Monday, October 22, 2012

Thursday Til Sunday (2012)

Thursday Til Sunday (2012)
Director: Dominga Sotomayor Castillo
Country: Chile

 Scenes from a marriage, viewed from the back seat of the spacious Mazda 929 that a Chilean family uses to go on holiday for a couple of days. Sensitive, personal debut by Sotomayor, beautifully shot by camerawoman Bárbara Álvarez (25 Watts, The Headless Woman).

This Chilean road movie is set entirely in and around the car belonging to a middle-class family on a four-day trip to the north of Chile. It will be their last journey as a family. We occasionally catch a glimpse of marital problems, but the crisis is largely implicit. For instance, we often only see the backs of the silent parents' heads, seen from the perspective of the children in the back seat, who only have a partial idea of what is going on.
The journey that starts so cheerfully with all kinds of games in the car quickly acquires melancholy undertones: the children only want to go to the beach, while the father is heading for a new life in another apartment and the mother primarily yearns for a place which no longer exists, where everything remains the same as it was.
Dominga Sotomayor previously made the short film Videogame, which screened at IFFR in 2010. That film also focused on a divorce, seen from the perspective of the child: a boy loses himself in the fictional world of a video game while his parents divide the household effects.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

On the Road (2012)

On the Road (2012)
Director:Walter Salles
Country: France
Runtime: 124 min

 Young writer Sal Paradise has his life shaken by the arrival of free-spirited Dean Moriarty and his girl, Marylou. As they travel across the country, they encounter a mix of people who each impact their journey indelibly.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Flower Buds (2011)

Flower Buds (2011)
Director: Zdenek Jirasky
Country: Czech Republic
Duration : 1h 30mn

Flower Buds tells the story of the gradual breakdown of a family living in a small town. Each character lives according to his or her own ideals. Agata wants a happy life far from home, fully aware that her only hope is to escape and therefore betray those close to her. Honza believes in the purity and power of love, regardless of the circumstances under which it is born. Kamila looks confidently to the future and does not intend to accept the misery of the present. The only Jarda knows that he will not change the world or himself. Aware of his weakness, he does not even try. In his mind, of course, his addiction to slot machines, which has led to a nearly impossible situation, is as certain as most gamblers' belief of an imminent win. The real and convincing attempt to rescue his family comes when it is too late. It is just a futile gesture, a desperate last ditch effort.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Kauwboy (2012)

Kauwboy (2012)
Director: Boudewijn Koole
Country: Netherlands
Runtime: 81 min

10-year-old Jojo lives alone with his father, a night watchman. His mother is said to be a country singer touring the US but because his dad won’t tell him anything more, Jojo’s left on his own to worry. When a young jackdaw falls out of his nest one day, Jojo takes him in. He forgets his troubles for a while, caring for the bird and making a new friend too. Life seems to be getting better, though his worries about his mother don’t completely go away. A beautiful film telling a truly touching story about growing up in a tough situation.

The Angels' Share (2012)

The Angels' Share (2012)
Director: Ken Loach
Country: UK | France
Runtime: 101 min

This bitter sweet comedy follows protagonist Robbie as he sneaks into the maternity hospital to visit his young girlfriend Leonie and hold his newborn son Luke for the first time. Overwhelmed by the moment, he swears that Luke will not have the same tragic life he has had. Escaping a prison sentence by the skin of his teeth, he’s given one last chance…

While serving a community service order, he meets Rhino, Albert and Mo who, like him, find it impossible to find work because of their criminal records. Little did Robbie imagine how turning to drink might change their lives – not cheap fortified wine, but the best malt whiskies in the world. Will it be ‘slopping out’ for the next twenty years, or a new future with ‘Uisge Beatha’ the ‘Water of Life?’ Only the angels know

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Artificial Paradises (2011)

Artificial Paradises (2011)
Director:Yulene olaizola
Country: Mexico
Duration : 1h 22mn 

 Luisa is 25 years old and fighting a heroin addiction. Having escaped the city she finds herself seeking repose in a fading beach resort that rests on the lush seaside hills of Veracruz, Mexico. Inhabitants and conversations are sparse, but Luisa finds a quiet companionship with 50-year-old local Salomon, an alcoholic widower who spends his days smoking marijuana.

The film’s breathtaking landscape, captured by talented cinematographer Luisa Tillinger, is a slice of serenity, even though the village’s permanent residents grapple with the reality of paradise’s temporal promises. It is an interesting and apt backdrop for this less-than-ordinary love story between two people battling dependency. Director Yulene Olaizola, a rising Mexican directing talent who first gained attention with her award-winning documentary Shakespeare and Victor Hugo’s Intimacies, collaborates with co-screenwriter Fernando del Razo and actress Luisa Pardo to create a rich and sincere narrative debut that subverts the typical addiction tale and highlights the subtle yet powerful performances by Pardo and Salomón Hernández. Tribeca Film Festival

The Monsters (2011)

The Monsters (2011)
Directed by PedroDiogenes,Guto Parente,Luiz Pretti,Ricardo Pretti
Country: Brazil
Runtime: 81 min

 The combination of free jazz with the quest for artistic freedom is the off-handed focus of rambling and scruffy "The Monsters," the second feature by Brazilian filmmaking quartet Guto Parente, Luiz Pretti, Pedro Diogenes and Ricardo Pretti, Luiz's twin brother. The same, ultra-loose sensibility in the group's previous "Road to Ythaca" underlies this oddly titled pic, in which a couple of jazz musicians and their sound recordist pals -- all hardly monstrous -- ultimately get together for a remarkable jam session and possible artistic breakthrough. Music and Latin-accented fests are likely destinations beyond ultra-art confabs.
In line with their usual practice, the four play the leads, though unlike their road movie "Ythaca," each have more individual moments during the course of a film that seems for long stretches to have no detectable structure. This is partly due to the film's total immersion in free jazz, which starts immediately, when Joao (Luiz Pretti) does a three-minute solo on his sax-like, handmade horn. His wife's (Natasha Faria) silent response is to kick him out of their house -- and after a drunken night, he crashes at the flat of Joaquim (Diogenes) and Pedro (Parente), who hate their jobs as part of the sound crew on a dumb commercial movie.

Joao's hopes for emotional relief with a gig at a small club owned by tubby impresario Antonio (Ythallo Rodrigues) proves a bust when his radical and atonal improvisations drive away the customers. The guys get some consolation with a long night of partying, but the real turnaround comes with the unlikely arrival (on a raft!) of guitarist Eugenio (Ricardo Pretti).

The 13-minute finale is extraordinary, as Joao and Eugenio launch into an extended jam recorded by Joaquim and Pedro, and marks one of the rare examples in recent cinema of uncompromising jazz played onscreen. It's certainly a first for filmmakers to perform such difficult music so audaciously. The influences of horn men Sam Rivers, Eric Dolphy and Anthony Braxton and guitarist Derek Bailey can be powerfully heard, and rep an entirely different kind of jazz sound than Brazil's sturdy, familiar decades-old Bossa Nova style.

Vid lensing (by team Ivo Lopes Araujo and Victor De Melo), and the overall production package, is as unrefined as the slacker lifestyles inside the film. Multiple oncamera music perfs rack up 23 minutes of the pic's 81-minute running time.

Friday, October 05, 2012

The Conductor (2012)

The Conductor (2012)
Director: Pavel Lungin
Country: Russia
Runtime:86 min
The conductor and his orchestra is sent to Jerusalem to perform the oratorio "St. Matthew Passion." But the tour turns into a tragedy. Black sun of Jerusalem rips the masks, forcing to see himself naked in selfishness and cruelty. Sometimes a person can fully reassess and rethink his life.

Venus in the Garden (2011)

Venus in the Garden (2011)
Director: Telémachos Alexiou
Country: Greece
Runtime:63 min

Mid-summer heatwave. Nikos and Alain, two male prostitutes and a female pimp, Monica, get tangled in a peculiar relationship after meeting in a dark street called POUTANA. They fall in love, play with guns and talk about card games, money and theatre castings. Is this a game of role playing the three of them have invented to pass their time in a remote, empty summer house? Have they been reading Jean Genet? Whether a mirror image of the characters’ reality or an elliptic depiction of their distorted, dream-like perception of it, I Afroditi Stin Avli, by juxtaposing disparate literary and art references, leads its isolated characters towards dissolution. And yet, in its strange language, it presents this dissolution as a triumph.

Maleficarum (2011)

Maleficarum (2011)
Director: Jac Avila
Country: Bolivia
Runtime: 102 min

 Maleficarum (2011) directed by Jac Avila is a good screen play by an independent Bolivian film company. It is good historical fiction loosely based on María Francisca Ana de Castro, a Spanish immigrant to Alta Peru, who was renowned for her beauty and wealth. She was arrested and accused of “judaizing”. After many days of torture she confessed and was burned at the stake in 1726. This event was a major spectacle in Lima, but it raised questions about possible irregular procedures and about the corruption within the Inquisition, this lead to the end of The Holy Office (The Inquisition) in Peru. The director and actors do an admirable recreating the actual realistic suffering in great detail of what the victims of the Spanish Inquisition had to endure. The best was the director’s use of the actors’ facial and body language, it was very cerebral and visual at the same time. This viewer marveled at the simplicity of that movie and how it got its complex message across, the script and the story plot was very well thought out. The dialogue of the accusers and witnesses did well in showing the bias and superstitions of that time.
A wealthy orphan (an adult, but whose parents have died and is as yet, unmarried - so, in that period, unprotected) befriends another woman who has lost her husband and is now a homeless widow. Their relationship has lesbian elements - which of course are "beyond the pale" in the era; additionally, the friend is "horror of horrors" - a Lutheran - in other words - a heretic! And the orphan is wealthy... The Inquisition steps in soon enough and when the two women prove 'uncooperative'- this film pulls no punches. The film shows both how the two women are slowly but surely broken in graphic detail and, showing interviews the inquisitors have with various witnesses, also how the common beliefs of the time justified it. The torture is shown historically accurately being done to the women's totally nude bodies.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

The Minister (2011)

The Minister (2011)
Director: Pierre Schöller
Country: France | Belgium
Runtime: 1 hour 52 minutes

French Minister for Transport Bertrand Saint-Jean is woken in the middle of the night by his personal private secretary: a bus has crashed into a ravine, initiating a dark odyssey through a treacherous world for the State official. In staging one man's effort to occupy the complex spaces of power – between conviction and compromise; command and obedience – Schöller invites us to reflect on one of Michel Foucault's preoccupations: the minister – a figure half-way between state administrator and religious pastor.

The Door (2012)

The Door (2012)
Director: István Szabó
Country: Hungary
Runtime: 1 hour 34 minutes

 The Door (Hungarian: Az ajtó) is a 2012 Hungarian drama film directed by István Szabó and starring Helen Mirren. Movie based on the award-winning novel of the same name by Magda Szabo  tells the story of a writer and her housekeeper who develop an enduring relationship.

Mirren plays the role of housekeeper Emerenc in the novel which has been adapted for the screen by Istvan Szabo and Andrea Veszits.

The film has been selected to be featured in the competition programme at the 33rd Moscow International Film Festival.

Monday, October 01, 2012

The Last Elvis (2012)

The Last Elvis (2012) 
Director: Armando Bo
Country: Argentina
Runtime:91 min 
 In the unique world of the Buenos Aires celebrity-impersonator scene, “Elvis” Gutiérrez is a star. By day, though, he must contend with a dead-end factory job and an ex-wife who worries about how his obsessive behavior affects their young daughter, Lisa Marie. Feeling more connected to his persona as the King than to his own family, Gutiérrez retreats from reality until a tragic accident interrupts his plans and forces him to grapple with his real-world responsibilities.

Armando Bo’s stylish, yet tender, feature debut illuminates the glamour and grace that a stage can bring to any performer with the soul of an artist. The Last Elvis, buttressed by a stunning central performance by real-life Elvis tribute artist John McInerny, imbues its protagonist with depth and dignity, creating a realistic portrait of a broken man who seeks shelter in his dreams. As our Elvis takes flight within the King’s music, so too does the film around him.