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thumbnail We’ll End Up Together (2020 France)

Comedy, Drama, Genre , comments closed

Director: Guillaume Canet
Starring:   François Cluzet, Marion Cotillard, Gilles Lellouche
Genre:  
Comedy, drama
Duration:   
135 mins

Guillaume Canet’s sequel to the star-studded comedy Little White Lies that exploded at the box office in 2010 – Unlike the picture-postcard summer backdrop of that film, We’ll End Up Together opens in the off-season. Max and his wife, Vero, are divorcing, and he’s selling the summerhouse to pay for a debt caused by a bad investment. Two kinds of trouble appear on the horizon: Max’s group of friends have decided to visit him for a surprise party for his 60th birthday, even though they haven’t seen him in ages, and neither Vero nor any of his erstwhile friends know that he intends to sell the place where they hope to stay for a few days..  We’ll End Up Together becomes a story of long-term bonds and the joy of friendship, of suppressed emotions, personal and professional resentments, and the many ways children can both fracture and cement social circles.

thumbnail The Perfect Candidate (2019 Saudi Arabia)

Comedy, Genre , comments closed

Director:  Haifaa Al-Mansour
Starring:  
Nora Al Awadh, Dae Al Hilali, Mila Al Zahrani
Genre:  
Comedy
Duration:    
101 mins

Haifaa al-Mansour, the first Saudi woman to direct a feature (Wadjda), goes back to basics with a story of a female doctor trying to enter politics. Maryam is a plain-speaking country doctor whose desire to help her community is no simple task. One key hurdle – the road which leads to her clinic isn’t paved, and much of her job involves dragging patients across a bog so they can receive treatment. And that’s only part of the fun. If the patient happens to be male, an absurd negotiation then has to take place as to whether Maryam should be allowed to carry out her basic duties, what with her operating in a position above her station as a woman. Can you save a person without touching them, or looking at them? A domestic fable, it takes aim at the everyday misogyny that runs to the roots of Arabian society.

thumbnail The Whistlers (2019 Romania)

Comedy, Genre , comments closed

Director: Corneliu Porumboiu
Starring:  
Vlad Ivanov, Catrinel Marlon, Rodica Lazar
Genre:  
Comedy
Duration:    97 mins

We all know film noir to be full of shadows; in Corneliu Porumboiu’s winning take on the old genre, the shade that looms largest is that of Nikolai Ceausescu, whose legacy of seething corruption and institutional fear gives a particular local texture to a story of bad cops, ruthless robbers and a femme fatale called Gilda. The fall guy is Cristi, a Bucharest cop whose commanding officer has realised he is on the take and is trying to trip him up; of course, she has her own racket running. Along with a pile of mattresses stuffed with cash, our hang-dog anti-hero finds himself on the small Canary Island of La Gomera learning the local whistling language, which the gangsters use as a police-resistant code. Poromboiu has always been the funniest of the Romanian new wave directors. Here, clearly revelling in the constraints of genre convention, he delivers pure entertainment.

thumbnail The County (2020 Iceland)

Comedy, Drama, Genre , comments closed

Director: Grímur Hákonarson
Starring:  
Arndís Hrönn Egilsdóttir, Sveinn Ólafur Gunnarsson, Þorsteinn Bachmann
Genre:  
Drama, comedy
Duration:    
92 mins

After the death of her dairy farmer husband, a middle-aged woman courageously sacrifices her livelihood to speak out against the corruption and injustice at work in her community. It’s all anchored in a riveting, urgent performance by Arndís Hrönn Egilsdóttir as Inga, the widowed farmer left to face the prospect that her husband died by suicide to leave her to pay their large debts to the local co-op. The more she comes to realize the extent of her financial predicament, the greater she discovers the “mafia-esque” tactics of the co-op to benefit themselves at the expense of the workers who supply them. Like writer-director Grímur Hákonarson’s previous film Rams, it probes a deeply rooted rural culture that is closely connected to the Icelandic national spirit, while championing traditional Icelandic values over the exploitive underside of capitalism.

thumbnail The Unknown Saint (2019 Morocco)

Comedy, Genre , comments closed

Director: Alaa Eddine Aljem
Starring:  
Younes Bouab, Salah Ben Saleh, Bouchaib Semmak
Genre:
Comedy
Duration:
100 mins

A lonely, arid hill topped by a barren tree..  easily recognizable and therefore the perfect place for a Moroccan thief to hurriedly bury his loot. He makes the spot look like a lone grave as police sirens can already be heard. This first feature from writer-director Alaa Eddine Aljem kicks off after the release from jail of the unnamed offender, simply called ‘the thief’. He immediately travels back to the hill in question. But the grave that suddenly turned up overnight, has in the meantime become a place of pilgrimage. A sacred mausoleum has been built upon his stash surrounded by a holy water fountain, a gift store and an entire village to accomodate the pilgrims that the shrine attracts. Aljem manages to reap much humor from this situation and a cast of eccentric village characters.

thumbnail Blinded by the Light (UK 2018)

Comedy, Genre , comments closed

Director: Gurinder Chadha
Starring:  
Billy Barratt, Ronak Singh Chadha Berges, Viveik Kalra |
Genre:
Comedy
Duration:
114 mins

Bend It Like Beckham director Gurinder Chadha knows firsthand what it feels like to be an outsider. Born in Kenya when the country was a British colony, she grew up as part of the Indian/Asian diaspora who made their way from East Africa to London. For that reason, the 59-year-old’s movies have always dealt with the immigrant experience, and her latest is no different, telling the story of a Muslim Pakistani teenager growing up in Thatcher’s England whose narrowly structured life is saved when he’s turned on to the music of Bruce Springsteen during the late ‘80s National Front/dole queue era. It serves as a poignant parallel to the xenophobia of today.

thumbnail Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988 Spain)

Comedy, Genre , comments closed

Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Starring: Carmen Maura, Antonio Banderas, Julieta Serrano
Genre: Comedy
Duration:   88 mins     Rated R

Pedro Almodóvar’s first mainstream hit was loosely based on Jean Cocteau’s 1930 play, La Voix Humaine, although it also borrowed liberally from the works of Spanish dramatists Mihura and Jardiel Poncela, from Dorothy Parker’s Anything Goes essays, and from such Hollywood genre pictures as Jean Negulesco’s How to Marry a Millionaire, Stanley Donen’s Funny Face and Billy Wilder’s The Apartment.
One of the main reasons why these women have been driven to the verge is that virtually every male character is portrayed as weak and in keeping with the classic woman’s picture format, the female characters are surprisingly strong. An explosion of garish colour, wacky detail and surreal complications, Almodovar’s very funny, urban comedy overflows with the unexpected.

thumbnail Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019 USA)

Comedy, Drama, Event, Genre , comments closed

Director: Quentin Tarantino
Starring:  Luke Perry, Margot Robbie, Leonardo DiCaprio
Genre: Drama, comedy
Duration: 120 mins Rated R

Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film is a sprawling tale of counterculture California and the final days of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Set in 1969’s LA, the two lead characters are Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio), former star of a Western TV series and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt). Both are struggling to make it in a Hollywood they no longer recognize, but Rick has a very famous next-door neighbour, Sharon Tate.

Tarantino has said “I’m very excited to tell this story of an LA and a Hollywood that doesn’t exist anymore.” Cinematographer Robert Richardson added, “I think the tone of it is – it’s difficult to describe because it’s very fresh, but it oscillates between humorous, serious, spooky; it’s playful. It’s not easily describable.”

thumbnail Parasite (2019 South Korea)

Comedy, Drama, Event, Genre, Thriller , comments closed

Directors: Joon-ho Bong
Starring: Kang-ho Song, Yeo-jeong Jo, So-dam Park
Genre:  Drama, thriller, comedy
Duration:  132 mins

Meet the Park family: the picture of aspirational wealth; and the Kim family, rich in street smarts but not much else. Be it chance or fate, these two houses are brought together and the Kims sense a golden opportunity. Masterminded by college-aged Ki-woo, the Kim children expediently install themselves as tutor and art therapist to the Parks. Soon, a symbiotic relationship forms between the two families. The Kims provide indispensable”luxury services while the Parks give the Kims a way out of their shabby circumstances. But this new ecosystem is fragile, and soon enough greed and class prejudice threaten to upend the Kims’ newfound comfort.

The advertised film, Birds of Passage, was not available.

thumbnail Under the Tree (2018 Iceland)

Comedy, Drama, Event, Genre , comments closed

Director: Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson
Starring: Steinþór Hróar Steinþórsson, Edda Björgvinsdóttir, Sigurður Sigurjónsson
Genre: Comedy, drama
Duration: 89 mins

A man is accused of adultery and forced to move in with his parents while he fights for custody of his four-year-old daughter. There he is gradually sucked into a dispute between his parents and their neighbors over an old and beautiful tree. The film’s director, Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson, has said his inspiration for Under the Tree was Iceland’s high rate of “neighbour rage”: over-the-fence feuds between ordinary respectable people. He skilfully constructs his film as part-thriller, part-intelligent relationship drama, topped with a juicy dollop of savage black comedy.