For starters the audience must be aware of the fact that this is a film that is part of the DOGME 95 Movement, described as follows: ‘the goal of the Dogme collective is to purify film-making by refusing expensive and spectacular special effects, post-production modifications and other gimmicks. The emphasis on purity forces the filmmakers to focus on the actual story and on the actors’ performances. The audience may also be more engaged as they do not have overproduction to alienate them from the narrative, themes, and mood’ – superficial action such as murders, no special lighting and must be in color, film must be shot on location with hand held cameras, director must not be credited, etc. Given these restrictions the story and the action of DIAS DE BODA (‘WEDDING DAYS’) seem much more immediate and the lapses in fluidity of the story can be forgiven – to a point. Continue reading
On an overcast summer’s day, Merle arrives at her lover Romuald’s villa, jacket and luggage in hand, to find the doors are locked. He had invited her to visit him in the south of France but seems to have headed off somewhere. She thus has to come to some arrangement with his uncooperative children, help celebrate Emma’s 13th birthday and put up with Felix’s impudence, the 16-year-old son who sees her presence as a provocation.
It doesn’t take long for the host’s absence to become barely noticeable. The plot centres on Merle, on her attempts to fit in, to take on this unexpected role as naturally as possible. In a particularly striking scene, she gets into an argument with the local baker, who refuses to give her a cake ordered for Emma’s birthday. Merle loses the battle of wills. When Romuald finally calls, she decides to side with his children rather than her distant lover, and quietly enjoys her breakthrough. With great empathy and subtlety, Nicolas Wackerbarth’s Halbschatten creates a portrait of a person ill at ease with being the centre of attention, in the glaring sunlight. Continue reading
The entire extended family is happily on its way to a nostalgic Christmas at a rented cabin in the mountains. The cabin becomes cramped, however, when mom and dad and four grown-up children with their respective families, a dog and in-laws from Poland squeeze inside the frozen cabin walls in 30-below-zero weather.
Especially when the kerosene stove leaks, one of the children suffers from asthma, one of the daughters is lovesick, mom desperately tries to stay happy and dad is oh so thirsty. The Polish father-in-law sings his beautiful love ballads, the Swedish neighbour drops by for a slow waltz, the children go ice fishing, the dog wallows wildly in the close quarters, mom makes huge meals – and aren’t we having a wonderful time? Daughter Liv wishes for reconciliation, fervently hoping that there is a future for herself and her family. Yet at the same time she lances a boil which hides more than her father’s “skeletons” under the mattress. Continue reading
Misunderstood (Italian: Incompresa) is a 2014 Italian drama film directed by Asia Argento. It was selected to compete in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.
Rome, 1984, Aria is nine-year-old girl. On the verge of divorce, Aria’s infantile and selfish parents are too preoccupied with their careers and extra-marital affairs to properly tend to any of Aria’s needs. While her two older sisters are pampered, Aria is treated with cold indifference. Yet she yearns to love and to be loved. At school, Aria excels academically but is considered a misfit by everyone. She is misunderstood. Aria finds comfort in her cat – Dac and in her best friend – Angelica. Thrown out of both parents’ homes, abandoned by all, even her best friend, Aria finally reaches the limit of what she can bear. She makes an unexpected decision in her life. Continue reading
Following the Dogma rules does not make this film hard to watch… In the end, it is a great story and shows that Merendino can be a mature film maker.
It;s about two guys a Vespa and a trip from South Dakota to Los Angeles.
It’s funny, insightful and tragic… If you can, see it.
What is most important that it is honest… And it is different than the other Dogma films in that it looks good.
It is hard to find, but this IS a classic. Continue reading
In her film Germany, Pale Mother Sanders-Brahms depicts her childhood in Germany during and after WWII. In order to survive, mother (Lene) and child (Anna) form a self-sufficient bond which excludes the father when he returns from war. The film portrays a child’s resilience in the face of such war trauma as death, and, especially for girls, fear of assault. Anna emulates Lene’s ability to transcend suffering through her will to survive and through narrative, the focus of this paper. Lene’s reciting of the Grimms’ “The Robber Bridegroom” fairy tale, in which the heroine flees and defeats her potential assailant by telling her story, enables them to overcome their suffering as war victims and inspires Anna, the filmmaker, to narrate their story, to become the subject not the object of her life story, and to transcend the past. Postwar scenes depict the difficulty of returning to traditional family roles because of the father’s wartime absence and the resulting abuse from a disillusioned, frustrated husband/father, the postwar “enemy”. There is a role reversal in which Anna becomes the mother’s caretaker which reaches its climax in the final scene Continue reading
A young Iranian woman fends for herself in America in spite of the wishes of her newfound friends after her husband is accidentally killed.
From the NY Times:
Before we are 15 minutes into ”The Suitors,” this dark satire reveals the dangers of slaughtering sheep in a bathtub. A quirky first feature written and directed by Ghasem Ebrahimian, who was born in Iran and who settled in the United States in the 1970’s, the film also takes a sharp, affectionate view of Iranian immigrants trying to merge their traditions with Manhattan living. Continue reading