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The Dardenne's sure have an interesting direction technique. The direction is very claustrophobic and it adds too the tension of the story. Gourmet gives a great subdued performance and the ending was quite powerful
This film is very similar to a lot of French New Wave films, at first. In the beginning I almost thought it just felt like a Godard rip-off but really it is much more. This is an amazing film dealing with a woman from Eastern Germany trying to fit in to society. Whether it is dealing with the communist regime, the free-market, etc. she has struggles. This is beautifully shot and written.
The opening sequence of this film, in which a young boy refuses to jump from a high platform into the water even while facing peer pressure is just filmed to perfection. The shot compositions perfectly capture this boy's feelings and fears. This is something that Andrei Zyagintsev's films are really perfect at. While his film Elena's compositions were more complex, The Return is just as brilliant at creating expressive visuals and its not just the compositions but also the use of the blue/greyish tinted color pallete, particularly in the second half of the film. For anyone not aware, the films about two young brothers who go on a fishing trip with their father, who returns home after being gone for 12 years. All three actors in this film give outstanding performances. The relationshp dynamics are top notch, particularly the father, who is a stern man who as a character perfectly balances on the line between stern and mean-spirited. Thematically the film is about a right of passage into manhood, particularly for the younger boy, and the last 30 minutes of this film just blew me the fuck away. Another great example of the films cinematography is the dinner scene when the father first arrives home. The camera begins centered on the father, slowly pulling back to where the mother and grandmother each create the frame of the shot. It's an expressive shot shocasing the passing of a torch if you will from the woman unto the father who must now teach the boys. Seriously, is every Russian filmmaker born with the unique ability to create the most breathtaking visuals? Must be in the water or something...
A grim story about really how poverty can destroy all forms of moral compass. This is a very minimalistic study of a young woman, whom soon after having an unexpected baby tries to gas herself and the baby. The father, whom gest involved just because he has too, not wants too, tries to sell the baby on the streets as a solution to the problem. Costa frames are incredibly well designed and even thought he film is incredibly slowly paced many of the images are beautifully composed and telling. This is nowhere near as good as Colossal Youth but its still a worthy effort. The scene in the beginning of the film where the young woman tries to gas herself is something that will be burnt into my memory for quite sometime. Costa sure knows how toe find beauty in anything...