Tag Archives: raindance

Love Tomorrow by Christopher Payne (2010) #rdff

Winner of the UK Feature section at Raindance 2012.

This is yet another ballet themed film at Raindance. Two dancers meet at the tube escalators and what seems to be a reactivation of a previous acquaintance, it turns out they had never met before. They spend the night together – in the Linklater’s sense of Before Sunrise and Before Sunset – walking around London, talking, or not, sometimes dancing, drinking, exploring the outside world through each other’s eyes.

Supposedly it is a non-mainstream love story. Supposedly it is a fake love story without a happy ending. Supposedly it is a warm tale making us believe in humans again.

It is nicely photographed, craftily lit and London always looks stunning in October, the duo surely knows how to dance.  I liked the costumes.

Would a ballet dancer riding a bike to the audition throw in two bricks into his backpack? Just a thought.

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StringCaesar by Paul Schoolman (2010) #rdff

Where the depth of this project begins and ends is incredibly hard to establish. Schoolman has achieved results that cannot be compared to anything done in the resocialization of prison history.
Schoolman entered three prisons as distant as South Africa, Canada and the UK. There, he worked with the inmates on recreating the life of Julius Caesar between the ages of 14 and 33.

The project is fascinating not only because of how it has been created but also with the merit it delivers.
There are a few actors (only 10% of the whole cast) such as Derek Jacobi, Alice Krige and the main Warren Adler playing Caesar. But the main corps cosists of prisoners.

The fascinating story changed the lives of the inmates and apparently noone before did drama workshops in prisons.

All in all the film should be admired for not only the idea of making it in prison, but also for the story that Schoolman took on board. This is not Shakespeare’s Caesar. This is Caesar as presented in historical sources. The dialogues, the songs, the majority of the text has been created by the inmates involved in the project.
The result is stunning for its theatricality – remember prison has a very limited amount of space, for its drama, for the involvement of all who took part.
Amazing, incredible watch delivering a proper old Greek classic catharsis for the viewer. A must see.

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Culture Shock by Steve Balderson (2012) #rdff

Lightweight comedy bringing to mind Scooby Doo group of teenage friends solving criminal mysteries.

Four twenty-something Americans are forced by their parents to visit Europe ‘as adults’. That means they have to deal with issues by themselves rather than ring parents for help, who refuse to pick up their calls.

Realised in a true indie spirit – most of the film was shot on a handheld digital camera. A list of thankyous is quite long – mainly to locations. Apparently the cost of the film did not exceed £3000. And yet, it is a nice dose of entertainment.

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Ballroom Dancer by Christian Bonke, Andreas Koefoed (2011) #rdff

How often does a documentary watch like a love story? Not that often in my experience.

This is a love story.

Camera follows Slavik – a Russian ballroom dancer, who works on returning back to fame, back to the good old days when he was the World Champion. He starts anew with new young partner and competes against his old flame, who kept the title – winning with her new partner.

This film is so amazingly photographed and scored, that only for those two elements it is worth a watch. And on top of that you have a great true story of one man fighting for his career, his love, his life. Amazing film.

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Percival’s Big Night by William Sullivan (2011) #rdff

One room, one continous take, four characters, three bags of ‘herb’.

Salvatore (Sal) is an ‘herbal enterpreneur’ – i.e. NOT a drug dealer.

His flatmate named Percival (Percy) is a struggling actor.

The two behave like an old married couple – but it becomes obvious that just like a married couple they couldn’t live one without the other.

What do they talk about? Girls, life, future. Then – when the girls arrive, they split into twos, however, whoever leaves the room is not followed. Just like in theatre, just like on stage.

I like such confined setups. It allows to focus the whole attention on what is being said rather than what happens. In a way this is a social analysis of contemporary 20-year olds and their lives, their hopes, their plans.

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Flor de fango by Guillermo González (2011) #rdff

This is a Mexican drama. It tells the story of a hopeless case of middle-aged Augusto, who is a teacher, husband to beautiful Ruth and falls for a destructive passion for a 13-year old sort of adopted daughter of his.

The tragic journey to catch the escaping dove (or maybe in Mexico it is more like a seagull) should teach him a lesson. Yet he never learns and carries on through neckbreaking quest. The trip he undertakes is less geographical and more existential. There is a very high ladder he falls down from.

Perhaps this is a portrayal of contemporary Mexico and how thin the border is between the rich and the poorest. Perhaps this is a tale showing how relatively simple it is to switch from a fairly comfortable life to a life in the gutter.

All in all, perhaps the strongest side of this film is the costume, the colour, the music and the illusive beauty of the girl, who seems so innocent.

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Le vendeur by Sebastien Pilote (2011) #rdff

Marcel Lévesque is a car salesman. The best one among his colleagues for many years. He is 67 years old, lives across the street from the garage, has a single daughter and an 8-year old grandson. He is a very happy person, who enjoys his time on this earth with the people he likes and those two he truly loves.

The peaceful image presented begs for a disturbance, for a crack which unfortunately for the protagonist comes from two sides. Both cracks are signalled very early in the movie which makes them less shocking.

The moral of the story may be read from various angles.

Maybe it is about having a life outside of the job or maybe it is about making your job your life. I don’t know. But this is a very melancholic and lovely tale of life.

To an extent it reminded me of Glengarry Glen Ross – as one more time the job of a salesman is to sell something people don’t want to buy or can’t afford to buy. But it does have a more personal edge to it. Amazing cinema.

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Confine by Tobias Tobbell (2012) #rdff

What is a good recipe for a pleasant watch?

How about this:

1x gun,

2x beautiful girls,

1x Alfie Allen,

tons of ducktape,

reasonable amount of (fake) blood,

1x cane and

1x pair of stilettos?

Does it sound sufficient? Throw in a little bit of crafty cinematography, great lighting, costume+interior design and lock it all in a reasonably sized London appartment.

What do you get?

You get “Confine” – presented at Raindance in the main UK feature competition.

Tobias Tobbell – writer-director delivered an aesthetically delectable piece fitting into the contemporary British new wave of indie films.

Starring former model turned actress Daisy Lowe and Eliza Bennett as two strong characters juggling options which are not always predictable.

This is a well constructed suspense thriller with the inevitable twist towards the ending. I want to watch it again to devour the tiny details, to admire cinematography again, to contemplate the lovely movements of the two ladies verbally wrestling next to powerless in their presence Alfie Allen.

Here’s an interview carried out with writer-director Tobias Tobbell:
http://juliaxix.filmaster.com/article/interview-with-tobias-tobbell-writer-director-of-film-confine/

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The Lottery of Birth by Raoul Martinez, Joshua van Praag (2012) #rdff

Another document at this year’s Raindance.

Touching upon the subjects of choice in our everyday lives. Illustrated on the striking example of professor Milgram’s experiments at Yale university in 1960’s, where consistently 65% of participants of diverse backgrounds do not hesitate to blindly follow the rules deadly injuring other participants of the experiment (unaware that the subjects of the experiment are hired actors).

The main message of this picture filled with talking heads – amongst whom are experts in diverse fields – economy, sociology, history, seems to be – act, don’t be the idle watcher. Quite a challenge in the contemporary world when we have gradually become indifferent to social inequalities and injustice in general.

Too drastic at times – I understand this is for audiences who have no idea Holocaust ever happened but I would be satisfied with numbers/statistics rather than gory images from concentration camps, of piles of dead bodies and starving children.

Although the purpose of this film is righteous – it seemed a bit too blunt and too claustrophobic.

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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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