Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Good German

I RECOMMENDED Truffaut's The 400 Blows, a black-and-white 1959 French film classic, to my friend Ching some years ago. She later told me the movie lulled her to deep REM sleep, such that when she had woken up, it was already night time. Sleeping through a film was something that had never happened to her before.

Ching's confession, which still amuses me to no end, has led me to rethink my movie recommendations. I should pattern my tips to my knowledge of other people's tastes, which can change like the weather. Not everyone likes old films from way before the technicolor era. Not everyone likes films where they have to read the subtitles. My friend Leeca, for example, rejects all films I tell her to watch, saying, "Title pa lang, nakakaantok na."

It is with that disclaimer that I recommend The Good German to you. It was produced in 2006, but it looks ancient—in black and white, like the film noir from the 40's. Many of you will probably find the movie boring, but I assure you it's not.

The Good German

The main reason why I watched the film was that it had Cate Blanchett in it. She's one of my favorite actors of all time. She can play any character well. In Hanna she was an assassin set to kill a girl. In Elizabeth she played the virgin queen, who uttered the iconic line, "I too can summon the hurricane, Sir!" In the Lord of the Rings she played Galadriel, where she spoke the line I keep repeating after my exam results come out—"I passed the test!" She has one of the best speaking voices in Hollywood.

In The Good German she plays Lena Brandt, a Nazi Jew whose husband is a mathematician who had a hand in designing V-2 rockets for the war. She prostitutes herself to a young American soldier Tully (Tobey Maguire) so she can flee Germany once and for all. During the Peace Conference in Potsdam, Captain Jake Geismar (George Clooney) arrives. An American war correspondent, he is set to cover the landmark conference, but he has another motive—he wants to find Lena, the love of his life, and help her.

Lena has a dark secret she only confesses before the film ends. All along I had thought it was prostitution, but it was worse than that—she had betrayed some of her kind, because it was the only way to survive. The guilt would haunt her forever. So was escape really possible?



Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can recommend any classic films to me anytime.

I actually find black & white films more gorgeous to look at than the coloured ones.

Heck, my most favorite movie of all time has always been Citizen Kane.

Wed May 15, 10:56:00 PM GMT+8  
Blogger Lance said...

I liked Citizen Kane, too. Luther C. recommended it to me. :)

Thu May 16, 09:29:00 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enumerate your top 10 fav b&w films?

Fri May 17, 09:33:00 PM GMT+8  
Blogger Lance said...

The ones that come to mind:

1. To Kill A Mockingbird, the one that starred Gregory Peck
2. Citizen Kane
3. Casablanca
4. Rashomon, even if I couldn't stand the girl's shrieking
5. Belle de Jour, which was about a whore house

I haven't watched too many black and whites.

Sat May 18, 06:20:00 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

12 Angry Men, The Sign of the Cross, Days of Wine and Roses, Dr. Strangelove, Some Like it Hot, Of Mice and Men 1939, Great Expectations 1946... Worth watching.

Sat May 18, 08:50:00 PM GMT+8  
Blogger Lance said...

Astig. Will take note of these! Thank you!

Sun May 19, 03:11:00 PM GMT+8  

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