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fungus's Reviews

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  • Written by fungus on 24.01.2010

    Harold and Maude is a movie which incorporates so many different elements of style that it is difficult to put a simple tag on it. It‘s a black comedy featuring dark humor as well as slapstick. It‘s a drama raising existentialist questions. It‘s a heartbreaking love story with a great soundtrack by Cat Stevens. It‘s an anti-war movie and it even has some action scenes.

    The movie follows Harold Chasen, a young and rich boy obsessed with death. He elaborately stages several fake suicides hereby driving his mother nearly crazy. Harold also likes going to funerals where he meets Maude, a 79 year old woman who embraces life. Harold is fascinated by the lively Maude and his controlled and morbid view of the world gets shaken. Maude slowly opens Harold to the sensual pleasures like music and art and teaches him to live for the moment. Despite Harold‘s mother attempts to marry her son to someone she considers appropriate they finally fall in love with each other and their relationship turns sexual. At Maude‘s 80th birthday she swallows some pills to commit suicide because she thinks 80 is the proper age to die. I won‘t give away the ending since I really hope you all will go and see this movie and I don‘t want to spoil it.

    Harold and Maude is my favorite movie of all times since it combines fun and food for thought in a perfect way. The film features a very dark humor and has some hilarious moments, and yet the movie raises so many existentialist questions it makes you think for a long time after having watched it. Furthermore, everything is wrapped in a beautiful love story which really touches your heart. So it‘s no wonder the American Film Institute lists Harold and Maude as #45 on the top 100 films in American comedy as well as #69 of the most romantic films.

    I really urge everyone to go see this film. Even if it had a strong anti vietnam war message at the time of it‘s release in 1971, the story is told in a universal and funny way which makes this movie a timeless gem and therefore a true classic.

  • Written by fungus on 15.08.2011

    A Japanese man wearing bright yellow pajamas with polka dots awakes and finds himself trapped in a white, empty room with no windows or doors. Angels and cherubs emerge from the walls and go back again leaving only their little penises sticking out of the walls. The man soon discovers, that touching the penises leads to various items magically appearing. Some of them even open gates in the walls for a very short period of time. In combination these items eventually may lead to an escape. Meanwhile in Mexico a masked wrestler known as Escargot Man is preparing for an important fight.
    Wow, what a movie. Yes it sounds crazy and it is. It‘s quite some time since I was baffled by a movie as I was by this one and it is very likely you won't have seen a similar movie so far. Matsumoto not only wrote an incredibly funny and very original script and directed this movie in an awesome way (especially the mexican sequences), he also plays the main character and does some great slapstick worthy of a Buster Keaton. The ending of the movie is very poetic and leaves room for a wide range of interpretations.
    A weird, weird, weird movie, but in the best way there can be (at least for me). I just loved every second of it.

  • Written by fungus on 11.03.2012

    Well, what can I say? I finally managed to watch this cult and (already) classic movie. Thank's to a Bela Tarr retrospective in a Zurich cinema I could enjoy the the full 450 minutes in a cinema with another 100 people. Luckily, I got a place in one of the comfy sofas in the front and they served Hungarian goulash soup during the second intermission.
    The movie is about the collapse of a collective farm in Hungary near the end of Communism. They are expecting a large cash payment for the work of one year and plan to leave as soon as they have the money. Some plot against the others and try to leave with more than their share. However, when the smooth talking Irmias, whom they thought to be dead, returns everything changes. They willingly give all the money to Irmias for the hope that he somehow can keep the community going.
    My expectations were very high for this movie, since I wanted to watch it for quite some time, now. Fortunately, I wasn't disappointed. It took me about an hour to really get in the mood of the film but since then it was just like being in a world of it's own and I wasn't bored for a single minute. Yes, the movie is incredibly slow (the opening shot showing some cows lasts for almost nine minutes), but it is a strong way to show these monotone lives. Bela Tarr is not only a master of pictures but also of sounds. Most of the times I was amazed how much he told by only letting the right noises come from outside the picture range and repeating them over and over. Together with the slow camera movements and the minimalistic music by Mihály Vig the movie gets in some places hypnotic qualities. The movie also has a great cast. Peter Berling as the doctor is one of the best performances I ever saw in a movie. It was especially difficult for them, since it rains during almost the whole movie.
    All in all it just was a fantastic experience. The movie is a true masterpiece. 10/10

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