Cliff's Review of Summer With Monika (Sommaren med Monika)
I was hoping to never know that feeling. But, unfortunately, thanks to Catherine Breillat, I do know.
[/size][/b][size=5][size=2]Directed by: Catherine Breillat
This is, without a doubt, one of the most shallow, pointless, and distasteful movies I have ever seen. The only defense of this tripe I could even imagine would be that that there are people this shallow and stupid and we need to know about it, but even if that were true, certainly, they would have SOMETHING about them other then their shallowness and stupidity to share.
This film is as romantic as an office building. That said, it isn't really about romance at all, but about sex. Let me tell you, if there is ever a film that made me want to join a monistary, this would be it. I didn't think it was possible for a man that is unaroused to become even less aroused by naked bodies and sexual overtones.
It's about a girl who's boyfriend becomes sexually uninterested, so she seeks out other partners. Her behavior is so insultingly stupid that it boggles the mind that she is able to tie her own shoes in the moring. She's selfish, hedonistic, boring, and so is her boyfriend, and all her other lovers.
At the end, she has a baby. We see a baby being born. It wasn't something I was particularly interested in seeing it so graphically, but I wouldn't have minded it in the right context. All I could think about when seeing it in this context was that I wished I believed in a totalitarian state, because this is one case where I think the state should take a child away immediately because the mother is too shallow, stupid, and selfish to have a child.
This is not an attack on films that focus on sex, and are graphic and raw about it. This is an attack on films who's characters are shallow and stupid and who are dishonest for the sake of shock.
Breillat is not an untalented filmmaker. Her equally graphic, and equally shocking 'Fat Girl' was a very good film, with honesty and insight, and it is because I liked it so much that I rented this. I also realized when scanning her filmography, that I have also seen her film 'A Very Young Girl', which had some of the bad tendencies of 'Romance' and some of the good ones of 'Fat Girl'. She has talent. She is unafraid, and can occasionally hit something deep and insightful. If filmmakers get rid of their bad ideas after they film them, then the rest of her films will be masterpieces, because she dumped a lifetime of bad ideas in this film.
[b]The Lowdown: [/b]A dishonest, shallow, stupid, and distasteful film that seeks to shock and be 'unique' for the sake of it's self. Pointless and repugnant.
[b][size=5]Monika (AKA - Summer With Monika)
[/size][/b][size=5][size=2]Directed by: Ingamar Bergman
This is one of Bergman's pre Seventh Seal/Wild Strawberries films, and while not being great, it's a decent film, with a share of honesty, that shows a lot of potential that obviously fully surfaced later.
It's about a aimless young man who is seduced, or if that is not the right word, enticed by a young girl who he likes and gives him a sense of purpose. They run away to spend the summer together.
It's a pretty good picture of the sorrow that can be brought about by youthful ignorance, as well as the excitement of rebellion and youthful idealism. It's been done a lot of times since, and probably before, but Bergman has a good camera, and an eye for human behavior and overall comes away with a decent film.
[b]The Lowdown[/b]: An unexeptional, but solid film. Shows promise.