2001-2010

Mircea Daneliuc – Legiunea straina aka The Foreign Legion (2008)

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Plot / Synopsis

For many years, three Romanian village boys, Stelica, Aurel and Mitu, have remained the closest of friends. In their youths, they planned to pursue careers as shepherds, but in time their individual paths diverged – leading Mitu into the military, Stelica into the local police force and Aurel into the employ of Maricel, a wealthy resident of the community. The men’s worlds change forever when a newcomer arrives in the hamlet – a young woman named Lilica, accompanied by Maricel. She’s toting two trucks full of Dutch chickens with her, which inadvertently spreads the bird flu to much of the local populace. The boys, however, soon realize how they can ingeniously turn this potential crisis into a solid profit-making venture for themselves. Read More »

Jordi Cadena & Judith Colell – Elisa K (2010)

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At eleven, everything in Elisa’s life will lose its innocence. One day whilst her father is asleep and her brother is on a swing outside, her father’s friend will rape her, as she cries he tells her if she stops he’ll give her a silver bracelet. It’s from that moment on she will forget what happened to her for a very long time.

Fourteen years and four months later she remembers. Scared, she calls her mum, “Help me, I’ve remembered something terrible.” Breaking many rules of cinema and featuring unconventional narration throughout, Eliza K is a heartbreaking story that asks the question of how this young woman will carry on with her life. Read More »

Antoinette Beumer – De gelukkige huisvrouw AKA The Happy Housewife (2010)

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ferdyonfilms.com wrote:
CIFF 2010: The Happy Housewife (De gelukkige huisvrouw, 2010)

Director: Antoinette Beumer

2010 Chicago International Film Festival

By Marilyn Ferdinand

“I hate actors,” the cinephile said to me after a screening of a personal essay film that had no actors in it at all. I vaguely understood what he was saying, that actors are tricksters whose presence can take away from the sincerity of a film. As someone who treasures the films of Robert Bresson, the Neorealists, the Nouvelle Vague directors, as well as a slew of more contemporary films that use nonprofessionals, I find the unstudied spontaneity of the performances helps me appreciate the film as a whole rather than focusing on the accomplishments of a single performer. Read More »

Agustí Villaronga – Pa negre aka Black Bread (2010)

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Quote:
In the harsh post-war years’ Catalan countryside, Andreu, a kid that belongs to the loser side, finds the corpses of a man and his son in the forest. The authorities want his father to be made responsible of the deaths, but Andreu tries to help his father by finding out who truly killed them. In this search, Andreu develops a moral consciousness against a world of adults fed by lies. In order to survive, he betrays his own roots and ends up finding out the monster that lives within him. Read More »

Benjamin Filipovic – Dobro Ustimani Mrtvaci AKA Well-Tempered Corpses (2005)

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Quote:
Two cynical workers in a hospital morgue (Boro Stjepanovic, Zan Marolt) make bets on how many bodies will turn up by a certain time. When three corpses are suddenly wheeled in after a horrific accident involving a plane, a car and a suicide jumper, joining a forth cadaver who suddenly dropped dead in a government lobby, one coroner appears to have won the bet. But death holds many surprises. Read More »

Harutyun Khachatryan – Sahman AKA The Border (2009)

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A poetic docu-drama based on real events witnessed by Armenian master Khachatryan. He reflects on the tragedy that befell his people during the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the 1990s, after the Soviet Union fell apart. He does so without words or indeed human protagonists, through the story of a buffalo who is found stuck in a ditch in the countryside. He is brought to a nearby farm where animals, farmers and refugees are gathered to hide and recover from the conflict. All regard him with great suspicion. We follow life on the farm and in the surrounding villages through the eyes of the buffalo over the course of a year, with the changing of the seasons and the slow rhythm of the place. (WARSAW FILM FESTIVAL) Read More »

Isabelle Broué – Tout le plaisir est pour moi AKA The Pleasure Is All Mine (2004)

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After lecturing her sister on the evils of fake orgasms, Louise, a self-obsessed twenty-something, gets her come-uppance the next morning when she discovers that she has “lost her clitoris”, a misfortune she doesn’t hesitate to communicate, loudly and explicitly, to anyone who’ll listen.

It’s a shame that so many of the characters and situations in this movie, from the gay best-friend to the sex guru with his herbs to the celibate neighbour to the old ladies discussing orgasms, feel like a parade of comedy stereotypes. The falseness and banality of these sketch-like scenes conflict awkwardly with the pseudo-documentary discussions of female sexuality that the director inserts with great earnestness throughout the film.

The film’s saving grace is Marie Gillain, who pulls off the near-impossible task of making the infuriating, egotistical Louise both watchable and sympathetic. (in IMDB) Read More »