#201 The Virgin Spring/Jungfrukällan

Watched: September 19 2018

Director: Ingmar Bergman

Starring: Max von Sydow, Birgitta Valberg, Gunnel Lindblom, Birgitta Pettersson, Allan Edwall, Axel Düberg, Tor Isedal

Year: 1960

Runtime: 1h 29min

jomfru

Source

Ingeri (Lindblom) is an unwed pregnant servant for a prosperous Swedish family. Angry at her circumstance and jealous of spoiled rich girl Karin (Pettersson), she prays to Odin for justice while the rest of the household are Christian.

virgin1
She’s a freaking delight at parties

Source

The two young women are sent to church to deliver candles for mass, but Ingeri is spooked by the forest (and an appearance by Odin himself, probably) and Karin goes off on her own. She runs into a trio of goat herds who she invites to share her meal but being pampered and naïve, she does not sense the danger they pose until it’s too late.

virgin2
Clearly, she’s never met anyone not interested in her well-being before. They’re not even trying to be non-creepy!

Source

With Ingeri watching from the trees, two of the three men rape and then kill Karin, steal her clothes and valuables, and then leave her half naked body in the woods to rot. Later that night, the brothers seek shelter with Karin’s parents Märeta (Valberg) and Töre (von Sydow). The now worried parents only discover the brutal truth when their guests try to sell Märeta Karin’s distinctive and expensive dress, spotted with blood. They start preparing their revenge…

virgin3
Daddy forgets all about his Christian values when faced with his daughter’s brutal murder. Luckily for him, he keeps a pagan/satanic knife handy for just these kinds of situations.

 

Source

The Virgin Spring is like a dark and brutal fairytale – Karin is the innocent princess and Ingeri the dark witch (although she does seek redemption in the end). The three headed troll popular in Scandinavian folklore is also present, and there’s friction between the old faiths and beliefs and the relatively new Christian faith (which technically raped its way through Scandinavia, so the roles are slightly reversed) which we also often see in traditional fairytales.

virgin4
It’s almost as if thy’re going for some sort of contrast or something. We’re not sure.

Source

The rape scene is extremely uncomfortable to watch, even by today’s standards (as, indeed, all rape scenes should be) and the tension throughout the movie is palpable. For us Norwegians though, the appearance of Allan Edwall as a beggar residing with the prosperous farmers is a welcome distraction from the horror. Anyone who grew up in the Nordic countries in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s are familiar with him from his roles in several films based on Astrid Lindgren.

virgin5
The man never fails to remind us of happier, more innocent times. Although, of course, there was no way Bergman would have foreseen that. (Sorry for picture quality. There’s a distinct lack of Edwall-stills from this movie online.)

Source

This is a fantastic, tense and uncomfortable movie about jealousy, hatred, revenge and redemption, and we truly recommend it. Even if you have no relationship with Allan Edwall.

What we learned: Hell hath no fury like a parent bereft. Also, try not to summon the old gods if you’re not 100% sure you can handle it. Just a little tip for you.

Next time: The Village of the Damned (1960)

Advertisements

#88 The Red Shoes

Watched: March 6 2017

Director: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger

Starring: Moira Shearer, Anton Walbrook, Marius Goring

Year: 1948

Runtime: 2h 14min

Red shoes

Source

Victoria Page (Shearer) is a young, ambitious ballet dancer who, after a party, is invited by ballet impresario Boris Lermontov (Walbrook) to try out for his company. At the same time, young composer Julian Craster (Goring) gets a job with the same company coaching the orchestra. As Vicky rises to be the new prima ballerina (after the old one got married), Julian also rises through the ranks as a composer. The culmination of both their work is a new ballet, The Red Shoes, based on H. C. Andersen’s classic fairy tale. Julian composes while Vicky dances the lead.

Red shoes2
While the others work, Lermontov does his very best impression of a creepy old man

Source

The ballet is a great success, and its two rising stars fall in love, something Lermontov is none too happy about. He fires Julian, and Vicky, though torn, decides to go with her boyfriend. She marries him and he starts composing operas, also to great success. However, despite her meteoric rise to fame in Lermontov’s ballet, Vicky spends the following year out of work.

red shoes3
We strongly suspect Julian didn’t like other men’s hands this close to his wife’s hoo-ha..

Source

Next season, Vicky goes back to Monte Carlo on holiday with her aristocratic aunt and runs into Lermontov again. He convinces her to dance The Red Shoes once more, but on the night of the performance, Julian comes and demands his wife choose between him and the ballet. Crazed (or possessed?) by this ultimatum, Vicky loses her mind and her control, just like the protagonist in Anderson’s fairy tale.

Red shoes4
Ah – innocence ruined by the lure of passion. It’s like the fairy tale reflects the fate of the innocent ballerina…

Source

It’s clear that Lermontov is supposed to be some sort of parallel to the shoe maker in the fairy tale, but honestly, he’s not the devil here. He encourages her ambition – an ambition that comes from her, not any outside force. Sure, his encouragement comes from mainly selfish reasons, and he may have some ulterior motive of his own, but at least he want her to follow her passion. Julian seems to think she should be content being the wife and muse of a talented composer, despite her own obvious talent which she is unable to develop once they leave the company. In our opinion, Julian is the bad guy here.

red shoes5
It doesn’t help our impression that he shows up for her performance  wearing something very close to a Nazi outfit and goes straight for the boobs

Source

This film is spectacular and definitely a new favourite of ours. It’s an intriguing story with great, often eccentric, characters (we particularly love the other members of the ballet company), gorgeous costumes and breathtaking dancing. The performance of The Red Shoes – a ballet within the film – is wonderful and somewhat reminiscent of the Berkeley musicals from the ’30s, beautifully incorporating cinematic effects with amazing dancing to tell the story.

red shoes6
We’re quite certain that the audience cannot be replaced by an ocean in a real live performance.

Source

It seems to us that women’s ambition is a dangerous thing (in which case Lermontov is the devil), although we’re not sure for whom. Is it scary for the men who lose control over them, or for the (fragile) women who will crack under the pressure of trying to balance a traditional role (doting wife and house maker) with a professional career? Possibly both, but it seems like women tend to pay the price – especially in morality tales and fiction (let’s not even go into the sexual undertones of this film and, indeed, the fairy tale on which it’s based).

What we learned: A happy and full life should have room for love and ambition. To have to choose is unfair (especially when it’s one gender asking the other to choose while they themselves can have it all..). Also, things haven’t changed much for ballerinas in the last 7 decades, judging from the parallels between this film and Black Swan (2010).

Next time: The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)

#75 La Belle et La Bête/Beauty and the Beast

Watched: January 8 2017

Director: Jean Cocteau

Starring: Josette Day, Jean Marais

Year: 1946

Runtime: 1h 36min

beauty1.jpg

Source

Belle (Day), the beautiful young daughter of a merchant, is being Cinderella’d by her rooty tooty snooty sisters after their family’s fortune was lost at sea. As her father gets word of one of his ships having reached port safely, he travels to the city to regain some of his fortune, only to find it has all been seized in payment of his debts. Returning home through a scary forest in a storm, he seeks shelter in a castle which seems abandoned yet has a marvelous feast set out for him.

beauty3
There’s nothing at all sinister or creepy about the place

Source

He spends the night in the castle and, when leaving the next morning, picks a rose for his daughter as that was her only request for a present. Big mistake. A frightful Beast (Marais) sets upon him and tells him he must die for this offence. The merchant manages to make a deal to go home home to see his family if he promises to return promptly or send a family member in his place. Belle, being the good daughter, offers to go to the castle instead of her ailing father.

beauty4
The pretty dresses and jewellry sort of make up for the creepy living statues and ornaments of her new home.

Source

Instead of finding a primitive beast ready to devour her, Belle meets a gentlemanly one who proclaims her mistress of the castle and himself her humble servant. She stays with him for months, and though every night she refuses his marriage proposal, they develop a friendship and companionship which is quite mutual, despite him looking like he’s always on the verge of reciting Shakespearean soliloquies. Case in point:

beauty5
We’d like to think his tendency to lurk behind her is more a kindness so that she won’t have to look at him, rather than something sinister. Despite the neverending marriage proposals.

Source

After a while, Belle finds out that her father is grievously ill and asks to go home to see him. The Beast agrees on the condition that she returns one week later, and gives her a magic mirror to see him, his glove which will return her to the castle whenever she’d like and, for some reason, the key to his fortune.

beauty6
“I’m sure there’s no way anyone would abuse that power”

Source

Of course, Belle’s cunty sisters, her idiot brother and his friend Gaston, uh, we mean, Avenant (also played by Marais), persuade her to stay on a bit longer, steal her key and decide to go kill the Beast and steal his fortune. However, Belle sees the Beast half dead from grief in her magic mirror and uses the magic glove to return to him at the same time her brother and Avenant arrive to dispose of him. There are declarations of love, the Beast transforms to his true princely form and all live happily ever after. Except for the intruders, one of whom is himself transformed (to take the Beast’s place as guardian of the castle? Of the afterlife? Of purgatory? Who knows?), but that’s their own fault.

beauty7
“Them bitches had it coming, trying to interfere with our strange and possibly Stockholm syndrome-induced romance!”

Source

Cocteau’s version is a very faithful adaptation of the traditional French fairy tale despite him, naturally, having taken some artistic licenses. Visually, this film is wonderful with amazing details, especially in the enchanted castle which is like Barbie’s Gothic Dream House – creepy but luxurious. The disembodied arms which act like servants and the half-living statues that adorn the halls and rooms are fantastic (in all senses of the word) and add an extra layer of surrealism and magic to the film. The costumes are extravagant, if not necessarily always flattering, and the beast is superbly made up.

beauty8
The food even looks appealing in black and white, which is impressive in itself

Source

If your only cinematic experience of Beauty and the Beast is the 1991 Disney version, we really recommend this one as well, as it is a very different perspective on the same story.

What we learned: women must learn to look beyond physical appearance, but the same is not necessary for men. Also, don’t trust your relatives – them bitches be greedy!

Next time: Notorious (1946)

#23 Love Me Tonight

Watched: August 24 2016

Director: Rouben Mamoulian

Starring: Maurice Chevalier, Jeanette MacDonald

Year: 1932

Runtime: 1h 44min

Love-Me-Tonight-poster

Source

We were extremely excited to watch this, the first proper musical on the list, and it did not disappoint! From the opening shot and the rhythms made by the city to the train chase in the end, this was a thrilling experience throughout. Love Me Tonight features infectuous, funny songs, great performances, brilliant humour, the liveliest bridge party in cinema history, and lots and lots of innuendo.

LoveMeTonight12
The innuendo would have been ever worse if she was the one to fall on his flute

Source

The story has something of a classic fairytale and/or a Shakespeare play about it. A vicount convinces a tailor (Chevalier) to pose as a baron for a weekend so his uncle, the duke, will not learn that his nephew is in dept to the tailor. Meanwhile, the princess of the castle (MacDonald) is so sexually frustrated that she suffers fainting spells and the doctor even recommends marriage. Naturally, the “baron” falls for the princess and complications ensue. Hilarious, romantic, musical complications.

Love me tonight
“I do not care for this man. But what is this? The countess flirts with him?? I must have this man!”

Source

There are also three old ladies (our favourites!) who are seen stirring a cauldron-like thing at some point, a lovelorn count (the owner of the aforementioned flute and another favourite), an eccentric duke, a wild horse, a jumping stag, a very flirty young countess, a chase scene involving a train and a horse, and of course the charming tailor and the stubborn but unhappy princess.

Love-Me-Tonight-three-aunts-shadows
We are currently looking for three elderly ladies to adopt. Contact 1000filmsblog@gmail.com for details, terms and conditions.

Source

We absolutely loved this film. The song “Isn’t it Romantic” was wonderfully staged, and the humour, music and characters made this a must-watch. ‘Tis a silly film for silly people, and we’ll definitely watch it again (in about 5 years time when we’ve finished the list, that is).

What we learned: if you do not make “boing boing”-noises when you see a stag jumping, you are dead inside. Also, if your castle does not have exaggerated proportions, it’s not a proper castle.

Next time: Scarface (1932)