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Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Edge of Heaven

Auf_der_anderen_Seite I just got back from a tiny neighborhood theater (The 4Star) where I saw “The Edge of Heaven”, a sub-titled flick from Germany. I’m not going to describe the plot, because it’s one of those films that should be experienced. I will say that the action is divided between Germany and Turkey, and the plot, while not overtly political, deals with the outcomes of political and emotional decisions.

It’s a pithy film, well worth your time and money, and it got me thinking about why I like foreign (European) films so much.

Two things come to mind. First, there’s a brutal honesty about their dramas – they rarely seem to end truly “happily ever after”. They seem more interested in depicting life the way it truly is, where “happily ever after” is a situation, not an end point. I like that.

Second, good characterization, in a foreign film, doesn’t mean that the characters wear their hearts on their sleeves. They’re complex critters, and just like in real life, you often wonder why they’re doing and saying the things they do. This film was a great example of that – as the story unfolded, I never really felt that I understood what was in the character’s hearts – not completely, anyway, and that made them more real, like the people that inhabit my world.

The end of the film left me in a somber, contemplative mood. Some might find this film depressing, but if they let that get in the way, they’d be missing out on a truly fine piece of art. Check it out. Grade: A


synergy boy said...

I like what you said about good characterization not (necessarily) meaning the characters wearing their heards on their sleeves. I think I tend toward that (I am a bit of a drama queen, ahem). It's not that heart-sleeve-wearing is bad, it's just not necessary, and can be overwrought very easily.

Sounds like a good flick!

Clifford said...

Interesting you say that, because I would say just the opposite. Your characters never seem black and white to me...very nuanced.

synergy boy said...

thanks, mister. i think my characters are pretty good. hopefully my view of them is constructive self-criticism. i think i'm past, "i suck." because i don't. and - i always want to be better, of course, so i hope that my own crit of my own stuff is working towards that.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, but it's hard to find that perfect balance, isn't it? Less is more, I think...

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This is me and one of my two cats. His name is Cougar, and he’s an F1 Chausie. A chausie is a new breed of cat under development. Chausies are the result of a cross between a domestic cat (in Cougar’s case, a Bengal) and a jungle cat (Felis Chaus). Cougar’s mom is 8 pounds and his father is a 30-pound jungle cat. He’s about 16 pounds, super intelligent, spirited, and toilet trained. A writer without a cat (or two) is not to be trusted.