Sunday, 3 January 2016

Three Great Movies About... Sabotage

A weekly series in which I watch a bunch of movies and pick out three of the best, each week a different theme and always spoiler-free. Published every Sunday night. 

This week's theme is sabotage; the act of deliberately making life very difficult indeed for someone else, by damaging, obstructing or destroying their property for political, military or personal gain. It's an excellent subject for cinematic storytelling, and these films show that the idea can be used to produce entirely different yet equally engrossing movies.

Jean de Florette (1968) and 
Manon des Sources (Manon of the Spring) (1968)

Gerard Depardieu plays a hunchback outsider who inherits a countryside house in Provence, France. When he moves his family there with the intention of farming the land, he is driven to the point of madness by the jealous locals who attempt to force him out by sabotaging his water supply. A truly beautiful, funny and moving story that was released as two separate films, but is in fact one continuing story. If you don’t like spoilers please don’t read anything about the second part, Manon des Sources, it’s events are entirely dependent on the prior Jean de Florette. Really something special, if you consider yourself a fan of cinema you simply have to see these. And oh god that music.

The Train (1964)

A German officer is trying to get a train loaded with a collection of the world’s finest priceless paintings out of France into Germany before WWII comes to an end. Burt Lancaster has to think up increasingly audacious and imaginative methods of sabotage in attempt to stop that train. I really enjoyed this, they clearly went to great expense and effort in the making of the action sequences, and it’s a proper thrill-ride with many of the same perilous qualities that made Wages of Fear (1955) so good. It also raises some interesting questions about the value of art against the value of human life. Explosions, derailments, hostages, subterfuge, guns, fine art and philosophy. What's not to like?

So that's my first stab at this, three excellent films to start with I think (I guess you could say it's two films, but they were released separately, and it's my blog so shooshed). Tune in again same time next week for my next three films and another theme.

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