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Drama Movies

November 26 2018 Drama Movies Newsletter

"There are two kinds of films, let's call them Hollywood films and Art (or Independent) films. This is not about quality--I much prefer Hollywood films, and the best ones are, of course, art...But clearly there are differences, and my definitions follow. Hollywood films want to tell us truths we already know or falsehoods we want to believe in. In other words, they reinforce. Art films want to disturb us, to tell us truths we don't want to know. In other word, they unsettle." Writer William Goldman from his book "The Big Picture: Who Killed Hollywood and Other Essays"

William Goldman, who wrote the screenplays for "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" (1969), "All The President's Men" (1976), and "Marathon Man" (1976), passed away on November 16th. Goldman had an incredibly successful career as a screenwriter but chose not to live in Los Angeles. One gets the impression that Goldman never wanted to play the celebrity game and he was often critical of the Hollywood brass.

In "The Big Picture", published in 2000, Goldman writes with dismay about the blockbuster and sequel mentality dominating the American film industry. Of course, that is now the definitive operating principle of the big studios and Art films, as Goldman defined them, have disappeared from studio rosters. I highlight the above quote because films that unsettle are the ones I most want to see. This also explains why a large portion of the films that I review on the Drama Movies site are foreign-language films.

What I would add to Goldman's definition above is that Art films have a recognizable signature, i.e. the personality/style of the director is distinctive. I don't think "Euthanizer", the subject of this week's featured review, could have been written and directed by anyone other than Teemu Nikki.

The same applies to the films of Nicolas Roeg, who died this past Friday. Roeg's early and best work, including "Don't Look Now" (1973), was often cryptic and unnerving. Because he was an accomplished cinematographer, Roeg's films are visually striking as well. Roeg defined cinema as a visual transference of thought. He believed "thought can be transferred by the juxtaposition of images." This requires the audience to take an active part in deciphering the meaning of cinema. It also requires the filmmaker to believe in the intelligence of her/his viewer.

Here's the latest article from the Drama Movies site at BellaOnline.com.

Euthanizer Film Review
Finns are engaged in far more peculiar forest activities than raking if "Euthanizer" is any indication. While the film is an offbeat and violent revenge fantasy, "Euthanizer" has a philosophical underpinning that makes it strangely effective. This is Finland's official entry for the 2019 Oscars.


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Angela K. Peterson, Drama Movies Editor

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