Wednesday 27 Jan 2010 * Paju, Park Chan ok, Korea, 3 The opening film of the festival
is the second feature by Park Chan-Ok, who won a Tiger Award in 2003 with Jealousy
Is My Middle Name. After his negligence causes serious injuries to the small child
of a girlfriend, a young activist sought by the police flees to the provincial town
of Paju. Fate continue to affect him there. The woman he marries dies in a gas explosion,
after which he becomes entangled in an complex relationship with her little sister.
It takes a while before understanding the relationsships due to complicated flah
backs. The films also tries to take up too many issues at once and emotions are overdoen.
Still good camera work.
Thursday 28 January
* Good for Nothing, Yoshida Kiju, Japan 1960,4
Yoshida’s striking debut film. Good for Nothingdepicts a new moral amongst the youth,
estranged from the previous generation that had brought about the postwar economic
miracle. Bored middle-class youngsters start robbing just for fun, but end up in
a deadly game of crime and betrayal. Very interesting and pleasant movie given that
it was made in 1960 already.
* Fantastic Mr. Fox, Wes Anderson, VS/VK, 4
This film based on Roald Dahl's children's story focuses on Mr. Fox, the fox who
promises his wife faithfully that he will stay on the straight and narrow path. However,
a fox does lose its hairs, but never its tricks. The evil farmers Boggis, Bunce and
Bean want to take their revenge after someone has broken into the house. Mr. Fox
feels it's necessary not only for himself, but also for all the animals in the forest,
to go to all ends to fend off the attacks. Very funny and well made. With voice of
George Clooney as mr Fox and Merryll Streep as Ms Fox.
Friday 29 January
* Zarte Parasiten, Christian Becker, Germany, 4
In their second feature, the German directors Christian Becker and Oliver Schwabe
follow a young couple who are parasitic on the lives of others. The girl visits a
lonely old lady in exchange for money. The boy, also for money, visits a couple whose
son has died.
* Rapt, Lucas Belvaux, France, 4
Nail-biting thriller about a brutally kidnapped rich industrialist - a powerful role
by Yvan Attal. While he physically and mentally degenerates in imprisonment, the
kidnappers, police and the board of the company of which he is director negotiate
about the ransom of €50 million.
* City of Life and Death, Lu Chuan, China,4
Impressive chronicle in beautiful black & white about the horrors inflicted by the
Japanese in 1937 after they conquered the former Chinese capital Nanjing. Lu Chuan
does not only show the random nature of executions and rapes, but also the horror
of a well-intentioned Japanese soldier.
Saturday 30 January
* Moscow, Cheol mean, Korea, 2
The joyful reunion of two former school friends changes to a confusing confrontation
when the differences between the two girls emerge. Lost ideals and the desire for
happiness against the background of a fierce Korean trade union battle. But boring,
slow and over the top.
* prophete, Un, Jacques, Audiard, 4
Widely praised film has a powerful leading role by Tahar Rahim as the 19-year-old
Malik who has to go into jail for six years for an unknown reason. He has to survive
in the harsh prison environment. His loyalty becomes divided between his fellow Moslem
detainees and the Corsican mafia.
* Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans,Werner Herzog, US , 5
Werner Herzog's remake of Abel Ferrara’s Bad Lieutenant (1993) moves the setting
to New Orleans during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, but has the same protagonists:
a cocaine-crazed and flipped-out cop (Nicolas Cage). He obsessively gets his teeth
into the murder of five Senegalese illegal immigrants. Probably as good or even better
than the original version. Sharp, superb acting by Cage and at times very funny.
Pity about the somewhat unnecessary and chaotic ending but still a must see.
Thursday 4 February
Crying with laughter, Justin Molotnikov, UK, 5
Sardonic British tragicomedy about the Scottish stand-up comedian Joey Frisk (a beautiful
leading role by Stephen McCole) who unwittingly becomes involved with a crime as
a result of a misplaced joke during one of his shows. Powerful feature debut by Justin
Molotnikov with great attention to attractive locations in and around Edinburgh.
This just has to be a sick joke', says stand-up comedian Joey Frisk in Crying with
Laughter about his own adventures. Frisk's drink and drugs-filled life forms the
most important obstacle for an international breakthrough. This sardonic British
tragicomedy is constructed around a performance in which Frisk looks back, beaten
black and blue, on another performance in which he made a joke about an old school
friend, a man who just happened to be in the audience that night. With far-reaching
consequences. Suddenly the school friend turns up all over the place where Frisk
is appearing and he becomes unwillingly involved in a kidnapping, possibly even murder.
But is what the viewer sees real? Nothing to add, great movie.
* Once upon a time proletarian, PA4, Xiaolu, VK, 4
Portrait of post-Maoist China in twelve commentaries by inhabitants of the country.
Writer/film maker Guo Xialolu sketches a varied picture of a China that is still
developing very rapidly, but which still doesn't seem to have much room for individual
needs. Those who can't keep up can do little else but complain.. The interesting
thing is that it is really a movie about rapid development. Starting with traditional
peasants and ending with post modern society with its winners and loosers and the
thin line between the two latter groeups. Very interesting and entertaining at the
* Blood and Bones, Sai Jochi, Japan, 4
In this epic fresco, Sai explores social history through one man, a Korean emigrant
to 1920s Japan (played by Kitano Takeshi), who works his way up to head a small criminal
empire. Sai’s brilliant recreation of a vanished community raises difficult questions
about Korean-Japanese identity. Great movie of 2,5 hours but almost never boring.
I was impressed.
* White Stripes: Under Great White Northern Lights, The, Lantaren 1, 19:45, Malloy,
US, 1 The mean blues-rock duo The White Stripes tours the whole of Canada in 2007.
The whole of Canada, so not just the big cities. In this Arctic Rock documentary.
But what a terruble music and it was so loud. I run away from it after 30 minutes
to avoid further damage to my ears. o interesting story as well.
Friday 5 February
* Temptation of St. Tony, The, Ounpoo, Finland, 3
Veiko Õunpuu’ second film (after Autumn Ball) is a parable on the new, wolf-like
capitalism in Eastern Europe with its compassionless capitalist rules and rulers.
Shot in beautiful black and white. He starts with some wonderful black comedy, but
suddenly turns to another style, more heavy and serious and finally baroque and abusrdistic.
That is a bit too much for one movie. Pity. 3
* My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done? Wernor Herzog, US/Germany, 3
Werner Herzog's horror film 'without axes and chain saws'. An actor in a play about
Oedipus threatens to kill his real mother. He shuts himself up with two hostages
and while the police negotiate outside, flashbacks show how things could have got
this far. David Lynch co-produces. Two great directors cooperating does not necessarily
yields a great movie. Something went wrong here. The film never gets exciting or
even interesting.. Probably a rather commercial try to make a fast movie with great
* Lebanon, Samuel Maoz, Israel, 5
With the autobiographical Lebanon (Golden Lion in Venice), Samuel Maoz returns to
the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. An operation to clear a small town turns into a
chaotic nightmare. A claustrophobic tour de force - the whole film is set inside
a tank. Better look this than 300 hours of televisionnews on the topic, is what
one of our Middle East experts have said. Very much so! An experience rather than
just being spectator!!
Saturday 6 February
* Hadewijch, Domont, France, 3
A young novice is thrown out of the nunnery and leaves with an Arab for the Middle
East in order to sacrifice herself for her God. Bruno Dumont's Hadewijch is not interested
in a specific conflict or a specific religion, but in the psychology of fanaticism.
But not very convincing. The movie starts well but after some time it becomes vague
and transitions unprobable.
* Mujer sin piano, La, Rebello, Spain, 4
Rebollo was inspired by the sight of a respectable lady sitting at night by a closed
bus station. What was she doing there? The film had to give the answer. 'His' Rosa
is a housewife with a secret second life for one noght. Beatiful acting and great
camera work. A pleasant movie to finish the festival.