Tag: Gael Garcia Bernal

MOVIE REVIEW | ***FOREIGN LANGUAGE WEEKEND*** The Science of Sleep (2006)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: I think The Science of Sleep might be the most unadulterated Michel Gondry-est of all Michel Gondry movies.  And I loved every Michel Gondry-esque second of it.

 Science 1
The main reason I started this blog was to make me watch more movies, and to vary the kinds of movies I watched.  The first part of that has been well and truly accomplished with me watching hundreds of movies for the first time, instead of falling back on old favourites over and over again.   But l’m not sure if I’ve varied my selections enough.  I still watch mainly American movies, with directors, writers and actors that make them a pretty safe bet. So this year, I’m forcing myself to seek out more international movies.  With Foreign Language Weekends, every weekend(ish) during 2016, I’ll review two(ish) non-English language movies.

Tonight, I’ll show you how dreams are prepared. People think it’s a very simple and easy process but it’s a bit more complicated than that. As you can see, a very delicate combination of complex ingredients is the key.

Whimsy is a very difficult tone to get right when making a movie or telling a story.  Too little, and what’s the point?  Too much, and your movie is overly precious and far too up its own ass to ever have anything to offer the audience at large.  Michel Gondry is one of the very few directors who has been able to make a successful, mainstream career out of whimsy.  Most of that big screen came largely thanks to screenplays by America’s whimsy King, Charlie Kaufman. But Gondry generated plenty before those collaborations via music videos, and has done a good many since, with movies like The Science of Sleep.

After his father’s death, the mainly Mexican raised Stephane (Gael Garcia Bernal) returns to his mother’s home in Paris.  She has lured him there via the promise of a job in graphic design that will fill his creative urges.  Instead, what he finds is mind dumbing job type setting calendars, and his old, childhood bedroom in an apartment building owned by his mother.  One day, trying to leave home, he ends up injured by a piano being moved by his new neighbour, Stepahnie (Charlotte Gainsbourg). (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***FOREIGN LANGUAGE WEEKEND*** Amores Perros (2000)

The main reason I started this blog was to make me watch more movies, and to vary the kinds of movies I watched. The first part of that has been well and truly accomplished with me watching hundreds of movies for the first time, instead of falling back on old favourites over and over again.   But l’m not sure if I’ve varied my selections enough. I still watch mainly American movies, with directors, writers and actors that make them a pretty safe bet. So this year, I’m forcing myself to seek out more international movies. With Foreign Language Weekends, every weekend(ish) during 2016, I’ll review two(ish) non-English language movies.
 Amores 1
“I wanted to set the world right, and then share it with you. I failed, as you can see.”

As I write this, director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu is on the verge of winning his second Best Picture Oscar in as many years.  That’s a pretty big deal.  Birdman wasn’t my favourite movie of 2014, but I had no problem with it winning.  The Revenant on the other hand, is in my opinion, no Best Picture contender.  It’s a spectacle, it’s thrilling and it’s hard hitting, but I feel like its impact is immediate and quickly forgotten.  Although, what I can’t argue with, is Inarritu’s technical skill.  I might not always like the material he chooses to make, but I’m always blown away by how he makes it.  Which got me interested in seeing where it all started, with his debut, Amores Perros.


A car races through the streets of Mexico City, being chased by a gang of thugs.  After a serious accident, the story flashes back to how the driver of the car, Octavio (Gael Garcia Bernal), came to be in a car chase in the first place.  Sharing a home with his mother, brother and brother’s wife (Vanessa Bauche as Susana), Octavio is in love with his sister in law, and dreams of a way of running away with her.  When his brother’s dog kills another from the local dog fights, Octavio decides to enter the fights officially, to make the money he needs to run away with Susana. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | No (2012)

NO

The best movies based on a true story are the ones that are a history lesson without ever feeling like a history lesson.  They’re compelling, entertaining, a little unbelievable…  And, you might just learn something along the way.  That is exactly what I got from No.


To avoid getting the specifics of history wrong and completely exposing my ignorance on this subject, I’ll paraphrase the preambling setup directly from the movie’s intro title cards…

“In 1973, Chile’s armed forces staged a coup against President Salvador Allende and General Augusto Pinochet took control of the government.  After 15 years of dictatorship, Pinochet faced increasing international pressure to legitimise his regime.  In July, 1988, the government called a referendum.  The people would vote YES or NO to keep Pinochet in power for another eight years.”

No focuses on Renee Saacedra, an ad man played by Gael Garcia Bernal.  You see, each side of the referendum argument has been given 15 minutes of television airtime each night in the 27 days leading up to the vote, and the supporters of “The No” have decided advertising is the key, not political grandstanding.  So, with Bernal on board, they begin a campaign to win hearts and minds through the promise of happiness.

In a story of persecution, mass abuses of power and corruption, it’s surprising that the relationship that stood out most to me was that between Bernal and his advertising agency boss played by Alfredo Castro.  Not far into the story, they are actively working for opposing sides of the life changing, history making referendum, while still working along side each other on frivolous ad campaigns for soft drink and soap operas.  While we see that Bernal’s character has a young son and complex relationship with his ex-wife, none of that seemed as personal or as interesting as his interactions with his boss.

Another interesting aspect of the story is the way the characters more and more refer to each side of the debate as “The Yes” and “The No” as the story goes on.  As voting day gets closer and each side’s propaganda gets more and more elaborate, “yes” and “no” become more than just words on a ballet paper.  They become “THE yes” and “THE no”, almost as if they’re living, breathing entities that hold the future of every Chilean in their hands.

Even though No was shot on video cameras from the period, not on film or modern digital, the format never leads to a cheap or nasty look.  Instead, it adds a real feeling of authenticity to the late 80s aesthetic, more than any costumes, haircuts or set dressing ever could.

While No is an important movie, in that it tackles a monumental part of recent history we should all be more aware of, it’s also a massively entertaining movie.  There’s no point in telling an important story if it’s not entertaining enough to keep the viewer’s interest.  No definitely does this stranger than fiction tale justice.

Directed By – Pablo Larrain
Written By – Pedro Peirano, Antonio Skarmeta