Daily Archives: April 26, 2011

Prosta Historia o Milosci by Arkadiusz Jakubik

In other words: A Simple Love Story.

Not as simple as the title would suggest. The love story happens on (at least) three levels. There is a scriptwriting couple telling the story from voiceover, there are two young people, who meet after many years and there are two roles told by the first couple, played by the second one.

Jakubik challenges the audience to read as much into the story as possible adding one more level – of actors being interviewed as improvised monologues. The blurring between what’s written, what’s improvised and what’s played is so twisted that at some point each of the spectators will gladly surrender to the master hands of the film’s author.

A brilliant idea, made for own money, a truly indie cinema in skillful hands.


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My Australia by Ami Drozd

Story of a young boy, who in 1960’s Poland together with his brother and friends participates in young Jews harassment. A rich aunt living in Australia ignites his imagination with stories of boxing kangaroos visible on the received postcards. One day, he sets out on a journey to Australia with his mother and brother to never return.

To his great surprise, it appears that neither does his aunt live in Australia, nor is he Polish and the ship lands in the new country of Israel.

The tale flows nicely through the internal struggle of both boys and how they attempt at adapting in the new environment. A captivating tale told from a different perspective than many other films on the topic.

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Clockwatchers by Jill Sprecher

Brings to mind Mike Judge’s Office Space which in fact was made two years later than this one. What the two films share are FRIENDS stars; Lisa Kudrow at Sprecher’s and Jennifer Aniston at Judge’s, and the office boredom.

Clockwatchers, made in 1997, depict the world of corporate politics set 35 years after Mad Men. The main four protagonists are temping girls in their twenties ostracising a new employee who came in last, but was the first to get a permanent job. Toni Colette as always plays a convincing role of an unassuming and unattractive good-hearted female.

It’s a nice office satyre, universally recognised by anyone who spent at least a day at a large corporation’s headquarters.

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You Can Count On Me by Kenneth Lonergan

One more title in the “Catching Up” section.

Starring Mark Ruffalo, Matthew Broderick and Laura Linney.

A small town bank clerk (Linney), whose parents died in a car crash some 20 years back, with younger irresponsible brother (Ruffalo) dropping in to visit. A few elements could be left out. All in all a funny story of how an assertive woman can deal with 4  (!) men in her life: her boss, her son, her brother and her on-and-off boyfriend.

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Lovers of Hate by Bryan Poyser

Set mainly in Park City. The place needs no introduction for all those film lovers out there.

The story behind goes along the lines of a frustrated writer who experiences this known by all blockage. Creative blockage.

There is more. There is a rejecting wife, there’s a successful brother, there’s a romance between those two. A stalker played by Chris Doubek, who only becomes a stalker by accident. It’s a sad character and a sad story of what it means to be a) talentless and b) unable to cope with a).

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Zach Clark’s Vacation!

Thelma & Louise times two i.e. four female friends setting on a holiday. Here the comparison stops.

Clark plays with form, introduces local elements to spice up the story. What is planned to be an innocent week at the seaside of four college mates, through days spent at the beach, drunken evenings and boring neighbourhood, suddenly changes its course by 180 degrees after an episode of one night party with LSD. Nothing is the same the next morning.

It’s a beach party film, the opening credits bring to mind the 1980’s Miami Vice TV series. Pink, glossy, light. The girls are pretty, the blonde wigs enable to blend them all into one messy character.

Don’t expect the expected. It’s an interesting project, especially the LSD trip, which, for those who have experienced it, looks very realistic.


Filed under Film Festivals, film reviews, Off Plus Camera 2011

The Christening by Marcin Wrona

The winner of the Polish Feature Competition at Off Plus Camera 2011.

Usually phenomenal Natalia Rybicka did not have a lot to show with her performance here. The remaining two main roles are relatively fresh faces, which results in an atypical cast opening more through the previously unseen visages.

Wrona pictures a crude brutal world where values such as love, friendship and loyalty, although known to be virtues, are hazy due to surrounding environment filling all with lies and deadly sabotage.

On the surface, there is no ray of hope for either of the two main characters Michal and Janek. The twisted ending rather than bringing a golden hopeful resolution seemingly making things better for Magda, definitely does not solve the moral dilemmas of Janek.

Very gloomy and difficult story set in a world where help does not come from anywhere. Does not and will not. One may only hope that this kind of an underworld is an exaggerated artist’s vision with no counterpart in the real world. Wrona takes away all hope in humanity the moment the most humane act (not objectively; in this case) is performed.

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Filed under Film Festivals, film reviews, Off Plus Camera 2011