Home > Film, Media, Movie Project, Movie Reviews > Yeah…About Elly, and her Waltz

Yeah…About Elly, and her Waltz

Tonight, kind reader, is a good night.  We came home before 1AM and can wake up after 7AM.  Not to shabby.  Of course let’s address the obvious time discrepancy you’re noting.  To you, kind reader, the sun is shining and the day just entering the laziness of a midafternoon.  To me the sun left a few hours back and I can easily make out every star in the Milky Way (seriously – no street or city lights for a good 45 minutes were we are).  There are serious implications to this time discrepancy: have I created a flux capicitor?  Am I using a black hole or some other sort of space-time continuum loophole?  What ethical implications are raised with this new form of writing?  Especially in terms of breaking news and general news reporting.  However, these questions are outside the scope of this blog, and I’m afraid the truth might bore you (writing in Word at night and copying to WordPress in the day at a coffee shop is easier than trying to write blurbs on a public computer at a cybercafe.  Even if it is a 30” HD iMac.  It makes easier for people to read my rough drafts).  As we ponder these ethical implications of time-travel blogging, let me recap, in a not so succinct way.

About Elly: I love Hitchcock.  Not much to expand on there.  He’s the first director who I grew to admire – from how he told a story, visually staged the shots, and the themes he used.  In the recent Film Rumble (blog post describing the idea later, but imagine movie night with 10 smart people and you have to defend your selection) I chose Rear Window as my favorite film.  But Vertigo, Psycho, and The Rope could all easily take the slot.  Now the method of my Hitchcock love fest is this: About Elly is an Iranian Hitchcock film.  A group of friends head on vacation in Northern Iran, the hostess invites her children’s nursery school teacher, Elly, to hook up with one of her friends.  Elly mysteriously disappears, possibly drowned or simply ran away, and the friends discover things about Elly’s past, and deliberately blur the truth about what happened from themselves and her family.  Oh, and the tangled web they weave leads to more trouble and issues.

The film embodies the best of Hitchcock: McGuffins, fast-paced dialogue, and simple character studies disguised as a murder mystery.  Most of the films coming from the Middle East at Traverse City focus on a very politically and emotionally charged issue (Rachel, Lemon Tree).  About Elly is escapism, but like the best suspense films, subtly addresses political and social issues.  Sometimes, more than any documentary or news story, viewing the entertainment of another country does more to break down culture stereotypes – especially when their films bring back memories of classic director’s like Hitchcock.

Another interesting subject of conversation that came up from this film: subtitles.  More on that, possibly, later.  Just remember: subtitles.

Waltz With Bashir: You don’t see many animated documentaries, Ari Folman frames his documentary about the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, specifically the Sabra and Shatila massacres, about his hunt to remember his IDF service at the time; and where he was and what he was doing when the massacre occurred.  Through interviews with friends, psychologists, and an Israeli reporter, Folman slowly breaks down his wall to recall what happened during the massacre.  The film deals not only with the 1982 invasion, but also the trying effects of PTSD on soldiers.  The film is done in a graphic novel animated style, not unlike the feel of A Scanner Darkly or the moving comics recently released for Watchmen.  The animation isn’t a gimmick, but serves as a symbolic purpose of how people cope with traumatic events.  This was nominated for an Oscar and currently out on DVD, now go watch out – I know you’re not busy, you’re reading my blog.

I have one, possibly two, films left.  However I have one striking memory of the 2009 Traverse City Film Festival: subtitles.

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