Films that I don’t like

Another film post from 2013 that only Vinnie appears to have seen. More unpopular opinions from me about many much-loved films. As always, feel free to disagree.

beetleypete

Having listed numerous films that I do like, in my tour around the World of Cinema, I thought it appropriate to also let you know about the types of film that I never watch, and just don’t like. These choices are unlikely to gain me many friends, but I will stand by them, and try my best to plead the case for the prosecution. No clips with these, as they are generic, not specific.

Comic Book Franchises. I do not refer to the recent trend for filming graphic novels, as seen in ‘Sin City’, and ‘300’. This is an entirely different subject, and I have some time for these efforts. In particular, I am launching my attack at the filming of the heroes of Marvel, and DC comics. The Incredible Hulk, X-Men, Superman, Silver Surfer, Spider-Man, Captain America, and of course, Batman. There are many others, and you will no…

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Some Polish films

Yet another film reblog from 2013, this time featuring films from Poland. Only Eddy has seen this one before.

beetleypete

Poland has a long tradition of film-making. Whilst not having a huge output, some of the films from this country are highly acclaimed, and many have won awards. On this list of recommendations, I have taken the liberty of including two films from the same short series, as I could not choose between them. I have deliberately left out the famous ‘Three Colours Trilogy’, as it is so well known, and also omitted anything by Roman Polanski, for the same reason. I will be doing another post on cinema from Eastern Europe, but felt that Poland had enough to offer on its own. Besides, I sort of owed it to Eddy Winko…

Europa Europa. Strictly speaking, this is a French/German/Polish co-production, but don’t be misled. It is in every sense a Polish film, about the experience of Polish-born Jews during the Second World war, and directed by a famous woman…

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Some more films I don’t like

Another 2013 reblog, one that only Eddy has seen before. This time it is a somewhat confrontational post about the type of films I don’t like. If it upsets you, feel free to tell me off in the comments!

beetleypete

I got clean away with the first post on this. Not a comment, no tirade of abuse, no petitioning from fans of LOTR, Harry Potter, and all the other stuff I castigated. I was pleasantly relieved, although I suspect it is just because nobody can be bothered to read it. As a result of this unexpected escape, I decided to have another go, and slam into some more established films, that I think are overrated, pointless, or unnecessary. I have not added clips, as there are too many to choose from!

James Bond Films. In 1962, there may have been understandable justification to make a film like Dr.No. There had been nothing really similar before, and the tongue-in-cheek spy thriller, filmed in exotic locations, was a refreshing change for many. The books had sold well, and though Sean Connery was an unlikely and unconvincing Bond, there was a ready market…

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Retro Review: Metropolis (1927)

A silent film from 1927, directed in Germany by the masterful Fritz Lang.

It is a science-fiction epic of outstanding prescience, with special effects way ahead of its time.

I first saw this as a teenager, at the National Film Theatre in London. Unconcerned about the fact it was silent, and the dialogue appears on old-fashioned cards between scenes, I was swept away by the visuals, and had to keep reminding myself that it was made before 1930.

A futuristic society where workers toil like automatons, living below ground, while the rich elite enjoy a champagne lifestyle of parties and indolence in the pleasure gardens and luxury skyscrapers above. Highways almost in the clouds, flying vehicles, robots, and androids, it has it all. Almost every science-fiction film made since has drawn on the influences of Lang’s vision of the future, including ‘The Fifth Element’, ‘Blade Runner’, and ‘Dark City’.

The story is almost secondary to the experience of watching this film, but it revolves around the attraction of the son of a rich industrialist to a poor working girl he encounters by chance. In his desire to find her, he ventures below ground, into the worker’s city. Here he encounters the terrible conditions first-hand, and is completely shocked by how they live, and their dangerous working environment.

Determined to change the cruel society, he changes places with one of the workers so he can help organise the resitance against the billionaire industrialists like his own father.

With no plot spoilers, I cannot reveal the outcome. However, I urge you to try to find this and watch it, avoiding at all costs the ‘colourized’ and edited version. I have not listed the cast members, as they will be unknown to most of us anyway. But I have found a full version of the film on You Tube, and I hope that will play for you wherever you happen to live.

Hard to believe now, but this film was a flop at the box office and lost a fortune for the backers.

(Full film)

Some films about WWII

Reblogging another old film post from 2013. I don’t think any current followers have ever seen this one.

beetleypete

There have been a lot of films made about this long war, that took place in so many parts of the world. Many are so well known, that I have deliberately avoided including them here. So, no famous British black and white war films, no ‘Saving Private Ryan’, or ‘Bridge Over The River Kwai’. For those of you who enjoy war films, for whatever reason, I hope you find some new ones here, and that you are intrigued enough to seek them out.

Come and See. This is a Russian film from 1985. It is set during the German invasion of Belarus, and follows a young man, and a girl he meets, on their journey to join a band of partisans. It is not a film of great set piece battles, but does not shrink from depicting the horrors of the German atrocities carried out during this period. Over…

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Some films from the USA

I am reblogging another old film post from 2013. Other than Eddy and Paul, I don’t think anyone has seen it.

beetleypete

I know, how do you possibly choose? Home of the Hollywood musicals, the best gangster films, some of the best war films, and many of the most memorable moments ever filmed, anywhere. Disney, MGM, Spielberg, RKO, Paramount, and the whole studio system. It may not have been the first place where films were made, but it has the most prolific, and arguably the most varied Cinema Industry, anywhere on Earth. It is impossible to offer five suggestions from all that isn’t it? Well maybe not. If I ignore all the usual suspects (and The Usual Suspects), forget everything before about 1980, and leave out every epic, I can just about come up with some that may give you pause for thought; and that you may have never seen.

Ghost World. This film from 2001, sees Steve Buscemi, well known from many later roles, as a geeky, middle aged man, alone…

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Film Review: My Feral Heart (2016)

Every so often, a British film-maker delivers a low-budget independent film that far exceeds the output of the famous directors and massive Hollywood studios. ‘My Feral Heart’ is a fine example of that. Directed by Jane Gull, and starring Steven Brandon, this film won fourteen international awards, yet is little-known in this country. Thanks to BBC 4, I was able to watch it, and I will say from the start that it is exceptional.

This is the story of Luke, a young man with high-functioning Down’s Syndrome. He lives with his mother, and he is her carer. He feeds her, goes out to get the shopping, even bathes her and dresses her. He is completely devoted to her. Then one morning, he finds her dead in bed, and his routine life is shattered. Despite his obvious capabilities, the fact that he has Down’s Syndrome means the authorities will no longer allow him to live in the family home.

Against his will, he is taken to live in a care home, with other young adults who have learning difficulties.

At least the staff are kind to him, especially day manager, Eve, (Shana Swash) who takes a shine to him and allows him an element of freedom. Luke uses that freedom to go shopping for the care home, and to wander the rural district of Essex where he now lives.

Some men arrive to look after the gardens of the care home. They are offenders, sentenced to do Community Service instead of prison time. One of them, Pete, (Will Rastall) befriends Luke, and also becomes close to Eve.

On one of his countryside explorations, Luke finds a young girl caught in a snare trap. He takes her to safety in a old barn. She is filthy, uncommunicative, and scared. He brings her food and clothes, washes her, and visits regularly to look after her. She is the Feral girl who gives the film its title.

We discover that Pete is a hunt saboteur, part of a group who go out and disrupt fox-hunting in the area. As Luke loves animals, he asks Pete if he can go. Worried about Luke’s condition, and other medical problems, Pete refuses. But Luke follows him anyway, and becomes involved. Going to check on the feral girl later, Luke cannot rouse her, so carries her back to the care home to get help.

With no spoilers, that’s about it. A short running time of less than ninety minutes, no car chases, no police sirens, and no sex. A small film about people on the margins of society, doing their best to get by in a world where they are almost invisible to outsiders.

It is just fantastic, believe me. It will break your heart with its honesty.

Filmed on location in Essex, beautifully photographed and sparingly directed with skill, the film is anchored around a truly remarkable performance from Steven Brandon in the lead, (he really has Down’s Syndrome) with a completely believable portrayal of Eve from Shana Swash, and every other member of the cast on top form.

If you can find it, please watch it. I will never forget it.

Some Science Fiction films

Another film post, reblogged from 2013. David and Keith have seen it, but I think few others have. Science Fiction this time.

beetleypete

What is Science Fiction? It can be argued that this means different things to different people, and with justification. I will deal with those films that take a futuristic view of events, and try to imagine what life might be like, in an alternative reality, or in centuries to come. I will try to avoid ‘monster’ films, but will include robots, and space travel. Some of these are incredibly famous films, and I could not justify omitting them from this short list. If you think you know them well, have another look, and discover something you might have missed.

Things to Come. Written by H.G.Wells, and directed by Alexander Korda, this 1936 film spans a huge time period, from 1940, through to an imagined 2036. It is famous for its predictions; of the destruction of cities by massed aerial bombardment, the use of chemical and biological warfare, and post-apocalyptic…

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Guest Post: Krish Mayani

Today I am featuring a post from Krish Mayani, who blogs at https://theconfessionsofarandomblogger.com/
His subject is the abusive control known as ‘Gaslighting’, and he explains it with reference to the film of that name.

WHAT IS GASLIGHTING?

So by now you all probably know my tradition of sitting up until 2 a.m. every night watching trashy reality shows and true crime documentaries with my mom. However, the other night we decided to be classy and watch something more sophisticated for a change.

So instead, we decided to watch ‘Gaslight,’ a 1944 psychological thriller starring Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer, and Angela Lansbury.

A very long Google search later, I discovered that the psychological manipulation term ‘gaslighting’ actually originates from this movie! I don’t know about you, but I think it’s so incredibly cool that an actual clinical psychology term originates from a Hollywood, Golden Age, romantic thriller.

I was so incredibly captivated by the film’s plot and cognitive themes, that I just knew I had to write a blog post about it!

Today, I’m going to be discussing and analysing the film, as well as talking about the psychology of gaslighting and how you can protect yourself against it. However, I am not a therapist or a psychologist, and therefore everything I will be speaking about is from my own personal opinion, experiences and research.

SYNOPSIS

Fourteen year old Paula Alquist lives with her aunt Alice Alquist, a renowned opera prima donna in a quaint London square. Paula’s mother died when she was very young, with Alice being her only surviving family.

That is, until Alice is murdered in the middle of the night during a robbery gone wrong. The perpetrator was in search of her famous, valuable jewels; until the robbery was interrupted by Paula awakening in the middle of the night.

The murderer is never found.

Now truly alone, Paula is sent to Italy to become an opera singer, just like her aunt.

The film then fast-forwards a couple of years to a now adult Paula (Ingrid Bergman). After a 2 week whirlwind romance with Gregory Anton (Charles Boyer); a man she has just met; she marries him and he convinces her to move back to the London townhouse that her aunt left her; the site of her murder just a few years ago.

However, as soon as they arrive at the house, Paula begins to notice a slew of strange occurrences. Picture frames taken off the wall and hidden, sentimental possessions that suddenly and randomly go missing, and most importantly, gas lights that dim randomly without any apparent interference with the house’s gas supply.

Gregory slowly begins to convince her that she is the one removing the picture frames. That she simply loses their precious possessions because of her growing irresponsibility, and perhaps most maddening- that she is imagining the dimming of the gas lights.

Is she careless? Is she a kleptomaniac? Is she simply insane? What other explanation is there? Why would anyone lie about the sound of footsteps late at night and picture frames being removed without any explanation? There’s simply no motive. Right?

But thank goodness for her husband Gregory! She may be slowly but surely losing her mind, but at least she still has her husband. At least he’s there to help her. Her constantly replenishing pool of “sanity.” In fact, she needs him doesn’t she?

Paula is slowly being psychologically terrorised and driven insane by her ominous menace of a husband, all the while being convinced that he’s doing her the biggest of favours. That he is simply a blessing for ‘tolerating’ her many many faults and mental incompetencies.

The question on everyone’s minds- will she be able to fight a psychological battle with her husband that she doesn’t even know she is in? However, the more important question here is why? Why is he doing this to her? There is absolutely no reason to do such a cruel thing to a person, your wife much less.

Is there a reason?

There seems to be something far more sinister at play here.

PAULA’S PSYCHOLOGICAL ABUSE

Soon after their arrival at the townhouse, Gregory presents Paula with a brooch, a valuable family heirloom that he claims has been in his family for years. First, he tells her the story of how the brooch “belonged to my mother, and before that to her mother, and now it belongs to you.”

He then lectures her about the importance of not losing it, as she is “inclined to lose things.” He then promptly steals it back from her, leaving her with the gut-wrenching feeling that she has indeed lost the brooch. Not only was he right about her tendency to lose things, but he was also so understanding when she told him.

However, as picture frames begin to disappear from the walls, with them later being found by Paula, he begins to berate her for her kleptomaniacal tendencies. She has no memory of ever taking the pictures of the walls- why would she? However, who else could it be? The question she begins to ask herself is no longer if she did it. But why she did it. She has no memory of ever taking them off the walls, so why is she subconsciously stealing the picture frames?

Gregory makes elaborate and extensively-detailed plans to go to the theatre, but just before they leave, Paula discovers a new facet of her ‘mental illness,’ and is forced to stay home. She believes that she has ruined their night.

However, one night, Paula is invited to a musical concert by old friends of her aunt, and decides that she absolutely must get out of the house, even just for a night, even if she must go alone. However, Gregory decides that he must accompany her.

After a nervous breakdown at this public social event, caused by yet another one of Gregory’s tricks, he convinces her that she is not “well” enough to be in public anymore, effectively isolating her from the already extremely small social circle she has around her.

The following events only escalate in psychological torture and abuse. He tells her that objects in her hands are not really there. He tells her that her mother died in an insane asylum, paralleling her current ‘symptoms,’ and later threatens to have her institutionalised.

He constantly reprimands her for her behaviour, asking her why she lies, steals, and claims to see things that aren’t there without reason, leading to her desperately trying to know the answers to these questions herself.

If not bad enough, as the gas lights constantly flicker (he switches on the lights in the attic), he convinces their maid to lie to Paula as well, telling her that she is seeing things.

An intricately planned descent into insanity and paranoia; and for what? I’m not going to tell you why. Watch the film! I’ve given you enough spoilers!

WHAT IS GASLIGHTING?
Gaslighting (noun)- is an abusive psychological manipulation tactic that when planting seeds of doubt (using denial, misinformation, misdirection, and contradiction amongst other techniques) in the victim’s mind, can make them question their own memory, judgement and perception; severely altering their sense of reality.

As we saw in this context, Gregory gaslights (verb) his bride in an attempt to gain access to her house. He manipulates certain elements of her environment, which makes her question her own sanity by distorting her reality. When Paula asks her husband to verify her perception of these changes, he insists that it’s all in her imagination. he then isolates her from the world and prevents her from having outside communication, making her dependence on him even stronger.

Make no mistake, gaslighting isn’t limited to romantic relationships. It can and has been used in varying degrees of extremity in politics, friendships, parent-child relationships, and even professional workplaces.

THE EFFECTS OF GASLIGHTING

1. THE VICTIM BEGINS TO DOUBT THEIR OWN THOUGHTS

The gas-lighter has distorted the victim’s reality to such a great extent that they can’t trust their own memory, judgement and perception of the world around them.

2. FEAR AND SILENCE

Every time the victim voices their opinions or view of a situation, they are convinced that they are wrong, and that they might even need professional psychological treatment.

This not only leads to fear- what is real and what is not? However, it can also lead to repressed thoughts and opinions. If every time you speak, you are convinced that you have viewed a situation wrongly, you later convince yourself that you should just keep your thoughts to yourself, lest you further ‘upset’ your gas-lighter.

3. ISOLATION

The victim is now completely and utterly dependent on their gas-lighter- a source of reason and sanity. So, either as another manipulation tactic or by internal revelation, the victim is slowly isolated from their friends and family. The victim is convinced that the outside world wouldn’t understand- they would be judged, or worse, pitied.

However, when feelings of isolation and entrapment later begin to seep in, the victim now has no one left to rely on, apart from their abuser. This ensures that the gas-lighter remains in power. There is no one left to rescue the victim.

4. DECISION MAKING ABILITY

The victim has now been convinced that they are insane.

They can no longer trust their own judgement. Therefore, even the smallest of decisions, like what shirt to wear have to be approved by their abuser. As their decision-making ability dwindles, the gas-lighter now has full control.

HOW TO EXTINGUISH GASLIGHTING

I’m sure I know what you’re thinking right about now. “Gaslighting sucks be careful.” Okay! However, what do you do if you’re already in this situation? How do you escape? For lack of a better word, how do you extinguish the gas light?

STEP 1- RECOGNITION

Gaslighting depends on secretly distorting the victim’s reality. However, it’s very difficult for someone to alter your perception of reality if you are aware that this is happening to you. Before accusing someone of gaslighting you, first make sure that the situation is actually gaslighting. It isn’t always so easy to recognise.

Try to find repetitive patterns of undermining, contradiction, manipulation and deception in this particular circumstance. What is the intention behind these tactics? Is it really gaslighting, or are they just voicing their opinion? Do they care about you, or do they want to control you? Find the motive.

STEP 2- EVIDENCE

Now that you know that you are being gaslighted, it’s time to collect evidence. Not only are screenshots, pictures, and written accounts helpful for legal purposes; if the situation is extreme; but it can also help reinforce your view of the situation.

It’s sort of like “retracing your steps” in a way. Just because you now know that you are being manipulated, doesn’t make you immune to the effects of it. Every time your view or outlook of a situation is altered or even flat out denied, you have your own evidence to look back on if you need the mental reinforcement.

STEP 3- DEVELOP YOUR OWN SUPPORT SYSTEM

As we spoke about earlier, one of the main manipulation tactics of a gas-lighter is isolation. Both so that you can’t escape their control, and so that you can’t have your outlook and version of events authenticated.

However, and I once again say this only because I don’t necessarily know the extent of the situation, I would also suggest figuring out your finances as well. Sure, family and friends are an amazing support system. However, we can’t just ignore the financial aspect of it as well.

Money is important. If you have to, you need to be able to escape this abusive situation at any given time.

Can you imagine going through all the work to finally discover that you’re being gaslighted, only to realise that you still have to rely on the abuser for financial support?

Thank you for reading! Especially if you managed to read through all that!

Let me know if you’ve ever seen this movie, and if you’ve ever had an experience being gaslighted by a friend, romantic partner, parent or even at work.

You can check out my last few posts here:

World Poetry Month- The Second Issue
Mirror Superstitions
My Irrational Fears
World Poetry Month- The First Issue
Borrowed Poems From An Anonymous- ‘Destiny’ and ‘Today?’
Until Next Time.

Some uncomfortable films

Another 2013 film post. Only Eddy and my cousin have seen this one.

beetleypete

I have to get straight in with a warning here. These films are described as uncomfortable, as this is the type of viewing experience you can expect. Some are downright nasty, and all will make you uneasy at some point, and you may even turn them off. They contain scenes of sexual violence, mass-murder, casual killings, and portrayals of madness. So, watch at your peril, and don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Why recommend them in that case? Despite the above disclaimers, I feel that they all have something to offer; about society, or war, or human endurance. Some are studio productions with a star cast, others made on a budget, with little-known actors. All are well-made, with performances of intensity, and sincerity, from all those involved. Without exception, none of them are feel-good films, and all will leave you with unpleasant memories. A lot like real life then…

Henry:…

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