Sunday, 10 April 2011

Films that make me weep

Haven’t been to the cinema in a while, simply because there is nothing on at the moment that I’d like to see. So I have been catching up on films on my to-see list and also watching what was on TV. And surprisingly, the two most recent movies I watched completely reduced me to tears. Ask anyone who knows me well and they’ll tell you that I NEVER cry in the cinema, somehow, standard human drama just does not move me. I did not cry in the well-known tearjerkers like “Titanic”, “Schindler’s List”, “Life is Beautiful”, “The Pianist”, “The Notebook” and many others. There are a couple of films though that do seem to touch my hardened soul and when they do, I wail as if I were a professional mourner at a medieval funeral procession. You might think that the selection below is very odd, and I would whole-heartedly agree with you. I’m just weird that way.

1. Edward Scissorhands.

Dir.: Tim Burton
With: Johnny Depp, Wynona Rider

This is one of the two films I watched recently and although this was the seventh or eighth time that I've seen it, I cried like a drunken old woman. I think I just really like misunderstood characters who are considered to be oddballs, especially if they try to integrate into the society, but then the people are too cruel, so they realise that solitude is their only solution. You know the moment in the end of the movie, when Edward goes back to the castle to live alone and then he starts to cut out ice sculptures and then it snows? And he never comes down again? Aaaa, someone, give me a hanky quickly!!!

2. The Omen.

Dir.: Richard Donner
With: Gregory Peck, Lee Remick

Now, most people would think of “The Omen” as a good horror film. And it is. But I, as scared as I was of the little devil child in it, could not help but sympathise with Gregory Peck’s character - the film’s protagonist and the devil’s stepdad. Thus, as the little boy was slowly ruining his whole life, culminating in his untimely and disturbing death, I became a total wreck. I could not sleep for ages after, but not because I was scared. I was feeling sorry for the man whose child was Satan. LOL as one would say.

3. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Dir.: Ang Lee
With: Chow-yun Fat, Michelle Yeoh, Zhang Ziyi

This would hardly qualify as a tearjerker for most people. Martial arts, magic and an exotic location, ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” is just a high-paced fairy tale. But not to me it isn’t. I must have watched it about ten times now and I know all the characters' names. Li Mu Bai is my favourite. I also love the whole desert sequence. So, when Li is dead and Jen gracefully flies off the bridge and into the clouds, I just feel so sad. Wouldn’t you agree? There is just so much dignity in that last act of hers.

4. This is England

Dir.: Shane Meadows
With: Thomas Turgoose, Stephen Graham

This is the other film I watched the other day that made me cry. It is very violent, offensive and shocking. It deals with the skinhead subculture, racism and nationalism but from a very human perspective. It is an absolutely brilliant film and I honestly felt as if the wind was knocked out of me after it. The main character, Shaun, a boy of twelve who lost his father but found friends amongst the skinheads, is an absolute gem and I hope he goes into acting when he grows up. Please watch it, it is incredibly moving, funny and very, very sad.

5. War and Peace.

Dir: Sergey Bondarchuk
With: Ludmila Savelyeva, Vyacheslav Tikhonov

This 1965 Soviet epic film received an Oscar for best film, which is quite unthinkable considering the Cold War dynamic at the time. It is also thought to be the most expensive film ever made, although, the Soviet government never published the exact records of it. It doesn’t take much imagination to see that without CGI, all the battle scenes are completely real and the decorations are huge in scale. In my opinion, you should really read the book before watching this film, but if you really cannot be bothered, the film is absolutely brilliant. It manages to capture the grandiose ideas of the book and contrast them to the emotional drama of individual characters. There are plenty of moments where one could cry, but the one that always gets me is of Prince Andrey, laying on the battlefield, thinking that he is mortally wounded and contemplating death. The fact that he is very hot probably helps too.

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