Is it just me?

I’ve never seen June go so fast before! Is she speeding up or is Corona slowing time down so June just looks to be sprinting away? It’s Friday evening again, last Sunday I was brimming with ideas and good intentions for this week – I’ve got a lot of cramming to do before Sunday bedtime. Umm, can I blame my lack of impetus (aka bone idleness) on the current situation or am I actually this crap but just never noticed before?

Of course, any other year the full Fringe programme would have come out in the last week or so, I should be poring over it page by page, marking up potentials, big squiggles in the top outer corner of any page of note. Any other year I’d be looking forward to the Film Festival imminently starting, if it hadn’t already. Oo, he says after a quick dive into his files, ten years ago today I saw two films in Filmhouse One, The People vs George Lucas (primarily Bud’s choice as a big Star Wars fan), then just time for a quick pee before going back in for Monsters. 

Yeah, having a big Star Wars fan for a friend, I was well aware that many fans were feeling rather disillusioned by Mr Lucas (that was more than a few nights in the pub I can tell you!) Luckily for me, it was a smart, entertaining documentary (so it was a tad one-sided but these were passionate long time fans), enjoyable and thought-provoking (more pub chat!) even for the ambivalent.

Quick aside, Buffy has just come on the telly – it’s the first appearance of Spike and Drusilla!! Oh yay! And on that note….

Monsters but this time of the sci-fi genre. The film is obviously low budget but just how low was not appreciated until the Q&A afterwards, one of the best Q&As I’ve ever been at. Gareth Edwards, the director, writer, cinematographer, production designer and visual effects guy, came across really well with plenty great stories about the making of it; it was filmed in just three weeks in some pretty scary places, often without permission, using any locals hanging around who were willing to be extras. Edwards then spent months in his bedroom on his computer creating all the visual effects using just Adobe software. It all paid off – in 2011 Gareth Edwards was announced as the director of the new Godzilla film.

I saw ten films at the EIFF in 2010, Boy by Taika Waititi being my favourite followed by Monsters, then in third place Evil – in the Time of Heroes a Greek zombie horror film (yup, really!). One of my ticket stubs bears a film title that I have no recollection of whatsoever, nope, nothing.

And back to 2020, where the EIFF and Curzon Home Cinema have come up with #EdFilmFestAtHome, an online festival of cinema. It will run from 24th June until 5th July, there’ll be a new film each day (which then shows for between two and twelve days). I have had a quick look at this year’s selection but nothing stands out on first glance. Mind you, in a full year I may not find many films I wish to see, so I wasn’t really expecting my types to make the cut in such a slimmed down affair. I’m glad that something has been worked out, there’s even going to be live online Q&A after at least one of the films! Modern technology, eh!

Night all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you seen Jojo Rabbit? I have.

Goodness, I have been remiss in my blogging, nearly two weeks, where does the time go?! Umm, well some went by in the cinema. I did go see the latest Jumanji film, loved it; not quite as much as the last one, but adding grumpy old blokes into the mix was fun and I thought the avatars were great portraying the various players. I do hope they stick at that one though – I suspect another outing would jump the shark.

I’ve also been to see Jojo Rabbit, three times, yeah, I like it, a lot. Taika Waititi has such vision and humanity, I love all his stuff (ok, maybe not Eagle vs Shark, that’s an oddball but everyone’s gotta start somewhere). There’s so much about this film that’s brilliant, I decided I should see it a third time to before sharing with you and how good was that idea? Wow, last night I picked up on the cinematography more, seeing bits I hadn’t noticed before. Well worth multiple viewings, my friends.

WARNING, A FEW SPOILERS AND RANDOM THOUGHTS FLUNG OUT WILLYNILLY.

Johannes Betzler is a good little german boy who wants to be the best Nazi he can be; the film starts with him and his best friend Yorki attending a Hitler youth camp, both ready to serve the Fuhrer. Oh dear, straight away he is spotted by the camp bullies as a target for their malevolence (from the moment I saw the older youth look down at him my heart sank), this film does not shirk away from showing how nasty and weak humans can be; when Jojo is ordered to kill a rabbit the other kids join in the “kill, kill” chant, some from the thrill, others would be protecting themselves, glad it wasn’t them, too scared to do otherwise. Poor Jojo runs off into the woods where he is comforted and advised by his imaginary friend Adolf Hitler (a ten year old boy’s version of what he thinks Hitler is like, remember this) to “be the rabbit”. Much later towards the end of the film Jojo is out collecting wood and sees a rabbit, the shot lingers, the poignancy of the moment is beautiful.

A lot of the film’s humour comes from showing how scary but ridiculous things can be at the same time (one review I read called it an “absurdist dramedy” which sums it up well), Rebel Wilson’s Fraulein Rahm is a great example, we laugh at her but the reality of such a person, umm. Fraulein Rahm is pure Mel Brooks to me, I can’t be the only one who thought this. The “Heil Hilter” scene with the Gestapo officers is another Brooks/Python moment. Stephen Merchant’s Gestapo agent Deertz is absurd and sinister in equal measure, a jumped-up little man who relishes the fear he can instill.

Against these types we have Rosie Betzler, Jojo’s mother, a lioness protecting her cub. Scarlett Johansson is brilliant, as all her award nominations will attest. Rosie is smart, sassy, stylish, fearless and ever hopeful; she is distributing “Free Germany” messages and harbouring a Jewish girl, Elsa. Elsa is living behind the panelling in Jojo’s deceased sister’s bedroom (Elsa and Inge had been friends). Elsa has a calm, stoic quality and she isn’t afraid of a little boy spouting Nazi dogma. She sees through Jojo’s bravado and recognises it as naivity, when he angrily blusters,  “I like swastikas!” she retorts, “You’re not a Nazi, Jojo. You’re a ten year old kid who likes dressing up in a funny uniform and wants to be part of a club.”

Then we have Captain Klenzendorf (Capt K from here on in), a German soldier in charge of the Hilter Youth camp (embittered that he was taken off the front line after he lost an eye), later demoted to office duties after an incident at the Camp involving Jojo and a hand grenade. Capt K knows the war is all but over, he knows Germany won’t win, he admires Rosie, recognises her as a good person. The captain and his second in command turn up at Jojo’s house shortly after the Gestapo have arrived; part of my third visit was to watch this bit more closely. I surmise that either he knew that Rosie was in trouble or he recognised the Gestapo car parked outside. Either way he was trying to protect Jojo and showed us his true colours by aiding Jojo and Elsa in their deception.

Sam Rockwell is always great but Capt K is a great creation, it reminded me very much of Hugo Weaving’s Sergeant Farrar in The Dressmaker. The two are gay men with a flair for flamboyant design but have to hide in plain sight, only revealing more when they know it’s over; Farrer as resplendent in his matador’s outfit, Capt K in his “accessorized” uniform. In The Dressmaker Farrer implicates himself as the hashcake supplier to save Tilly; Capt K pulls the army jacket off Jojo and lashes out calling him a filthy Jew, the captain’s expression as they drag him away says it all.

Jojo Rabbit and his friend Yorki are brilliantly played Roman Griffin Davis and Archie Yates. Roman’s performance will move you to damp eyes at the very least, and Archie gets some of the best lines in the film. It struck me that the pair would be great as Ralph and Piggy if someone were to remake Lord of the Flies just now.

Anyways, I’ve rabbited on quite enough. There’s loads more I can say about his mum, Hitler, Jojo’s desperate lie to hold on to Elsa, the music, the dancing, bathing suits, amongst other things. It’s a beautiful, funny, tender, irreverent, life-affirming, thought-provoking film. If you haven’t already, go see it!!!

It also reminded me of my favourite German word.

Tschüss  💛