Tuesday, September 6, 2005

MANDERLAY
Bryce Dallas Howard, Willem Dafoe, Danny Glover, Lauren Bacall, Isaach de Bankole

Cinemanila
Greenbelt 1, Cinema 2
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Acclaimed director Lars von Trier's second installement of his trilogy on America, this film is set on a cotton plantation (Manderlay) in Alabama during the 1930's. I never saw "Dogville" so I cannot really say where it is taking off from. At first, you think you are watching a play on stage with the minimal props and the chalk board lines on the floor but eventually you get used to the idea. It is a very thought provoking look into the American system of slavery, the ballot system, democracy and idealism which still permeates till the present day. Especially with the current heart wrenching situation in New Orleans, you somehow believe that these people were never really freed. Their daily existence is still a struggle. Cleverly narrated by John Hurt and presented in 8 chapters, it is almost like you are watching a storybook unfold before your eyes. Bryce Dallas Howard's performance as the idealistic Grace who wants to uphold the rights of these slaves is very convincing. As well as good acting from Danny Glover and Isaach de Bankole who portrays the 'proudly' slave, Timothy. The last parts of the movie takes you by surprise and you finally piece together the missing parts, therefore getting a better understanding of the entire theme. The piercing point though is during the end credits of the movie where we are subjected to haunting images tracing back the struggle of African Americans throughout history. Images of the Ku Klux Klan, an angry mob, lynching, homeless people, even the Twin Towers is briefly shown. I highly recommend this very interesting movie for the brilliant way it presents a very tricky subject - slavery.

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