Four Minutes


The original title of this German movie is Vier Minuten; it was simply translated into English as Four Minutes. If you are a regular movie goer, you know that the German film industry has released some pretty good films in the past few years – The Lives of Others, Good Bye Lenin and The Hedge of Heaven come to mind. Four Minutess is no exception.

Chris Kraus first got the idea for this movie when he read in a newspaper the story of an old lady who had been teaching the piano in the same women’s prison for 60 years. He imagined an old woman with talent but a guilt-ridden past meeting a violent but gifted inmate. The old lady foresees that the young woman can go far however the latter is reluctant to accept the teacher’s idiosyncracies and rigidity.

Traude sees it as her mission to retransform Jenny into the musical wunderkind she once was. Though generations apart, together these two women struggle to seek a way out of their lockdown lives through an uneasy alliance built around music. Through flash-backs, memories of Traude’s Nazi-dominated past and a doomed lesbian affair with a political activist resurface as she interacts with her volcanic student.

The story is powerful and emotional, so is the soundtrack.

Juno & New “Friends”

images.jpegEverybody has heard about Juno, Jason Reitman’s latest movie, a well-deserved fame. It is a great movie with a fantastic soundtrack. However, this post is not really about the film, but rather about the reason why I selected it among the fifteen movies or so our movie theater has to offer this week.

Before the Internet age, I would rely on film critiques and friends for advice about films. Thus I regularly read a famous weekly French magazine (Télérama) that deals with TV and radio programs as well as movies. Its reviews are uncompromising and usually apropos. Regarding friends, with time you come to respect and value their judgement. You trust their recommendations because you know them and are able to assess if you are going to enjoy a book or a film they have appreciated.

The Internet has added another category of critics: fellow bloggers, or should I say “blogging Internet acquaintances/friends”. Thus two people, whom I have never met in person but whose judgement I trust, have written enthusiastic posts about Juno. If they liked the film, I reasoned, I would also have a good time watching it. I was not disappointed.

Now it is difficult to use a relevant term to designate these two women. This is true of the two people mentioned but also of a number of others. They are not real friends, in the usual sense of the word, and yet they are more than mere acquaintances. Because you read their blogs regularly, you feel you are familiar with them, much more so than with most of the people you come across every day. It may seem a bit weird, nonetheless it is part of what makes the Internet so enjoyable and sometimes a little magic. Despite all the technology involved, human relationships can still thrive.