Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Death of Mr Lazarescu

The Death of Mr Lazarescu(2005)

Dir:Cristi Puiu
23 wins & 6 nominations See more »

Mr. Lazarescu, a 63 year old lonely man feels sick and calls the ambulance.When it arrives the doctor decides he should take him to the hospital but once there they decide to send him to another hospital and then yet another... As the night unfolds and they can't find a hospital for Mr. Lazarescu, his health starts to deteriorate fast.
The film received more than 20 awards, among wich:

* 2005 Cannes Film Festival - Un Certain Regard Award
* 2005 Chicago International Film Festival - Silver Hugo Special Jury Prize
* 2005 Reykjavik International Film Festival - Discovery of the Year Award
* 2005 Copenhagen International Film Festival - Grand Prix du Jury

It also received nominations for Best Director and Best Screenwriter at the 2005 European Film Awards, and for Best Foreign Film at the 2006 Independent Spirit Awards.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

സെര്ടിഫൈയിഡ് കോപ്പി

Certified Copy(2010)
Dir:Abbas Kiarostami

In Tuscany to promote his latest book, a middle-aged English writer meets a French woman who leads him to the village of Lucignano.

Euro intellectual recession-time story? I recommend Copie Conforme because of and in spite of the difficulty in watching it. The difficulty resides in the multiple layers involved in the relationship of the two protagonists, not to speak of the three languages that they both speak in various circumstances. The more the the action evolves, the less we seem to understand the real nature of their relationship. What we do know is that those two have a problem of communication. It is this struggle of seduction/rejection, with setbacks and all that make it worth watching. Atmosphere and the man-woman tension is what keeps it going. The filming is impeccable, with lovely scenes of Tuscany, excellent camera, and the great work on surrounding noises, which I believe replaces any music at all. The acting is also very fine, with Binoche deservedly getting a major Cannes Film Festival award.

If you have seen Under The Olive Tree, Kiarostami's master piece from 1994, you might find Certified Copy to be the continuation 25 years later on a different continent. Here he left Iran for Western Europe because Binoche could not have done this in Iran. A twisted, touching, thoughtful relationship story that plays with what is a copy and what is an original, what is reality and what is imagination. Beautifully filmed and Binoche is at her best. The many languages spoken between the protagonists - none from Iran - just confirmed for me the many levels of a relationship, the confusion and misunderstandings you are confronted with, no matter where you are. Definitely worth seeing and talking about with intelligent friends.


Dir:Tengia Abuladze

The day after the fumeral of Varlam Aravidze, the mayor of a small Georgian town, his corpse turns up in his son's garden and is secretly reburied. But the corpse keeps returning, and the police eventually capture a local woman accusing her of digging it up. She says that Varlam should never be laid to rest, as when he was alive he was responsible for a Stalin-like reign of terror that led to the disappearance of many of her friends...

Monday, September 20, 2010


Dir:Tata Amaral

Determined to escape their poverty-stricken lives, four talented young women living on the outskirts of Sao Paulo, Brazil, form an all-female rap group but find their road to success is riddled with sexism, racism, and violence. One by one, they succumb to their grim realities...until they discover that out of struggle come strength, and out of strength, the courage to continue on. Written by Echo Bridge Home Entertainment (IMDB).

Friday, September 17, 2010

ലിസ്റ്റ ഡി എസ്പെര

Lista de Espera aka The Waiting List(2000)
Dir:Juan Carlos Tabío
3 wins & 3 nominations See more »

Saturday's discovery was a little gem of a film, a bright and breezy romance from Cuba called The Waiting List. Directed by Juan Carlos Tabio, based on a story by Arturo Arango, The Waiting List takes place at a bus station in the middle of Cuba and is filled with characters waiting to go somewhere else. It is a true ensemble character-driven film pulled off with a solid script and firmly keeled direction.

Many of the actors were seen before in Tabio's Strawberries and Chocolate but the characters who congregate at the bus station are unique. In the center are the young lovers played by Vladimir Cruz (an Antonio Bandaras look-alike, but more vulnerable) and Thaimi Alvarino, and they are surrounded by the blind man who isn't, the mother who hedges her bets on everything down to naming her son Vladimir Jesus, the gruff station manager and the ticket seller who sees nothing ironic in 16 people getting off and only one seat now being available, or the comment that follows every announcement of each delay: "Thank you for choosing us for your transportation needs." Needless to say there is no transportation, at least not at this bus station, and as it changes from a run-down stop over to a Rousseau-inspired feast for the eyes through imagination and team work, the best and worst is brought out in each of the characters.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

ഡെസ്ര്ട്ട് ഫ്ലവര്‍

Desret Flower(2009)
Dir:Sherry Horman
Country:UK | Germany | Austria
1 win & 1 nomination See more »
Based on the world best-selling book DESERT FLOWER by Waris Dirie - the autobiography of a Somalian nomad circumcised at 5, sold in marriage at 13, who became an American supermodel and is now at the age of 38, the UN spokeswoman against circumcision.

Born in Somalia in 1965, Dirie fled on foot across the desert to escape an arranged marriage at the age of 13. Migrating to London, she did odd-jobs for years before being talent-spotted by fashion photographer Terence Donovan while working in McDonalds. She became an international celebrity by the late 80s and early 90s, but she gave up modelling at the height of her fame after spontaneously revealing to an American journalist that she had been circumcised as a child in Somalia. She soon became one of the most prominent spokespeople against female circumcision, or female genital mutilation and a UN special ambassador to campaign against the practice.

Desert Flower is more of a rags-to-riches story than a political tract, placing emphasis on character over politics. The scene detailing the young Waris’s circumcision is explored with tact and subtlety. Although brief, it is the film’s most emotionally affecting scene. As a story of friendship and opportunity, and even fashion, Desert Flower is warm and full of heart.

ടു ദി സീ

To the Sea aka Alamer(2009)
Dir:Pedro González-Rubio
5 wins See more »

A young boy and his father learn about living in harmony with nature in this languid drama from filmmaker Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio. A man from Mexico (Jorge Machado) travels to Italy and falls in love with a beautiful local woman (Roberta Palombini). Their feelings for one another are strong, but they prove to be short lived, and when they decide to beak up after the birth of their son Natan, he returns to Mexico while she stays in Italy and takes primary custody of the child. However, the father strives to remain a presence in his son's life, and the boy visits his father at least once a year. As the five-year-old Natan travels to Mexico, his father has joined the family' fishing operation near the coral reefs of Banco Chinchorro. Living in an elevated cottage near the shore, Natan and his family devote their summer to an idyllic existence, spending their days catching the plentiful fish and observing the wildlife, and their nights sitting by the fire and admiring the stars. To the father, this simple life teaches an important lesson of existing in peace with the natural world, and Natan comes to see himself as being as much a part of this environment as the fish, the waterfowl and the seaweed. Alamar (aka To The Sea) was the first solo directorial credit for cinematographer Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio.


Dir:Yilmaz Arslan
4 wins & 1 nomination See more »

Amidst hopeless squalor, four young exiles - two Kurds, two Turks - meet in Germany, unleashing a nightmarish cycle of violence they believed they had left behind. Boasting astonishing performances, this explosive tale of conflict and revenge from award-winning director Yilmaz Arslan presents an unflinching look at refugees struggling to survive despite the cruel and brutal indifference of a society that wants no part of them.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

ദി അണ്‍നോണ്‍ സോള്‍ജീര്സ് പേറ്റന്റ്‌ ലെതെര്‍ ഷുസ്‌

The Unknown Soldier's Patent Leather Shoes (1979)
Rangel Vulchano

A middle-aged Bulgarian is watching the change of the guard in front of the Buckingham Palace. For no apparent reason, while looking, in his mind he gets back to his childhood in the little Bulgarian village, he grew up in. Different rites, different traditions and still he finds something in common. He recalls the people he knew, he feared or admired. He ponders over that life of no brilliance, where people plough, harvest, marry and die, celebrate or grieve. Miracle are also worked, conceived in a unlimited child's imagination. It is the child's perception of the world that helps us to give a meaning to the major questions of human existence.

Thursday, September 09, 2010


Las aka Forest(2009)
Dir:Piotr Dumala
1 win See more »

The Forest” is a black and white experimental film. The action of the film takes place in two periods of time. An old man leads his son through a forest, and is simultaneously under his care confined to bed with a deadly illness.

The film attempts to portray the boundary zone between life and death. It examines the difficult relationship of understanding between father and son. They are to be combined with equal rights in animated and acted scenes. The formal essence of the idea is the seamless mounting penetrating these two worlds so that the changeability is virtually unnoticed by the audience, but accepted incidentally as the uniform language of the tale. The contemporary and forest themes do not signify a separation of the live and animated action. They fulfil themselves in the literary sense and create an impression of parallel coexisting worlds, where the same persons may experience different fates.

The essence of both stories is the relationship between the very old man and the man in middle age. This co-dependency, in which the questions of domination, cooperation, love, sacrifice and death appear. The history of the man in the forest is connected with the biblical theme of Abraham and Isaac. The story of the ill father and his son is harsh and to the contrary natural. Both themes run in parallel, but as if in opposite directions. Certain dramatic points seem related and mutually penetrating, reaching culmination in the scene of murder in the forest and in the scene of the opening eye of the dying father.

The co-dependence of four male figures in two male persons is to lead to touching the secrets of death. The title Forest, inspired in an unusual dream, is a metaphor for the collective fates of all people.

The method of filming approaches that of a documentary. It happens as an unseen entrance to the world of myth and pure creation. Black and white images and minimal dialogue have the effect that image and synchronising effects constitute the principle language of the story. This also is linked to the masters of the era of silent films, such as Dreyer and Murnau.

There were few films in the competition that I wanted to like more than the live-action feature debut of Piotr Dumała, one of the most distinctive animation talents to have emerged in Poland in the last three decades, which is saying something (Łagodna, his crepuscular adaptation of Dostoyevsky’s ‘A Gentle Spirit’, is arguably superior to Une Femme douce, Robert Bresson’s better-known 1969 version). Certainly, if the Era New Horizons festival had a cinematography prize, Adam Sikora would have won it hands down. Almost any random frame of The Forest could be enlarged and displayed as a fine-art photographic masterpiece: the forest exteriors are imbued with the same mysterious potency as a Tarkovsky dream sequence, while the spartan interiors show the same meticulous attention to composition, lighting and set decoration, a chamber pot is lit with the same loving care as the human face. But unsympathetic performances from both leads (Stanisław Brudny as the elderly, bed-ridden father, Mariusz Bonaszewski as his son, whose fractious relationship drives the film) ended up precluding what I assume was the intended emotional involvement - although dialogue is kept to an absolute minimum, it might have been more effective with none at all. But Dumała remains a major talent (an animated prologue supplies a handy reminder of where his reputation springs from), and I’ll be first in the queue to see whatever he comes up with next.

ഐ ഡോണ്‍ ജിയോവാനി

I Don Giovanni(2009)
Die:Carlos Saura

It tells the secrets of the creation of the famous Mozart opera "Don Giovanni." With a cast of mostly unknown young actors, the film focuses on the character of Lorenzo Da Ponte, the author of the libretto and the inspiring force of the work of the Austrian genius. An Italian-Austrian co-Spanish, spoken in Italian and German, which was very well received at its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival 2009.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

റോസാ ലക്സംബര്‍ഗ്

Rosa luxemberg(1986)
Dir;Margarethe von Trotta
4 wins & 1 nomination See more »

Wronke Prison, 1916. Social democrat Rosa Luxemburg faces a mock execution. Twenty years earlier, Rosa's political gifts are acknowledged by everyone, as she struggles for democratic government in Germany and revolution in Poland. There she works closely with Leo Jogiches. Their political activity creates some difficulty for their personal relationship... As international tensions rise, Rosa makes speeches denouncing war and militarism. She seems too radical for her fellow Socialists. She meets Karl Liebknecht. When World War I begins, Rosa and Karl are united in opposition...

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

എ സ്റ്റെപ് ഇന്‍ ടു ഡാര്‍ക്ക്‌ നെസ് (2009)

A Step into Darkness(2009)
Dir:Atil Inac

A young northern Iraqi girl is the sole survivor of a mistaken military raid on her village, only to be captured by militant Islamists, who plan to use her as an expendable instrument of terror with devastating consequences. After most of her family dies in a disastrous raid by American soldiers, the young and naïve Cennet (Suzan Genç) sets out to find her older brother, Azim (Özgür Kartal), in this harrowing tale set in war-torn Iraq following the U.S. invasion. After learning that Azim has been badly injured and taken to Turkey, Cennet joins up with a pair of smugglers to try to cross the border, but her quest proves dangerous and anything but simple.

Friday, September 03, 2010

പിങ്ക് ഡ്രീംസ്‌

Pink Dreams(1976)
Dir:Dušan Hanák
An amiable picture about entering adulthood, great dreams, and the first - forbidden - love of a white postman, Jakub, and a pretty Gypsy girl, Jolanka. This is a poetic story, a mosaic of the playful world springing from the wild imagination of the village postman and its clash with the pragmatic mundane reality that finally beats the rosy dream's of the young protagonists. Director Dusan Hanak and screenwriter Dusan Dusek's most popular film has been cherished by critics as well as wide audiences at home arid abroad.

ഇഫ്‌ ഐ വാണ്ട്‌ ടു വിസില്‍ ,ഐ വിസില്‍

If I Want to Whistle,I whistle(2010)
Dir:Florin Serban
2 wins & 1 nomination See more »

The story of an 18-year-old juvenile delinquent (Pistereanu) who is about to be released from reform school but seems intent on sabotaging his chances of freedom, has rough edges and some evident shortcomings, but also a far more authentic ring than many similar, more sophisticated films made by experienced directors. A worthy addition to the new wave of Romanian cinema.

The cast is comprised exclusively of non-professionals, many of them inmates of juvenile penitentiaries. They deliver fearlessly unpolished, lifelike performances, completely spontaneous and natural in every respect. This is true for all the supporting roles, but is particularly impressive in the leads. Pistereanu moves beyond the stubborn rebelliousness of his character to intuitively and successfully capture not only the vulnerability but also the despondency of an 18-year-old who has not yet learned the meaning of the word “consequences”. His two painful, vengeful confrontations with Voda, excellent in the role of his mother, are the film’s high points.