"Border Radio" and "Fires on the Plain"

So what did I do on my 40th birthday? Laid around and watched movies!

So the first movie, “Border Radio”. What an odd film. Done on the cheap in the eighties by a trio of UCLA Film School students using b&w film and a number LA punk luminaries. This little gem tells the tale of one man’s existential crisis and its effect on those people around him. The movie took 4 years to complete and in the end cost in 80,000 dollar range to make. It is DIY before that was a cable channel. Anyroad the length of production time shows in all kinds of continuity errors, editing mistakes and most importantly, these guys had time to wait for the right light. There are some truly beautiful shots to be seen in this movie. Another casualty of the production length was the story, it just kept changing and reality this isn’t bad thing because the movie gets progressively lighter and funnier, so no harm done really. So is it classic, sure for its spirit and simply being a brave effort

“Fires on the Plain”, what to say? Appalling, terrifying, um let’s see what else,a meditational portrait of what happens to men in war? I don’t know really but it just does an exellent job showing the effects of war on soldiers, especially ones who are losing, starving and going out of their minds. This movie created by the man who brought us Burmese Harp is not for the faint hearted. It is set at the end of WWII in the Philippines and some Japanese soldiers are losing the war and their humanity. It is odd because it feels like a documentary. There really isn’t a series of physical events just a slow slide into madness and murder. The movie however isn’t hard to watch in that it is not a gore-fest. The actors are excellent and play the roles well. There even some darkly humorous moments. So do I recommend it, yes but, it is creepy and affective. If you want your war movies heroic and apple pie warm, this isn’t for you.


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