‘Euridice lives imprisoned inside a metaphorical hell-house, in a country ruled by a dictatorship regime.
Having already served her time, she is waiting to be transferred “somewhere else”. However, the State Processor in charge of the prisoners transfers has been mocking her for days… maybe even years.
A long lost lover (Orpheus), contacts her asking to see her again. Euridice accepts, hoping that something will change yet she is also afraid of any changes.’
A dejected beauty salon owner enters into a tenuous friendship with her shy, pre-operative transsexual neighbor in director Pernille Fischer Christensen’s simmering tale of affection and compassion. Thirty-two year old Charlotte (Trine Dyrholm) may own a successful beauty salon, but her failing relationship with increasingly unstable live-in boyfriend Kristian (Frank Thiel) has found her opting to strike out on her own for a change. As Charlotte embarks on a series of strictly sexual one-night stands upstairs, downstairs neighbor Veronica (David Dencik) – born Ulrick – earns her keep as a dominatrix while taking female hormones, awaiting approval for gender reassignment surgery, and occasionally accepting provisions from his doting mother (Elsebeth Steentoft). When Charlotte requests the help of her downstairs neighbor in moving some furniture and carelessly identifies Veronica as a male, the depressive pre-op laments her chances for surgery and attempts to overdose on pills. Her suicide-attempt unexpectedly announced to her neighbors thanks to her whimpering dog Miss Daisy, Veronica is subsequently saved when Charlotte hears the animal’s desperate cries and rushes her ailing neighbor to the hospital. Her selfless favor returned when Veronica defends her against a drunken Kristian shortly thereafter, lonely Charlotte eventually finds herself developing strong feelings for her neighbor despite her longstanding preference for the opposite sex.
A joyfully outrageous slice of life in the slums set to a punky soundtrack, Mondomanila is a slap in the face of Western expectations of politely miserabilist depictions of the downtrodden. A hyper kinetic, super stylised wild carnival of the destitute, it follows a midget, a one-armed rapper, a ‘day-glo fairy’, a disabled pimp and their friends as they try to get as much sex and drugs as they can (‘the only solution to their problems’, we are told by main character Tony at the beginning) and tackle a racist white paedophile. A toothless showman opens this exuberant bad taste spectacle, promising something horrible and creepy, but the Mondo-style shockumentary aspect is underpinned by the crude reality of life in Manila, making the film vital and energising.
Review by Roger Ebert:
The people materialize from out of clear white light, as a belltolls. Where are they? An ordinary building is surrounded by greenery andan indistinct space. They are greeted by staff members who explain,courteously, that they have died, and are now at a way-station before thenext stage of their experience.
They will be here a week. Their assignment is to choose one memory,one only, from their lifetimes: One memory they want to save for eternity.
Then a film will be made to reenact that memory, and they will move along,taking only that memory with them, forgetting everything else. They willspend eternity within their happiest memory.
That is the premise of Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “After Life,” a filmthat reaches out gently to the audience and challenges us: What is thesingle moment in our own lives we treasure the most? One of the newarrivals says that he has only bad memories. The staff members urge him tothink more deeply. Surely spending eternity within a bad memory wouldbe–well, literally, hell. And spending forever within our best memorywould be, I suppose, as close as we should dare to come to heaven.
English audio (Alexandra Stewart)
REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS TO COME, the latest “cine-essay” of Chris Marker, is dense and demanding, a splendid reminder that his nimble, capacious mind has lost none of its agility, poetry, and power. Ostensibly a portrait of photographer Denise Bellon, focusing on the two decades between 1935 and 1955, the film leaps and backtracks, Marker-style, from subject to subject, from a family portrait of Bellon and her two daughters, Loleh and Yannick (the latter co-authored the film), to a wide-ranging history of surrealism, of the city of Paris, of French cinema and the birth of the cinémathèque, of Europe, the National Front, the Second World War and Spanish Civil War, and postwar politics and culture.
It’s only natural that Edward Yang’s A Brighter Summer Day begins with a shot of a barely-lit light bulb. On the set of a movie, a director reprimands an actress for harping on the color of her dress. “This is a black and white film,” he says, one of many references to the symbolic darkness that overshadows the milieu of the film. A Brighter Summer Day is itself in color, but it may as well be monochrome. Much of the film’s action takes place at night or inside dimly lit interiors, and it’s not unusual for the characters to be confronted by light and its almost political implications. Some of the best images in the film (young boys staring at a rehearsal from a theater’s rooftop; a basketball bouncing out of a darkened alleyway) pit light against dark—a fascinating dialectic meant to symbolize a distinctly Taiwanese struggle between past and present. From weapons to watches, objects similarly speak to the present. Like the light, these objects are constant reminders that the past can’t be ignored and must be used to negotiate the present. Continue reading
Synopsis: Marianna returns to Greece on a whim to surprise her boyfriend, secretly plotting to stay with him forever, while Nikos is using the carnival as an excuse to confess his love to his unsuspecting boss. Eugenia hesitates to tell her daughter about her secret romance with the much younger carnival crew leader, while Ilias has no qualms about begging his estranged wife to come home.
Four couples, each one desperately trying to either rescue or escape their relationship, lose themselves in the intoxicating atmosphere of the carnival before they finally reveal their true colors, hidden behind the masks.
In the midst of carnival madness, four duets are staking their claim on their own personal Paradise… Continue reading