Monday, 5. February 2018

A brief worthy mention of two films that the U.S. Academy - the well-known, filmic one - chose to totally ignore this year.


This may not figure as the best film in a cinematically literate sense. But it was surely one of the most rounded ones in the sense of a special ensemble effort by directrix, acting company & crew, as well as one of the most unanticipated world-wide successes ever. Add to that the probable significance to the feminist cause. (Yes, I know die-hard feminists disliked it, as they have probably always disliked an asymptotically perfectly-appearing superheroine being associated with their cause; but... could #MeToo have happened without this film helping to set the societal tone?)

If I had to reduce the film to two nomination-worthy categories, it would be the directing by - up till she got the go-ahead for this new one - one-hit-wonder Patty Jenkins, whose personal verve & vision of the first female comic superhero permeates this work of fantasy. Plus the manuscript by Mr. Heinberg, which i.a. makes the central figure one who simply doesn't get gender inequality, and, thus freed of all traditional containments, in her words and deeds in the world of men, becomes the ultimate feminist role model. To which, amazingly well-cast Israeli model & up 'n coming & bright-eyed actress Gal Gadot may also have contributed!


Diane Kruger (pictured) is cast as a young Hamburg mother in this film by rebel no-holds-barred German director Fatih Akin, but then pops out a hardened & brittle "beyond her years" (and closer to her real-life age) sudden widow, when both her Turkish husband & young son are horribly killed by a cowardly neo-nazi bombing near his office. With a particularly nasty kind of (nail) bomb, similar to the one used in the Boston marathon bombing some months ago.

Akin also wrote the screen play, dividing it into three acts, which all have their own "universes", and come across very different: Where the first one simply begins the sad story of what happened on that original explosive day, the second one transports us into the antiseptic white-marbled hall of a German court, replete with a wise but encumbered-by-basic-law-principled judge, and diverse lawyers testing the weight of proof, that the accused, a young couple, whose female half the widow saw leaving the scene of the crime, are the perpetrators, without a doubt! In the third act, Akin turns the whole thing surprisingly into a kind of revenge Western at the Greek oceanside, without guns, but with more deadly nails...

Subtract the veteran German actress, one of the few who have definitely made it internationally, i.a. as a wise & sad Helen of TROY, and Akin's plot is a pretty flat deadly-action-loving one, with the truly saving grace of putting the German justice system on a glaring pedestal - not having done enough over decades to bring murdering Neo-Nazis to justice, i.e. in the end appearing too soft, once more in this fictional film story.

However, Kruger lifts the film into one's attention in all three acts by the force of her emotionally true acting-out of the woman who slowly learns she has lost everything... but the will to "clean up" hate mongery in the end.

As did Cannes jurors re Kruger herself, the members of the Academy should have nominated this film as Best Foreign Film, but probably were put off by the wild "Western" ending. Perhaps also overseeing the afore-mentioned critique of Germany's handling of neo-nazism - no small matter!

Well, c'est la vie Oscarienne. To be snubbed, or not to be. My two cents' worth: At least one nomination each should have settled on these gems! Shame!

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