"Breaking the Waves" (1996)

Breaking the Waves - Counterpoint

Written and directed by Lars von Trier, Breaking the Waves is a masterpiece, but not an easy one to watch. It is the story of a woman in a small, and very religious Scottish town who marries an outsider - an oil rig worker. Things couldn't be rosier for her till he suffers an accident on the oil rig which leaves him a quadriplegic. Bess, played by Emily Watson believes that her love and the help of her God will make him well.

The husband convinces her that she should have sex with other men and tell him about it to lift his spirits and make him feel better. This leads to serious problems in the religious small town. Emily Watson was cast based on her wide range of facial expression, and was brilliant in the role. She was nominated for best actress by the academy, and the film received major recognition in many festivals and by many academies.

As Scoop mentioned, the film was very low contrast and undersaturated, the scenery drab and washed out, and the entire film was shot with a hand held camera. The film is divided into a Prologue, seven chapters and an epilogue divided by one minute intermissions with highly saturated scenes of Scotland, and upbeat popular music. Scoop raised two main questions. One, does a film have to have everything to be great, and are the production values of this film justified.

First, a definition of a good film. Richard Bach in Illusions was asked why people decide to live a particular lifetime. The answer was that it was the same reason people chose to go to a movie -- education or entertainment. Bluebeard is an example of a film with great production value, poor to mediocre acting, and a questionable plot. Did it teach me anything? Nope. Was it entertaining? Definitely yes. Was Breaking the Waves entertaining? Only in a few scenes, most especially those involving Bess losing her virginity and discovering the joy of sex. Was it educational? Definitely. It deals with love from many aspects, and has much to say about the status of women and religious oppression.

Now to the production values. First for the intermissions. This is a very powerful and emotionally draining film if you relate to Bess, and I don't see how anyone could help but do so. The intermissions not only served to divide the acts and keep the viewer oriented to the theme of each section much like a site map for a large Web site, but they provided an emotional rest by contrasting the stark film with a mostly somber mood and the richly colored scenic shots and upbeat popular music. Yes, they don't match the rest of the film, but that was the point. As for the stark drab photography, it helped immediately to make the point that this was a drab stark community oppressed by the local religion with no joy and color. Only Bess can bring some life and joy to these surroundings. The hand held camera and often out of focus images were very unsettling. You were never able to relax and soak in the imagery. This edginess certainly helped evoke emotional response to what was on the screen. As odd as this sounds, I feel that the poor production value was a valid artistic decision here.

Very un PC comments ahead.

There is no doubt that Emily Watson was brilliant here. Scoop mentioned two areas of criticism , religious and feminist. I am not surprised that the rabidly religious began to feel a little like Christian Scientists with appendicitis watching the way the good Christians of this town turned their backs on Bess and even had the nerve to condemn her soul to hell at her funeral. As to the feminist complaint that Bess was being dominated and used by men, and made to be a submissive ... no shit, ladies. That is one of the themes in this film. They are showing the same brilliant logic that had them burn their bras so men wouldn't think of them as sex objects. Rather than criticize, they should embrace this as a film that clearly shows how women can be and are exploited. I doubt seriously that any man, no matter how "un-evolved," felt like the treatment Bess received was the way women should be treated. Yet the highly evolved and sensitized feminists could not tell that the film condemned, not condoned the treatment of Bess.

Between Scoop and I, we have probably spent as much time thinking about and writing about this film as we spent watching it. Perhaps this brings up another scale to measure a film's greatness. How long do you think about it after you see it?


Emily Watson (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)

"The Outlaw Josie Wales" (1976)

A six film collectors set of Clint Eastwood was released this week. "The Outlaw Josie Wales" is one of three from the set with nudity. This western stars Clint at the peak of his popularity as a family man from Missouri whose family was killed and his house burned by a gang of "redleg" Northern soldiers. He buries the dead, takes the time to hone his weapon skills, then joins a group of people with similar backgrounds to seek revenge on the Yankees. This group of Zealots continues to fight even after the surrender of Lee, but is finally convinced by their leader to surrender and swear allegiance to the Union. Josie refuses, and watches as his former comrades are gunned down after their oath of allegiance. Josie escapes, but not till he kills more than his share of the Union troops. The rest of the film has a patrol chasing Josie to bring him in. Along the way, he encounters a wide range of colorful characters, including an aging Indian chief played by Chief Dan George, who is depicted accurately and with compassion as someone as mistreated as Josie by the US Government.

The thing that sets this film apart from other Eastwood westerns is the fact that they give the motivation for Eastwood's character, and justify his high body count, and they develop all of the supporting characters. Eastwood's love interest is played by his then real -life girlfriend, Sondra Locke, who also provides the exposure. She is about to be gang raped by a gang of miscreants, and there is a very brief flash of one breast, then lengthier shots of her ample posterior. The exposure is very nice for a PG film. Although a little long, this film has much going for it, including an Oscar-nominated score.


Sondra Locke (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

Johnny Web
Ornella Muti Film festival, from TomCat and Johnny Web

TomCat and I seem to have something in common besides Polish-speaking parents. We both are fans of Ornella Muti. Here she is in two Eurofilms: La Ragazza di Trieste (The Girl from Trieste, 1983), and Un Posto Ideale per Uccidare (various names in English-language versions, 1971). Un Posto was one of her earliest screen appearances, but featured only subtle nudity. Ornella is only 45 years old now, and has already acted in something like 70 features, placing her in line for the championship. (The highest number I know of in the IMDB - 134 credits for some obscure guy named Orson Welles. Gerard Depardieu has 116, and is only 51 years old. Depardieu is feeling well after his heart surgery, and will presumably crush all contenders if he can stay healthy. Hmmmm. Welles ... Depardieu ... is there a natural advantage for 300 pounders? To Welles' great credit, his 300 pounds never appeared without being covered by several layers of clothing. Wish we could say the same for his French counterpart.

Ornella in "Trieste" (1, 2, 3) Ornella in "Posto"

Uschi, from Johnny Web

Everyone and his brother has done Kentucky Fried Movie, so I just did the segment with Uschi Digard's remarkable chest. Of course, pictures of Uschi are not exactly as rare as the Honus Wagner Tobacco Card. I think Pepper's Tit Queen site now has something like 1200 pictures of Uschi! (Pepper actually knows Uschi) The Uschmeisterin

Graphic Response
  • Jennifer Jason Leigh collage from 1985's "Flesh & Blood".
  • Donbun
    Lauren Hays Two more collages from one of the worst Skinemax movies ever..."Rebecca's Secret".

    Comments by Donbun:
    This DVD is truly infuriating - lots of skin but lots of noise as well. To produce anything of value requires hours of work -much more than one would expect with a DVD. These two collages took all evening to edit and they aren't even all that good. I guess I'll continue with this film but in the meantime I have some better DVD's to capture that aren't such a pain in the ass. Hope you all enjoy!

    Amy Rochelle I think Amy Rochelle gets al her plastic parts from "Crazy Eddie's Discount Plastic Surgery Warehouse"! Not one thing on this girl is real, (of course, it's Skinemax) but does it have to look this bad? Fake chin, lips, cheeks, nose, and cross-eyed breasts. I've seen Barbie dolls that looked more natural!
    Amber Newman
    (1, 2)
    Comments by Donbun:
    I did caps of "Tender Flesh" film last year off VHS, but I found a discount DVD and it has some nice extras. This is from the 'Photoshoot' special feature and I have a bunch more from it. Enjoy!
    Claire Borotra A salute to French babes today, starting with these from "L'Institutrice". Excellent topless frames in this collage.
    Evelyne Bouix From "La Passion du docteur Bergh". Mostly cleavage...there are some topless frames, but they are a little difficult to see.
    Brigitte Fossey From "Un mauvais fils".
    Caroline Cellier Topless beach 'caps from "Vent de panique"
    Christine Boisson From "Pas très catholique"
    Clotilde Courau Vidcaps from "Marthe ou la promesse du jour". Mostly topless, with a few near misses south of the border.
    Emmanuelle Seigner A view down below, from "La Divine poursuite"
    Fabienne Babe Topless and bottomless 'caps from "De sueur et du sang".
    Jeanne Balibar Topless, and frontal views from "Le Crime de monsieur Stil"
    Mercè Pons From "Le Passager clandestin"
    WhyScan's Page Three Report
    If Page Three is unfamiliar to you, this link describes the Page Three tradition.
    Today's Page 3 girl....Nikki, 25, from Saffron Walden. She's a bit freaky lookin' but there you go. She's even wearing her Mum's tablecloth in four.
    (1, 2, 3, 4)
    Serena Grandi
    (1, 2, 3)
    Excellent variety of topless and dull frontal 'caps of the busty Italian actress from the movie "La Signora della notte".
    Nastassja Kinski
    (1, 2)
    Topless images from 1985's "Harem"
    Anna Kournikova Hot, hot, hot collage of the young tennis babe!
    Jerry Hall Here is a full frontal from her role as Mrs. Robinson in the stage production of "The Graduate".
    Karin Perathoner Barely wearing a bikini, from Maxim UK. Scan by Stop Motion.
    the Funnies
    Thanks once again to Number 6 for submitting the images and jokes.
    Anatomy humor The NRA...Nun's Rifle Association
    The mysteries of the girdle Dating Service humor

    Email Spam Humor

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    A group of us is considering investing in a large cat ranch near Hermosillo, Mexico. It is our intention to start rather small with about one million cats. Each cat averages about twelve kittens each year; skins can be sold for about twenty cents for the white ones and up to forty cents for the black. This will give us twelve million cat skins per year to sell at an average price of around thirty-two cents, making revenue about $3 million a year. This averages out to about $10 thousand a day excluding Sundays and holidays.

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    Eventually, it is my hope to cross the cats with snakes because snakes skin themselves twice a year. This will save the labor costs of skinning the cats as well as giving us two skins per cat.

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    "YOU KNOW YOU'RE IN TEXAS WHEN..." You no longer associate bridges (or rivers) with water. You can say 110 degrees without fainting. You eat hot chilies to cool your mouth off. You can make instant sun tea. You learn that a seat belt makes a pretty good branding iron. The temperature drops below 95, you feel a bit chilly. You discover that in July, it takes only 2 fingers to drive your car. You discover that you can get a sunburn through your car window. You notice the best parking place is determined by shade instead of distance. Hot water now comes out of both taps. It's noon in July, kids are on summer vacation, and not one person is out on the streets. You actually burn your hand opening the car door. You break a sweat the instant you step outside at 7:30 a.m. before work. No one would dream of putting vinyl upholstery in a car or not having air conditioning. Your biggest bicycle wreck fear is, "What if I get knocked out and end up lying on the pavement and cook to death?" You realize that asphalt has a liquid state.

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