Film Study – Noi the Albino

Recently I saw 3 films by an Icelandic director Dagur Kári. His first feature film Noi Albinoi is absolutely fantastic. What is really great about it is the tempo. The main character decides what he wants after more than an hour into the film. The slow tempo is suddenly disrupted with turning points that just won’t stop. The dramatic tension slowly builds up and explodes in slow motion at the end. After the main character decides what he wants antagonist forces are just overwhelming – but on the other hand these forces are very understanding and helpful as they can be. Very original concept. The film is very metaphoric. There is no need to fear prison if you are already inside one. The real prison is the prison of the mind.

Film Study – O’Horten

O’Horten is a very unusual film by the Norwegian film director Bent Hamer. The whole film explores the fact (premise) that almost everything comes too late in life – therefore nothing comes too late. The very solid structure of the film is hidden from the viewer. Scenes seem chaotic and weird but in reality, each one has an exact place in the script. The famous icy road scene is a perfect example. It seems to be there just to entertain the viewer but in fact, it’s there to make the final decision of the main protagonist even harder to achieve. Also, it is there to shift from the reality of the main protagonist and transcend to abstraction.

The protagonist doesn’t really know what he wants almost the whole film. He has a boat but is too rigid to use it so in a way he thinks he doesn’t deserve it. Led by an impulse he decides to sell it but changes his mind as he still hopes that he will enjoy it one day. But that day is shifting away. His change is triggered by tiny incidents, but he is the one who provokes them and that is why he deserves the change at the end.


Film Study – Lost in Translation

At the beginning of the film, we see character Bob observing Tokyo from his car. He notices a huge picture of him from a Whiskey commercial. That shot becomes unusual later (but only for few viewers who notice this detail) because he has just arrived in Tokyo to shoot that commercial.

Lost in a Translation is a minimal masterpiece with a very subtle drama between two protagonists. At first glance, it seems there is no real story. Bob and Charlotte meet, become friends and before they get involved they have to say goodbye to each other. The story reminds me of Wong Kar Wai film In the Mood for Love which had a really slow pace and becomes almost pathetic at various points. It was also too long for many critics.

How on earth could Lost in Translation be not only watchable but mind-blowing for the whole 104 minutes? We would expect a film with at least slower pace. Far from it. Lost in Translation is a film that flows. Not many films achieve this aura of perfectionism. Every shot is exactly where it belongs.
Almost every “cookbook” about scriptwriting preaches how it’s necessary to “raise the stake” in the story.
What does the protagonist stand to lose if he does not get what he wants? What’s the worst thing that will happen to the protagonist if he does not achieve his desire? If this question cannot be answered in a compelling way, the story is misconceived at its core. For example, if the answer is: “Should the protagonist fail, life would go back to normal,” this story is not worth telling.
Robert McKee, story

Lost in Translation

In Lost in Translation, there is not much at stake for both of the protagonists. He can easily divorce and so can she. Both of them probably will – sooner or later. They are both financially independent, have nothing to lose. So, in theory, this story is not worth telling. The story is so compelling because it’s sincere and highly emotional on many levels.