Saturday, October 22, 2011

I Just Watched: A Nordic Double Bill!

Last weekend it was Valhalla Rising.  This weekend it was The Troll Hunter and Antichrist.   That actually makes three Nordic films in a row.  Not counting Ingmar Bergman, I doubt I've watched that many Nordic films ever.
Something about a movie featuing Trolls, filmed in Norway with Norwegian actors and English subtitles appealed to me.  This also being the Halloween season it seemed like a good time to watch it.

Troll Hunter is similar to The Blair Witch Project or Cloverfield in that you're told your seeing raw found footage.  In this case the film was shot by college students investigating bear poaching.  They start following a man they think might be the poacher but they discover he's not hunting beers, he is hunting trolls for the state.  He's a bit disillusioned however and though he knows it's a bad idea he decides to let filmmakers follow him and learn about his secret work. 

The Troll Hunter is very pretty to look at.  The special effects are good and all the Norwegian forests and fjords are beautiful.  It's not really scary however, though there are some tense moments.

Watching The Troll Hunter reminded me of a time I was in Berlin and I watched Xena, Warrior Princess on TV.  I've never watched much Xena but I'd seen it enough to know it was silly.   But watching it in German put it in a new light.  Instead of being frivolous it was suddenly dark and mysterious.   The sound of the language and not being able to understand anything made a world of difference.

I've heard they're considering remaking The Troll Hunter in English with Hollywood actors.  As much as I liked this version I imagine the new version will suffer in translation.  Sort of a reverse Xena.
Next up was the Lars von Trier film.  You've probably heard of this one.  It's quite notorious for its graphic sex and misogynistic themes.  I wont try and describe it.  It's just too fucked up for words.  Fucked up in an interesting way, but still fucked up.

I admire this film.  It was really, really difficult to watch at times but also impossible to turn off.  The actors were fearless.  Not since Harvey Keitel in Bad Lieutenant have I been so shocked by a performance.  Neither William Dafore nor Charlotte Gainsbourg pull any punches.  This was seriously adult stuff.

If you can stomach the disturbing in the pursuit of an artistic and thought provoking experience you will be richly rewarded by this film.  If you're just looking for some entertainment look elsewhere, this film is not for you.

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