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Movies seen in 1997

Bound, 4, Wachowski brothers
I loved this movie, but as you read below the official critics are a bit more careful. But it is simply fun. The brothers Larry and Andy Wachowski, former building workers from Chicago, are not your sensitive type. Their directing début Bound is a politically incorrect film that should not be screened at a culturally-minded festival (why not). Bound is not particularly deep and lacks detailed characters. But the pleasure in film-making is undeniable and the story itself wrong foots even the most experienced spectator. The film, a Mafia thriller with a lesbian motif, is in some respects a classical film-noir, It is however too simple to write off Larry and Andy as no more than slavish imitators. They go further than most of their colleagues. Bound is filled with black humour, passionate love making and a few dizzying camera movements. And the fragment with the garden shears will long be a topic of conversation.

The pillow book (Peter Greenaway), 4
First movie, seen at a sneak preview is the Pillow Book of Peter Greenaway.
Although a bit experimental, the movie is worth seeing. The way of filimg is innovative, with more frames on the screen. It's most efficient, because otherwise the movie would take twice as long. Even the story can be understood, which is rather exceptional with this type of films. The story deals with the habit of a Japanese girl of painting bodies and even write whole books on them. One lover cannot stand she is writing books on other fellows, although he himself has a homosexual relation with her publisher.
The inside look by a western person in Japanese and Chinese culture is done surprisingly well.
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La promesse (The Promise Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne), 3
Seen at the opening evening and worth going. Especially the end is impressive. Igor (15) divides his time between building a go-cart with his friends and working for his father's building firm that runs on illegal immigrants. His father's illegal deals are part of everyday life for Igor and he doesn't have any moral misgivings about it. On the day that the immigration authorities visit the building site, Igor loses his youthful innocence. When he tells the labourers to leave in a hurry, the illegal African immigrant Hamidou falls off the scaffolding. Just before he dies, he asks Igor if he will look after his wife Assita and child Tiga. Igor promises, without telling his father anything about it. Torn apart by his fear, respect for his father and the promise he has made, Igor is forced to make important choices. Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne: 'We shot in a rough way, trying to capture moments of reality that we would have missed if we'd stuck to our screenplay. We chose actors and actresses who were primarily bodies, faces... Unknown and non-professional actors and actresses to reach the "documentary" truth we were after...' The Dardenne brothers' documentary background does show through in their third feature. This modest and impressive father-son drama is shown realistically and intimately, with a good eye for the drabness of life on the fringes of the Belgian city of Liège.
about the director(s) (over de regisseurs) Jean-Pierre Dardenne (1951, Engis, Belgium) and his brother Luc Dardenne (1954, Awirs, Belgium)

Signal left, turn right, 3, Huang Jianxin (Hong Kong, 1996, 110 min)
Saw this movie at the opening evening. The film is part of the trilogy 'Urban attitudes', that started with Stand Up, Don't Grovel! (1993) (screened in Rotterdam in 1994) and was followed by Back to Back, Face to Face (1994). Part three, Signal Left, Turn Right, is more a collection of gags and situation sketches than a plot-driven film. It stresses the contradictions in modern Chinese life. The director Huang wants to show the true face of his country and people, and is most interested in everyday life and the themes he is familiar with. In Signal Left, Turn Right, Huang focuses on a group of mature students at a driving school and analyses the various reasons why they want to learn to drive. One of them (a role by the chubby Niu Zhenhua, the thread through the trilogy) is an incredibly clever photo journalist attracted to prestige. The driving school in question is situated in Xi'an and has a militaristic bent. It is usual here for the instructor to teach several pupils at once. Instructor Hou has to cope with a very varied group. As the comic situations pile up, the pupils become increasingly united, having started as stranger to each other. Funny movie without too many pretentions.
about the director(s) (over de regisseurs) Huang Jianxin (1954, Xi'an) served in the army, worked as photographer and was on the staff of a literary magazine.

First Strike, Stanley Tong Kwai-lai (Hong Kong, 1996, 84 min)
Few stars seem so good-humoured as Jackie Chan -Like Connery in old Bond films, Chan radiates a kind of innocence that contrasts sharply with his physical capacities. Because it is obvious that Chan's physical capabilities transcend those of (even the young) Connery. In First Strike, the biggest box-office success in Hong-Kong film history, Chan again plays the Hong-Kong policeman Jackie who has to do a job for the CIA in the Ukraine. The aim is to put out of action a gang smuggling nuclear material. Jackie also soon gets onto the trail of Tsui (Jackson Lou), a former CIA agent who is now getting rich in the illegal arms business. Chan has to shadow him and that takes him from the Ukraine to Brisbane's Chinatown. First Strike offers plenty of 007-like chases on skis, skiscooters, with parachutes, all at once. The film is also a homage - in the form of a veritable underwater ballet - to Jaws and Thunderbolt. But above all the scenario provides plenty of room for Chan's acrobatic martial-arts capabilities with as a high point the confrontation between a Chinese gang armed with ceremonial arms and our hero who only needs a ladder to keep the crooks at bay and remind one of Fred Astaire and Bruce Lee combined.
But most important, during the concluding press conference Jackie Chan announced that he will take part of his next movie in Rotterdam. A big honour as this guy is a as popular as Stallone and Eastwood together in the west. He also told a lot about his suffering in making this movie. The dangerous man-eating sharks for example were hardly interested to swim in reality. Still his stuntman capabilities are extraordinary and the man has broken almsot every part of his body.

Big Night, 5 (Stanley Tucci, Campbell Scott)
Great and sensitive movie. Primo is chef and co-owner of the The Paradise Restaurant. Skilful and determined, he prepares the food; he isn't just making a meal, he is investing in his future. He has come with his brother Secundo from Italy to the land of boundless opportunity in the hope of getting rich. His brother thinks very commercially and American, but for Primo, who still clings to old world habits, the quality of the food is most important. Unfortunately the inhabitants of the small town are not interested in authentic Italian cuisine. They want macaroni with (meat) balls and over the road, competitor Pascal has no scruples about what he serves up. The ambitious Secundo admires Pascal because of his success, but is also having an affair with his girlfriend Gabriella. When Secundo hears from Pascal that the famous Italian-American singer Louis Prima is coming to town, the brothers decide to organise a 'big night' for the star. It is their last hope to avoid bankruptcy. The début film by Stanley Tucci and Campbell Scott is a nicely acted, bitter-sweet and often funny story of two brothers in search of the American dream. In addition, the film is a lust for the taste buds: for instance the big-night menu includes crostini with goat's cheese and roasted artichokes. Tucci: 'There is an old saying: Italians live to eat, other people eat to life.'

Concert for a rat (Oleg Kovalov), 2
Complicated tiresome slow movie, Typical eastern european and trying to cope with the period of communism. But as the critics say: The film is full of newsreel footage from the time of Stalinism and the Third Reich that are cut very ingeniously through the feature fragments. With a typical mixture of aversion and affection, irony and amazement, Kovalov manages to evoke the insanity of this period. So probably brilliant, but I missed it.

American Short Stories (Norma's Lament, The Debutantes), 31-1, 2
When Norma, obviously the shorty among her group of girlfriends, first embarks on a sexual affair, a lyrical journey of fantastic proportions starts for the viewer focusing on sex, love and betrayal. etc

Buenos Aires vice versa (Alejandro Agresti), 31-1, 4
A young man and his girl face approaching adulthood. Both have lost their parents during the military dictatorship in Argentina. Their lives become entangled with a group of people representing the diversity in a large city like Buenos Aires. They try to find out what happened to their parents, but the only answer that the city has to offer comes in the form of an allegorical tale. Stories intermingle in encounters and are linked through the confusion, loneliness and nostalgia of the city dwellers. Alejandro Agresti, a versatile and productive cameraman/film-maker who has often worked in Holland returns to his birthplace to conjure up a kaleidoscope of people and events. In his film he manages to forge stories and keen dialogue in an intriguing way without betraying the fragmented nature of the city. The stories themselves are modest yet ingenious in their simplicity. A blind couple who can't live without each other (with Agresti himself playing the man), a woman who maintains a relationship with her ex through the TV, a girl who is commissioned by an elderly couple to video the outside world... Agresti plays with their lives in a loving way and this results in a warm, sympathetic film in which loneliness and miscommunication play an significant role.

Love and other Catestrophes (Emma Kate Croghan), 31-1, 3
Love and Other Catastrophes is the début film by Emma-Kate Croghan, who is only 24. It is a warm, funny screwball student comedy about love, fate and other urgent matters. The film follows five characters in a university environment. Mia and Alice have just moved into a new place and are looking for a third flatmate. Danni, Mia's boyfriend, would like to move in with them, but Mia doesn't want him too nearby. Mia is infatuated with a teacher and finds herself in a bureaucratic nightmare when she follows him to his new place of work. Alice, a frustrated perfectionist, has spent much too much time on her thesis about 'Doris Day as feminist warrior'. She is looking for the perfect man, but can't find anyone who can live up to her high standards. In her desperate need for change, she falls for the most unsuitable guy: However she doesn't know that she has a secret admirer in the form of Michael, a shy medical student. Their quest for love transcends the university and their different disciplines. But hardly worth seeing

Tieta of Agresta (Carlos Diegus), 3
Funny soap opera, Sant'Ana do Agreste, a small village in Bahia, is waiting tensely for Tieta (Sonia Braga). She left 26 years ago after she had compromised herself sexually. After her departure, she only kept in touch with her family and the village through letters and cheques. Tieta is now the rich widow of an industrialist from Sao Paolo, and is accompanied by Leonora, a pretty yet sad girl whom she introduces as her step-daughter. Tieta is welcomed by the villagers and her family with respect and everyone tries to learn from her visit. Ascânio, the progressive secretary at the town hall, tries to persuade Tieta to contribute to the village's electricity supply. Even the crazy mayor Dantas, who runs the village from a local pool hall, can feel the impact of Tieta's presence. Loves blossom (again) and Tieta, soon the village's greatest benefactor, is again embroiled in controversy. The film version of Jorge Amado's bestseller from 1977, revealing the contradictions of Brazilian culture, does justice to the benevolent character of this book, its humour and vitality. Sonia Braga, Brazil's greatest star, returned to her homeland after twelve years of working in the United States and herself chose the celebrated director Carlos Diegues, an old friend, to film this infectious tale.

Small Time (Shane Meadows), 1-2 2
In Small Time, petty criminal Malc and his mate steal anything they can lay their hands on: dog food, home-trainers, crabsticks. Their motto is: steal from the rich and sell to the poor at half the price. But not every theft is a success. Malc's wife Kate has a real dislike of the leader of the gang Jumbo and confronts Malc with an ultimatum: either you say goodbye to your friends or I take the kids and leave. Jumbo does everything to keep his gang together. Shane Meadows longest film so far is set in the Midlands, the industrial heart of England. The director's sharp eye for social tension and preference for characters from the working class are reminiscent of Mike Leigh. The coarse lower-class humour, obviously larded with typically English jokes about sex in a broad Brum accent, and the unknown but excellent cast make Small Time an enjoyable no-budget (5000 pounds) début by a director who can now start commanding bigger budgets. Where's the Money Ronnie? Yes, where is the money?

Deep Crimson, 5, Arturo Ripstein (Mexico/France/Spain, 1996, 114 min)
The long career of Arturo Ripstein is characterised by uncompromising, controversial films centring on moral conflicts. Profundo carmes¡ is a dark, disturbing film full of black humour, a beautiful photography, excellent acting and impeccable directing. The story is based on facts. Coral Fabre, a young and sensual nurse, brings up two children in Mexico in the late forties. In a magazine she sees a small ad placed by Nicolas Estrella. On the spur of the moment, Coral writes to Estrella, better known as Nico. When they meet, they turn out to be quite different. Coral likes Nico straight away, but his first reaction is to run away. Yet the two end up in bed together. In the morning, Nico flees with Coral's savings. Coral however remains determined to win him over. She takes her children with her, goes to Nico's house and says she is moving in with him. Nico protests about the children. But nothing can stand in the way of Coral's love: with pain in her heart, she takes the children to an orphanage that day. Then she investigates Nico's past and finds out that he was responsible for the death of his wife. Nico is moved by Coral's intense love for him, but he continues to visit widows and unmarried women, seduce them and rob them of their possessions, with the knowledge of Coral. Then things start to go wrong and they kill several people. they end up being arrested and sentenced to death.

Pretty Village, pretty flame, 5, Srdjan Dragojevic
Pretty Village, Pretty Flame, Best film till now. This very controversial film from former Yugoslavia, Serbia, is the first film produced from Belgrade in which war crimes are also committed by Serbians. The main action is based on an eye-witness account of a platoon that was stuck in a tunnel for ten days in the winter of 1992. DragojeviPlatoon-like war report was shot in the war zone, in the tunnel itself. Hostilities ended while the film was being made. The director switches almost imperceptibly between different periods. In the latter days of Tito, in the early eighties, he shows two friends watching the construction of the 'Peace Tunnel'. One is a Serb, the other a Moslem - Bosnians who were to go in different directions ten years later when war broke out. After the battle for the tunnel and the escape, the war is not yet over for the wounded survivors, Serbs and Moslems, brought together in a hospital in Belgrade. Everything races on their minds. An impressive film that sometimes changes tone in just a few seconds: from brutal violence to lyricism or irony. 'Wilder in its black humour than MASH, bolder in its vision of politics and the military than any movie Stanley Kubrick has made, the new Yugoslav film is one of the most audacious antiwar statements ever committed to the big screen" (Variety)

2 Duo (Suwa Nobuhiro), 1-2 , 1
Hardly worth seeing. stupid relation movie

Trees Lounge (Steve Buscemi), 1-2, 5
Steve Buscemi acted in several of the most memorable American films of recent years and was given a chance to learn first hand from the Coen Brothers, Abel Ferrara, Jim Jarmusch, Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino. For his début as feature director however, he largely allowed himself to be inspired by the way in which the godfather of the American independents, John Cassavetes, succeeded in having the characters and their mutual relationships tell the story of the film. In addition Buscemi draws on his own experiences. What would have become of him if he had not moved from Valley Stream, Long Island, to Manhattan to pursue a career as actor? Trees Lounge is based on this fictional detail. Buscemi himself plays the leading role of Tommy Basilio, a sharp tongued, funny but easily irritated man in his thirties. He spends most of his time drinking and picking up girls in the Trees Lounge in working-class Valley Stream, after he loses his job as auto-mechanic for 'borrowing' 1500 dollar. When an uncle dies, he takes over his ice-cream truck, but that only leads to more trouble when he pays a little too much attention to Debbie (17) for the likes of her father. Trees Lounge is a film full of working-class misfits, who can't seem to find their place in life as easily as the bar.

Hufters en Hofdames (Eddy Trestall),3
Niet slecht voor een Amsterdamse film. Jammer alleen van de dubbele beelden op het einde. Het besloten feestje achteraf (Amsterdammers die de feestzaal tot half een bezet houden) was een schande!Bastards & Bridesmaids is a summery Amsterdam comedy about relationships between modern twenty-somethings. The film in fact comprises two interwoven parts. One has 'Bridesmaid' Dimitri (Marc van Uchelen) as protagonist. Dimitri has for years had a platonic relationship with Esther (Rifka Lodeizen), but she has no plans to share her bed with him. His interests - blind chess and astronomy - do not seem to attract the opposite sex. His complaints are largely heard by his friend Maarten (Daan Ekkel), who encourages him to be less of a shoulder for women to cry on and to behave more like a mysterious macho. In the other part, we see the Bastard, Gino (Arthur de Boer). He has no trouble getting girls into bed. His 'loose' girlfriend Susan (Nadja Hupscher) doesn't think that his aggressive behaviour fits in with his claim that he loves her and is in search of shelter. The lives of both men cross regularly, without them really meeting. Bastards & Bridesmaids is a fresh morality play about Amsterdam at the end of the twentieth century. Themes such as relationships, friendship and sex are lightened with plenty of couleur locale: marijuana, the Vondelpark, the beach in summer and the creative chic of the inner suburbs. Bastards & Bridesmaids was made for 40,000 gulden, outside the usual grant channels but with the unpaid support of an enthusiastic crew and cast.

Y aura-t-il de la neige a Noel (Sandrine Veysett), 2
Slap verhaal met mooie beelden van kleine kinderen op Frans platteland. Voor incest liefhebbers.(in english: bad film)

Fourbi (Alain Tanner), 4
Good story. Fourbi itself is not directly fake, but the film does tackle a topical fake phenomenon through an original and moving story. Fourbi is about the perverted attitude of the media towards reality. At the centre is the young working-class woman Rosemonde who has sold her life story to a new commercial television station. Writer Paul is commissioned to write down the story of Rosemonde. Rosemonde killed a man eight years before when he tried to rape her. There were no witnesses, so the case was dropped. Although Rosemonde had signed the contract with the TV station, she is apparently unable to tell Paul her story. So Paul and the producer then decide to let the actress who will fake Rosemonde in the broadcast spend some time with the real thing. This extreme form of methodccting will probably provide the desired sensational and true story. At first the method does not seem to be a success, but after a while both women start to take an interest in each other, especially in their social and psychological differences. Still at the end the story is not being told.

Thesis (Alejandro Amenabar), 4
Horror at the film academy. Pleasant enough to look.A blood-curdling thriller by the young Chilean-Spanish débutant Alejandro Anem bar. Protagonist is film student Angela (a convincing role by Ana Torent) who is writing a theses on violence in the media. After her mentor has promised her several extremely violent videos, Angela finds him dead with a video tape in his hand. With the porn and horror addict Chema she watches the video. It looks like an authentic 'snuff movie' (the registration of a murder committed especially for the film, usually with sexual overtones). They recognise the girl involved as a fellow student who disappeared several years previously. Angela and Chema decide to investigate the case and stick their noses in a wasps' nest of violence and perversion. The theme of Angela's thesis becomes very concrete when her life is endangered: she has been chosen to play the lead in a future 'snuff movie'. That film may be a fake, but she can't count on it.

Macadam Tribu (Jose lapleine), 3
African movies are usually slow. This one is an exception. Not much of a story, except for the many daily life problems, but these are interesting enough to be enetertaining.Macadam Tribu is vivid and well-acted drama about suburban life on the outskirts of an effervescent African city. Mike likes girls, Kapa likes boxing. The brothers work in a garage and hang around on the street, in bars and boxing clubs. Their mother has drunk too much ever since she was widowed. Mike is just out of jail where he was thrown for having an affair with the wife of a power-crazy cop. Duka decides to don his boxing gloves again. The whole neighbourhood is behind him but his fight ends badly. With the aid of an infectious soundtrack, this film oozes sympathy for the various characters, making the issues tackled - from alcoholism and AIDS to post-colonial problems and police violence - even more distressing, but not hopeless.

Kolya (Jan Sverak)
Kolya is a very amusing story about a womanising musician who got into trouble in 1988 through a political statement and is then lumbered with the care for a Russian boy who has been deserted by his mother, whom he married for some extra money. The boy doesn't speak Chech and the musician doesn't speak Russian. The boy is not going away so easy, just like the Russians in 1989, the time of the movie. But finally mother returns and the Russians have to leave as well. Nice pictures of these historic times are included in the film as well.

Kids return (Kitano Takeshi)
Masaru and Shinji are not the kind of model pupils who do everything to succeed in Japan's cutthroat society. When they are at school, they spend most of their time blackmailing fellow pupils or disrupting lessons in a comic and unruly way. However they are more often seen in bars talking about nothing in particular. When the sturdiest of the two, Masaru, is beaten up one day, he decides to take up boxing. Shinji follows his friend meekly and soon turns out to have the necessary talent. He may become a professional boxer and maybe even a champion. In a sparring bout provoked by Masaru, Shinji knocks his friend out. The ambitious Masaru decides to stop boxing and embark on a rapid career with the local Yakuza. The mixture of irony and melancholy with which Kitano looks at the lives of both adolescents is reminiscent of his earlier A Scene at the Sea. The dynamics of the boxing school, supported by the beautiful techno-percussion music of Joe Hishaishi, is the dynamic of hope. But the film gradually becomes a distressing story of missed opportunities in which clinging onto dreams doesn't offer any solace.

Tableau ferraille (Moussa Sene Absa), 4-2, 3
Tableau Ferraille is a working-class area about ten kilometres outside the Senegalese capital Dakar. It is on the coast and is populated by fishermen, but despite the coconut trees and colourful boats, it is no paradise. Proof of this is provided every day as the men and women set out to scrape together the bare necessities of life, an increasingly difficult task. Not least because of the large families. Living in sheds of corrugated iron and wood scraps, the quest for money is a real obsession. For some it is pure need, others strive for an increasingly luxurious existence. In this way the various characters slowly reveal their personalities: material interests sometimes count more than love, friendship, faith, honesty... The film concentrates on the impossible love between Daam and Gagnesiri in an Africa that is plagued by social problems.

Floating Life (Clara Law), 5-2, 4
Floating Life is an interesting chronicle of a family that is spread over three continents. Father and mother Chan leave Hong Kong with their two young sons Chau and Yue to visit their daughter Bing, who lives in an outer suburb of Sydney. Bing tries to turn her two teenage brothers into authentic Australian yuppies. Gar Ming, the eldest son in the family, has stayed on in Hong Kong and is waiting for his emigration papers. A young woman he made pregnant has an abortion and that is part of the reason for the aimlessness he experiences at that point in his life. In the meantime, the eldest sister Yen worries about her distant family. She lives in Munich, is married to a German and sees her daughter slowly lose her Chinese roots. When she decides to visit her family in Australia, she is greeted resentfully by Bing, who reproaches her for not taking enough interest in the care for their parents.

De Jurk (Alex van Warmerdam), 5-2, 3
This tragi-comic film follows the adventures of a blue summer frock with flower design. Several owners wear the dress with differing effects on the surroundings. Funny movie, but not as good as Abel or the Northelingen.

Trois vies et une seule mort (Raul Ruiz), 5-2, 4
This last feature starring Marcello Mastroianni, who plays no less than four roles, is a surprisingly accessible and pleasurable film by Ruiz' standards. This tragi-comic film has three story lines, that follow each other or are interwoven in different ways. Mateo Strano is a representative who returns to his wife Maria after a lengthy absence. George Vickers is a renowned professor of anthropology turned beggar who is in love with the lady Tania. Luc Allamand is an influential businessman imprisoned in a gigantic lie that comes true. Three protagonists who are in fact the same character. A bit slow, but with enough humour not to make it boring.

Die totale therapie (Christian Frosch), 5-2, 4
Nine people take part in a two-week 'know-yourself course' on a remote country estate. The motives of the participants are as diverse as their characters. The charismatic therapist Roman Romero and his assistants confront their clients with their alleged or real problems. Cut off from the outside world, the participants become more and more consumed by the therapy. After a week, Doctor Romero is found murdered. Panic breaks out and psychotherapy changes to psycho-terror. Grotesque accusations fly back and forth, accidents and misunderstandings ensue and bring things to boiling point. Chance, fortune, misfortune and accelerating hysteria make sure the participants are no longer able to act. A catastrophe is unavoidable and indeed almost everybody dies.

Drifting Clouds (Aki Kaurismaki), 5-2, 4
A black humour film about the psychology of unemployment. Husband and wife Lauri and Ilona both lose their jobs in quick succession. Ilona, who worked as maître d'hotel, is sacked when the restaurant changes hands. Lauri, tram-driver, is one of the unfortunate ones chosen by drawing cards when the tram company is drastically reorganised. They swallow their pride and shut out their bitterness to submit themselves to the humiliation of job hunting and money worries. Kaurismäki's characters seem to be in a stable state of misery - at the best. Yet the director wanted to cheer up his unemployed fellow countrymen and -women with his film: when Ilona thinks of starting a restaurant of her own, it looks as if it's going to be a success by the end of the film. Great fun. Except for the happy end, it could have been made by Hungarians.

Death and the Compass, 5-2, 1
Well......

Fistful of flies (Monica Pellizarri), 6-2, 4
Fistful of Flies, the feature début of Monica Pellizzari, is a personal black comedy about a girl of 16 who becomes a woman in strict and hypocritical surroundings. At the end she almost kills her brutal father, who starts crying because of this rather stressfull experience and she gives sexual education to her mother. So after all it's a happy ending.

Blind data (Theo van Gogh), 6-2, 4
Golden Calf winner Blind Date is a low-budget film about a man and a woman who lost their three-year-old daughter. The little girl narrates her parents' sorrows and quarrels from the next world. Though low budget, the film is well done. It is possible to follow the story, the acting is not at all bad and all scenes are very funny. Blind date ad: "Magician looking for woman, defintely no rabbits".

La seconda volta (Mimmo Calopresti), 6-2, 4
(With Nanni Moretti) In Turin, the former Fiat manager professor Alberto Sajevo happens to meet the terrorist Lisa Venturi, the woman who tried to kill him twelve years previously. He recognises her at once, but she has no idea who he is. Alberto, who is still walking around with a bullet in his head, starts surreptitiously arranging more meetings. Lisa pretends to be an ordinary working woman and Alberto doesn't let on that he knows she has to return to her prison cell every evening where she is serving a thirty-year sentence. A cat and mouse game ensues in which Alberto tries to get an answer to questions that have tortured him for twelve years.

Under the skin (Francisco Lombardi), 7-2, 4
A shy, insecure and peace-loving cop by the name of Percy Corso is appointed at the Palle police station in a small Peruvian village of the same name. Palle was once the homeland of the Moches, the violent yet beautiful people from the pre-Inca era. When a series of crimes is committed in the Moche tradition - young people with their throats cut, bulging eyes and decapitated bodies - Percy Corso is appointed to lead the investigation with a Spanish pathologist and a professor who is specialised in the Moche culture. The increasingly close relationship between the pathologist and Percy Corso moves the policeman to fiery passions and deeper urges he cannot control. After their last feature Sin compassion, the Peruvian director Francisco Lombardi and scriptwriter Augusto Cabada wondered: 'How can an "ordinary" person consciously become a criminal?' This dive into the past in combination with today's Peru combines to deliver a whimsical film full of passion, instinct and tradition.

A Petal (Jang Sun-Woo), 7-2, 5
A Petal is a very impressive movie and the first mature cinematic reflection on what happened in Kwangju in 1980 and what it meant. A young woman, nameless and mentally disturbed, wanders the countryside looking for her brother. She latches on to a down-and-out labourer and moves in with him. He abuses her, beats her and finally rapes her, but her refusal to leave slowly softens his behaviour. Meanwhile, through animated and live-action flashbacks, Jang shows us the origins of the girl's trauma, which is the death of her mother in a demonstration after which she is taken as almost death to a mass burial of the corpses. She escapes, but turns mad. In vain her friends try to find her.

The day trippers (Gregg Motola), 7-2, 3
The Daytrippers offers a humorous look at misunderstandings and suppressed emotions in an Archie Bunker-like family. Eliza and Louis live in a suburb on Long Island. While Louis has gone to work at a publisher in Manhattan, Eliza finds a letter that looks very like a declaration of love to her husband. She is shocked and goes to her parents for advise. Her father listens quietly, but her mother decides that they have to talk to the son-in-law straight away. The family, including Eliza's rebellious little sister and her boyfriend, a not-very-talented would-be writer, head for the city by car. Louis is not at the office, but later that evening he is expected at a book presentation, according to his slimy and insecure boss. The family decides to wait for him. In the meantime they meet a variety of New Yorkers, when they are not in the car quarrelling. Including the world's shortest car chase ("you don't have to stop when the light is orange").

Hu-Du-Men (Shu Kei), 8-2, 3
Kantonese opera drama. Beatiful colors, music and plays, but not much of a story.

Frozen (Wu Ming=no name), 8-2, 3
Qi is a performance artist. He is young, impulsive and full of ideas. But the greyness of life makes him lose more and more of his vitality. Nervousness and tiredness lead to confusion. For Qi death becomes more attractive than everything else in life. But he has specific ideas about how you have to die. He decides to die and turn his death into his last performance. On the longest day of the year, he plans to melt a huge block of ice with his own body warmth and then die of undercooling. He calls the project 'Funeral in Ice'. He ends up alive, but officially dead. And after three months he commits suicide, so after all he doesn't lie too much. The director is unknown, as there is another stupidious law in China, with enprisonement for directors not using the official channels. And Wu Ming wants to return to make more movies. A frozen country as well. The movie itself could have used a bit more action.

Un hero tres discret (Jacques Audiard) 8-2, 4
Un héros très discret comprises short fragments from a fake documentary making it look as if the protagonist really existed. It is however largely a fiction film with a beautifully detailed and meticulously thought-out screenplay about a special forger. Albert Dehousse (Mathieu Kassovitz) is an inconspicuous youth from the country who soon becomes aware that you can pretend to be someone else. He never knew his father, and his mother left him in the illusion that he died a war hero. When Albert finds out his father was destroyed by alcohol, he is disillusioned, but also prepared for a greater and more perfect deception. He makes a thorough study of the habits, trivia and quirks of resistance men and manages to become a 'better' resistance man that his examples. Almost identical to the way I got into the ministry of foreign affairs.

Prisoner of the mountain (Sergei Bodrov), 8-2, 5
Powerful anti-war drama about two Russian soldiers imprisoned by the Chechen freedom fighters. In the Kaukasus a Russian patrol is attacked. Only two soldiers survive the ambush: veteran Sasha (Oleg Menchikov) and recruit Vanya (Sergei Bodrov jr). They are taken to the village of Abdul-Mourat, a Chechen whose son has been imprisoned by the Russians. He hopes to force an exchange. While they wait for the outcome of the tedious negotiations, the prisoners make contact with the villagers, especially with their guard, the dumb Hassan and with the daughter of Abdul-Mourat. The young girl falls for Vanya, who repairs watches and other items for the villagers. During an escape attempt, the veteran Sasha is killed and when the son of Abdul-Mourat dies, a swap is no longer possible. Many villagers argue that the young Vanya should be executed. Kavkazskij plennik was shot in Dagestan, neighbouring Chechnya. The film-crew itself was also imprisoned temporarily by young Dagestan mountain dwellers who thought they were not getting paid enough. The wonderful mountain landscape of the Caucasus also has its dramatic political situation. Ever since the areas were overrun in the last century by Czarist Russia, they have been kept in check by hard-handed military violence. Just how little has changed becomes clear from the fact that Bodrov's film is based on a story by Tolstoi, who visited the area 150 years ago.

 

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