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An alternative to “Thor”

I’ve noticed a number of people saying they’re going to see “Thor” this weekend – but not with much enthusiasm. Therefore, might I suggest the following movie: Sauna. From Netflix (it’s also on iTunes and Amazon), here’s a quick synopsis:

“While mapping the new border with Russia in 1595, Finnish soldier brothers Erik (Ville Virtanen) and Knut (Tommi Eronen) stumble upon a spooky, almost-childless undocumented town. There, they find a mysterious sauna that forces all who enter it to face their past sins. Finnish director Antti-Jussi Annila’s masterfully atmospheric horror film screened at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival.”

A more in-depth, non-spoiler-ish review is here. My take on it? One of the best horror movies I’ve ever seen. Sheer beauty in every frame – the landscape, the grime, the filth, the blood, and a pitiless northern sun beating down on a single block of stone (or concrete, perhaps?) that contains all the terrible truths of your ugly soul that any human might ever want to embrace. The ending is sorrowful and raw. No one learns anything. There are no answers, only mystery washing through the land like morning fog. It’s just a beautiful film. Not for people who don’t like subtitles, who can’t pay attention, who’d rather fuss with popcorn or play with their smartphone during movies. Get a giant bottle of hard booze, sit down in a dark room, and don’t get up until the credits roll. Or, just keep sitting in the dark.

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Originally published at Livia Llewellyn.

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Marine Autumn

I owe you marine autumn
With dankness at its roots
and fog like a grape
and the graceful sun of the country;
and the silent space
in which sorrows lose themselves
and only the bright crown
of joy comes to the surface.

--Pablo Neruda.


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