Category Archives: Film Festivals

L’Indivision by Mélanie Delloye (2021) 

Family drama. Pretty cathartic.

The story is set inside a large house with its own lonely inhabitant – elderly gentleman, father of the family. His children want to convince him to sell the house. He opposes.

As the plot unravels, we learn the family secrets and reasoning behind particular characters.

Well written and acted, with claustrophobic camera eye.

Watch it if you are into enclosed drama set out on the people’s faces.

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Filed under Warsaw Film Festival 2021

Toril by Laurent Teyssier (2016)

A thriller wherein the emotions grab you by the throat.

Young man’s struggle with life, love, duty towards his father and desperate attempts at saving the family agricultural business.

What originally begins as long exposition, ends up a masterpiece of managing the audience expectations at exactly the right pace.

Feature debut and a really good mature film.

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Filed under film reviews, Warsaw Film Festival 2016

Julie by Alba Gonzalez de Molina (2016)

Julie is French and for some reason ends up in the Pyrenees looking for an escape from the world.

There is a small village where she is welcomed with open arms and houses .

She quickly accommodates to the local customs and habits. She does, however, hide a secret. And when the secret comes out she loses the trust of the locals.

A peaceful study of loneliness and being lost in the world. Beautiful film. And a debut.

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Paris Tower 13 by Thomas Lallier (2016)

Documentary on cultural event of the year in Paris in 2013.

A gallery owner invites over 100 street artists to convert an abandoned block of flats set for destruction into an art gallery that will only be open to the public for one month.

The author became one of the artists involved in the project being the filmmaker among them.

A beautiful story – very vivid imagery and a statement that art is an important element of our lives.

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Putin Forever? by Kyrill Nenashev (2015)

Documentary on Russian protests against falsifying the results of presidential elections in 2012.

Estimated budget of $2000,00 (two thousand).

It is fascinating, shocking and eye opening. I personally haven’t heard of 2012 white marches engaging millions (sic!) in Moscow and other places in Russia.

A definite recommend.

 

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Take Me to the River by Martin Shore (2014)

This thing happened to me for the very first time.
Sitting at the cinema during the screening of this film, the 4th wall has been fully broken for me.

Given this is a documentary set mainly in a musical studio, and given I am not sure what was the initial idea behind this – I may have fallen into a mighty musical trap. I watched people rehearse, sing, write music, transpose keys, talk and have fun. And I felt as if I were present inside the studio with them. I clapped, I murmured the rhythm and the songs, I cheered the artists.

Never mind the people in the audience, never mind them thinking I was crazy. I am. A sucker for blues, a sucker for jazz, a sucker for good notes and rhythm.

Yes, this is what happened to me during the screening of this film.

So, I guess, this should serve as a recommendation. Best film I have seen in a very very very long time.

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Filed under blues, PKO Off Camera 2015

La Vénus à la fourrure (Venus in Fur) by Roman Polanski (2013) #WFF2013

Emmanuelle Seigner et Mathieu Amalric in a claustrophobic drama set on stage of a seemingly abandoned theatre somewhere in Paris.
Amalric takes on the role of Polanski himself – just like Owen Wilson does in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris”.
Emmanuelle Seigner is herself. Obviously the above two statements are probably oversimplifications but this is definitely how the film feels.
Emmanuelle Seigner plays an actress (sic) and Mathieu Amalric a stage director (yeah) during a dangerous casting taking abrupt turns as the game of power unveils. What begins as typical male dominated situation ends up in total submission to the weaker sex.
It is a close study of two characters confined in an enclosed space. Not bad. But not much exceptional either.

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Filed under 2013 cinema releases, film reviews, Warsaw Film Festival 2013

Le bonheur (2013) by Fabrice Grange #WFF2013

This film, unlike a few others watched during the Warsaw Film Festival 2013, treats people who have all they need and instead of searching for freedom, new lives or jobs, seek new challenges in everyday life.
Told in first person voice over, shot in black&white over the roofs of Paris, inside Parisian flats, underneath Parisian trottoirs.

What initially could be interpreted as a tale of one spoiled 30-something married woman, who is not accepted by her family (especially the Mother), and whose husband is absent more than not, providing her with all her material needs, becomes a disturbing tale of setting one’s borders in a relationship with another person. Alice tries many things which may be attempts for fighting the rejection of her parents. At one point she agrees to anything suggested by her friend/lover Jean who also cheats on his wife and family. Somehow, Alice’s case seemingly bears no ethical questions, whereas Jean seems to have some sort of a guilty conscience towards his family. Alice does not. And it is not clear whether her goal to reach happiness has been met by the end of the story.

Certain points presented here might perhaps be more appreciated by those who have seen and experienced the French New Wave. Some may leave the cinema shocked – perhaps by the coldness of the Alice character and her openness to anything – both carnal and spiritual.
This film makes one uneasy and it is not obvious as to exactly why. However, this is yet another perspective on contemporary consumerist society, devout of values, where boundaries are only set by another person’s conscience.

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Paat (2013) by Amir Todeh Roosta #WFF2013

Contemporary Iran viewed through the eyes of a stray German Shepherd. It turns out the main protagonists of everyday life are women who in reaction to men’s doings need to face their lives and tweak their existence to make ends meet.
The whole film consists of several episodes only connected by the dog witnessing the daily struggles of women.
Writer-director used the dog as an excuse to show various situations which otherwise would be difficult to connect.
The film offers an insight into what usually could be told in several shorts only here it is presented as one unique plot.

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Mistaken for Strangers (2013) by Tom Berninger #WFF2013

The author and main protagonist of the film is Tom Berninger, who happens to be the brother of lead vocal in The National – an American indie rock band.
What sets off as an ordinary documentary, where a camera follows a band on a tour, soon it becomes more and more obvious that nothing is ordinary, or regular, or normal in this particular case.
The film could be perceived as a mockery, as a grotesque approach and recipe how a documentary should not be made.
The relationship between two brothers is presented as pretty stressful and glitter free.
Perhaps this was intended, but it didn’t seem to be. The whole plot looks like a series of unfortunate disasters. All in all, the film brings loud laughters to the audience – hard to say if it’s caused by the comic intent or the comic outcome, but it is great fun to watch.

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