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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 Nothing depicts 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 same time.

* 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 names.

* 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.