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‘Cinemosaic’ brings foreign films to The Beach

Patrick Moreno and Janine Zuniga, Staff

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Each year, the program council strives to broaden the perspectives of students at Cal State Long Beach, by offering cultural events that break up the monotony of the school year.

 

One of the fun but passive events offered by the program council is “Cinemosaic,” a collection of foreign films played Tuesday through Thursday in the University Student Union movie theater. This year, films from Argentina, South Korea and Sweden were selected to be shown.

 

 

“Cronica De Una Fuga” (“Chronicle of an Escape”)

By Patrick Moreno, Staff Writer

This eerie piece of black and white film has more tension than an intervention.

 

“Cronica” is a retrospective piece based on true accounts of an Argentinian prison escapee.

 

The entire movie occurs within the confines of one neighborhood in Argentina during a period in the late 1970’s when the government was using squads of secret police to fight gangs of revolutionaries. The movie is based on the autobiographical novel “Pase Libre- La Fuga de la Mancion Sere” written by an Argentinian goalkeeper, and the movie’s main character, Claudio Tamburrini (Rodrigo De la Serna).

 

Shot to appear as though the images were from the same time period, “Cronica” has just enough of that 1970s sleaze feel for the viewer to feel just as uncomfortable as the prisoners do. Shot with mostly dim lighting indoors, the few times the prisoners did see daylight, the audience is also forced to squint their eyes at the bright and overexposed film.

 

A brilliant piece for introspection, “Cronica” deals with the way human beings handle situations of extreme stress, and how far we are willing to go to live. As no perspectives are made available for the viewer besides those of the prisoners, soon the audience is also trapped in a world of isolated misery and psychological terror. The characters wait so long to act, that when they finally do, the desperation is tangible.

 

The guards pit the prisoners against each other in attempts to extract information about other members of the guerilla force under investigation. Claudio is mistakenly implicated by another prisoner in a fit of desperation during torture one day. He is hauled in during the introductory scene and screams for mercy in a most disturbing way while the men bind him to a bed and water-torture him and an acquaintance.

 

The incompetence of the arresting officers is made obvious by their disagreements on the way the prisoners should be treated. Lucas, the man in charge and the more compassionate one, is calm and calculating, where as most of his henchman are quite brutal and dumb.

 

A group of older men and women stopped to discuss the film with a member of program council just outside the theater afterward, when the eldest man revealed that they were Argentinean themselves. He thanked the school graciously before he led his family out, walking a couple meters ahead solemnly and appeared to be very affected by the tale of human perseverance.

 

“Mother”

By Janine Zuniga, Assistant Diversions Editor

 

An elderly woman walking through an enormous open field stops to dance as she smiles and covers her face to cry, provoking a sense of conflict within herself.

 

“Mother,” a 2009 South Korean drama, is a film about the love and devotion a mother (Hye-ja Kim) has for her only son while trying to prove his innocence in a murder of a school girl.

 

Her son, Do-Joon (Bin Won), is somewhat mentally handicapped and unable to concentrate enough to defend himself against the unreliable lawyer and the police who trick him into signing a confession. As Do-Joon waits behind bars for a life-long jail sentence, the mother engrosses in the closed-case to solve the murder.

 

The film feels like a familiar investigative experience but with more twists and plots than a common Western film. Almost at the start of the film, the mother suspects Do-Joon’s trouble-making friend and finds breathtaking evidence that caused the audience at the Cinemosaic festival to gasp aloud. The beauty of the film is that even if the audience is convinced of one suspect or idea, another twist in the film tops the last.

 

Though the pace of the film is purposely slow, every moment has an intriguing idea or anticipation that keeps the audiences on the edge of their seat for what’s next. In a sense, audience members can find themselves almost forgetting they are watching a film and thinking they might also be a part of the story.

 

A conflicting viewpoint of the film is that there are many unnecessary characters. Though they do add to the ambience of the film of having some sort of connection to each other, there are many characters that are only seen once that make the film seem long, but not too excessive.

 

“Mother” is also beautifully-stylized and shot in simple but with complex ideas to tell more than what’s happening. Such as the scenes when either Do-Joon or his mother felt alone, creative ways stood them unaccompanied and almost insignificant as compared to the background.

 

Though the actors in the film may be unfamiliar, every character is played realistically and convinced of what specific role they add to the film.

 

The universal love of a mother is an understandable language for any audience member who watches. Though much action and loudness is lacked for being such a plot-twisting film about a murder, the audience can still recognize sex, love and horror. And by the end of the film, the plot twists accumulate and make sense of the murder in an unsuspecting surprise to both the mother and the audience.

 

 

“Låt Den Rätte Komma In” (“Let the Right One In”)

By Patrick Moreno, Staff Writer

“Let the Right One In” is a subtle and unsettling vampire film from Sweden released in 2008. An American version of the film, “Let Me in” was released by overture films in October of 2010. The Haunting Swedish original was based on a novel of the same name by John Ajvide Lindqvist.

 

The Main character Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant), is a 12-year-old bully victim that befriends Eli, his neighbor of the same age who unbeknownst to him is a vampire.

 

Eli lives with her guardian, an older man who at first appears to be her father, until he kills a young man in the park in an attempt to collect “food” for his adolescent vampire companion.

 

The plot follows the relationship of the two preteens as Oskar fails to heed the warnings Eli made against them growing affectionate. Eli, without assistance after her guardian gets arrested collecting blood, is forced to hunt. She burns too many bridges in the apartment complex on the outskirts of Stockholm, and is forced to leave. But on her way out of town, she returns to thwart the revenge plot of Oskar’s bully, whom she had persuaded him to stand up to.

 

The muted color palette and minimal soundtrack are a stark contrast to the more unsettling parts of the film. One of Eli’s victims even asks her nurse at the hospital to open the blinds, and then bursts into flames.

The plot is satisfying on a fundamental level. Whether it’s morbid or not, we like gore, and this movie has it, sparingly. And whether it’s mature or not, we like to see people get what they deserve. This is a haunting film with great imagery that sticks with you, unlike its blood-soaked American counterparts.

 

Seldom can a movie successfully blend love and blood. It is this film’s fresh, young take on the idea of a parasitic relationship between a vampire and human that allows it to do so. Not since the classics has tragedy been so epic and uplifting
as the ugly fate that Oskar resigns himself to at the end represents an unconditional love that is not often seen even between two perfectly capable adults.


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