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Thread: New Directors/New Films and Film Comment Selects 2014 General Forum thread

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    New Directors/New Films and Film Comment Selects 2014 General Forum thread

    New Directors/New Films and Film Comment Selects 2014 General Forum thread

    Selects

    FEBRUARY 17-27 2014 PUBLIC SCREENINGS



    MARCH 19-30 2014 PUBLIC SCREENINGS

    Dedicated to the discovery and support of emerging artists, New Directors/New Films has earned an international reputation as the premier festival for works that break or re-cast the cinematic mold. Celebrating its 43rd year in 2014, the festival takes place March 19-30 and is presented jointly by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and The Museum of Modern Art

    As before I expect to attend screenings of all the New Directors/New Films series and perhaps a few of the more elusive Film Comment Selects. A link index of the reviews will come here.

    The General Film Forum discussion-access thread begins here with links to Festival Coverage section reviews and opportunity for viewer comments..

    Links to all Filmleaf's 2014 ND/NF and FCS reviews:

    Badadook, The (Jennifer Kent 2014)--ND/NF
    Buzzard (Joel Potrykus 2013)--ND/NF
    Cherchez Hortense (Pascal Bonitzer 2012)--FCS
    Dear White People (Justin Simien 2014)--ND/NF
    Double, The (Richard Ayoade 2013)--ND/NF
    Felony (Matthew Saville 2013)--FCS
    Fish & Cat (Shahram Mokri 2013)--ND/NF
    Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, A (Ana Lily Anirpour 2013)--ND/NF
    Japanese Dog, The (Tudor Cristian Jurgiu 2014)--ND/NF
    Me and You/Io e te (Bernardo Bertolucci 2013)--FCS
    Mouton/Sheep (Gilles Deroo, Mariane Pistone 2013)--ND/NF
    Obvious Child (Gillian Robbespierre 2013)--ND/NF
    Of Horses and Men (Benedickt Erlingsson 2013)--ND/NF
    Our Sunhi (Hong Sang-soo 2013)--FCS
    Quod Erat Demonstrandum (Andrei Gruzsnetczki 2014)--ND/NF
    Return to Homs (Talal Derki 2013)--ND/NF
    Salvation Army/L'Armée du salut (Abdellah Taïa 2013)--ND/NF
    Spell to Ward Off the Darkness, A (Ben Rivers, Ben Russell 2013)
    Stop the Pounding Heart (Robert Minervini 2013)--ND/NF
    Story of Fear/Historia del miedo (2013)--ND/NF
    Story of My Death/Historia de meva mort (Albert Serra 2013)--ND/NF
    Strange Color of Your Body's Tears, The/L'Étrange couleur des larmes de ton corps (Hélène Cattet, Bruno Forzani 2013)--ND/NF
    Strange Little Cat, The/Merkwürdige Kätzchen, Das (Ramon Zürcher 2013)--ND/NF
    To Kill a Man (Alejandro Fernándo Almendras 2013)--ND/NF
    Trap Street/Shuiyin jie (Vivian Qu 2013)--ND/NF
    Vanquishing of the Witch Baba Yaga, The (Jessica Orneck 2014)--ND/NF
    We Come As Friends (Hupert Sauper 2014)--ND/NF
    Youth (Tom Shoval 2013)--ND/NF
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 01-01-2015 at 05:55 PM.

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    NEW DIRECTORS/NEW FILMS 2014: EARLY SELECTIONS

    As before the FSLC/MoMA selection committee has announced some "early selections." The whole program will come later. (Feb. 14, 2014)


    THE DOUBLE


    The Double | Richard Ayoade
    UK | 2013 | 93min
    Richard Ayoade has built a loyal following with his hilariously off characters, notably the one he plays in the TV series The IT Crowd and those that inhabit his 2010 directorial debut, Submarine. Starring Jesse Eisenberg as both Simon James, a humdrum worker drone, and his gregarious doppelgänger, James Simon, the film is set within both the claustrophobic confines of Simon’s bureaucratic workplace and his paranoid mind.

    Of Horses and Men | Benedikt Erlingsson
    Iceland | 2014 | 80min
    The debut feature by celebrated stage director Benedikt Erlingsson announces the arrival of an innovative new cinematic voice. Set almost exclusively outdoors amid stunning Icelandic landscapes, the film features in equal parts a cast of exquisite short-legged Icelandic horses and human characters—including the terrific Ingvar E. Sigurdsson and Charlotte Bøving as meant-for-each-other but put-upon lovers—illuminating with great inventive flair the relationship between man and beast.

    Salvation Army (L'armée du salut) | Abdellah Taïa
    France/Morocco/Switzerland | 2013 | 81min
    Like the book it’s based on—Abdellah Taïa’s own 2006 landmark novel—the Moroccan author’s directorial debut is a bracing, deeply personal account of a young gay man’s awakening that avoids both cliché and the trappings of autobiography. With a clear-eyed approach, devoid of sentimentality, this wholly surprising bildungsfilm explores what it means to be an outsider, and with the help of renowned cinematographer Agnès Godard, Taïa finds a film language all his own: at once rigorous and poetic, and worthy of Robert Bresson in its concreteness and lucidity.

    A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness | Ben Rivers and Ben Russell
    Estonia/France | 2013 | 98min
    As collaborators, Ben Rivers and Ben Russell, two intrepid and nomadic talents of experimental film and art, have created one of the most bewitching cinematic experiences to come along in a great while. In A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness, Robert A.A. Lowe, the celebrated musician behind Lichens and Om, gives a strangely affecting, perhaps even trance-inducing performance as the film’s Parsifal figure, a quixotic man who embarks on a quest for utopia—the holy grail of infinite truth, self-knowledge, and spiritual connectedness.

    Stop the Pounding Heart | Roberto Minervini
    Belgium/Italy/USA | 2013 | 100min
    Sara (Sara Carlson, playing herself) is part of a devout Christian goat-farming family with 12 children, all home-schooled and raised with strict moral guidance from the Scriptures. Set in a rural community that has remained isolated from technological advances and lifestyle influence—no phones, TVs, computers, or drunken teen brawls—the subtly narrative film follows Sara and Colby, two 14-year-olds with vastly different backgrounds who are quietly drawn to each other. By presenting an authentic, impartial portrayal of the Texas Bible Belt, Minervini allows for the humanity and complexity behind the stereotypes to show through.

    Story of My Death (Història de la meva mort) | Albert Serra
    Spain/France | 2013 | 148min
    No one else working in movies today makes anything remotely like the Catalan maverick Albert Serra, a cerebral oddball and improbable master of cinematic antiquity. Known for his unconventional adaptations of Cervantes’s Don Quixote (Honor of the Knights) and the Biblical parable of the Three Kings (Birdsong), Serra here stages the 18th-century passage from rationalism to romanticism as a tussle between two figures of legend, Casanova and Dracula.

    Trap Street (Shuiyin Jie) | Vivian Qu
    China | 2013 | 94min
    Notions of surveillance and observation are turned inside out in Trap Street, producer Vivian Qu’s first turn as a director. Noir in tone, and a great representation of the newest generation of Chinese filmmakers, the film is a bold story of who is really watching who that, while firmly embedded in the current cultural context of China, could happen to any one of us.

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 01-01-2015 at 05:41 PM.

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    Film Comment Selects 2014 slate

    From the Film Society of Lincoln Center, NY. "The 14th edition of Film Comment magazine’s essential and eclectic feast of cinephilia presents 22 discoveries and rediscoveries, 17 of them New York premieres, and nine without U.S. distribution, handpicked by the magazine’s editors after scouring the international festival circuit in 2013. "--Mindy Bond, FSLC.

    This is concurrent with the Redez-Vous and New Directors screenings, so hard to attend but I may see one or two. I'd like to see the Petzolds and the Moodysson but it depends on my schedule.


    WE ARE THE BEST (Lukas Moodysson)

    A.O. Scott in the NY Times offers a preview of Film Comment Selects with thumbnails of some of the films.
    Our Sunhi
    Hong Sang-soo | 2013 | 88 mins

    A former film student awakens romantic longing in three men who cross her path in this acutely observed take on misread behavior, indecision, and awkward interchanges between the sexes from one of cinema’s undisputed masters of moral comedy.
    Monday, February 17
    9:00pm
    Thursday, February 20
    4:45pm

    Me and You
    Bernardo Bertolucci | 2012 | 103 mins

    A teenager from a well-to-do-family tries to escape the outside world by shutting himself in his mother’s basement, but finds himself sharing the space with his heroin-addicted older half-sister in Bertolucci’s first Italian-language feature in 32 years.
    Thursday, February 27
    8:30pm

    Betrayal
    David Jones | 1983 | 95 mins

    Jeremy Irons, Ben Kingsley, and Patricia Hodge star in this rarely screened adaptation of one of Harold Pinter’s greatest plays, a semi-autobiographical portrait of an adulterous affair.
    Read more »
    Tuesday, February 18
    8:45pm

    Blood Glacier
    Marvin Kren | 2013 | 98 mins

    Scientists researching climate change at a research base in the German Alps discover a mysterious substance leaking from a glacier containing micro-organisms that can infect multiple hosts, and soon do, in this over-the-top creature feature for the Global Warming age.
    Saturday, February 22
    10:00pm

    Cannibal
    Manuel Martín Cuenca | 2013 | 116 mins

    The blunt title of this quietly disturbing, creepily atmospheric, and deeply perverse character study of a small-town tailor who forms a connection with his “masseuse” neighbor won’t prepare you for the slow and mesmerizingly deliberate experience in store for you.
    Saturday, February 22
    3:20pm
    Wednesday, February 26
    3:30pm

    Cherchez Hortense
    Pascal Bonitzer | 2012 | 100 mins

    Jean-Pierre Bacri and Kristin Scott Thomas are together at last in this old-school relationship movie by frequent Rivette and Ruiz screenplay collaborator and ex–Cahiers du cinéma critic Pascal Bonitzer, an underrated filmmaker in his own right.
    Tuesday, February 18
    6:30pm
    Tuesday, February 25
    4:45pm

    City of Pirates
    Raúl Ruiz | 1983 | 111 mins

    Funny, frightening, and enigmatic, this rarely screened film by the late Raúl Ruiz is like a cross between Peter Pan and Friday the 13th as told through a wildly baroque visual style that suggests a collaboration between Georges Méliès and Sergio Leone.
    Wednesday, February 26
    9:50pm

    Enemy
    Denis Villeneuve | 2013 | 90 mins

    In his second collaboration with Villeneuve, Jake Gyllenhaal gives his best performance to date as both Adam, a reserved and humorless history professor, and Anthony, an animated and cocksure bit-part actor who catches the academic’s eye due to their alarming resemblance.
    Thursday, February 27
    6:30pm

    Fat Shaker
    Mohammad Shirvani | 2013 | 85 min
    s
    In this singular and cryptic film from a subversive new voice in Iranian cinema, an obese con man uses his attractive deaf-mute son to extort money from predatory women looking for a boy-toy—until one of his marks makes herself at home, with unexpected consequences.
    Saturday, February 22
    1:30pm

    Felony
    Matthew Saville | 2013 | 105 mins

    Moral dilemmas abound in this tense police drama starring Tom Wilkinson and Joel Edgerton, who also wrote the screenplay, another knockout from the Australian production collective behind Animal Kingdom.
    Monday, February 17
    6:30pm

    Flesh of My Flesh
    Denis Dercourt | 2013 | 76 mins

    Director Denis Dercourt in person for Q&A!
    An unsettling and strikingly oblique psychological horror film that gives new meaning to the term “motherly love,” Flesh of My Flesh takes us into the schizoid reality of a woman whose young child has a rare medical condition that requires a highly unusual diet.
    Saturday, February 22
    5:45pm

    Ghosts
    Christian Petzold | 2005 | 85 mins

    Petzold’s third film interweaves two intersecting storylines to explore the spectral existences of three female outsiders—a pair of late adolescent girls and an unstable middle-aged woman—who struggle to reconnect with “normal” society and find a place to belong.
    Wednesday, February 26
    8:00pm

    Healthcare Mayhem: The Carey Treatment + The Hospital
    Blake Edwards | Arthur Hiller | 1971 & 1972 | 204 mins

    Suspicion abounds in this month’s Film Comment Double Feature of two early-1970s medical gems: The Carey Treatment, an elaborately plotted mystery thriller starring James Coburn, and The Hospital, a blackly comic drama by Network writer Paddy Chayevsky.
    Tuesday, February 25
    7:00pm

    The Hypnotist
    Lasse Hallström | 2012 | 122 mins

    Hallström returns to his native tongue for the first time in 25 years for this twisty, visually striking Nordic noir about a psychologist (the great Mikael Persbrandt) who’s lured back into hypnotism—a practice he’d sworn off—to help solve a horrific crime.
    Friday, February 21
    3:30pm
    Sunday, February 23
    8:00pm

    Intruders
    Noh Young-seok | 2013 | 99 mins

    Director Noh Young-seok in person on February 20!
    This twisty, blackly comic suspense thriller from South Korea follows a screenwriter who rents a winter cabin in a remote country backwater to concentrate on his latest project, but finds himself surrounded by a colorful and noisy cast of characters.
    Thursday, February 20
    6:45pm
    Thursday, February 27
    4:15pm

    Metro Manila
    Sean Ellis | 2013 | 115 mins
    In this Sundance Audience Award winner, a family of poor rice-farmers travels from the desolate mountains to bustling Manila in the hopes of making some money, only to discover that the exploitation they faced at home is nothing compared to what greets them in the big city.
    Friday, February 21
    6:00pm

    The Sacrament
    Ti West | 2013 | 95 mins

    Director Ti West in person for Q&A!
    Indie horror specialist Ti West adopts a first-person found-footage approach, with his usual flair and assurance, for this story of a Jim Jones–type religious cult that will stick in your mind long after the credits roll.
    Friday, February 21
    8:30pm

    Top of the Lake
    Jane Campion | 2013 | 350 mins

    Twin Peaks crossed with The Killing—and that isn’t the half of it. Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss stars in this thrilling seven-episode television series, the toughest, wildest picture Jane Campion has ever made.
    Sunday, February 23
    1:00pm

    We Are the Best!
    Lukas Moodysson | 2013 | 102 mins

    The director of Together and Lilya 4-ever is back on form with an energetic rough-and-tumble story of three rebellious teenage girls who form a punk rock band to defy the stifling conformity of early-1980s Stockholm.
    Saturday, February 22
    7:45pm

    The Weight
    Jeon Kyu-hwan | 2012 | 107 mins

    This exquisitely shot, one-of-a-kind tale centers on a sickly hunchbacked mortician who takes pride and pleasure in cleaning and dressing the dead and his burdensome younger stepbrother, who wants nothing more than to be a woman.
    Thursday, February 20
    9:30pm

    Wolfsburg
    Christian Petzold | 2003 | 90 mins

    Petzold’s first collaboration with Nina Hoss, star of his art-house hit Barbara, is a slow-burning thriller that uses the relationship between a hit-and-run driver and the victim’s mother to examine the role of chance in people’s lives and the existential malaise of modern Germany.
    Wednesday, February 26
    6:00pm
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 02-14-2014 at 05:55 PM.

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    The full New Directors/New Films program is up now. You'll find it here.

    Or on the Filmlinc (FSLC) website.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 01-01-2015 at 05:41 PM.

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    Selects

    ME AND YOU/IO E TE (Bernardo Bertolucci 2012)--FILM COMMENT SELECTS

    An antisocial 14-year-old holes up secretly in his Rome apartment basement for a week to fool his mother into thinking he's gone on the school ski trip. Later his long estranged older half sister turns up to detox from heroin and as he is forced to help her, they bond. No reason to go beyond Mike D'Angelo's Cannes 2012 report that this film's just "pleasurably inconsequential," but also that it's great Bertolucci has gone back to filmmaking after a decade of serous health problems (he's confined to a wheelchair). The film is enjoyable, and the performances by Jacopo Olmo Antinori as the boy and Tea Falco as his half sister are excellent. This is the filmmaker's first film in his native Italian in thirty years.

    The first of three FCS 2014 films I got to see. [Correction: later I got to see a fourth.]
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 03-09-2014 at 10:05 AM.

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    Selects

    I liked all the Film Comment Selects titles I got to see, though I'd have liked to see others, especially ENEMY, FELONY and WE ARE THE BEST. These were the other two, along with Bertolucci's ME AND YOU. [Later I did get to see FELONY.]

    CHERCHEZ HORTENSE (Pascal Bonitzer 2012)--FCS

    A "comfortable, Parisian, leftist French comedy, Positif called it, the story of a man who gradually regains his self respect, after failing in his attempt to secure an undocumented person from the danger of deportation. Kristen Scott Thomas, Jean-Pierre Bacri, Claude Rich and Isabelle Carré star in this film rescued from obscurity by the Film Comment selection committee.

    OUR SUNHI (Hong Sang-soo 2013)--FCS

    Hong's usual themes of directors and film students and men pursuing women work unusually well here, again with more focus on the POV of the woman (being sought by three men) as in his last, NOBODY'S DAUGHTER HAEWON.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 03-09-2014 at 10:03 AM.

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    First day of press screenings of New Directors/New Films 2014

    A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT (Ana Lily Anirpour 2013)

    Sundance hit: A hip Iranian-American women's lib, skateboarder, hijab-wearing Nosferata vampire romance, with a vintage Ford Thunderbird and a cat. In Farsi and with Iranian actors but shot in California.

    OF HORSES AND MEN (Benedickt Erlingsson 2013)

    An Icelandic feature that's essentially a sequence of short films depicting mishaps involving the indigenous short-legged horses in a beautiful Icelandic valley.

    WE COME AS FRIENDS (Hupert Sauper 2014)

    Another devastating and provocative documentary by Austrian-born, French-resident Sauper (of DARWIN'S NIGHTMARE), this time about the new nation of South Sudan and how it is being exploited and colonized by Chinese and American businessmen, Teas missionaries, superficial UN officials, and others.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 01-01-2015 at 05:41 PM.

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    Second day of screenings.


    BADADOOK, THE (Jennifer Kent 2014)--ND/NF


    An Austrialian horror story about an evil children's book that possesses a young widow with a six-year-old boy.

    DEAR WHITE PEOPLE (Justin Simien 2014)--ND/NF

    Sundance satire about black students on an Ivy League school. It's not as good as it sounds.

    MOUTON/SHEEP (Gilles Deroo, Mariane Pistone 2013)--ND/NF

    Oddball storytelling from France using real people in a Norman seaside town.

    STORY OF FEAR/HISTORIA DEL MIEDO (2013)--ND/NF

    Avant-garde Haneke-esque ronde of uneasy people in Buenos Aires in the summertime somewhat in the vein of Mendoça's NEIGHBORING SOUNDS.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 01-01-2015 at 05:42 PM.

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    Third day of screenings.

    Japanese Dog, The (Tudor Cristian Jurgiu 2014)

    A charming, humanistic departure from the current Romanian cinema of irony and brutality, the story of an older man reunited with his son, who has been living in Japan. Wonderful use of locale, a great actor, and delicate color. Feature debut.

    Quot Erat Demonstrandum (Andrei Gruzsnetczki 2014)

    Another excellent Romanian film, in beautiful black and white shot on film, about Cold War repression in the mid-Eighties, focused on a brilliant mathematician and his friend's wife, who get entangled in the web of the Securitate, the state spy network. Though this may seem a familiar subject the film has new angles, and its precision in evoking the period is admirable.

    Vanquishing of the Witch Baba Yaga, The (Jessica Orneck 2014)

    A combination of philosophical proclamations about wilderness and civilization with bits of the Slavic fairy tale about the witch Baba Yaga, who eats children, with 16mm landscapes of cities and forests and some interesting montage. An experimental film of grandiose ambitions.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 01-01-2015 at 05:42 PM.

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    Day 4 of ND/NF screenings.

    TO KILL A MAN (Alejandro Fernándo Almendras 2013)

    This cool observational crime story from Chile has some things in common with the work of fellow countryman Pablo Larraín -- the creepiness and moral ambiguity. But Larraín's vivid characters and pungent mise-en-scene are absent. Almendras prefers drabness, and this ordinary murderer with his drawn out clumsy mop-up is painful to watch.

    A SPELL TO WARD OFF THE DARKNESS(Ben Rivers, Ben Russell 2013)

    An experimental, art film by two hitherto unconnected artists in three parts, joined only by having one person in all three. Not for most film fans.

    STOP THE POUNDING HEART (Robert Minervini 2013)

    Is this a docudrama or Christian propaganda? It debuted at Cannes, but the Christian market is its niche. Intimate scenes, nice visuals, but many unanswered questions.

    Buzzard (Joel Potrykus 2013)

    A slacker scam artist flees from Grand Rapids to Detroit -- madcap, macabre humor by a smooth director-actor team.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 01-01-2015 at 05:42 PM.

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    Day 5 of ND/NF screenings -- end of the first week.

    THE DOUBLE (Richard Ayoade 2013)--ND/NF

    Thirty-something British director Richard Ayoade (SUBMARINE; "The IT Crowd") has produced an ingenious adaptation of the Dostoevsky doppelganger tale starring Jesse Eisenberg and frankly influenced in style and outlook by Gilliam's BRASIL and Welles' THE TRIAL. It is a triumph of editing, mise-en-scene, and acting and therefore certainly no sophomore slump, but one looks forward next time to his getting back a bit of the warmth and fun of his groovy, nostalgic debut.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 01-01-2015 at 05:43 PM.

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    FELONY (Matthew Saville 2013)--FCS


    From the ANIMAL KINGDOM production team, but milder stuff. A cop story not about crime-fighting but a detective who gets into a grave moral dilemma in failing to admit harm he's done by his own drunken driving. Tom Wilkinson adds complexity and punch as an older cop with problems of his own. Both written by and starring Joel Edgerton (a crook in the earlier film, the detective in trouble here).

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    RETURN TO HOMS (Talal Derki 2013)--ND/NF

    Winner of the world jury doc prize at Sundance, this is the most visceral, intimate portrait of urban rebel warfare you're likely to see. It also tenaciously follows a charismatic young leader, Abdel-Basset Al-Sarout, a 19-year-old star soccer player and blacksmith when it begins. He leads singing chants in the peaceful rebel demonstrations at first, and when armed conflict begins, becomes a leader ready to die a martyr. Filming is so risky and up-front we see rebels wounded and killed on camera. A remarkable film, a vivid snapshot, a poetic memoir, an impassioned plea -- a concentrated essence of all the hope, passion, and despair of the Arab Spring.

    THE STRANGE LITTLE CAT/DAS MERKWÜRDIGE KÄTSCHEN (Ramon Zürcher 2013)--ND/NF

    I've reported on this before, but am reprinting my review from the SFIFF of last year. An experimental work by a young Swiss-German filmmaker that focuses on the mechanics and oddities of life examining objects as closely as humans, as observed from a family kitchen where people come and go in the course of a day. You may not get it, but let's say it's like Jacques Tati without the humor. It has been shown at no less than three dozen film festivals since its debut at the Berlinale early last year.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 01-01-2015 at 05:43 PM.

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    YOUTH (Tom Shoval 2013)--ND/NF

    Another strong visceral film from an Israeli flimmaker, a new one. Israeli writer-director Tom Shoval's debut feature YOUTH brings up hot national issues like economic injustice, alienation, violence, sexism, and diminished expectations, but that wouldn't count for much if he had not crafted an intense, suspenseful story about a crime that is all the more visceral and shockingly physical for being done by a pair of young testosterone-fueled amateurs. -- good Israeli family boys turn into criminals.


    STORY OF MY DEATH/HISTÒRIA DE LA MEVA MORT (Albert Serra 2013)--ND/NF

    Sometimes maybe it makes sense just to hang out with famous people in period costume (Cassanova in this case) to get the feel of what they might have been like, and there are some beautiful painterly images, but also note what Cahiers du Cinéma says: "These two hours and a half of deadly (we insist: deadly) boredom will be the despair of those who love the films of Serra and will want to die when they see this gross caricature of radical chic cinema which is as pretentious as it is insignificant." It won the grand prize at Locarno though, so there you go.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 01-01-2015 at 05:44 PM.

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    Week two, day three of ND/NF press screenings.

    FISH & CAT (Shahram Mokri 2013)--ND/NF

    Intricate patterns of looping and voicovers, creepy restauranteurs, university students at a winter kite festival at a Caspian lake, all done in a single take (like Sukurov's RUSSIAN ARK, but without the beauty, glamor, history, or art), and what the point of all this is or how the fish and cat fit in for that matter, I cannot tell you. Two hours and a quarter of self-indulgence from a new generation of Iranian filmmaker.

    SALVATION ARMY/L'ARMÉE DU SALUT(Abdellah Taïa 2013)--ND/NF

    An austere, Bressonian Moroccan gay coming-of-age tale (from a celebrated 2006 novel by the director) in two episodes ten years apart. Suggests the writing of Paul Bowles. Filmed by Claire Denis' frequent dp, Agnès Godard in blues and grays. So simple and harsh the beauty of it may dawn on you only later.

    OBVIOUS CHILD (Gillian Robbespierre 2013)--ND/NF

    A rom-com about a female standup-comic that ends with an upbeat abortion sequence. Instead of bolting, the father turns out to be a sterling, hunky, Mr. Right. Definitely a woman's movie, but a nice change from the indulgence of male immaturity of the Apatow comedies. Jenny Slate stands out in the lead role and Jake Lacy is effortlessly appealing as Mr. Right.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 01-01-2015 at 05:44 PM.

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