to his or her mind after seeing that and how they will interpret the same through their innocently, unprepared thought process? Here the scariest point to be noted is that this is nothing impossible we are talking about, as it can easily happen in any of our Wi-Fi enabled homes with computers, laptops & tablets being accessed by kids at their own will. And who knows what they all are watching in their closed rooms with the lights off and the sound muted.
The film deals with this haunting truth only with some superb performances, beautiful cinematography and sensible background score, draining you out emotionally and one honestly doesn’t feel like thinking about the same subject again for days, once it’s all over.
Bluntly putting, THE HUNT is surely not an easy watch at all, as it is both depressing as well as hard-hitting at the same time. In few sequences it simply makes you speechless and in few you just wish to jump into the screen telling them all the real fact, they are unaware of. Sympathetically expressed without dialogues in its crucial scenes, it tackles a very rare and difficult subject which is sure going to knock you off well, leaving in a stunned, sad & disturbing state for sure.
Admittedly many friends are also going to find it as an awfully avoidable film with an unexplainable, abrupt ending. But the truth is that any other, particular culmination of this script would have resulted in only a good film, unable to reach the incredible standards achieved by its present form. Moreover, it is this open ending only which puts many more unusual thoughts in your mind related with the father, the young brother and the son too facing the shameful humiliation due to the tragic event. So the film opens a whole new debate as it ends which in fact is another admirable aspect of this otherwise dreadfully shocking and upsetting venture, gracing the world cinema.
So do watch this exceptionally unusual film, not only as an extraordinary triumph by its talented writer-director & his entire team. But as a means to experience the bold psychological truth that a human mind can go to any extreme even at a tender age of just 7 years and there is no stopping to that really in the present vulnerable times fast progressing beyond our control.
Directed By Thomas Vinterberg
Written by Tobias Lindholm & Thomas Vinterberg
Starring : Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Annika Wedderkopp & more.
Tags : The Hunt, Jagten (2012 Denmark), Movies To See Before Your Die World Cinema Drama, Most Disturbing Movies, Must Watch Movies List by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, Worth Watching Classics List by Bobby Sing, Films made on alarmingly weird subjects, Must See Movies List at bobbytalkscinema.com
21 April 2014 / bobbysing /
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There have been many worth watching political thrillers, investigative dramas and revealing documentaries too, talking about ‘The Actual Truth’ behind the famous controversies of the past. Besides, films about extraordinary assassinations, disappearing key figures and more have always been there portraying mysterious political events of various countries forming a specific genre. Still, what I AS IN ICARUS delivers in its 120 minutes of exceptional content is indeed a memorable work of a sheer genius made way back in 1979. And the film probably surpasses every other movie made on the similar subject till date, specifically for its extremely innovative, shocking and never before kind of 30 odd minutes showcasing a highly disturbing psychological experiment being conducted towards the climax.
Revolving around the tragic killing of the President of a fictitious state, the settings actually point towards the JFK assassination without taking any clear names. So beginning with a similar kind of sequence showing the unexpected bullet being fired from a high rise building, the film quickly turns into an exciting watch when a key member of the country’s investigation committee refuses to sign the Conclusive Report and wants to re-look into the murder with a new vision. Finding new undisclosed evidence contradicting the earlier theory of a single shooter hitting the target, the reputed member successfully manages to make a major breakthrough soon. But just before he is about to reveal the truth in from the whole world, an unexpected move stuns the viewer and it all ends on a very intelligent and indicative note, executed superbly.
Accompanied by some superlative performances, fine camerawork and a brilliantly composed background score, this is a great though provoking thriller with a razor-sharp vision and some highly explosive suggestive theories explained skillfully. Though in the beginning it exactly moves like just another good political thriller as expected. But the moment we are taken into the lab of Yale University where a Professor(originally Stanley Milgram)is conducting a real life experiment (actually done in the year 1960-63), the film simply turns into a true cinematic masterpiece, offering a unique food of thought for all the thinking minds in particular. The experiment is titled “Obedience to Authority”, which in all possibilities is sure going to be a never before kind of fascinating insight into the human mind for most of the viewers like myself.
In simple words, these exclusive 30 minutes of the film completely focusing on the experiment alone (being conducted on two volunteers), shockingly tell you the reason that why most of the people readily surrender themselves to the higher authorities so easily without even getting anything in return. And then further agree to commit horrendous crimes such as riots and even ruthless murder, thinking that they are probably doing something right as a service to their nation required at a crucial time. In fact this can exactly be referred as that ‘bloody psychological tool’ used by all the shrewd politicians in the time of elections, political turnovers and public revolts.
Hence, thoughtfully revealing the scandalous fact, I AS IN ICARUS certainly deserves to be seen by every single person as a must ……… just to understand that how he or she can avoid becoming a part of this sick power game unintentionally. A brilliant and unique document pointing towards many hidden aspects of the ugly politics, I really doubt any film-maker can find the courage to make such a truthful or informative film in the present autocratic scenario honestly. And as I feel, this statement alone should make you realize the urgency to watch this classic product of world cinema at the earliest.
Directed by Henri Verneuil
Written by Didier Decoin & Henri Verneuil
Starring : Yves Montand, Michel Albertini, Roland Amstutz and more.
Tags : I As In Icarus, I... Comme Icare (1979 - French), Movies To See Before You Die, World Cinema Classics, Worlds Best Political Thrillers, Must Watch Movies List by Bobby Sing, Experimental Movies at its best.
27 March 2014 / bobbysing /
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