Monthly Archives: December 2020

“SURVIVOR BALLADS”— Three Films by Shohei Imamura (3-Disc Special Edition) [Blu-ray]

“SURVIVOR BALLADS”

Three Films by Shohei Imamura (3-Disc Special Edition) [Blu-ray]

Amos Lassen

In the 1980s, Shohei Imamura was a leading figure of the Japanese New Wave era of the 1960s. His reputation made him one of the most important directors of his generation and his films all competed at Cannes to great critical reception. This exclusive box set from Arrow Academy presents restored versions of three late career classics from the  filmmaker.

Based on an ancient folktale, “The Ballad of Narayama” (1983) was the first of two works from the director to win the prestigious Cannes Palme d Or. It depicts the members of an extended farming family eking out their existence in the mountainous north of Japan and against the backdrop of the changing seasons. But then village lore decrees they make the sacrifice of abandoning their aged mother on the top of a nearby mountain when she turns 70-years-old.

“Zegen” (1987) is a satirical look at Japan’s prewar colonial expansion through the  eyes of its flesh-peddler antihero as he establishes a prostitution enterprise across Southeast Asia.

“Black Rain” (1989) is the story the precarious existence of a household of atomic bomb survivors as, five years after being caught in the Hiroshima bombing. They struggle to find a husband for their 25-year-old niece.

What we see is the director’s almost documentary style of filmmaking, that shows the vulgar yet vibrant and instinctive underside of Japanese society through a sympathetic focus on peasants, prostitutes, criminal lowlife and other marginalized figures. The films explore the schism between the country’s timeless premodern traditions and the modern face it has since shown the world.

LIMITED EDITION CONTENTS

  Restored High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentations of all three films

  Original lossless Japanese PCM 1.0 mono soundtracks

  Optional English subtitles

  Brand new audio commentaries on all three films by Japanese cinema expert Jasper Sharp

  Brand new, in-depth appreciations of all three films by Japanese cinema expert Tony Rayns

  Alternate color ending to Black Rain, shot by Imamura but removed from the film shortly before its release

  Archival interviews on Black Rain with actress Yoshiko Tanaka and assistant director Takashi Miike

  Multiple trailers and image galleries

  Original Japanese press kits for The Ballad of Narayama and Black Rain (BD-ROM content)

  Limited edition 60-page booklet containing new writing by Tom Mes

  Limited edition packaging featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Tony Stella

“TOURIST TRAP”— VHS Retro Big Box Collection [Blu-ray + DVD]

“TOURIST TRAP”

VHS Retro Big Box Collection [Blu-ray + DVD]

Amos Lassen

Set in theeerie and deserted Slausen’s Lost Oasis, a wax museum. “Tourist Trap” aims for spine-tingling terror. Four unsuspecting young travelers are lured there. Slausen (Chuck Connors) is the reclusive and bizarre owner of place which is actually more like a chamber of horrors. The grotesque and frightening mannequins in this sordid side-show are just the beginning of murderous mayhem and nightmarish madness.

Early on we see howSlausen  treats stranded teens. The older man. He always carries a shotgun, wears overalls, lives alone and offers too much help. The teens who come onto his property make it too easy for Slausen. He is a creative killer, using telekinesis to animate mannequins or shoot knives into victims. The film really succeeds in its execution, including a clever, scintillating opening sequence, and frequent dark basements with plaster people hugging the walls. More than typical suburbs or campgrounds, the out-of-time locale serves the horror. For Slausen, time stopped when modern society moved away because a freeway was built and he says this a lot.

Slausen is purposeful as part of that old guard who can’t accept changing morals. Hence his past misdeeds, held for reveal until the final act, give the character demented purpose. Even though the film moves slowly, the creative is evident. Writer/director David Schmoeller twists the hero role, pulling off a successful bait and switch. He breaks down norms, even against modern standards.

Other than Slausen, there’s little in the way of character. Archetypes merely fill space. There is  the slutty girl willing to skinny dip, the shy puritan who is apprehensive of joining in. but their time comes. They are set against a truly unnerving killer who likes leaning into light with his eerie masked face.

When Woody’s (Keith McDermott) car breaks down he looks  for help and dummies come to life and lure him in. They then violently dispatch the visitor and he turns up as a mannequin. That night his three friends come to look for him and stop off for a swim. They meet the sexy Becky (Tanya Roberts) and take her along to the museum. Too bad the teens were unaware Davey Slausen (Shailar Coby), the demented brother of the owner, lives there and that he has superhuman strength, and a talent for creating strange mannequins. Soon the mannequins do a number on the teens. One teen survives the nightmare, but is too disorientated to know what happened.

Even though film is dumb and senseless, it has some appeal because of its oddness. Personally, I had fun watching it. Bonus features include: Interview with director David Schmoeller, Rare trailers and director’s commentary.

“CHUCK BERRY: THE ORIGINAL KING OF ROCK ‘N’ ROLL” — A Documentary

“CHUCK BERRY: THE ORIGINAL KING OF ROCK ‘N’ ROLL”

A Documentary

Amos Lassen

Chuck Berry was “the absolute instigator of rock ‘n’ roll” and in this new documentary he is totally revealed. We see that even with his complete respect from such music legends as John Lennon, Keith Richards, Steven Van Zandt, Joe Perry, Nils Lofgren and Alice Cooper, Berry was a family man. He was also a craftsman of word and chords and a man of great talent and charisma. Director Jon Brewer was personally selected by the Berry Estate to produce and direct the inside story of the man.

We see the first-ever interview with Themetta “Toddy” Suggs, Berry’s wife of 69 years who tells the story of the first artist to be inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. Berry was the most important American musician of the 20th Century and the film also looks at Berry’s experience as a Black artist navigating the American racial landscape of the 1950s and later.

In the mid-50s, Berry gave us his original guitar and vocal-based hits “Maybelline,” “Rock and Roll Music,” “Johnny B. Goode,” “Sweet Little Sixteen,” “You Can’t Catch Me,” “Too Much Monkey Business,” and many others. The lyrics that he wrote were literary, poetic, entertaining, and relevant to American teenagers. With his guitar licks and rhythmic style, he  defined the first generation of rock and roll and remains a staple of the rock guitar vocabulary still today. He became the link between the blues and all that came after him.

Brewer’s film tells Berry’s story through vintage film clips, photos, and memories and insights from the family and friends that knew him the best. He also uses stylized dramatizations of different scenes from Berry’s life that and his interviews with Berry’s relatives and friends show the deeper, human side of Berry that was rarely seen publicly. The film begins with his wife sharing the story of meeting Berry for the first time on May 23rd, 1948. The focus is on  the production of the person Berry actually was and not just the music he played. We also see Berry’s flaws, legal issues, and incarcerations in ways that let us understand him authentically.

Berry’s music is mostly recounted by those who were directly affected and influenced by it. The presence of so many legitimate rock stars in the film shows their reverence for both him and his songs shows his great influence. More than that, though, Brewer shows us the family fan who left his public persona as he raised his kids, even while dealing with the racial divide of 50s America with his music.

“Chuck Berry: The Original King Of Rock ‘N’ Roll” is a total experience for fans of rock music and should not be missed.

“AVIVA”— A Visual Feast of Dance, Surrealism and Gender

“AVIVA”

A Visual Feast of Dance, Surrealism and Gender

Amos Lassen

“Aviva” blends dance and surrealist interrogations of gender identity. It is an amazing visual feast that is “often mind-bending, breaking down assumptions and putting things back together in ways that are illuminating and expansive.”  It is a sexy look at romance and dance set in a world of gender-fluid, frequently unclothed bodies. Directed by Boaz Yakin, “Aviva” is an impressionistic film that is a  universal love story and an exploration of gender dynamics by incorporating gorgeous dance sequences. Here is a look attoday’s restless, frenzied and fluid time that demystifies the male-female dynamic.

“Aviva opens” with the character of Aviva (Bobbi Jene Smith) naked on a bed looking directly at the camera, telling us that she is an actress and is acting right now, speaking dialogue written by “what we as a species commonly refer to as a man.” She’s also a dancer and explains she’s in the film because the dancing required is too difficult for a non-dancer to pull off. From this point, the film gets more and more self-conscious. Yakin, the director allows a sense of self-importance and condescension come in here.

Aviva met Eden online through a friend and they fall in love. Aviva gives up her life in Paris to be with Eden in New York City. They engage in a passionate affair, get married but jealousies arise.. Aviva is a woman and Eden is a man, except each character is played by both a woman and a man and while this is confusing at first, it works out as we watch.

Aviva lives to dance—it is an integral part of her. Sometimes dance is part of the plot, while at other times, it can be an abstraction. There is a lot of sex and nudity and it seems that as each character is introduced, we see him/her posing nude.  This could be to show that everyone is physically vulnerable and this makes us also emotionally vulnerable. Then again, this might not be the case.

There is also a lot of dialogue but I found this to often bother me because so much of what is said really does not propel the plot. I felt sometimes that I was watching a therapy session without the psychiatrist being there. We have four actors portraying two characters and until we finally understand who is who and why, our minds become overloaded.

With the dance, the film becomes full of life. The choreography by Smith and Or Schraiber (who plays one half of Aviva), is amazing and provides the emotional work that the rest of the film doesn’t have. The wedding dance is both fabulous, vibrant and surprising. There’s a sequence between a naked man and a naked woman in a white room that is touching and brilliant with Smith as Eden (half of Eden, anyway) as she dances her way with narration through a trip to the airport and onto a plane while still remaining in a rehearsal studio. This, and the sex make the film worthwhile. However, when a character speaks directly to the camera about musical theater and singing, I could not help but wonder what was going on. If you can sit through the dialogue to get to the sex and the dancing, you will be rewarded.

“Aviva” is a love story thatnis propelled by inventive dance sequences and uninhibited sex. However, the first bodies we see are totally still. Their gazes are direct, their self-confident nakedness is either a rebuke or a challenge repression and they set the tone for the emotional and physical dancing that comes. We have a switch in characters with Eden (Tyler Phillips) and Aviva (Zina Zinchenko) who are also played by the aforementioned  Bobbi Jene Smith (as the female aspect of Eden) and Or Schraiber (the male Aviva). This quartet of selves come to life in varying configurations, giving  explorations of flesh and identity, complete with four-way living-room arguments and metaphorical bedroom threesomes.

Nothing about this film is either predictable or ordinary. In terms of narrative and choreography. It breaks down assumptions and puts things back together in ways that illuminate. It is alsoindulgent, frustrating and tiring. There is a lot to take in but it is always fascinating.

As the relationship moves forward, stops and begins again, the couple’s other selves become more and more a part of the action. Aviva and her male counterpart are essentially in sync — and once they’re both acknowledged by Eden, within the same scene, it’s clear that something important is happening. Eden is not ready to embrace his female half, but in a terrific rescue, Aviva helps him satisfy a sexual partner (Annie Rigney).

Smith and Schraiber bring a powerful sensuality to the film, while Phillips and Zinchenko bring a dreamier aspect.

The gender fluidity in the film is really about psychological identity and how we can be divided against ourselves or more truly whole. When it works, it is glorious. However, there are times when the narrative becomes self-absorbed and is more muddled than clear.

“Aviva” is a world of its own and asks questions about knowing ourselves, relationships, disconnection and art. Even though there are stops and starts, the film moves. The choreography  presents gender politics, heartache, loneliness and soul searching that we all deal with.

“GUNCRAZY”: Collector’s Edition [Blu-ray]— “Love Made The Crazy. Guns Made Them Outlaws”

“GUNCRAZY”: Collector’s Edition [Blu-ray]

“Love Made The Crazy. Guns Made Them Outlaws”

Amos Lassen

 Anita Minteer (Drew Barrymore) becomes pen-pals with imprisoned convict Howard Hickock (James LeGros) and gains self-confidence and suddenly sees a possible escape from the torment of her everyday life. Howard is infatuated with guns and this is what really drew Anita to him and she goes on to kill her sexually abusive guardian. When Howard is out on parole and with the police chasing them, there can is no turning back in this story of two young lovers on the run from the law.

Directed by  Tamra Davis and with a fine cast, this is a movie you will watch over and over. Anita is a poor schoolgirl who has a dangerous relationship with not-too-smart  pen-pal James Le Gros, a gun-happy convict. After learning how to use a gun in preparation for her first meeting with him, Anita murders her mother’s sexually abusive boyfriend. When James gains parole and comes to town, circumstances force them into further killing. They cross the country to find Anita’s mother, a junkie hooker.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

  High Definition (1080p) presentation of the main feature in 1.78:1 aspect ratio

  Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround, English 2.0 LPCM Stereo, Spanish 2.0 Stereo

  English & Spanish Subtitles

  Audio Commentary from director Tamra Davis and star Drew Barrymore

  NEW! ”The Making of Guncrazy” (HD, 88:57)

  NEW! ”Portrait of a Director: Tamra Davis” (HD, 39:12)

  5 Behind the Scenes Clips on the Set of ‘Guncrazy’ (SD)

  ”The Making of Guncrazy” Original 1992 featurette (SD, 19:39)

  2 Theatrical Trailers (SD)

  Reversible sleeve

  Collectible Mini-Poster

“If These Ovaries Could Talk: The Things We’ve Learned About Making an LGBTQ Family” by Jaimie Kelton and Robin Hopkins— Making a Family

Kelton, Jaimie and Robin Hopkins. “If These Ovaries Could Talk: The Things We’ve Learned About Making an LGBTQ Family”, Litriot Press, 2020.

Making a Family

Amos Lassen

Jaimie Kelton and Robin Hopkins created and host the podcast, “If These Ovaries Could Talk” and they soon understood that there are some of us who would enjoy having what they say in print and thus this very informative book was born and the families  that we read about here came into being in many different ways. Filled with questions and answers, we read all about what it takes to make a family through the journeys that people have taken.

The book is basically a collection of conversations that the authors had with LGBTQ families and through them we read about the diversity of who we are while we learn from others. It is impossible not to see the honesty and the humor of building a family. We look at such topics as the very basics of beginning a family, who will carry the child, whether or not to use surrogacy or adoption, how to choose a sperm donor, becoming foster parents, giving birth and what being a parent means. We read also of the legal situations that can occur and discussing birth with children.

There is wonderful banter between the authors and their interviewees and it is filled with compassion, sincere and often very funny. It is also totally educative. I felt, at times, that I was sitting with the authors and the families having a fascinating chat over coffee and not just reading words off of a page. With all that we are going through right now, “If These Ovaries Could Talk” is a breath of fresh air and a great guide for those who are thinking about building a family as well as for those who are already parents. This is more than a book, it is an experience and a journey that takes us to places we may never have thought of. It is filled with the emotions of laughter and joy and it celebrates the concept of family both humorously and seriously.

REVRY WRAPPED 2020

Billy Porter, Janelle Monáe, Dan Levy, Angelica Ross, Laura Linney, and Hugh Jackman Featured in Revry’s 2020 Top Countdown for New Years
Revry Announces its Top 20 Fan Favorites with the ‘Revry Wrapped :2020’ to Air Jan. 1st
“Many intersections is evident in Revry’s programming, which appeals to a wide spectrum of queer audiences.” – Advocate.com
“In 2020, LGBTQ-focused movies and TV shows are often hard to come by. Revry… was founded in 2015 as a way to fill that void.” – AdWeek.com
Los Angeles – December 17, 2020: Revry, the global queer digital TV network, is thrilled to wrap up the year with the Revry Wrapped 2020 – its top 20 countdown of Revry’s fan favorites over the past year.  
Celebrate the romance, comedy, drama, and reality of this holiday season with these fabulous films and TV shows including queer icons Billy Porter, Janelle Monáe, Hugh Jackman, Angelica Ross, Dan Levy, Regina King, Laverne Cox, Laura Linney, Shangela, Jinkx Monsoon and Alaska Thunderf*ck to name a few!
Most shows are available free On-Demand on Revry. The full Revry Wrapped: 2020 lineup will also play live on New Year’s Day!  Poster Assets for the Revry Wrapped 2020 list here.
Revry Wrapped 2020 List
FILMS & SPECIALS
FEMME (Film) – This Revry Original film from executive producer Rachel Brosnahan (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) is a hilarious and moving story of self-acceptance. Carson journeys toward self-acceptance by way of a drag queen fairy godmother played by Asa from RuPaul’s Drag Race.
DEATH TO PROM (Film) – This high-fashion drama could destroy friendships and an entire prom!
ROOM TO GROW (Film) – Room to Grow chronicles the lives of LGBTQ+ youth and their families across North America.
DRAG KIDS (Film) – Four preteen drag queens come together for the biggest performance of their young lives.
BABY STEPS (Film) – This comedy takes an honest look at gay family issues in a Taiwanese-American family.
THE QUEENS (Film) – The Queens chronicles over two years in the heels of the world’s most famous drag queens including RuPaul’s Drag Race winners Jinkx Monsoon and Sharon Needles, former All Stars champion Alaska Thunderf*ck and season 7 and All Stars 3 contestant Katya Zamolodchikova.
2 IN THE BUSH: A LOVE STORY (Film) – 2 In The Bush is an unconventional romantic comedy about the many forms that love takes.
LEZ BOMB (Film) – From executive producer, Bobby Farrelly (There’s Something About Mary), comes a new holiday comedy about a woman who comes home with life-changing news.
THE DORIANS TV TOAST 2020 (Awards Special) – The brightest stars are honored by the Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics inaugural Dorians TV Toast 2020 on Revry including Billy Porter, Hugh Jackman, Janelle Monáe, Regina King, Dan Levy, Laverne Cox, Alex Newell, John Oliver and so many more.
GINA YASHERE: SKINNY B*TCH (Comedy Special) – UK’s premier black female comedian, Gina Yashere, has come to America! Her unique take on being a cultural insider and outsider never fails to raise the roof as she gives us her take on the news gripping the nation.
SERIES
CONVINCE ME (Series) – Convince Me explores the voting process and the importance of using our voices for change.
MY TRANS LIFE (Series) – From preparing for major surgery, to tackling love lives, to campaigning for equality, My Trans Life follows transgender people facing the world in the body they were meant to be in.

THE CATEGORY IS…MEXICO CITY (Series) – This Revry Original anthology series explores how ballroom culture has evolved beyond New York City and grown to shape queer communities throughout the world. The series’ first season, The Category Is…Mexico City, introduces the House of Mamis. 
TINY LAUGHS (Series) – When a queer Latina architect meets a struggling Asian comic at an improv class, their instant sparks sends them on a humorous and heartwarming journey through the city of dreams.
BIFL (Series) – The Revry Original series centers on intersectionality grounded in meaningful, real-life situations that set the stage for expectations, different shades of intimacy, and what it really means to love someone.
SCALES (Series) – Remy and his two best friends have an epic breakdown in their journeys of finding stable relationships outside of each other. 
HER STORY (Series) – Starring Angelica Ross (Pose) and Jen Richards (Mrs. Fletcher), Her Story depicts the unique, complex, and very human women we see in queer communities.
SINK SANK SUNK (Series) – Starring Oscar nominee Laura Linney, Sink Sank Sunk is a digital triptych that tells the story of Cooper, a young gay recluse with some unresolved mommy issues.
PUTTING ON (Series) – A Revry Original reality series, Putting On follows a young entrepreneur, On Mekahel, as he struggles to launch his underwear line with his ex-boyfriend.
DATING IN PLACE (Series) – Jo and Debika navigate virtual dating, interfering sisters and falling in love in this OML on Revry Original series.
ABOUT REVRY
Watch Queer TV 24/7 with the first LGBTQ+ digitall cable TV network. Revry offers free live TV channels and on-demand viewing of its global library featuring LGBTQ+ movies, shows, music, podcasts, news, and exclusive originals all in one place! Revry is currently available globally in over 250+ million households and devices and on seven OTT, mobile, and Desktop platforms. Revry can also be viewed on nine live and on-demand channels and Connected TVs including: The Roku Channel, Samsung TV Plus, Comcast Xfinity X1, Dell, XUMO TV, Zapping TV, STIRR, TiVo+, and as the first LGBTQ+ virtual reality channel on Littlstar (available on PlayStation devices). The company–an inaugural member of the Goldman Sachs Black and LatinX Cohort–is headquartered in Los Angeles and led by a diverse founding team who bring decades of experience in the fields of tech, digital media, and LGBTQ+ advocacy. Follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @revrytv,Revry.tv

“The Orchard: A Novel” by David Hopen— A Jewish Coming-of-Age Story

Hopen, David. “The Orchard: A Novel”,  Ecco, 2020.

A Jewish Coming-of-Age Story

Amos Lassen

Ari Eden’s is an Orthodox devout Jewish High school student whose life has always been governed by strict rules. When he lived in ultra-Orthodox Brooklyn, his days were devoted to intense study and religious rituals, and his adolescence is lonely. When his family to move to a Miami suburb, Ari grabs the chance to change himself.

He is enrolled in a very classy Jewish academy and is shocked by the wealth, ambition, and the lust for life’s pleasures of the other students. When Noah, the prize student, offers him friendship, Ari finds himself part of the school’s most exclusive group with students who are defiant, especially Evan, the genius of the bunch.

A charismatic rabbi begins testing the group’s religion in unconventional ways and it does not take long before Ari and his friends push the boundaries of morality and begin to head toward a dangerous future in which their faith is changed.

Ari tells the story in the first person and relates how he taken in by who bring him both comfort and fear. As they study and lookfor meaning from ancient, they become dangerously obsessed.Ari yearns to belong and spendingmore time with them, he pushes asidethe principles of his faithanddistanceshim from his family. His friendship with Noah, the most troubled boy at the schoolpushes him intocompetition for the attention of the Rabbi who runs the schooland into a romantic situation withSophia Winterwhose beauty greatly surpasses her small mind.

We are taken into Jewish culture, belief, and philosophy and read of centuries of Jewish scholarship in this coming-of-age of an Orthodox Jewish teen who deals with a spiritual crisis. The plot is challenging and at times difficult to read but its rewards are great. Combining an academic setting and religious contemplation, writer Hopen gives us a great deal to think about especially the concept of God as both what we need and adversarial at the same time.

We read of the struggle between upbringing and peer pressure, and between curiosity and personal integrity. The plot focuses on the identity of God and how we should experience the Divine. As the group of friends pursues knowledge of God, they do so in ways that are unorthodox. At their school, everything conforms to religious belief yet the group ignores this as the students go on a quest to better understand who they are. They are high school students, after all, dealing with inherited traditions while hiding their true feelings and desires.

Through beautiful prose, we aretransported into a different world in which we deal with new questions (or those we never dared to ask). These are not easy questions and their answers, when they exist, are difficult. “The Orchard” is filled with literary allusions and Talmudic connections, about belonging. It is a universal exploration of a culture that is intense and totally captivating.

 

“COMPLETE STRANGERS”— Loving A Stranger

“COMPLETE STRANGERS”

Loving a Stranger

Amos Lassen

Robert (Pau Maso), a recovering alcoholic, returns to Budapest to reconnect with friends. He meets Hugo (Matthew Crawley), a stranger who quickly gains his trust by giving him what he wants most and Robert accepts Hugo’s idea of a weekend getaway, even though his friends think that this is not a good idea. What begins as a wonderful weekend changes when Hugo’s true intentions are revealed.

 

Hugo is handsome and confident. As Robert and Hugo interact more and more, Robert struggles with his traumatic past while trying to figure out what Hugo’s true intentions are. The film’s use of human behavior lets the viewer better understand Robert and his situation. He has had problems from a very young age and harbors many doubts about himself. As an adult, this has pushed him into complicated relationships with others who do not understand  him and who do not treat him well. When he finds Hugo, even though he knows he is behaving rashly, he falls into him and disregards that Hugo is mysterious, difficult and arrogant. Pau Masó, who also directed the film, brings us a thriller about survival. What begins as an erotic game and pulls us in becomes a chase for life. We see that it does not matter how attractive something can be, we must act with care and suspicion before giving total trust to someone. We cannot allow ourselves to fall in love with someone without knowing him.

We must take care of who we interact with and in who we trust. Not only strangers represent danger and that a stranger can be an enemy. The film is really about the power dynamics in relationships and just how much we are willing to trust someone else in a romantic situation. We look at queer insecurity and what is important in what we think are loving relationships. We see how gay male identity is connected to sexual expression and that pornography can affect the ideas of reality and fantasy.

We learn that Robert lives with Christian, his husband but that they are really strangers to each other thus opening the door for Hugo, another stranger to enter Robert’s life. We do not know anything about him and  every time Robert asks Hugo questions to get to know him better, Hugo does not answer. He’s aggressive in how he lures Robert into his seduction and is domineering and lecherous. We try to understand why Robert would go with him and submit to him. We do get something of an answer by the end of the film but there is a lot left that is not resolved. It seems that Hugo wants Robert’s identity showing that our lives can be altered by others when survival is necessary.

“LOUIS VAN BEETHOVEN”— Music, Freedom and Truth

“LOUIS VAN BEETHOVEN”

Music, Freedom and Truth

Amos Lassen

“Louis Van Beethoven” is a spectacular biopic about composer Ludwig van Beethoven that commemorates the 250th anniversary of his birth. Passionate about music, freedom and truth, his life was a battle against conventions. Beethoven’s nonconformity allowed him to build an unparalleled work in the history of music that will last forever. In 1779, eight-year-old Louis van Beethoven was already known as a musical prodigy. He learned to go his own way, much to the dismay of the people around him. His unconventional character and the French Revolution set his heart on fire. He faced times of family tragedies and unrequited love and almost gave up. In 1792 he came to Vienna to study with Haydn.

Director Niki Stein has made a film filled with details. Through a journey sustained by two parallel timelines, the script shows the beginnings of a little Beethoven to its maximum splendor. It also addresses the last stage of Germany. Undoubtedly, the different pieces that make up the film, know how to cause a sensation in the viewer and shed light on their most personal part. While the film follows a more standard scheme of biographical films, it also humanizes the legend of Beethoven. We see that details, such as his revolutionary thought and his love for his family, do not idolize the musician— they also pay homage to his own existence. There are three different stages in the life of the musician, so there are three actors chosen to portray him. Tobias Moretti is Beethoven during his most adult stage and gives a powerful performance. He lets the character emerge naturally, giving it nuances that elevate his work even more. The young pianist Colin Pütz is little ‘Louis’, as Beethoven was affectionately called before the start of his professional career.

The film moves into the present with an interweaving of flashbacks throughout the film. The photography and art direction are undoubtedly one of the best technical aspects of the film. The craftsmanship gives a captivating effect, making good use of history. “Louis Van Beethoven” examines the most human and personal part of the composer, without neglecting his professional progress. The script presents a close tribute to this myth of music. It only follows a standard biopic scheme, but the way it is executed is valued.

It has been 10 generations since Ludwig van Beethoven was born and he was one of the best composers in history who revolutionized music while The French Revolution was brewing in Europe.