Cesare deve morire (Caesar must die) is an Italian movie about a group of prisoners who are doing plays as part of rehabilitation activity. Presented in a monochrome light to convey the ever-changing reality of the inmates, this movie doesn't shower you with special effects. Instead a raw closeup carefully observes the theatrical display of the prisoners as Shakespeare's play slowly pans out. Impact through minimalism, the directing of the Taviano brothers won the Golden Bear in Berlin. As theatrical rehearsal intertwines with the daily prison life, the human emotions become difficult to grasp as the prisoners re-experience their rough past through the lines. The prison facility beautifully turns into ancient Rome, the cinematographer did an excellent work.
Lotus is something as rare as a (mainland) Chinese movie (in a film festival). Not released in China at all due to government critique being a large part of the movie. A young female is having issues conforming to society rules. Her job as a teacher collides with her morals as she doesn't accept how grades and passing exams is everything. She decide to move away from her village to find freedom in Beijing. Lotus is forced to choose between money and her morals. Whether it is a topic of government control, education or feminism, Liu Shu isn't afraid of speaking her mind about the more problematic side of China. It's straightforward, conscious, refreshing, unrefined and even angry - despite the cheerful nature of Lotus herself. Thrown between jobs and some incredibly ironic situations, its disheartening viewing failure after failure. The adult critic tells me that this polarized naivety doesn't do real society justice but the teenager just wants to love this pure drama unconditionally.
Ikiterumono wa inainoka (Isn't Anyone Alive) Japanese awkward comedy at a campus where everyone suddenly starts dying from an unknown cause. A lot of meaningless chatter that felt more like watching some stereotype Japanese drama series than an actual movie. Slightly charming and funny becomes monotonous and in bad taste as same events are repeated for every character. It isn't stimulating watching dying spasms of people with dumbfounded spectators for the hundredth time. Perhaps Gakuryu Ishii wanted to satire the Japanese youth, the aim isn't clear as the movie is poorly structured with strange special effects and irregular noise-like music. The only redeeming factor are the gorgeous actresses.
90 Minutter (90 Minutes) .Eva Sørhaug, inspired by a newspaper tabloid on domestic violence tells us a story of three different couples. Norweigan cinema has never been this bleak and miserable. Slowly unveils the impending horror, answers no questions, merely cold observational camera where we are peeking through windows and doorways, almost like with Haneke's movies. Provocative and minimalistic. Last year we were spoiled by Oslo, August 31st, and now this. Norway is slowly becoming the king of art film in northern Europe.
Pieta. Ki-duk Kim is becoming an experienced director with his 18th movie, resuming his dramatic career after a few years of living isolated while reflecting on his past... The result is a reckless and angry movie about a debt collector in the slums of Cheonggyecheon. Raw like his earlier works, first and foremost reminiscent of Address Unknown, but with the symbolism and surrealism of his more recent repertoire. We view tools, metal and machines in every corner of this gritty, forgotten place. Tragedy and revenge. So much pain. Kim impresses with an emotional, yet carefully constructed movie that strikes closer to the heart than the recent Dream. The vulnerability and honesty in Kim's films is truly something unique and deserves every fraction of the Golden Lion it was awarded at Venice.
L'enfant d'en haut (Sister) . On the border between Switzerland and France, a young boy and his sister lives alone close to the ski resort. Financially supporting his sister by stealing accessories, introduced as social commentary drama but panning out into more of a fairy tale by Ursula Meier. Gripping characters and the tension between Simon and his sister is incredibly well crafted.
Broken. Broken is a drama comedy set in northern London, following the lives of three unique families. Skunk is a charming young girl who speaks what's on her mind. Gripping and woefully cute story by Rufus Norris.
Insensibles (Painless), children without the ability of sensations... Are experimented upon in 1935, following the civil war in Spain. Back and forth between the past and the present where a dying man is trying to find his biological parents. Thriller with some horror-elements, for some reason reminds me of The Fountain, but they're not really that similar.
Also, I do not have the time nor vocabulary to make in-depth analyzes, this is blog is mainly for me to memorize them. But if you have any question about a film here or any other in the 170 movie long program then I'll gladly elaborate...