2001-2010

Rabah Ameur-Zaïmeche – Dernier maquis (2008)

Au fond d’une zone industrielle à l’agonie, Mao, un patron musulman, possède une entreprise de réparation de palettes et un garage de poids-lourds. Il décide d’ouvrir une mosquée et désigne sans aucune concertation l’imam…

Rabah Ameur-Zaïmeche has a way of framing shots that can make an industrial landscape look like an art project. The dominant images in Dernier Maquis are of rows of carefully stacked red pallets towering in a truck yard located on the outskirts of Paris, where most of the film takes place. Under the direction of Ameur-Zaïmeche, these unaesthetic objects become fascinating to contemplate. Since his visual approach exhibits so strong a sense of control, it is fitting that he cast himself as the company boss. The yard workers call the boss “Mao,” as his leadership style feigns benevolence to keep them from organizing for better wages. Read More »

Aisling Walsh – Song for a Raggy Boy (2003)

Based on Patrick Galvin’s memoir, ‘Song for a Raggy Boy’ is set in the grey, grim surroundings of a brutal Irish reform school in 1939. While the storyline has unmistakable parallels with ‘The Magdalene Sisters’, it deserves more than to be dismissed as this year’s indictment of religious orders. Read More »

Noah Baumbach – Margot at the Wedding [+ Extras] (2007)

Online review of film:
Eventually it may be that Noah Baumbach could turn into this country’s answer to France’s Eric Rohmer, turning out a steady diet of small, circumspect dramas about the lives and neurotic times of New York-era literary bourgeoisie. That’s one of the things that comes to mind as one takes in Margot at the Wedding, Baumbach’s fourth time out as writer/director and one that seems to set a template for the future. It’s a chill breeze of a film steeped in ugly inter-familial squabbling and the blinkered mentality of its self-absorbed characters who can generally only raise their gaze from their own navels long enough to find something lacking in the person they’re addressing. Read More »

Gustave de Kervern & Benoît Delépine – Aaltra (2004)

Quote:
Mr Vives is not fond of the lazy farmer’s hand who keeps blocking the road with his large harvester, so he gets back at him, and the farmer’s hand gets back at Mr Vives, and round and round it goes. Until one day, when this causes Mr Vives to lose his job and come back early to discover his wife in bed with another man. Furious, he drives up to the farm hand in the middle of a field and starts a fist fight which ends in the harvester. They wake up together at the hospital, both with useless legs. It seems they’re doomed to stay together from now on. Read More »

Michel Ocelot – Azur et Asmar (2006)

From Rotten Tomatoes
Once upon a time, there were two children who had the same nanny: Azur, blonde and blue-eyed, son of the lord of the castle, and Asmar, dark-skinned and black-eyed, the nurse’s child. Brought up like brothers, the children are suddenly torn apart. But Azur, haunted by the legend of the Djinn the nanny used to tell him, intends to find it in lands beyond the seas. When they grow up, the two foster brothers each go separate ways in search of the fairy. Daring rivals, they find magic lands in a medieval Maghreb, full of dangers and enchantments. Read More »

Rebecca Zlotowski – Belle épine (2010)

After the death of her mother, 17-year-old Prudence finds herself living alone in her Paris apartment. Then she meets Maryline, a rebel of her own age, who introduces her to the thrills of motorcycle racing on the biker circuit at Rungis. Prudence’s newfound lease of freedom becomes complicated when she falls for a boy Franck who wastes no time in taking advantage of her naivety… Read More »

Kwon-taek Im – Chihwaseon AKA Strokes of Fire (2002)

In 19th-century Korea nobleman Kim Byung-moon saves a young beggar from a savage beating, and in return the beggar, Jang Seung-ub, draws him a picture. Kim is astonished by his rough yet extraordinary talent and arranges for him to study at the house of an eminent Chinese teacher. Here, the young painter falls in love with Mae-hyang, the daughter of a fallen aristocratic family, but the young lovers are unable to overcome the class difference that divides them. Read More »