Category Archives: Warsaw Film Festival 2010

Warsaw International Film Festival 2010 – a great event with an exceptional programming since 1983.

Never Let Me Go by Mark Romanek (2010)

(spoiler alert)

A successfully conveyed adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel.

The book was considerably alarming in its concept, whereas the film has been made to a little milder version of being seriously disturbing. The story will be revealed below so please do not read if you hate spoilers.

The concept is known to those who had read the book. Clones bred to become vital organs donors who usually do not survive their third donation. Ethical or moral questions are set aside as nobody in the national organ programme seems to care that the clones actually have souls.

Hailsham is a peculiar place on the map as children clones are being educated there just as at any public (=private) school in England. They do sports, they learn art, literature and geography. Hailsham is an experiment led by some idealists who wanted to question the ethics of transplants from bred humans.

The story centers around 3 main characters – classmates watched from early childhood through to final stages of their lives.

Andrew Garfield turned out to be a disappointment for me. I haven’t seen him in Spiderman, but after the Social Network and Never Let Me Go, I concluded he cannot act (and neither can Keira Knightley, but that has been established long ago). Carey Mulligan, however, delivers  a convincing tragic role and has created a convincing character.

This is a film that brings cold thrills to your spine as you sympathise with the donors and as you recognise they have no way of escaping their fate. They cannot just refuse or even postpone their deadly donations. They wear the electronic bracelets and not even a thought is cast as to perhaps ridding of that and tasting freedom.

Great film based on a sick but not that unreasonable or out of touch concept.

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Filed under Catching Up, Warsaw Film Festival 2010

Littlerock by Mike Ott (2010)

This print has travelled through many festivals across the US and Europe. The director got the Gotham award, the Independent Spirit Award, the Audience award at AFI fest.

It surely is a very particular kind of cinema – this special kind that festival audiences will appreciated with pleasure.

The most appealing experiment performed here is that the dialogue is played in Japanese and English, but also in Spanish at times and the subtitles are loosely dropped in whenever the dialogue is actually set between two characters speaking the same language. What may be quite risky turned out to bring the magic through and allowed focusing on the innocent and exploratory fresh view at either side.

Two Japanese siblings land in a Californian town of Littlerock with little (brother) or no (sister) English and meet new friends, hang out on their way to Manzanar – an old concentration camp for Japanese held there in 1940’s.

Beautiful light, atmosphere, great performances of writers-actors. The whole ensemble is to watch out for future projects as each of them is active on the American indie scene.

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Filed under film reviews, Raindance 2011, Warsaw Film Festival 2010

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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Filed under 2011 cinema releases, Film Festivals, film reviews, Warsaw Film Festival 2010

Black Heaven by Gilles Marchand

One of those films that  upon leaving the cinema you totally forget what was there before you entered the screening room.

The amazing blurring of virtual reality with the outside world. And a surprising ending. It is a story of how dangerous the virtual world might become if one does not take the necessary precautions. And this is not about too few hours of sleep. It’s about neglecting the outside world for the sake of the Game.

Very good fresh acting, great landscapes, fantastic visual effects (of course!), a reasonable portion of reflection on the unbearable lightness of being guaranteed.

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Filed under Film Festivals, film reviews, Warsaw Film Festival 2010

The Drummond Will by Alan Butterworth

An update from Warsaw Film Fest 2010 (Free Spirit Competition).

Black British comedy. Hilarious. One of those films where there is no end to ridiculous situations. It just goes on and on into the abyss of laughter and tears running through your eyes, yet it does not cross the border to excess.

There’s everything as per grandma’s recipe for the genre. It’s black & white, it’s low budget, there’s a dead body (and then another one…) a bag full of money, a pub, a church, a constable, a priest and a lovely barmaid. Also (inevitably) digging graves at night, fantastically paced comic dialogues and a surprising ending. Mainly surprising because, on the run, there is no real time for reflection as to what’s going to happen next!

Strong recommend to the lovers of the old school Brit cinema and especially the classic Brit comedy.

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Filed under Film Festivals, film reviews, Warsaw Film Festival 2010