The past year has been plagued by revelations of sexual harassment and the continued idiocy of Donald Trump, but a few films highlight that we as a human race are still capable of good.
2017 was a hell of a year, and I mean that in the most literal sense of the word. It was fucking hell. Not so much for me personally, but for human society in general.
Of course, in the film industry at large the focus has been on the #MeToo-movement and the outpour from women and men everywhere telling stories of abuse, sexual harassment and neglect which has been going on for decades in the heart of Hollywood and other countries’ film industries.
In Denmark, we have heard reports of sexual harassment in one of our biggest film production-companies Zentropa, reports which were known to most, but completely ignored or played off as goofs until now.
It is incredibly important to state, that while this movement is easy to shrug off as a witch hunt or a social media-fad, this shit is important. It is important that these stories are finally taken seriously, and it is important that we continue to do so in the coming years. Because I know that these revelations can be painful. I personally was floored, when it came to light, that my favorite stand-up comedian Louis C.K. was a god damn deviant and had been treating young, hopeful female comedians as his personal sexual outlet, masturbating in front of them on several occasions. But that is nothing compared to the pain and long-term trauma these long-silenced assaults and abuses must have caused these men and women.
In the spirit of #MeToo I want to highlight films from the past twelve months released in Denmark, which to me at least have been important for a more open, honest discussion of the portrayal of sexuality in the media.
These are not the only great films which were released this year, in fact 2017 was a stellar year for films. Both ‘Detroit’ and ‘Get Out’ were thought-provoking films exploring systemic racism in America, ‘John Wick: Chapter 2’ elevated the action and world of ‘John Wick’ in every way, ‘Blade Runner 2049’ managed to be as gorgeous and smartly subversive as the original and ‘Wonder Woman’ finally gave us a good DC-superhero, you could actually look up to. ‘The Florida Project’ absolutely floored me with a tragic, yet sweet story about a poor girl exploring the backlot of a motel right beside Disney World, but I need more time to process that.
Danish cinema had a lot of gems as well, and films such as ‘Team Hurricane,’ ‘Darkland’ and ‘Winter Brothers’ showed the fantastic talent the artistic visionaries of my small nation have to offer the world.
Chan-wook Park is the director behind the New Wave South Korean thriller ‘Oldboy’. He has continued to impress with thought-provoking, deeply disturbing tales of lust and violence in films such as ‘Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance’ and ‘Thirst.’
‘The Handmaiden’ is in many ways his magnum opus and one of my own personal favourite films. It is adapted from Sarah Waters’ ‘The Fingersmith’ a novel about the sexual deviancy and debauchery of the upper class in Victorean-era England. This story is beautifully translated into the Korean setting of the 1930’s in which the country was occupied by the Japanese. It is a tale of love, betrayal and intrigue filled with plenty of crazy plot-twists and colorful characters mainly concerning the Korean handmaiden Sook-Hee (Tae-ri Kim), the sly Japanese count Fujikawa (Jung-woo Ha) and the naïve and childlike governess Lady Hideko (Min-hee Kim). Fujikawa plans to seduce the governess and is aided by Sook-Hee, but she and Hideko soon fall for one another.
Its graphic sex-scenes between Hideko and Sook-Hee are already somewhat infamous, but while there is no doubt, that they are a somewhat fetishized version of lesbian sex, they are also incredibly sensual. Watching them, you get the feeling, that they are so over-the-top, because they represent the two young women’s strong emotional bond towards one another. This contrasts with the dull and emotionless sessions which Hideko must endure with her lecherous uncle and his company of horny men, as they watch her in immobilized, vulnerable positions, while she narrates old smut-literature from the likes of Marquis De Sade.
The film is breathtakingly gorgeous to boot as every frame is like an intricate watercolor-painting in-and-of itself. It is a deeply moving, beautiful and humorous film, which perfectly captures the era it is set in. I absolutely adore it.
Sofia Coppola has honed the skill of telling stories about solitude and the want for company throughout her carrier, most notably in her masterpiece ‘Lost in Translation.’ Her newest film’ The Beguiled’ is the tale of a Southern boarding school of six girls and women who are left to their own devices during the Civil War. They decide to aid an injured Union soldier out of the kindness of their Christian hearts and also because they are horny and bored. He turns out to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing, controlling the lonely women to his whim posing as a lover, a big brother or a companion. Or is it really the women who are manipulating him?
The film’s ensemble cast is something to behold. Nicole Kidman has had a grand comeback this year with her hit miniseries ‘Little Big Lies’ and the avantgarde home invasion-film ‘The Killing of a Sacred Deer’ and she shines here as the boarding-school’s uptight headmistress Miss Martha. Elle Fanning finally stars in a film with a director who knows how to use her fantastic acting chops, and the ever-talented Kirsten Dunst shines as the shy school teacher Edwina.
The film is gorgeous, but it is in the small tells of human vulnerability and emotion, that the film really excels. Like when the teenage girl Alicia (Elle Fanning) moans softly in the background, as the soldier is brought into the boarding school, or a maniacal chuckle from the soldier, as he enjoys his fortune.
Look we all know that both this and ‘La La Land’ will be remembered for the Oscar 2017 debacle where legendary actor Warren Beatty read the wrong winner aloud. That is a real shame, because ‘Moonlight’ deserves to be remembered as a brilliant piece of filmmaking and not as the victim of an unfortunate slip-up.
Director Barry Jenkins and screenwriter Tarell Alvin McCraney make the streets and ghettos of Miami come to life. Here we follow Little as a young, silent boy raised by his father figure the gangster Juan (Mahershala Ali) to a fully-grown man whose homosexual identity is buried deep inside of him. Director of Photography James Laxton shoots the film brilliantly using hued light and deep colors to express the complex battle constantly raging inside of Little. The actors of the film deliver stellar performances all around especially from Naomie Harris, who plays Paula, Littles doped-up mother and Mahershala Ali. All three actors who portray Little as a child, teenager and adult do an incredible job as well.
It is a touching tale of raw emotion and male vulnerability in an environment which does not allow such emotionality. From a mother screaming the ‘F’-word at her young boy, to an awkward hand job by the beach, every scene in ‘Moonlight’ is beautiful and soulful.
2017是天殺地糟糕的一年，而我的意思確實是字面上意思 – 那簡直是天殺的糟糕。不是我本人經歷了什麼，而是整個人類社會所體驗的一年非常糟糕。
在電影界來說，最讓人觸目的莫過於#MeToo運動和接踵而來的男男女女開始訴說自己被性騷擾和性侵犯的故事 – 然而這其實是在荷里活「歷史悠久」卻被忽略和視而不見的「傳統」。
在丹麥，國內最大的電影制作公司Zentropa亦被揭發，可惜大部分人一直都知道有這樣的事情，卻也一直無動於衷 – 直到現在。
我們必須注意的是，這類型的運動很容易就像是獵巫或者被當作社交媒體風潮一般輕輕帶過 – 這些破事兒卻比我們想像的都要嚴重。我知道這些自白雖然痛苦，但更重要的是這些經歷終於有人願意認真對待，在往後的日子也應當如此。就我個人來說，當我知道我喜歡的脫嘴秀演員Louis CK曾經侵犯年輕和擁有大好前途的女演員、在他們面前多次手淫自慰時，我非常驚訝（這也不足以形容我有多驚訝） – 但我的情緒遠遠比不上那些被侵犯而長期不能作聲、內心受到嚴重傷害的受害者。
這些電影不單是好電影，事實上2017年在電影質素來說非常可觀。電影《底特律》和《訪•嚇》均讓人對美國的種族歧視思考再三；《殺神回歸》將《殺神》的境界各種提升；《銀翼殺手2049》在原著之上表現的更加華麗和顛覆；《神奇女俠》終於給我們一個好的DC超級英雄 – 一個你可以仰望和信賴的超級英雄。《歡迎光臨奇幻城堡》則用一個悲哀卻又甜蜜、除了迪士尼世界觀以外的故事來讓我驚歎，不過這套電影我還需要一點時間消化。
在南韓驚慄片新浪潮的領頭電影《原罪犯》背後的是朴贊郁，也是《復仇》和《饑渴誘罪》的導演 – 他是一個擅於啟發人類深思、訴說讓人不安的情慾暴力故事的天才。
這套電影厲害的地方在於每一個畫面都像是藝術作品一樣美；它非常感人、美麗和幽默 – 著實地牢牢抓住電影的時代背景，我極度喜歡。
蘇菲亞科普拉擅長敘述關於孤獨和對於同伴渴求的故事，尤以《迷失東京》為最。她最新的電影《魅惑》是關於美國內戰時期南部一家寄宿學校的六位女性。基於她們的宗教、慾望和解悶的需求，她們決定幫助一名受傷的士兵。士兵原來是一頭披著羊皮的狼，扮演著這群寂寞女性的愛人、哥哥和朋友 – 實際上到底是誰控制誰呢？
《星聲夢裡人》和這套電影都因為沃倫•比蒂在奧斯卡頒獎典禮上的口誤而雙雙被記住 – 這其實非常可惜！因為《月光男孩》是一套絕倫的電影，它絕對值得被牢牢記住 – 而不是作為一個無辜的口誤。