Category Archives: Off Plus Camera 2012

Boker tov adon Fidelman (Restoration) by Yossi Madmoni (2011)

A sentimental tale of family tradition v. progress, where the father does not feel his son will be able to fill his shoes in the antiques workshop business. When his partner dies, Mr Fidelman needs a loan to keep the store going.

His son has an expecting wife. All seems to be on the right track to an inevitable finale, when Fidelman will have to give up his passion due to financial crisis.

An outsider appears to promise a change in their lives. Temporarily replaces the prodigal son to Fidelman, helping with restoration of an expensive grand piano, which if successful will enable Fidelman to remain on the surface for much longer. The new boy also falls for the son’s daughter and for a large portion of the movie fully replaces the true blood relations between father and son, also taking his place in metaphorical married bed.

Sounds too easy? Well, because it is. And it is not possible to replace someone’s place in the family or business, or marriage.

A beautifully told story with amazing play with light, music and closeups of everyday life in contemporary TelAviv.

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Silver Tongues by Simon Arthur (2011)

Simon – writer/director for this feature debut plays with the audience from the very start.

The last joke is on us. Until the last scene.

It is a very consciously built story in contra to the American Indie tales of 20-somethings and their emotional issues.

The two main protagonists play with other personae in the drama, but they also play with the audience. In the end, it is hard to tell what is real and what is acted.

Lee Tergesen is that actor of the supporting roles for the last twenty years in American TV. And here he takes the lead. Hypnotising the partners in the story as well as the audience.

A very interesting and powerful experiment in contemporary cinema. Made with skill and consciousness of the form limitations but also the power a film director has in his hands when he decides to present his project to the cinema audience. Simon Arthur is the one to watch out for.

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Sawdust City by David Nordstrom (2011)

One of the American Indie films when the director is at the same time a writer and the leading man.

The film tells a story of two brothers who in frosty and snowy Wisconsin take up on a challenge to find their drunkard father.

One of the brothers wears a sailor’s uniform and it is Thanksgiving. The other married the ex-girlfriend of the soldier. They both go awol on the dinner made by her and spend the night walking into all bars and gin-joints in the whole town.

The conversations they lead, the people they meet allow the audience to learn a lot about their background, history, past, a bit about their present. Not much into their future as that remains blurry for both.

Despite all appearances it is a road movie, although walked. Recommend!

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Ki/My name is Ki by Leszek Dawid (2011)

In the Polish Feature Competition

A dynamic and energetic story with brilliant performances by two leading actors – Roma Gąsiorowska and Adam Woronowicz.

Ki is a single mother of a 3-year old boy, who has an incredible talent of blaming everyone around for anything that does not go well, while at the same time involving everyone around with her responsibilities – as a mother, as flatmate, as friend. As a result, Ki – an aspiring performance artist – has fewer and fewer people at her side willing to bring on help.

Miko – her reluctant flatmate (again, she moves in thanks to a favour offered by another friend and does not respect the rules of the house blaming the toddler for her incapabilities) is a silent superhero in Ki’s life, which she fails to notice until it is too late and he leaves for good.

This film won the Off Plus Camera Polish Film Competition and one of the perks is UK distribution. Go watch it. You will hate Ki for all her games and will reflect at how it is possible that such people exist and ruin our lives every day.

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Barney’s Version by Richard J. Lewis (2010)

In the Catching Up Section

Starring Paul Giamatti (who bagged the Golden Globe for this role) as well as Dustin Hoffmann. A long tale of a life of an unhappy artist-writer and his wives. Over the years he lives in Rome, New York and finally in the countryside somewhere in New Jersey.

Another warm approach at presenting a tragic character who does not mature throughout his whole life, however is still capable of unconditional love towards his third wife.

Full of politically incorrect jokes at the expense of the Jewish community with Dustin Hoffman openly expressing his supposed discrimination, ignorant of the fact that it could have little to do with his ethnicity and much more with his attitude.

A good piece of cinema, again, a little too long to my taste. Watch it if you can.

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Meet Monica Velour by Keith Bearden (2010)

In the Geek it Up section.

Starring Kim Cattrall as a faded porn star courted by an obsessed 17-year old nerd, who wants to save her from the circumstances she landed herself in by the inevitable series of life mistakes she made over the previous decades of her career.

A warm story scored with 1930’s hits from the American South proving that those who need help the most can actually act as catalysers helping the others.

Quite an entertaining story with a few melancholic notes. Nice cinematography and coloring and convincing two lead roles.

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Anyone Can Play Guitar by Jon Spira (2009)

In the New British Cinema section

A documentary on the Oxford music scene. A phenomenon is presented on the sample from the 1980’s until present. The film was made in 2009 and features a combination of live events coverage, interviews with band members of numerous bands that got created in Oxford and either raised to fame (Radiohead, Supergrass, Talulah Gosh) or fell into the abyss of always being beaten by other big stars (like the unfortunate band who released their album at the same time as Nirvana’s “Nevermind” – The Candyskins).

The two big absent are Andy and Thom Yorke. Their names are mentioned multiple times throughout the film but neither of them appears on screen in a different context than gigs coverage or photos. Members of their bands talk about them but the two are excluded from the documentary.

This is a very interesting film for both those who know the history of the Oxford music scene and those who don’t. The former will learn something new and the latter will indulge in what they knew already.

It is a long film (over 120min), therefore drags a little towards the end, but that could be because the screening I attended started well after 10pm.

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Off Plus Camera 2012 Summary

For the 5th year in a row a bunch of passionate geeks organised one of the youngest and most ambitious film festivals in Europe. Krakow is beautiful in April.

This year, I managed to watch quite a few films which I started reviewing below and will carry on reviewing above. The schedule of screenings was so tight that I was reaching the cinemas at the last minute and only could catch the first aisle seat in either 1st or 2nd row. That resulted in a peculiar cramp in my neck which is still there.

Several esteemed guests came to visit – to promote their films, to take part in the Main Competition, as members of the Jury in the Polish Competition.

The evenings were starting quite late as usually the last screening of the day (with Q&A’s included) did not end until well after midnight. In the end a mixture of guests and festival staff+volunteers ended up in the night club not far from the Main Market Square. To talk, exchange experiences, discuss future projects and finally to dance long into the night. My feeling is that several of the new acquaintances will turn up to be fruitful in the future – as new projects, new friendships, new films. Keeping my fingers crossed for that! Cannot wait to go to Krakow again next year!

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Tomboy by Celine Sciamma (2011)

A beautiful tale of childhood.

Putting aside the main topic of the film; the controversial decision of a girl to introduce herself as a boy, this is aesthetically and stylistically a feast for the eyes.

The world created and presented by Sciamma is a utopian vision of childhood with no cellphones, no internet, no psp games when children hang out in the forest, play football, go swimming and draw portraits of themselves. The parents are perfectly patient and understanding, loving and always there for the kids to teach them to drive, appreciate their input in coversation and simply spend time with them.

Beautiful, lovely story.

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Apflickorna (She Monkeys) by Lisa Aschan (2011)

Tale of competition, cruel games, love, fascination and friendship.

The film tells the story of two young girls who practice together a what seems to be quite risky sport of horse riding acrobatics – professionally called equestrian vaulting.

Both girls – Emma (Mathilda Paradeiser) and Cassandra (Linda Molin) are very pretty – each one in her own way. Emma has a younger sister, who aspires to be the third leading role and as a trio the ensemble works out quite well.

When it comes to the story itself and the way in which it is told – it is a very nice film with a great pace, warmly attempting at depicting the relationship between Emma and Cassandra, in which Emma seems to be the defeated for most of the time given Cassandra can be perceived as an evil character. It is hard to say whether she is jealous of Emma whom she thinks of as a rival or if she is in love with her, which adds the lovely level of ambiguity which is more than desired in this kind of cinema. A recommend.

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