Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Carancho (2010)
Director: Pablo Trapero
Country: Argentina
Runtime: 107

In Argentina over 8,000 people die in traffic accidents every year. Behind each of these tragedies is a flourishing industry founded on insurance payouts and legal loopholes. Sosa is a lawyer who tours the A&E Departments of the public hospitals and the police stations in search of potential clients. Luján is a young doctor recently arrived from the provinces. Their love story kicks off one night when Luján and Sosa meet in the street. She's trying to save a man's life; he wants him on his client portfolio.

Ice Kacang Puppy Love

Ice Kacang Puppy Love(2010)
Director.: Chen Ching Hsiang (Ah Niu)
Runtime: 99 min
Country: Malaysia

The story is about a group of youngsters growing up in a small village in the early 80’s, the generation without handphones, Facebook and MSN...where 'guli' (glass balls), fish-fighting are the common games for entertainment...the ice kacang stall, the roti (bread) man and old shop lots; cloudy skies on a boring, hot afternoon…The story evolves around a group of teenagers of various characters from an old village growing up...with much care for each other...and also few of them secretly admiring each other...causing misunderstandings...all these leading to lighthearted hilarious moments and leaving unforgettable memories for everyone.

Then comes one 'stormy day', all of them goes their own separate ways…

Ice Kacang Puppy Love is profoundly an emotional tale of teenagers' puppy love, parental love, generation gap, life's truth and sometimes the 'make-believe' world we live in.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Paper Castles

Paper Castles(2009)
Director: Salvador García Ruiz
Country: Spain
Runtime: 93 min

Three aspiring artists forge a powerful but unusual bond while studying at the School of Fine Arts.
María José is a painter. She’s preparing her canvas for class as her classmate Jaime furtively sketches her portrait from afar. But while María José fails to notice her own likeliness being captured mere feet away, her talented classmate Marcos senses genuine artistry in Jaime’s drawing.
Later, Jaime shows María José his sketch, but surprises her by not offering to give it to her. Before long, the curious event begins to draw María José, Jaime, and Marcos into an unconventional, yet powerfully passionate, relationship as their education winds to a close, and the real world comes knocking. ~ Jason Buchanan, Allmovie


Hermano (2010)
Director: Marcel Rasquin
Country: Venezuela
Runtime: 97

In Caracas, one of the most dangerous cities in the world, Julio and his mother are walking through a gateway near La Planta prison in Caracas. Suddenly, he thinks he's heard a cat but when he runs closer, he notices an abandoned baby crying in the middle of a street dump. The mother hesitates to take the child with them, but eventually welcomes him to their family. 16 years later, Julio and his little brother Daniel have grown to become the best footballers of La Ceniza, their barrio (slum). While Daniel, nicknamed "El Gato" (the cat) is an innocent boy who dreams of playing in Caracas FC, one of the major teams in the Venezuelan Primera División along with his older brother Julio and studies regularly; the latter has become part of a gang, quickly establishing himself as a leader within his young partners. This is specially proven when he beats up his comrade after he bullies a minor drug dealer. Anyway, he never intends to push out the chief of the criminal organization. During a game against the team from La Vega -another slum- they both impress a scout from Caracas FC, who encourages them to participate in the tryouts of their youth team. Daniel is hugely motivated; Julio instead is gradually more involved with his barrio's underworld.

Dear Galileo

Dear Galileo (2009)
Director: Nithiwat Tharathorn
Country: Thailand
Runtime: 130

A story of two Thai girls nicknamed Cherry and Noon who plan to backpack to Europe for a year. They took off for reasons totally understandable for most teenagers, but unfathomable to adults.
“One is suspended from university while another one is heart broken.” Their plan was very simple: get a student visa to take an English course, but their true motivation is to save money, travel, and experience the world. The destinations were the ‘Big Three’ of Europe – London, Paris, and Rome. Before they took this trip, they swore: #1. No matter what happens, not to leave each other. #2. To never break rule #1 However, as we all know never say “never” when it comes to life being that you will “never” know what might happen.
How did the father of modern science like Galileo come to be identified with a Thai film?
One might think that Dear Galileo is a sci-fi or a comedy. Instead, it is a coming-of-age pic of two girls experience their lives in a new surrounding. After despairs with their Bangkok lives, Noon and Cherry escape the Asia city for a year and travel to the “Big Three of Europe” - London, Paris, and Venice. Noon is heartbroken; Cherry is suspended from university for forging a professor’s signature. Across the continents, they struggle the hardship as illegal workers and find the true meaning of their lives and friendship. They swear to each other that no matter what happens, they will not leave each other.
Is Dear Galileo then a film about friendship between the two girls? Partly. When the film was released in Bangkok, the studio's publicist tried to elaborate on the fun and difficulties in which the crew encountered during the shooting. Nice lines and plots also attracted some ex-actors to take a part in the film. Dear Galileo is liked by many young generations as a liberal film. It is something that they want to do and follow. It is a female version of modern Rebel Without A Cause.
Indeed, Dear Galileo occupies several smart plots and sharp lines in the eyes of contemporary young Thais, though they might not be new for western audiences. These include scenes in which a group of foreigners living in a public shelter in Paris without electricity and water, a girl fighting with her demanding customer to accept what she has served her, a girl securing a good job without completing her study, and a girl living in Italy while having cheated Italian people. They all look cool! All of these things have rarely been portrayed in contemporary Thai cinema.
Director Nithiwat keeps every mise-en-scène under his meticulous control and the umbrella of enjoyment. Music is good and realistic. The real song that overseas Thais often sing to get over their homesick, was used. Cinematography is nice and subtle. Acting is almost perfect. Some of the actors themselves have spent time abroad. For example, Rey MacDonal as the liberal Thai man in Paris is himself a host of a television tourism documentary. One of his programs featured a train trip from Bangkok to London. And the two lead actors - the heartbroken Noon and the smart but stubborn Cherry nicely show their opposite chemistry of the good and the bad. At the end, it is the movie with plenty of laughter and good feelings.
Perhaps as there are too many good lines and cool plots, the writers tried to include and mix everything in one film - and then make the film loss of focuses. Sometimes, it is about the hardship of Thai lives oversea. Some others are about the philosophy of lives. And then friendship. Homesick. Thai style of living, and etc. Dear Galileo becomes a film of massive feel-good. Many lines and philosophy can only be touched at the rim, but hard to be appreciated in depth.
However, if you want to see how Thai overseas live with fun, laugh and meaningful - this is the first movie that will best clarify it.

Protektor aka The Protector

Protektor aka The Protector(2009)
Director: Marek Najbrt
Country: Czech Republic
Runtime: 98

A Czech journalist joins a Prague radio station what broadcasts Nazi propaganda in order to protect his Jewish wife. However, as the Nazi rule over Czechoslovakia calls for more and more collaboration, his relationship with his wife spirals downward.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Contracorriente aka Undertow

Contracorriente aka Undertow(2009)
Director: Javier Fuentes-León
Country: Perú | Colombia
Runtime: 96

An unusual ghost story set on the Peruvian seaside; a married fisherman struggles to reconcile his devotion to his male lover within his town's rigid traditions.

Kynodontas aka Dogtooth

Kynodontas aka Dogtooth(2009)
Director: Giorgos Lanthimos
Country: Greece
Runtime: 94 minutes

Three teenagers are confined to an isolated country estate that could very well be on another planet. The trio spend their days listening to endless homemade tapes that teach them a whole new vocabulary. Any word that comes from beyond their family abode is instantly assigned a new meaning. Hence 'the sea' refers to a large armchair and 'zombies' are little yellow flowers. Having invented a brother whom they claim to have ostracized for his disobedience, the uber-controlling parents terrorize their offspring into submission. The father is the only family member who can leave the manicured lawns of their self-inflicted exile, earning their keep by managing a nearby factory, while the only outsider allowed on the premises is his colleague Christina, who is paid to relieve the son of his male urges. Tired of these dutiful acts of carnality, Christina enlists the elder daughter for some girl-on-girl action, carelessly disturbing the domestic balance. Soon enough, sex has spread throughout the household like fire. Next stop: rebellion.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Temptation of St. Tony

The Temptation of St. Tony(2009)
Director: Veiko Õunpuu
Country: Estonia
Runtime: 110 min

The most stupendous and bone chilling tragedy about the agony and decline of one middle-level manager.
Tony develops an aversion to gushing claims of his goodness and the issue starts to haunt him. Is he good? Why should one be good? Whom would it benefit? While Tony thinks and thinks, he is forced to fire one thousand employees under his command, to be a witness to his wife's betrayal, to bury his grandfather and finally to find 12 pairs of human hands from the underbrush.
As Tony hopes to find a new and simpler life in a strip club with the help of a Russian secretary named Nadezha who is earning extra money by working there, fate steps into his life in the form of the mysterious Herr Meister. He gives Tony a choice; Either a rebellion doomed to failure and eventual decline, or absolute submission and a life full of power and enjoyment. Although Tony is accustomed to a worry-free life, he chooses rebellion - much to his own surprise - and loses.
A man is truly a bottomless abyss.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Wenecja (Venice)

Wenecja (Venice) 2010
Director: Jan Jakub Kolski

Eleven-year-old Marek has an obsessive desire to go to with his
family to Venice, the city on water. He has learned all of its streets
and squares by heart. Will his dream come true? Well, it is 1939,
Hitler is getting set to invade Poland and his father has joined the
army. Instead, Marek and his mother go to Aunt Veronica’s villa in
Zaleszczykach on the San. He builds a replica of Venice (if he
can’t go to Venice then have it come to him) when the basement
Venice tells a story of a journey never taken. A story in which the
power of dreams makes it possible to turn a flooded cellar into the
most romantic city on Earth. As the WW2 rages on outside the
window, the “Venetian” cellar awakens great expectations and
At first, these are the dreams of children, full of pure belief in
making the things possible by a force of will and mind, but later
the further generations of a big family join the specific play that
changes into a ritual of an attempt of overcoming the hostile
world by the human spirit.
The special, old, family nest-house seems to be a final asylum and
brings a promise of safety. This feeling flows gradually over to the
next and next circles of the family’s friends, neighbors and – finally
– total strangers that one day come inside. How will it stand the
confrontation with the cruelty of war?

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Dir:Jan Jakub Kolski
Country: Poland
Runtime: 115 min

Director Jan Jakub Kolski explores the idea of science versus faith in this beautifully shot Film where a woman art restorator Natasha arrives at a Monastery to restore and preserve aging paintings, particularly the Virgin Mary painting. She has a cute daughter named Eugenia who insists on others not using a petname on her. The Film is told through the voice over of and many times from the point of view of this five year old.

Father Kleofas believes that the paintings will save themselves and says they should. Natasha says it is chemistry which should save the paintings. Slowly and steadily Father sees that Natasha's work is doing wonders to the painting, we all can see it, 'what is the point? the painting looks clearer now. But does it make our prayers any stronger?" he asks. A very interesting question. A painting saved by a miracle would have had stronger impact on the way of life, the father observes.

The monastery has 3 brothers living in closed rooms, only coming out in the nights mostly to do the gardening work, supposedly on their way to sainthood. The three are named Brother sweetberry, brother birdberry and brother Plum. Apparently, the three brothers exude smells of sweetberry, birdberry(smell of ducklings) and of fruit plum. The three are on their way to sainthood, the men smelling of fruits and birds is supposed to be a miracle of sorts. We all know that Church requires miracles before it could bestow sainthood on the priests. The three brothers are apparently in the reckoning for the sainthood and Father Kleofas is sure that one of the miracles would be the restoration of the paintings in the monastery by these monks. But are the brothers for real?

There is an interesting babe character Patricia, a hairdresser who says that the smell of brother Birdberry makes her feel sexy. Natasha being a chemist tries to compose chemically the very smell that Patricia senses from this monk. Director explores the idea of 'what are people looking for in their lives?' in implied and surrealistic methods. Could the perfumes and scents that Natasha is preparing induce feelings of love in people who experience these smells? The answer is in love, in the heart, he seems to say by the end of the Film...........by Hari Yelleti

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Rózyczka aka Little Rose

Rózyczka (2010) aka Little Rose
Director: Jan Kidawa-Blonski
Runtime: 113
Country: Poland

Little Rose takes an unflinching look at an explosive period in Polish post-war history. The year is 1967 and Israel has just dispatched Egypt and Syria - key Soviet allies - in the Six-Day-War. Cheers of approval erupt from Polish ittle Rose takes an unflinching look at an explosive period in Polish post-war history. Thedissidents. A vehement backlash follows. Thousands of "Zionists" are pushed to leave the country - they must ultimately depart on one-way passports, forced to renounce their citizenship once and for all. The old spectre of the Jewish bogeyman has reared its head once again, but this time, the Communists are pulling the propaganda strings.
In Little Rose, these heady events provide the backdrop for an intimate study of the dissidents' plight. Slithering though their midst is the poisonous figure of the informant. "Little Rose" is the pseudonym of Kamila, a young graduate who is cajoled into spying by her lover Roman, a security services functionary. The plot is loosely based (there are many crucial differences) on the story of Paweł Jasienica, a celebrated historian who was informed upon by his girlfriend (later wife) for many years. The case caused a furore when it was revealed in the 90s, sparking a bitter court battle about who should inherit the rights to the late author's books (Jasienica died oblivious to the betrayal).
From the off, director Jan Kidawa-Błonski has struck gold with his cast. Robert Więckiewicz is electrifying as the brutish, haunted Security Services stooge Roman, who is desperate to deliver the goods to his superiors. His target, the fictional historian Adam Warczewski, is played by seasoned veteran Andrzej Seweryn, who gives a glowing performance as a gentlemanly academic conspiring for a return to democracy. Between the two lies - in both senses - Magdalena Boczarska, as the comely yet somewhat naive young blonde who does the dirty work.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Dawson Isla 10

Dawson Isla 10(2009)
Dir:Miguel Littin

After the 1973 coup that deposed Allende and brought Pinochet to power in Chile, the former members of his cabinet are imprisoned on Dawson Island, the world's southernmost concentration camp. Veteran filmmaker Miguel Littin follows the ordeal of these men who are determined to survive and provide history with their testimony. Written by Palm Springs International Film Festival

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Taipei Exchanges

Taipei Exchanges(2010)Dir:Hsiao Ya-Chuan

This is a story about interchange. Doris and Josie are sisters with completely different characters. Doris was offended by her younger sister's disregarded deed of initiating an event of trading goods in their coffee shop. After a series of trading and the stories along them, the event eventually changed the sisters' values and intuitions and they started to look for their own stories...credited to http://movies.insing.com/movie/taipei-exchanges/id-b3010000

Friday, November 19, 2010

Leap Year

Leap Year(2010)
Dir;Michael Rowe

Runtime:94 min

Laura is a single, 25-year-old journalist who lives in a small apartment in Mexico City. After a long series of flings, Laura meets Arturo. The first time they make love, Arturo touches here in ways that overwhelm her. Thus begins an intense, passionate and sexual romance, which mixes pleasure, pain and love. In the course of days, which she carefully crosses out on her calendar, Laura’s secret past resurfaces, driving Arturo to extremes.

Monday, November 15, 2010

My Joy

My Joy(2010)
Dir:Sergei Loznitsa
Country: Germany | Ukraine

Runtime:127 min

The story about a few days in the life of truck driver Georgi seems to be a never-ending nightmare, a spiral of violence and abuses of power. A man goes to work and on his way he is sucked into the everyday madness of his country, losing his health and memory in the process and ends up as a murderer, who calmly lies down to sleep after committing the crime. A dark parable about the situation in deep Russia today.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Dir;Semih Kaplanoglu

The young boy Yusuf's best friend is his father, who supports his family's modest life with the honey he collects from tall trees in the forests of the remote Turkish countryside. Yusuf is a quiet boy, and his mother is concerned for his future. Perhaps he will follow in his father's footsteps, or perhaps school will offer him other opportunities. But the honey crop is failing, and Yusuf has trouble learning how to read. The greatest fear strikes when Yusuf's father doesn't return home from the forest.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Soul Deep

Soul Deep(2009)
Dir;Pantelis Voulgaris

The Greek civil war (1946-1949) is a taboo for Greek cinema, and Voulgaris in this film treats the subject attempting some form of reconciliation. His heart "beats on the left" (whence the title, "Soul Deep", which was a greeting amongst rebels during the civil war), but the film does not deal with the deeper reasons behind the events. He blames the Americans and the Soviets who fueled the conflict and then abandoned the Greeks to a political chaos and a tragic civil war ("this is not a war, this is a disgrace", says Thanassis Vegos who comes to seek the body of his dead grandchild, so that he can bury him) that led people form the same village killing each other and former friends, even brothers (like Anestis and Vlassis who fight on different camps), becoming enemies.

Pantelis Voulgaris surprises us by filming with great lyricism, stunning cinematography, and at the same time a with a decent sense of rythm (and that's surprising) in the action scenes. Sometimes, though, things get too melodramatic and this may bother some (it did bother me).

What really amazes, though, is the incredible soundtrack by Giorgos Aggelakas. Modern, yet blending perfectly with the subject matter and the cinematography. If for no other reason (and there are plenty of other reasons), it's worth to see the movie for its soundtrack alone.

Sunday, November 07, 2010



Dir:Rossana Foglia, Rubens Rewald

Arthur is a coroner obsessed with human bodies, dead or alive. Even while working in a
public mortuary full of corruption and decadence, he goes beyond the bureaucratic
diagnoses and makes a thorough reading of the bodies. The routine of his work is broken
by the arrival of bones found in a common grave. The body of a young woman causes a
clash in the department: his supervisor, Dr Lara, maintains that the body is new, without
any relation with the bones, taken as victims of the military regime. Arthur, after
examining the body, insists that it has been around more than 30 years, and belongs to the
group of bones and that, for some strange reason, remained preserved. A deadline is
imposed: if the body is not identified within 24 hours, it will be buried as unclaimed.
Arthur decides to investigate on his own the identity of that body. In police files, there is
a case of a guerrilla extremely similar to the situation: Teresa Prado Nothe. Teresa's
daughter Fernanda is traced, but to the surprise of the coroner, she says her mother is
alive and proposes that Arthur meet her. Arthur accepts the invitation.

How I Ended This Summer

How I Ended This Summer(2010)
Director: Aleksei Popogrebsky

In this low-key suspense drama from Russia, Sergei (Sergei Puskepalis) and Pavel (Grigory Dobrygin) are two meteorologists working at a weather station in the frozen wastes of the Arctic. Sergei was been stationed there for several years; he's sullen, homesick and eager to return to his wife and family. Pavel is younger and enjoying his first adventure after leaving school, and prefers video games and music to Sergei's pastimes. One day, Sergei announces that he's heading out for a few days to go fishing, and Pavel is in charge of the station. While Sergei is away, Pavel gets a radio message with shocking news -- Sergei's wife and son have lost their lives in an accident, and a ship will be coming by to pick him up as soon as possible. However, given their remote location, it will take weeks for the ship to arrive, and when Sergei returns, Pavel lacks the courage to break the bad news to him. As Pavel struggles with the weight of this secret, Sergei becomes increasingly frustrated with the confines of life at the station; when he runs off again, Pavel is given strict orders to find him, and as he sets out to find his comrade, he wanders into territory that's home to polar bears who don't appreciate the presence of humans. Kak Ya Provel Etim Letom (aka How I Ended The Summer) was an official selection at the 2010 Berlin International Film Festival.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

La nostra vita (Our Life)

La nostra vita (Our Life) 2010
Directed by :
98.00 minutes

One of this year’s smaller Cannes competition titles, Our Life certainly has merits: it’s a gritty, closely observed slice of Roman proletarian life. And it’s marked by a raw (though at times rather too full-on) performance by Elio Germano in the lead role as a construction worker with two kids, who after the sudden death of his wife tries to provide for his family by setting himself up as a shady building contractor.

In ambience and theme, it comes on a lot like an Italian Ken Loach movie. Loach, though, is good at stories; whereas Luchetti and his co-scriptwriters are so enamoured of their characters that they forget to build a satisfying dramatic home for them.

Our Life‘s focus on the family, and redemption through families real and alternative, will reach out to Italian audiences, but this is a less commercial prospect than Luchetti’s last, My Brother is an Only Child. That had a sixties retro setting and an epic Best-Of-Youth-style timeline.

This is a punishingly neo-neo-realist tale shot on a distractingly shaky handheld camera, leavened only with a few audience baits: heartthrob Raul Bova in a minor role, some cute kids, the music of Italian stadium rocker Vasco Rossi and an upbeat ending. All will work better at home than abroad, where Our Life looks unlikely to reach even the handful of territories that picked up My Brother… for theatrical distribution.

Initially, the film’s rambling tone and jagged scene structure come across as confident rather than dispersive. Claudio (Germano) is one of those risky heroes who is never entirely likeable: street smart but also street crass, he’s brimful of arrogance as a building site foreman, but is saved by a real affection for his young wife Elena (Ragonese) – who he turns on by whispering the names of IKEA furniture – and for his two young sons.

Elena is pregnant again, but she dies in childbirth, and Claudio is knocked sideways. He’s already had a shock when he finds the body of a Romanian illegal immigrant worker on the building site. There’s a kind of moral payback in Elena’s death after his failure to report this other death, and in the way the dead man’s wife Gabriela (Berzanteanu) and teenage son Andrei (Ignat) enter his life.

But at this point the film starts to dither and the dramatic lines begin to blur. Using the cover-up of the Romanian worker’s death as a blackmail chip, Claudio convinces construction king Porcari (Colangeli) to give him the contract on a new residential block in Rome’s northern suburbs, which needs to be finished in record time.

He raises the money from a bad bunch of loan sharks thanks to his wheelchair-bound drug-dealing neighbour Ari (Zingaretti), and sinks part of it into flashy toys for his kids – the neon message being that Claudio is using consumerism to assuage his grief and guilt. Things, of course, spiral before they get any better.

Keen to show the positive side of life in Italy’s new outer suburbs – the solidarity, the love, the animal energies – Luchetti lets observation carry him too far into explorations of minor characters, like Claudio’s siblings Piero (Bova) and Loredana (Montorsi), who in the end add little. Our Life has its heart in the right place. But it feels like an episode of a tough, cutting-edge TV drama with a film struggling to find a voice inside it.