Claude Chabrol – La demoiselle d’honneur aka The Bridesmaid (2004)


A hard-working young man meets and falls in love with his sister’s bridesmaid. He soon finds out how disturbed she really is.

the bridesmaid (First Run) Going to a new Chabrol film these days is like sitting down with an old friend who will tell you another one of his stories. Chabrol has been making films since 1958: the latest of his more than fifty features is The Bridesmaid, and another one has already been finished. He has co-written or co-adapted many of his pictures, and he has also played bit parts in some of them (as well as in the films of others). I have seen a lot of Chabrol’s films, and many others must share my sense that much of my filmgoing life is threaded throughout with his work. He has always been a director who felt that moving ahead was at least as important as polishing a single work. Continue reading

Costas Zapas – The Last Porn Movie (2006)


Description: The story of a beautiful teenager girl whose life is turned around when her ex-porn star dad is made (by his producers) to cast her as the lead in his latest x-rated film. A devastating testimony of the rise and fall of Greek family values, an existentialist journey where habit and cruelty are only separated by life and death. Continue reading

Costas Zapas – Mikres Eleftheries AKA Minor Freedoms (2008)


One of the most outstanding directors of auteur cinema, Costas Zapas gained international acclaim with Uncut Family (2004) and The Last Porn Movie (2006). With Minor Freedoms his trilogy on the family is complete. Cineuropa: Minor Freedoms is the title of your latest film. However, in the film there is too little freedom. Your characters seem to have no choice. Continue reading

Rimas Tuminas – Uncle Vanya (2010)

Winner of 2010 Golden Mask for Best Russian Theatre Performance.

Anton Chekhov
Vakhtangov Theatre, Moscow

Director: Rimas Tuminas
Composer: Faustas Latenas
Set designer: Adomas Yacovskis

Rimas Tuminas’s production was enthusiastically greeted by Moscow critics – not only for its undoubted merits but also because Uncle Vanya gave a positive response to the ‘accursed question’: is it possible at all to breathe life into a half-dead academic theatre today? Yes, it’s possible, answers the Vakhtangov Theatre but only in case there is a powerful director that is able to sweep his actors along with him. In Uncle Vanya there are a lot of witty solutions and paradoxical psychological moves. Rimas Tuminas seems to reflect Chekhov’s ‘scenes of rural life’ in secret false mirrors of otherness, and for this reason his performance turned out to be darkly eccentric. And you ask yourself: is it really that those on the stage are not ghosts of the country seat? Continue reading

Todd Solondz – Life During Wartime (2009)


Todd Solondz is back with Life During Wartime, his sixth feature and a sequel of sorts to his crowd-pleasing 1998 effort, Happiness. Solondz once again follows the joyless Jordan sisters (played by new actors this time around) as they attempt to navigate life and love in sunny Miami. Consisting of a series of loosely connected vignettes and brimming with Solondz’s signature deadpan humor, Life During Wartime skirts the uncomfortable line between pathos and tragedy, all the while maintaining a pitch-perfect tone that never alienates the audience (but still manages to keep them safely at arms length). Solondz is most definitely an acquired taste, but Life During Wartime may just be the film that introduces his work to a wider audience. More accessible than both Storytelling and and featuring stellar performances from Allison Janney (Juno), Paul Reubens (Pee Wee Herman) and Ally Sheedy (The Breakfast Club), Solondz has crafted an ironic exploration into the dark heart of America at its most vulnerable: when it thinks nobody is watching. Continue reading