Sunday, October 02, 2011

The Hole

The idea of escape is perhaps the biggest plot point of a prison film, a sub-genre of action movies, which over the years has developed itself into a self-contained genre. It is also the biggest metaphor that holds the film together. You invest your time in a character, who is behind the bar, because you know, at the end he is going to earn his freedom, not by luck alone, but perseverance and grit, like the Tim Robbins character did in ‘Shawshank Redemption’ (1994).

It was one of the first prison films I had seen, and it is one of the best examples of the genre. The person who directed this film, also did another prison film, again based on a Stephen King novel, starring Tom Hanks, ‘The Green Mile’, which was more spiritual than visceral.

Then there are a host of prison films, from the talky, ‘Kiss of the Spider Woman’ (1985) to action-packed The Great Escape (1963) , to Robert Bresson’s A Man Escaped (1956), to Nagesh Kukunoor’s under-rated ‘3 Deewarein’ (2003) to Madhur Bhandarkar’s ‘Jail’ (2009)...

From Wikipedia: The Hole (French: Le Trou) is a 1960 French film directed by Jacques Becker. It is an adaptation of José Giovanni's 1957 book of the same name. It was called The Night Watch when first released in the United States, but is released under its French title today. The film tells the true story of five prison inmates in La Santé Prison in France in 1947, where the men dig, tunnel, and saw in an attempt to escape.

Director Becker, who died just weeks after shooting on the film had wrapped, used mostly non-actors for the main roles in the film, including one man (Jean Keraudy) who was actually involved in the 1947 escape attempt, and who introduces the film. It was entered into the 1960 Cannes Film Festival.

I have so far seen three film titled The Hole. The first one is 2001 British thriller starring Thora Birch of ‘American Beauty’ and Keira Knightley in one of her early significant roles, where she also shows her boobs for a fraction. The story involves an adolescent girls need to be loved, and how far she would go to extract her revenge. Very creepy, as a group of friends slowly die.

The next one is Taiwanese director Tsai Ming-liang’s 1998 drama musical, about a strange diseases and two inhabitants of an apartment building separated by the roof. Wikipedia tells me: A strange disease hits Taiwan just before the turn of the new millennium. Despite evacuation orders, tenants of a rundown apartment building stay put, including shop owner Hsiao-Kang (Kang-sheng Lee). One day, a plumber arrives at Hsiao-Kang's apartment to check the pipes. He drills a small hole into the floor, which comes down through the ceiling of the woman downstairs (Kuei-Mei Yang). The hole never gets repaired, and this leads to some tension between the two residents.

Wikipedia tells me there are several other films titled ‘The Hole:’
The Hole (1957 film), a Japanese drama directed by Kon Ichikawa
The Hole (1960 film), a French film directed by Jacques Becker
The Hole (1962 film), an animated short film directed by John Hubley
The Hole (1997 film), a South Korean thriller directed by Kim Sung-hong
The Hole (1998 film), a Taiwanese musical directed by Tsai Ming-Liang
The Hole (2001 film), a British thriller directed by Nick Hamm
The Hole (2009 film), a 3D film directed by Joe Dante

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