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Added by Nosoki on 7 Jan 2014 12:35

The Mystery Exchange #2

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From Lamourderer

Day one - 1/10 (1/20)

This time the project kicked off with a completely insane Japanese comedy from Sogo Ishii. The Crazy Family starts with a family moving into a new house. Everyday life is depicted very strangely and funnily.

The father of the family thinks that everyone else is crazy and decides to kill them. No one wants to be killed, so everyone dresses up in an armor made from household items and starts to fight it out. Then the film is just everyone running like crazy and shouting all the time. Under all this is a light but effective message about the ridiculousness of the Japanese traditional family values, where everyone has a specific, pre-destined, role.

Nosoki's rating:
People who added this item 17 Average listal rating (6 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.6
Day one - 2/10 (3/20)

Du côté d'Orouët is a forgotten French film about a summer holiday of three girls. They go to the summer house of the family of one of them and start having a good time, mostly just giggling to everything and laughing because Orouët is such a funny name for a place. The girls are so adorable in their carefreeness that I kind of felt like an old pervert watching as they were having a blast.

The vacation changes drastically when a friend from work of one of the girls shows up. He is saying that he just happened to be there by accident, but we all know that he is madly in love with one of the girls and traveled there because of her. The girls know this too and start using him, making fun of his politeness and one-sided love.

Of course this doesn't end well for everyone. Little by little things start to go very awkward with the guy realizing that this isn't what he signed up for. Even though the guy was the one being used, the girls aren't especially evil or the baddies of the story or anything like that. Things just got a bit out of hand because, you know, sometimes they do. No one is really to blame.

It is a shame that the film is almost unheard of, because Du côté d'Orouët is one of the best films about young adults that I've seen. It depicts them as real persons who aren't kids, but who still have a lot to learn. It is fun, sad and touching in a way that it actually gives you something to think about, and you'll feel more confident in yourself afterwards.

Oh, and it is a great film about summer too.

Nosoki's rating:
Day two - 3/10 (5/20)

Touki Bouki is a Senegalese film about a petty thief who is hated by the locals and who dreams of going to Paris, because he thinks that everything is great there. When the man and his girlfriend steal money and clothes from a local rich man, the townspeople start treating them like royals and suddenly they have always loved the two. Surreal images and folklore complete the package. I'm not really sure why this felt a little bland to me.

Nosoki's rating:
Day two - 4/10 (6/20)

From the Pole to the Equator is a film edited out from the works of a forgotten documentary film maker of the 1910s and 20s. The directors have edited the structure anew and added a very creepy and eerie ambient soundtrack.

The film shows disturbing images about how mankind wants to kill and destroy. No matter the culture, it happens everywhere and usually for very selfish and little reasons. The horrible picture quality, the damage to the original film negatives and the low frame rate really make this feel like something from a hidden archive that you weren't meant to stumble upon. Even the "normal" images of normal people seem to show the demons within men instead of the people we normally see. The soundtrack strengthens the effect tenfold by drilling deep inside your skull.

In the end we see the soldiers of the World War I running away from the camera to the battlefield. Because of the film damage, they are distorted, glowing, not human, almost celestial or demonic. Most of them are immediately killed by the machine gun fire.

Nosoki's rating:
Day two - 5/10 (7/20)

What the FUCK did I just watch? All the drugs in the world are not enough to prepare you for this mentally.

The film is basically a remake of Alejandro Jodorowsky's The Holy Mountain made by using clips from dog films, and some very psychedelic dog ...compositions. It is absolutely hilarious at first. The joke gets old after 15 minutes though. The rest feels like serving a life sentence.

Nosoki's rating:
Day two - 6/10 (8/20)

Ruggero Deodato's poliziottesco has two outrageously obscene cops as its main characters. They are complete pigs who are just rude to everyone and kill all the bad guys, no matter what they have done. Often the methods they use are not only dangerous for them, but for all the innocent bypassers too. Everything is so over-the-top sleazy that the film gives you a lot of good laughs. The soundtrack is great.

Nosoki's rating:
Day three - 7/10 (11/20)

Jin Xie's film is a nice melodrama about a woman whose ex-lover has been persecuted by the Anti-Rightist Movement for no real reason. Legend of Tianyun Mountain reminded me a lot about the fifth generation of film makers in China. Style-wise it could be even considered as one of the starting points of the new generation, even though Jin Xie himself had been around for a long time.

The political jibber jabber isn't nearly as strong as in the films of the fifth generation film makers like Zhang Yimou or Chen Kaige. However, the drama parts are very nice and the rural landscapes and the visual style of the film have some melancholic beauty that I can somehow relate to, even though they have nothing to do with my life whatsoever.

Nosoki's rating:
People who added this item 71 Average listal rating (29 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7
Day four - 8/10 (13/20)

The main character's brother becomes seriously injured after a kickboxing match, because his opponent attacks him from behind. The main character wants revenge, and on his way to the match with the bad guy, he becomes confronted by Buddhist monks, who want him to fight evil sorcerers. The only reasons for this seem to be that it is in the prophecy and "why the hell not".

Then everything goes wrong, because the main character has sex with his girlfriend, and that is like super horrible. The violence is very grotesque in some scenes and the mythical and magical things are silly in a funny way. The Boxer's Omen is not over-the-top hilarious all the time, but it doesn't matter when watching the very cool obscure visuals of the film.

A salute to Run Run Shaw, who passed away during this project. Thank you for all the great Shaw Brothers moments. May you rest in peace.

Nosoki's rating:
People who added this item 25 Average listal rating (16 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.3
Day four - 9/10 (15/20)

The ninth film from Lamourderer turned out to be a collection of nine short films. The short films were from different countries and about different subjects. I don't have anything important to say about every one of them individually, so I'll just list them here in the order I watched them and the rating I gave them.

1. The Demon (1972) - ****
2. Visual Training (1969) - **½
3. Chromophobia (1966) - ***½
4. Light Is Calling (2004) - ****½
5. Pastori di Orgosolo (1958) - ***
6. Chameko's Day (1931) - ***
7. Parece la pierna de una muñeca (2007) - **
8. Mickey Mouse in Vietnam (1968) - ***½
9. The House Is Black (1963) - ****½

Three films stood out from the crowd: The Demon (pictured) is a silent puppet animation about two brothers who go out hunting only to find out that their mother has become a demon. The puppet movements and the visual style are superb, and the traditional soundtrack fits the film perfectly. The Light Is Calling shows very damaged material (the damage has been enhanced) from an old silent film. The damage gives the film new colors and pace and makes it look like an absolutely stunning mind blast. The House Is Black is quite a depressing documentary about a leper colony. It shows us that lepers are just unfortunate people and not the monsters they are being treated as. Even though it says that there is still hope for them, you'll pretty much feel like jumping out of the window.

Nosoki's rating:
Day six - 10/10 (19/20)

Fragment of an Empire is not an ordinary Soviet propaganda film from the 1920s. Its main character has suffered from amnesia since the revolution and doesn't know anything about socialism. At first, he finds it rather absurd. The film doesn't criticize the party directly, but it shows how the communist Soviet Union isn't nowhere near ready, because equality doesn't prevail and some people are completely left out of the system.

The film has some innovative experimental camera work that I really liked. The (obviously new) soundtrack is a weird mixture of normal silent film music, sci-fi theremin, porn bass and something that sounds like video game music. It is a shame that the only available version of the film is a VHS recording of an old TV presentation. The picture quality is horrible and in some of the scenes all you see is pixelated black mass. The film deserves a better release.

Nosoki's rating:
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From Tapio

People who added this item 44 Average listal rating (21 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.3
Day one - 1/10 (2/20)

The first film from Tapio is a nice heist film, where a master thief, played by Jean Gabin, gets out of prison and begins to plan his last big score. His old partner isn't able to perform big heists anymore, so Gabin has to hire a small-time crook, played by Alain Delon, to fill in for him.

Any Number Can Win is lighter in its tone than the big classics of the French heist film genre like Rififi. It feels like a mixture of those and something like Ocean's Eleven. That's why it actually stands out a bit from the French heist film crowd. The ending is very exciting nevertheless.

Nosoki's rating:
People who added this item 394 Average listal rating (221 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.1
Day one - 2/10 (4/20)

Heartbeats was one of the hardest films of the whole project for me. The plot about a woman and a man falling for the same androgyne boy (or rather what they think he is, we aren't actually shown until much later) is interesting and opens up a lot of doors to circle around the theme of sexual uncertainty. The characters themselves are okay and everything should make this a good or even a great film.

However, Heartbeats tries too hard on the visual side. There are a lot of images with ugly filter effects and a fuckton of long slow motion walking sequences with a Bang Bang cover song playing over and over. The whole thing tries to be like a modernized version of a French New Wave film and it annoyed the fuck out of me with its hipster pop culture references et cetera. From time to time the film started to be good and then these things just ruined it completely for me, because visually the film is just revolting, and I couldn't get over it.

Nosoki's rating:
People who added this item 132 Average listal rating (58 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 8
Day two - 3/10 (9/20)

The Man Who Sleeps is a story about a student who decides to alienate himself from the world because he just doesn't feel like belonging to it. Day by day his life becomes duller and things seem more pointless, yet he still longs for something else.

Almost 40 years after its release, The Man Who Sleeps is quite relevant with youth alienation being a social issue nearly everywhere. Some of the things mentioned in the movie are spot-on, some are not.

Normally I hate the use of a narrator in a film, because it just feels like a lazy solution to explain things. Here it doesn't annoy almost at all, because the narrator is more like a consciousness that speaks directly to the character, telling him how he is dragging himself into a kind of a meaningless hell where he isn't achieving anything. The style of the film also would actually suffer if they didn't use the narrator, because now the film is quite a compact package in its 75-minute length. Using some other means to explain everything would have made the film longer for no real reason.

At some points the film gets a bit too preachy and the narrator feels out of place in some scenes, but despite the faults, The Man Who Sleeps is a great film that would actually go well as a double bill with Jack Bond and Jane Arden's masterpiece Anti-Clock.

Nosoki's rating:
People who added this item 106 Average listal rating (48 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.6
Day three - 4/10 (10/20)

Sidney Lumet's film is an agonizing tale about a dysfunctional family where everyone's life is going down the drain for different reasons. Everybody seems to hate everyone else and only when they are very intoxicated, the untold secrets start to come out. In the end the hate and shouting has gone way out of hand and the things the people say to each other are just painfully horrible. The only one of the family who has any chance of redemption is the one who is dying.

The problem with the film is that it lasts for almost three hours. The first 30 minutes don't really add up to anything, and the length just starts make the film too heavy in an unwanted way, at least for me. The cinematography is magnificent throughout the film though.

Nosoki's rating:
People who added this item 10 Average listal rating (6 ratings) 5.3 IMDB Rating 5.3
Day three - 5/10 (12/20)

When the name Ulli Lommel filled the screen, I was struck with fear. Of course I thought that I was going to watch a horrible film, but little did I know.

Strangers in Paradise tells about a suburban community that tries to control the minds of the youngsters by using a machine called re-pentagram. It doesn't stop the moral decay of the youth, so the obvious solution is a psychic from the WW II era who has been frozen for 40 years.

The whole movie is just a compilation of silly music numbers in the vein of the 80s. The plot scenes are quite a bore, but when a music number begins, the film is just awesome in its silliness. I never expected to be this excited about a film that has been directed by Ulli Lommel.

Nosoki's rating:
Day four - 6/10 (14/20)

Aleksandr Sokurov's The Days of Eclipse tells about a young Russian doctor who is sent to Turkmenia to take care of the locals. The locals aren't happy with the guy who is representing the final days of the Soviet Union, not wanting total control or anything, but who feels like he has to be there. It is time to let go nevertheless. The film is ultra slow in its pace and the sepia tone fits it well, because visually The Days of Eclipse looks like an old Soviet classic which adds up to the feeling of staticness that the people of Turkmenia feel under the reign of the Soviet Union. The ending is very powerful.

Nosoki's rating:
People who added this item 58 Average listal rating (31 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8
Happy End (1968)
Day four - 7/10 (16/20)

A man murders his wife and hacks her to pieces. Then he gets executed in a guillotine.

Or that's how it would go if the whole film wasn't played completely backwards with added narration that makes it a love story about a man who is born without a body. The body gets attached to him in the prison and after that he builds up a wife for himself. He then gets a job building cows and murders a man by publicly drowning him on a beach, and so on...

Happy End relies heavily on one big gimmick and it does it well. The film is only 70 minutes long, and unlike Doggiewoggiez! Poochiewoochiez! it stays funny until the end, or the beginning, whatever it should be called.

Nosoki's rating:
People who added this item 220 Average listal rating (99 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.2
Day five - 8/10 (17/20)

Peter Greenaway's film has some very nice visual things that I liked very much. The plot is okay, but it didn't seem like anything special to me, just an ordinary plot with some very grim black humor. The numbers thing didn't appeal to me at all, even though it is not anything retarded like in majority of the numerology-themed films of modern Hollywood.

Nosoki's rating:
Day five - 9/10 (18/20)

Yor, the Hunter from the Future is a caveman movie that begins when hairy ape men attack a village. Then our main character goes adventuring. He confronts all kinds of enemies on his journeys and treats women as people, which seems odd to the other characters of the film.

For the last 30 minutes, Yor changes into (as the name suggests) a sci-fi film. The change in style is a good thing, because now Yor stays fresh until its end. The theme tune is great and the overall stupidness is as fun as it should be in a barbarian movie.

It's actually a shame that I watched Yor in this project, because now I didn't have the chance to prepare for it by filling my fridge with beer.

Nosoki's rating:
People who added this item 1115 Average listal rating (550 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 6.9
Inland Empire (2007)
Day six - 10/10 (20/20)

When a film is boring, fugly and three hours long, I don't give two shits about it. Inland Empire is boring, fugly and three hours long. What a way to finish the project. I don't think I'll be doing this with Tapio again.

Nosoki's rating:

Last year, I did a project called The Mystery Exchange with Lamourderer. The idea of the project was that both of us selected 10 films for each other and provided them with those. The thing was, that you would only pick a number, and start watching the film. You couldn't know what you would start to watch. You weren't allowed to look up any information about the film or anything once it had started, so you had to watch it, sometimes not even knowing the name of the film.

The project was so much fun that we decided to do it again. This time another friend joined us, so everyone chose 10 films for everyone, making the total number of films for a person to watch 20. The first number is the watching order of the films from that particular person and the second one is the watching order from them together.

Big thanks for the both of you for doing this.

The films I chose for Lamourderer:
1. I Drink Your Blood
2. Satan's Rhapsody & A Girl at Dojo Temple
3. Bad Timing
4. Koko, a Talking Gorilla
5. Central Bazaar
6. L'amant
7. Trapeze
8. Battle in Heaven
9. The Shop on Main Street
10. The Sorcerers

The films I chose for Tapio:
1. Shirome
2. Caliber 9
3. Silent Light
4. William Shatner's Mysteries of the Gods
5. Wisconsin Death Trip
6. A Woman Like Eve
7. Love Letter
8. The Ruling Class
9. Four Adventures of Reinette and Mirabelle
10. Witchhammer

As Lamourderer and Tapio didn't make their own lists about this project, I'll list their choices for each other here also. Their comments about the films can be found in Lamourderer's film diary (in English but not about every film) and Tapio's film diary (only in Finnish). You'll have to scroll down to January to find the texts though.

The films Tapio chose for Lamourderer:
1. Earth Entranced
2. The Travelling Players
3. Laser Mission
4. The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum
5. Sitcom
6. All My Compatriots
7. Schizopolis
8. For All Mankind
9. Cléo from 5 to 7
10. Clueless

The films Lamourderer chose for Tapio:
1. Viy
2. Re-Animator
3. Hands Up!
4. The Color Wheel
5. Ramblers
6. Helter Skelter
7. Wings of Honneamise
8. Mix-Up ou Meli-melo
9. A collection of short films: Max et son âne, Linn, Peyote Queen, Concerto for the Sub-Machine Gun, Oh, Protector of the Gazelle, Light Is Calling & 1895
10. Berlin - Ecke Schönhauser

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