Life is a bitch and than you die.

Often I’m asked, if I can still watch a movie like everybody watches a movie. Course I can. I started crying last Monday already during the commercials, but not coz they were so touching, only coz they were so bad: a boy with a kite, smiling, laughing…warning signs: ☠ landmines…than a blast out of frame, the kite remains – cut: party-poppers, confetti in the air: celebrating 40 years of terre des hommes / worldvision/unicef/projecthope/whatevergood cause, terrible ad. About 40% of the commercials were social-spots, none of them any good. That said: not that the other ads were any better… I had been left crying, waiting for the main feature to come:

Independent Cinema. First appearance of Katie Jarvis, cast from the street after fighting with her boyfriend at a train station, quit school, unemployed, gave birth to her daughter Lily Mae four days before her movie premiered at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.  – British film Fish Tank.

Oh, now you should turn some music on, before you keep on reading. Find here Life is a Bitch. Final song of this film stuffed with music. Play it. Turn your speakers up loud!

“There’s a lot of life in a fish tank and it’s a small space” Andrea Arnold said in an interview during the Cannes festival, where she won the Jury Prize for this movie.

Telling the story of 15-year-old Mia, Fish Tank made it on to German cinema screens only last week. I was lucky enough to catch the subtitled version. Even though there is not much talking…the film speaks often through its stunning 1:1,33 images shot on Fuji stock by Robbie Ryan and through lots and lots of music and dancing. Feels so very real. In the end, I sat crying again. But not coz i was unbearable. Coz it was oh so wunderbar.

It is one of those movies, where you leave the cinema in a cloud, all sounds enhanced, music playing loud from houses, cars zooming past much louder and with more of a whooosh on nightly streets than they normally would. I cycled past a poster on my way home. Goldfrapp is playing in Muffathalle next Monday. Go and see.

Find here an interview with Michael Fassbender about playing alongside Katie Jarvis in Fish Tank and hear his view on Andrea Arnold shooting chronologically and not revealing the script to her actors.

Here Andrea Arnold in the Cannes 2009 press conference about writing and finding this story.

Very stunning review article about the film to be found here (English).

And  here a great interview with Andrea Arnold about images inspiring you in the Sueddeutsche Zeitung on 23rd of September 2010 (German).

For those enjoying German dubbing you can find here what the German audience is tortured with.

Trailers for the audience out of Germany and those choosing the subtitled release in Germany:

Ah, and: Arnold’s next project will be an adaption of Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. This novel has been adapted amongst others by William Wyler in ’39 (nominated for the Academy Awards same year), 1920 in the UK, in the 90ies with Ralph Fiennes and Juliette Binoche and early this century in Japan. Looking forward seeing Arnold’s version of the wuthering wilderness.


8 thoughts on “Life is a bitch and than you die.

  1. Might have already passed OZ since it won in Cannes in 2009…only here it seemed to have taken so long to get it on screen…but if it has been in cinemas in 2009, it should be out on DVD now, no??

    But watch out: editing, sound, directing, and images – all takes such a strong grip on you, you won’t think about anything else for some days! 🙂

  2. Today I got this reply by Joe Gallagher, he’s a dialogue and ADR sound editor:

    “Dear Sanne,
    I felt from Reel One, immersed in her world. The next day scenes from the film kept flooding into my mind. Andrea Arnold used techniques similar to David Lynch with the style of editing and photography. The acting was intense, awkward, the sound cleverly sparse. Shots were extended to create a feeling of unease and in some areas frustration, all adding to a Very powerful and effective finish film.”

    I love to hear from different points of view of film making about movies…and I wish I would be more aware of the editing, when I watch films…

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  5. Love your blog. I love film and I have a large collection, mostly black and white. Despite my preference for older movies they do still make excellent movies. I have not seen the movie you are talking about but I will find it. I think I am going to really enjoy following your blog. My son is the only person I can talk to about film and these days he is busy living his life. Such is life.


    • Hey Terry,
      thank you for your lovely note.
      My son might be the only person on this planet I can not speak to about film – the older one that is. He’s in to games and movies I do not understand. But I did learn to (as a non-gamer) understand games and gotta say managed to get in to the cross-media thing…I mean: I started to be interested in it and yes, my son and I do talk 🙂
      If you like the post, you most likely will enjoy Fishtank. Make sure to see it in English with subtitles! The dubbed version I saw as well destroyed the movie for me… (and made this film a flop in my country).
      Oh, I got to admit: my blog is not a film&movie blog only…I hope you will find enough reading here! If not, let me know. I shall send you the two movie blogs I enjoy and read the most.

      • I found the movie and I’m going to check it out over Easter. I have to keep myself busy as my good lady wife will be away…. I don’t cope well on my own…. I’m a big sook.

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