Monthly Archives: August 2011

The Guard by John Michael McDonagh

At first I thought: this is not a bad film. Not a bad one either, just ‘a’ film.

But I stayed in the cinema for longer than that.

Constructively: nice frames & cinematography, interesting (very bold actually) colours and costumes, good acting of the leeding Brendan Gleeson. It has a few funny jokes, some good moments. Not all of it is a disaster.

Critically: the film was so long that mid way through it, when I saw a re-appearing character, it took me a couple of minutes to remind myself who he was (!). This may have been a good script.

It’s not a western, it’s not a crime story, not a comedy, what is it really?

I want my £9.50 back please!

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Incendies by Denis Villeneuve

An update from 2010 Warsaw Film Festival, where the film won the Grand Prix.

It is a very twisted story of a family in an unspecified country which most probably is Lebanon. The plot is told in parallel with events being presented with 30-year gaps between the scenes when the mother and the daughter are of the same age.

All begins with a very intriguing scene at the swimming pool, to which the viewers are brought many times – in a way that human memory works, when we begin to realise more and more and begin to understand aspects that we missed the first and second and the third time when we watched the scene. A very crafty method as used in the classic film noir.

A very powerful film, a wartime and political drama as well as a family drama.

Important to watch for similar reasons to A Separation; namely to get a different perspective from our Euro-centric point of view.

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Treacle Jr. by Jamie Thraves

I will not summarise the plot. The story feels painfully close to 21st century alienation from one’s self. A few films touch upon this very subject (Cedric Klapisch’s Pot Luck to name just one).

It’s a great peek at our contemporary lives in the rich Western civilisation, how illusive everything is and how thin is the line between success/family/richness and poverty/homelessness/loneliness.

The film shows how a cute boy unable to live his life decides to change his and to disappear. On one hand this is easy, on the other though, he slowly learns to understand how attached he is to his earthly belongings and how to use them in the right way.

Buddy/social drama with two cats, one beautiful gal and familiar South London surroundings. Lots of Herne Hill, Dulwich etc. A feel-good cinema this summer. Geniously brilliant role by Irish actor Aidan Gillen.

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Sarah’s Key by Gilles Paquet-Brenner

An important, daunting film. Avidly written, formidably made. A cinematic story with an alarming amount of suspense. With beautifully talented Mélusine Mayance (b. 1999), mature and wise Kristin Scott Thomas and several good supporting roles.

The film feels made by a master-auteur. The dramaturgy is classically cinematic and excellently managed.

A must-see for every European and American as this is part of our shared history. This film is necessary because it’s important and cathartic – to paraphrase a line dropped halfway through the feature. I totally agree. It is not as brutal and crude as many other films touching upon the topic of extermination of Jews during World War II. It is shocking at points, but still an important position on the list this summer.

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