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2011 in cinema – Blondoner’s personal summary

Please note – the expressed opinions are biased as they are personally and subjectively mine.

This summary should have been done on January 1st 2012 or even on December 31st but I was busy with other stuff…

On Jan 1st 2011 I woke up in London. Just like on Jan 1st 2012.

Throughout 2011 I attended two major film festivals in full – as in had a pass and attended as many screenings as I could.

2011 was an amazing year in both the cinema and in my personal life.

I spent April 2011 in Krakow, Poland working for Off Plus Camera, where I have met a great bunch of fantastic people – both filmmakers and festivalmakers.

Having moved to London for permanent stay (as in: at least 2 yrs dating from May 2011), I have attended the fantastic Raindance in the hit record of heatwave at that time of year.

I have seen a massive amount of good films, great films and masterpieces. They can all be found on my blog given I have written at least a few sentences on every single one I have watched.

It was a great honour and pleasure to have met Terry McMahon – who did the incredible; wrote and made a powerful picture for almost no money. Talking about CHARLIE CASANOVA, which will hit UK screens quite soon.

Another great film was made by Tom Hall – SENSATION, also an Irish point of view on everyday life with a certain twist.

2011 was also filled with films that were either nominated or won the Oscars in 2011. Among them my favourites were: David Fincher’s THE SOCIAL NETWORK, Sofia Coppola’s SOMEWHERE, Lisa Cholodenko’s THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT and above all Christopher Nolan’s INCEPTION. But obviously – they were “so 2010”!

The important films that were actually released in cinemas in 2011 are listed below – please note the order is random as each film belongs to its own special category.

Films of 2011 by BLONDONER:

1. CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE by a pair of directors: Glenn Ficarra and John Requa. In my top 10 for the style, for Ryan Gosling, for the ambience, for the self-irony of dialogues, for costumes, interior design and humour! It is an exquisite comedy of manners with perhaps slightly unfortunate title but definitely worth every penny spent on a trip to the cinema, DVD or a BluRay.

2. THE BEGINNERS by Mike Mills – for an incredibly light and sweet approach to death and farewell paid to one’s life, as well as a message to the world that it is never too late in your life to get out of the closet. And Christopher Plummer’s performance, for which he got an Oscar nomination for best Supporting Role in 2012.

3. 50/50 by Jonathan Levine – for the perfect balance of two genres: comedy and drama, perfect balance of tears and laughter and impressive Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

4. MIDNIGHT IN PARIS by Woody Allen – for the wittiest ever intellectual game put on by the master of cinema: Mr Woody Allen. Honestly, I do not care about his private life. He is a genius. And Owen Wilson playing Woody Allen is astonishingly good! Nominated for the original script for the Oscar in 2012.

5. DRIVE by Nicolas Winding Refn – for the lighting, for set design, for music, for costumes and for Christina Hendricks!!!

6. TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY – for the cold nordic grading, for costumes, for Gary Oldman!

7. TREACLE JR. by Jamie Thraves – for great indie spirit and a bitter sweet view at one man’s mid life crisis.

8. HORRIBLE BOSSES by Seth Gordon – for humour in good taste and for Kevin Spacey.

9. A SEPARATION by Ashghar Farhadi – for reminding us Europocentric egoists that there is life outside of our borders, which at the bottom is not that much different! Nominated in the foreign film category for the Oscar in 2012.

10. SUBMARINE by Richard Ayoade – for the crafty technique playing with different cameras, colour, play with genres and conventions, self criticism and self-consciousness, also for Paddy Considine!

To summarise briefly – the year was filled with Ryan Gosling who is undergoing a considerable boom on his persona.

I am aware of the fact that I should probably make a ‘bottom’ list of 2011.

That is only one really – my total misunderstanding with so many others, who loved this film. I’m sorry: BRIDESMAIDS by Paul Feig. Sorry, not my taste. Sorry. Oh, one more: THE GUARD by Martin McDonagh’s brother. I did not get that one either. Sorry.

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Re-encounter by Ming JongKeun

One of a few films shown at Off Plus Camera in the Busan section.

It’s a hunt for the past, an attempt at patching very old scars which will never cure, never get back to their original healthy surface.

A story of naive hope that some things can be fixed, when in fact, they never will. A sad look at a dramatic couple who conceived a child a few years back, whom they gave away for adoption and how life has changed over the years.

There’s a strong parallel between the lives of people and the lives of dogs. There seems to be a concept of transplaced sense of motherhood that the main protagonist exercises on sick and abandoned dogs she takes care of.

A very melancholic and sad experience.

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Off Plus Camera films watched

The International Independent Cinema Off Plus Camera Festival took place between April 8th and 17th. Over a week, two weekends included, screenings held from noon till midnight. Also on rooftops, which was a great idea, but a little optimistic for Polish April weather. However, with blankets and hot tea and most of all – great films, everyone was happy.

Krakow was incredibly windy and cold the first few days. The festival was great despite both the wind and the rain hitting from time to time. The people were great, the venues had lovely atmosphere and it was an honour to host so many distinguished guests. A lot of the festival info can be still found here: http://offpluscamera.com

I haven’t seen a lot of films, but some I have. Will post a brief summary for each of them.

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