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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 Fire Will Come (2020 Galicia)

Drama, Genre , comments closed

Director: Oliver Laxe
Starring:  
Amador Arias, Benedicta Sánchez, Inazio Abrao
Genre:
Drama
Duration:   
85 mins

A deserving prizewinner in Un Certain Regard at Cannes, Oliver Laxe’s third feature studies nature and human nature with equal fascination. Viewers obsessive about spoiler alerts will be thwarted by the very title of Fire Will Come: You know exactly what climax is coming in this rustically beautiful rural parable, but its dreamy, mesmeric power lies in the waiting. An exactingly paced slow burn before it becomes a very fast one, the film follows the daily travails of a convicted pyromaniac high in a remote rural mountain village of Galicia. Middle-aged Amador has returned home to his elderly mother, Benedicta, and her three cows, having been released from prison where he served time for starting a fire that laid waste to half the town. The rhythm of life slows to a gentle hypnosis, until one night, another fire breaks out, threatening to engulf the mountains in towering blaze.

thumbnail About Endlessness (2019 Sweden)

Drama, Genre , comments closed

Director: Roy Andersson
Starring:  
Bengt Bergius, Anja Broms, Marie Burman
Genre:  
Drama
Duration:    
73 mins

Swedish director Roy Andersson (A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting On Existence) has been so committed to honing his unique brand of melancholic tragicomedy that even Samuel Beckett would have to tip his hat to him in mournful admiration.  About Endlessness arrives brimful with lost souls and lonely hearts, all making vague efforts to connect with their neighbours. A film that makes the humdrum seem unique and the banal otherworldly, Andersson likes to frame his subjects in medium shot, posing them in drab offices, cafes or train stations, observing them for a few minutes before moving on. These people might be exhibits in some tatty museum of human curiosities. If so, it would be the sort of establishment where the labels on the cases have long since peeled off and the postcards in the gift shop have gone yellow at the edges.

thumbnail The Lighthouse (2019 USA )

Drama, Genre , comments closed

Director: Robert Eggers
Starring:  
Robert Pattinson, Willem Dafoe, Valeriia Karaman |
Genre:
Drama
Duration:    
110 mins                 Rated R

While Robert Eggers’ 2017 film The Witch explored the insidious effect of fairy tales on a small God-fearing community, the writer/director’s follow-up shows how such stories can corrupt the mind of an individual. The elder, Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe), is the veteran, a thickly bearded, salty old dog. He’s an absolute tyrant and a bully and it seems his former assistant lost his mind and died. His replacement, Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson), is new to his job. Previously an itinerant timberman, he’s wracked by guilt at having stood by while a man was drowned in a river and he wants to make a new life for himself. But the longer he stays on the island with a gruff, mean, farting, ranting Dafoe the more he drinks; and the more he drinks the crazier he gets.

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 Realm (2019 Spain)

Drama, Genre , comments closed

Director: Rodrigo Sorogoyen
Starring:  
Antonio de la Torre, Mónica López, Josep Maria Pou
Genre:
Political drama
Duration: 
122 mins  

Whether the corruption in Spanish politics is a question of a few rotten apples or is tantamount to organized crime is part of an ongoing national debate, and The Realm firmly and excitingly comes down in favor of the latter option. Part thriller, part moral skewering and sadly part realistic portrayal, it is guided by a terrific performance from  Antonio de la Torre at the center of some fine ensemble work. It bowls along at an increasingly urgent, expertly handled pace, sacrificing nuance for impact in a way that feels entirely at one with the crude, morally unshaded world its protagonists have created. Though it’s as Spanish as chorizo, The Realm‘s concerns, at a time of great political distrust, are universal.

thumbnail The Truth (2019 France)

Drama, Genre, Uncategorized , comments closed

Director: Hirokazu Koreeda
Starring: Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche, Ethan Hawke
Genre: Drama
Duration:  106 mins

Legends of French cinema Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche join masterful filmmaker Hirokazu Koreeda (Shoplifters) to paint a moving portrait of family dynamics. Fabienne (Catherine Deneuve) is an aging French movie star who, despite her momentary lapses in memory, remains a venerable force to be reckoned with. Upon the publication of her memoirs, her daughter Lumir (Juliette Binoche) returns to Paris from New York with her husband (Ethan Hawke) and their young daughter to commemorate its release. A sharp and funny battle of wits ensues between the mother-daughter duo, as Lumir takes issue with Fabienne’s rose-colored version of the past. Reflected cleverly by Fabienne’s latest role in a sci-fi drama, their strained relationship takes a poignant journey toward possible reconciliation. Charming, bold, and imbued with endless emotional insight.

thumbnail Pain and Glory (2019 Spain)

Drama, Genre , comments closed

Director: Pedro Almodovar
Starring:  Antonio Banderas, Asier Etxeandia, Leonardo Sbaraglia
Genre: Drama
Duration: 112 mins Rated R

An aspect of legendary directors is that they remain defined by their best work, usually at the height of their powers and brash youth. So it is with Pedro Almodovar who crashed the international film party in the ‘80s with provocative, dark comedies like Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! and the Oscar-nominated Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. In Pain and Glory – his meditative and sensitive quasi-autobiography about a filmmaker hobbled physically and creatively – he retains a star of those two films, Antonio Banderas, who is himself a leading-man at an awkward age. A story of memory and creation, youth and its loss, the film circles around the idea of art as self-creation.

thumbnail The Wild Pear Tree (2018 Turkey)

Drama, Event, Genre , comments closed

Director: Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Starring: Dogu Demirkol, Murat Cemcir, Bennu Yildirimlar
Genre: Drama
Duration: 188 mins

Sinan, an aspiring writer, returns home after university hoping to scrape together enough money to publish his first novel. He wanders the town encountering old flames and obstinate gatekeepers and finds his youthful ambition increasingly at odds with the deferred dreams of his gambling-addict father. As his own fantasies mingle with reality, Sinan grapples with the people and the place that have made him who he is. Episodic and unfolding in a series of Chekhovian vignettes, this is a portrait of the young artist told in reverse. Generally, the protagonists of such stories have escaped their home towns and are looking back on their experiences from the outside. Sinan, though, is coming back to where he started. Directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Once Upon a Time in Anatolia; Winter Sleep – winner of the Palme d’Or 2014)

thumbnail Amazing Grace

Drama, Event, Genre , comments closed

Directors:   Alan Elliott, Sydney Pollack
Starring:   Aretha Franklin, James Cleveland, Southern California Community Choir
Genre: Documentary, music
Duration:  129 mins

In January 1972, Aretha Franklin made her legendary album ‘Amazing Grace’ with the Southern California Community Choir and Reverend James Cleveland in the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles. At the height of her fame, she made the decision to return to where she began, to the world of gospel music. Recorded in two days, this live album was to become the most successful gospel record of all time. On it, Franklin sings songs like ‘How I Got Over’, ‘Precious Memories’ and provides an 11-minute rendition of ‘Amazing Grace’. The result is a concert film that celebrates human dignity and the longing for freedom and justice and is able to transcend nostalgia and intervene in discussions about the state of the modern world. It also provides ample evidence of the enduring charisma of this soul icon who died in August 2018.