Archive for February, 2012

Berlin International Film Festival 2012 (9-19 February)

February 20th, 2012 - Graham Eley

Berlin has suffered during recent years from a lack of headline films with many of the arthouse heavyweights preferring to wait for a high-profile world premiere at Cannes during May.  It has compensated by awarding the Golden Bear to various films of high cultural significance from lesser known territories but which, nevertheless, have something to say to a wider audience.  Although, worthy winners, for the most part, they have not attracted sufficient attention to prevent the festival’s top four status from being under threat.  That was, at least, until last year when the Golden Bear winner, Asghar Farhadi’s outstanding A Separation, received wide recognition and has now emerged as a clear frontrunner for a best foreign language film Oscar later this month.

 

Berlin has selected a varied line-up for this year’s main competition, which, again, is more likely to find a gem in unexpected places than provide the film press with a big story.

 

Benoït Jacquot’s festival opener, Farewell My Queen, provides a maids’ view of the demise of the decadent Versailles royal court at the outset of the French Revolution.

 

Wang Quan’an returns to the Berlinale main competition with his new feature, White Deer Plain, having bagged a Golden Bear for Tuya’s Marriage five years ago.  A woman is caught in a land battle between two rival families, which Wang has adapted from Chen Zhongshi’s banned novel of the same name.

 

Another regular, Hans-Christian Schmid, makes his fourth appearance in Berlin with Home For The Weekend, where simmering tensions rise to the surface in a complex examination of family life.

 

Isabelle Huppert stars in Brillante Mendoza’s Captive alongside mainly non-professional actors.  The controversial Filipino filmmaker dramatises a real incident where Islamic terrorists took the wrong group hostage with unexpected results.

 

Nikolaj Arcel, who wrote the script for Niels Arden Oplev’s original version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, was in the director’s chair for A Royal Affair.  Mads Mikkelsen stars in the dramatisation of Johann Struensee’s real life rise amongst the ranks of the Danish royal court to the de facto ruler of the country.

 

Edwin follows his debut feature, Blind Pig Who Wants To Fly, with a tale

of an abandoned girl who grows up in a Zoo and cannot find happiness when she leaves.  Postcards From The Zoo is based on his own script and stars Ladya Cheryl.

 

Another rising star of the arthouse sector, Miguel Gomes, adopts a typically unconventional approach to Tabu, for the tale of a kindly neighbour taking care of an elderly lady whose backstory includes an illicit affair.

 

Veteran filmmakers Christian Petzold, Paolo and Vittorio Taviani and Billy Bob Thornton will all show new films in the main competition.

 

Mike Leigh will preside over the main competition jury, which includes Asghar Farhadi.

 

 

World premieres from the main competition:

 

A Royal Affair (Den)

Nikolaj Arcel

 

The keenly awaited new feature from Nikolaj Arcel is based upon Johann Struensee’s real life rise amongst the ranks of the Danish royal court to the de facto ruler of the country.  Starring Mads Mikkelsen and Alicia Vikander, it will explore power in its different forms with some echoes of Dangerous Liaisons.  Arcel wrote the script for Niels Arden Oplev’s original version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

 

 

Barbara (Ger)

Christian Petzold

 

Christian Petzold returns to East Germany for an exploration of paranoia during the final years of the Stasi’s reign of terror.  When a young lady doctor falls for a colleague after applying for consent to emigrate, it is unclear whether he is genuine or a Stasi plant.  Petzold’s Yella was in competition on the Berlinale in 2007, when Nina Hoss won a silver bear for best actress.

 

 

Caesar Must Die (It)

Paolo and Vittorio Taviani

 

Veteran filmmakers, Paolo and Vittorio Taviani, blur the boundaries between fact and fiction in their portrayal of real inmates within Rome’s Rebibbia prison preparing for a public performance of Shakespeare’s  Julius Caesar.

 

 

Captive (Phil/Fra)

Brillante Mendoza

 

Isabelle Huppert heads a cast that also includes non-professional actors for the Filipino filmmaker’s take on a real incident where Islamic terrorists took the wrong group hostage with unexpected results.

 

 

Childish Games (Sp)

Antonio Chavarrias

 

Memories of a distant past haunt a teacher in this psychological thriller when he takes care of his friend’s daughter in distressing circumstances.

 

 

Coming Home (Fr)

Frédéric Videau

 

A women secures release from captivity after an eight year battle of wits with her kidnapper, only to struggle with her newfound freedom.

 

 

Farewell My Queen (Fra)

Benoït Jacquot

 

Benoït Jacquot’s new feature, Farewell My Queen, which opens the festival, is an adaptation of Chantal Thomas’ novel of the same name.  Filmed in the grand manner, it depicts the the end of the decadent Versailles royal court from the point of view of the ‘downstairs’ maids at the outset of the French Revolution.  Diane Kruger stars as Marie Antoinette.

 

 

Home For The Weekend  (Ger)

Hans-Christian Schmid

 

Hans-Christian Schmid (Requiem) returns to Berlin for the fourth time with a complex examination of family life where simmering tensions rise to the surface that effect different generations.

 

 

Jayne Mansfield’s Car (US)

Billy Bob Thornton

 

Thornton’s imaginatively entitled, Jayne Mansfield’s Car, takes us back to the the final throes of the Sixties where a culture clash divides two families.  A strong cast includes Robert Duvall, Kevin Bacon and John Hurt.

 

 

Just The Wind (Hun)

Bence Fliegauf

 

Real events inspired the narrative for a dramatisation of a gypsy family living in a community that is a target for racist motivated murders.

 

 

Mercy (Ger/Nor)

Matthias Glasner

 

A wife faces guilt when she fails to stop after a possible hit and run accident in Arctic Noway during a sunless winter.

 

 

Meteora (Ger/Gr)

Spiros Stathoulopoulos

 

Theo Alexander stars in the keenly awaited second feature of Spiros Stathoulopoulos, some five years after PVC-1.  Human love and religious devotion clash when an attraction develops between a monk and a nun in the Greek orthodox monasteries.

 

 

Postcards From The Zoo (Indo)

Edwin

 

We could not accuse Indonesian filmmaker, Edwin, of lacking imagination with selecting film titles.  After his debut feature, Blind Pig Who Wants To Fly, he has now given us Postcards From The Zoo.  Starring Ladya Cheryl, it depicts the story of an abandoned girl who grows up in a Zoo and cannot find happiness once she leaves.

 

 

Sister (Switz/Fra)

Ursula Meier

 

A follow-up to her debut feature, Home, Meier’s realist drama depicts class differentials as exit within modern day Western Europe.  Kacey Mottet Klein plays a young boy who steals skying equipment from a luxury resort to support his sister, who lives in a nearby rundown apartment.  Long-term Claire Denis collaborator, Agnes Godard, provides the cinematography.

 

Tabu (Port)

Miguel Gomes

 

One of the rising stars of the art house sector, Miguel Gomes, adopts a typically innovative narration for his portrayal of a kindly neighbour taking care of an elderly lady whose backstory includes an illicit affair.

 

 

Tey (Aujourd’Hui) (Fr/Sen)

Alain Gomis

 

Alain Gomis is the latest filmmaker to adopt the ‘knowing it is the last day of my life’ theme.  Saül Williams plays a Senegalese man who returns from America and sees things very clearly from his new perspective.

 

 

War Witch (Can)

Kim Nguyen

 

The new feature from the emerging Canadian filmmaker, Kim Nguyen, follows a child soldier in Central Africa looking to escape the horrors of civil war.

 

 

White Deer Plain (China)

Wang Quan’an

 

Wang Quan’an’s late Berlinale competition entry, White Deer Plain, is one of the most keenly awaited films of the festival.  Based upon Chen Zhongshi’s controversial novel of the same name, which the Chinese authorities banned for over explicit sex scenes, it is an allegorical tale of political and social change set at the end of imperial China.  A battle for land between two rival families is told from the point of view of a woman new to the area, who is caught in the in-fighting.  Wang is a Berlinale recent favourite having won the Golden Bear for Tuya’s Marriage and a best screenplay Silver Bear for Apart Together.buy motilium tabletsdomperidone buy order domperidone from canadathuoc domperidone where to buy motilium in the usdomperidone suspension buy domperidone from canada

Dangerous Method, A

February 10th, 2012 - Graham Eley

Stylistically different but thematically integral to his back catalogue, David Cronenberg returns to the early part of the last century for a dramatisation of the friendship-turned-sour between Sigmund Freud and his former protégé, Carl Jung, and the part that a mutual patient played in proceedings.

 

Adapted from his own play, The Talking Cure, Christopher Hampton wrote the script.  Having explored sexual excess in his screenplay for Dangerous Liaisons, he now turns his attention to the politics of individual restraint.  John Kerr’s non-fiction account, A Most Dangerous Method, provided the source material, which, in turn inspired the title to the film.

 

A victim of her father’s physical abuse, Sabina Spielrein has developed a hunger for masochistic sex that leaves her in a permanent state of torment.  She arrives at Jung’s Zurich clinic staring hysterically, often gasping for breath against a jaw protruding awkwardly to the point of straining.  Jung turns to the ‘talking cure’, psychoanalysis, but quickly becomes the focus of his patient’s rampant sexual desires; an invitation to fulfil the ironic role of substitute father, a mainstay of Freud’s theory.  It is a temptation that the married and deeply conservative Jung could not resist, but does it constitute an explosion of a repressed Freudian impulse or the analyst allowing the patient’s treatment to determine his own behaviour in a moment of unacceptable weakness?  Jung is not so sure.

 

There is more to Spielrein than meets the eye, demonstrating a real flair for psychoanalysis; Jung even referring her to Freud as an ultimate case study.  The patient turns student and then analyst, and roles and ideas become interchangeable and confused but Jung emerges from it challenging Freud for being too fixed on determinable laws, striving, instead, for a balance between rationality and intuition.  It is a major disappointment for Freud, who had once seen Jung as his natural heir but could not tolerate contamination by anything remotely ‘mystical’.  What began as a professional parting of the ways, soon becomes a bitter rivalry, and before we know it, Cronenberg and Hampton have turned the tables on their illustrious subjects with a careful deconstruction of both egos upon their own terms.  It is a neat trick and one that they pull off very effectively; a smart entwining of theories and personal lives.

 

Keira Knightley, who has been lacklustre once or twice of late, turns in a strong performance as Spielrein, convincingly encapsulating her character’s wild excess and powerful intellect.  Much in demand, Michael Fassbender, and Cronenberg regular, Viggo Mortensen, develop a powerful on-screen chemistry as the haughty Jung and disillusioned Freud, where looks and gestures speak louder than words.  And watch out for a super cameo from Vincent Cassel as a highly disturbed psychoanalyst in a sly representation of a Freudian conception of the psyche without the controlling influence of the ‘super-ego’.

 

An intriguing collaboration of talent achieved what Roman Polanski and Yasmina Reza’s patiently failed to do in another Venice competition entry, Carnage, and provides an engrossing drama that successfully transcends its theatrical origins.buy motilium tabletsdomperidone buy order domperidone from canadathuoc domperidone where to buy motilium in the usdomperidone suspension buy domperidone from canada

 

Young Adult

February 3rd, 2012 - Graham Eley

A cynical but ruthlessly honest black comedy sees filmmaker, Jason Reitman, and screenwriter, Diablo Cody, reunite after their fresh and quirky coming-of-age Oscar nominated success, Juno.

 

Paramount backed Young Adult is a throwback to 1970’s New Hollywood with America’s film establishment turning in on itself to debunk those conservative myths that it has done so much to establish.

 

Forty years on, we again find a gender-in-crisis but this time it is a post modern femininity-turned-sour where the powerful institutional values of the American nuclear family and the high-school prom have chewed-up ‘girl power’ and, unceremoniously,  spat it out.

 

Charlize Theron is superb as a former prom queen turned successful ghost writer of teenage fiction who hits a mid-life crisis when the book contract expires and her marriage ends in divorce.  Caught in her own rom com fiction world, she cooks up a hare-brained scheme of returning to her hometown with the sole intention of rekindling a romance with her now happily married first love.  Cringe-worthy humour mutates into tragedy as deluded hope triggers an out and out ‘car crash’ meltdown that exposes a deeply flawed character to the full glare of those that she had once impressed.

 

Patton Oswalt is equally good as her geeky former classmate that she only remembers as ‘the hate-crime guy’.  An embittered victim of a cowardly attack that left him permanently disabled, he sees things very clearly from the sidelines.  Far too uncool for her to notice when at school but now a convenient companion for shared self-loathing, this is an unsentimental association that exposes the sad truth of those, who for different reasons, find themselves alienated from a mainstream that past intolerance and false expectations has shaped.yasmin yasmin usayasmine order yasmin onlineyasmin pill order yasminyasmin birth control

 

This is mature work from Reitman and Cody that conjures up a particularly ugly view of the American moral landscape.

Carnage

February 3rd, 2012 - Graham Eley

It is not difficult to see why Yasmina Reza’s play, The Gods of Carnage, attracted Roman Polanski’s attention.  The suffocating environment of its single setting falls firmly within his territory after 50 years of exploring claustrophobia as a dominant theme.  Add to the mix, some fundamentally flawed bourgeois characters and a dose of hysteria and paranoia, and this adaptation was potentially another significant addition to Polanski’s oeuvre.  So, what went wrong?

 

Things start promisingly enough.  There is an engaging disposition; two couples meet in a Brooklyn suburban apartment looking for an amicable settlement to a playground spat between their sons, which got out of hand when one took a stick to the other’s head.  The hosts, an assertive liberal and her deceptively cheerful husband, are the victim’s parents, barely concealing their resentment under a veil of contrived compromise.  Their worldly visitors, a cynical corporate lawyer, with a serious mobile phone obsession, and his power-dressing executive wife, are unperturbed at first, but as the confined setting gradually heightens the intensity, their self-assured sense of importance looks increasingly strained.

 

We are fully on board at this point, but once satire starts to overpower the drama, there is an unintentional release from the carefully controlled tension, with the forced irony being unable to transcend the film’s theatrical origins.  Like a filmed version of a live stage production, the actors’ physical presence dissipates, leaving us with an unfortunate anti-climax of infantile behaviour and predictable changes of allegiance.

 

All of which is a missed opportunity.  Polanski’s real time narration works well during the first hour and there are some genuinely sharp lines for a cast on top form until misplaced absurdity undoes their best efforts.

 

It leaves us with an overwhelming sense that if Polanski had followed his own logic, rather than that of the play, the film would have remained within the limits of credibility that it had originally set.  Ultimately, no more than a minor work but there is one memorable scene that takes us completely  by surprise, involving projectile vomit and a Kokoschka monograph.buy cheap dapoxetinedapoxetina costa ricabuy viagra dapoxetine onlinefluoxetine classificationfluoxetine 40 fluoxetine tablets 20mgfluoxetine oral solution fluoxetine 20 mg tabletsfluoxetine 200 mg fluoxetine 10 mg side effects

 

Martha Marcy May Marlene

February 3rd, 2012 - Graham Eley

The names of the film’s title indicate the different and troubled personae of its enigmatic protagonist, that raise more questions than answers, but make for a compelling cinematic reflection on abuse, guilt and paranoia.

 

Martha escapes from an obscure cult where she is known as Marcy May and all the girls answer the phone as Marlene.  Details unfold randomly through subjective flashbacks that we take as Martha’s memory rationalising the unthinkable.  Even the most mundane of activities have a sense of foreboding, which is fully realised when its leader’s unnerving double-speak turns into a shocking reality.  This is an environment of brainwashing where Martha becomes a victim and perpetrator at one and the same time, confusing the boundaries of responsibility, and leaving an unmentioned guilt as a heavy presence.

 

The ominous undertones subtly cross over to a present that sees Martha reunite with her elder sister after a mysterious estrangement.  Now a ghostly childlike presence almost oblivious to social conventions, she comes into conflict with her sister’s new husband, a prudish Englishman who occasionally gets too close for comfort.

 

Elizabeth Olsen delivers a natural performance of maturity beyond her years, which opens multiple possible interpretations for her current plight that the uncertain past has shaped and leaves little or no hope for the future.

 

John Hawkes uses his magnetic screen presence to full effect in a truly chilling portrayal of a Manson style psycho, who grooms young girls for his sexual pleasure and manipulates others into carrying out his murderous deeds.  Only in the act of killing, he advocates, can we experience pure emotion, where absolute fear expunges all distractions.

 

Sarah Paulson is convincing too as the elder sister, an obsessive believer in mainstream values, who emerges as another controlling presence.

 

It is a remarkably assured debut feature from Sean Darkin that bagged the best director award at Sundance 2011.  Cinematograher, Jody Lee Lipes, does much to create the mood and editor, Zachary Stuart-Pontier, pieces together the different timelines with some aplomb.

 

There is a controversial ending but, as those paying attention will observe, it  is precisely in tune with the film’s overall form.dapoxetine online australiageneric dapoxetine in usageneric dapoxetine 60mgfluoxetine classificationfluoxetine 40 fluoxetine tablets 20mgfluoxetine oral solution fluoxetine 20 mg tabletsfluoxetine 200 mg fluoxetine 10 mg side effects