Friday, October 25, 2013

Paradise: Love

Paradise: Love (2012) Poster
Austria 2012

Details IMDB

Seen 24 October 2013

Ratings from other sources
IMDB 6.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes Average Rating 6.5/10

My ratings 7.0/10
Finding love in paradise.

My impressions:

The paradise in the title refers to a holiday resort in Kenya. The story centres on a middle aged woman, Teresa who goes on vacation in the hopes of finding love.

There are many men waiting and ever willing to give love but all at a price. She does realise at the end that what she is seeking could not be had there, at the supposedly paradise. Her friends might have a different opinion as they have found the kind of love that they seek. The attention for a price.

A tourist in a foreign land. The air itself smells different. The atmosphere makes one giddy with anticipation of happy endings. In the beginning the money is of no consequence. Unfortunately, it gets messy when one starts to feel an attachment for the toy. Then one tries again. There is always that feeling that maybe the next one will be better.

The truth hurts. Paradise is expensive.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Village without women

Serbia 2010

Seen 23 October 2013

Ratings from other sources
IMDB 8.3/10

My ratings 7.0/10
Finding a woman to be the life partner.

My impressions:

Three brothers seemed without any hope of a woman in their lives until one day one of them decides to make an effort finding that perfect mate. Their village itself is a minus factor as it is quite inaccessible to modern amenities. In the middle of nowhere with no neighbours would be quite daunting for any woman.

The brother, Zoran, is steadfast in his pursuit of that ideal woman. He wants a wife, not just someone to have fun with but hopefully a soul mate as well. He tries his luck in the immediate village but the advice given is to seek that woman of his dreams from a neighbouring country.

He goes through the hassle of the red tape and trips to look for the right candidate. The other brothers are unsure whether Zoran is making the right decision looking for a girl from another country since both countries are at loggerheads at that time.

He continues in his search but marriage is not a business transaction. The human factor comes into play and that ultimately decides whether he will succeed in his quest.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Out in the dark

Out in the Dark (2012) Poster
Israel 2012

Details IMDB

Seen 22 October 2013

Ratings from other sources
IMDB 6.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes Average Rating 6.6/10

My ratings 6.5/10
Love blossoms between two men from different sides of the border.

My impressions:

It is always a challenge to be in love with someone from a different background. Further complications arise because they are from two opposite sides which have been perpetually at war with each other for a long time.

The dilemma, choices and decisions that has to be made in the name of love is told with compassion in the film. There is a tinge of sadness that engulfs the lovers facing so many obstacles. Their tender moments compensate the frustrations felt. We want them to succeed but will they ?

Most probably relationships such as this still abound and one wonders how are they surviving.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Black's Game (Svartur á leik)

Black's Game (2012) Poster
Iceland 2012

Details IMDB

Seen 15 October 2013

Ratings from other sources
IMDB 6.6/10

My ratings 6.5/10
A childhood friend opens the doors to a bigger world.

My impressions:

A chance encounter with an old childhood friend while Stebbi was just out from the police station after a brawl the previous night leads to a different lifestyle altogether.

The mix of drugs, partying and sex does bring a high to a young adult. The money is good too. There are moments when Stebbi wonders where it will all end up. This was especially apparent when an encounter with the big boss during a big party made him see things differently.

Stebbi has to decide and face the consequences.

Another look at the underbelly of a country and its inhabitants.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Brotherhood (Broderskab)

Brotherhood (2009) Poster
Denmark 2009

Details IMDB

Seen 11 October 2013

Ratings from other sources
IMDB 6.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes Average rating 5.6/10

My ratings 6.5/10
An ex-army man join a neo-Nazi group.

My impressions:

In the beginning, the ex-army man, Lars was not even interested and even said that the group of neo-Nazis were just a bunch of losers. He is depicted as being from an established family with all the support that can be gained from that social standing but nonetheless rebels against the family wishes. He wants to strike out on his own.

The neo-Nazis gives a welcoming embrace. He is tutored by a senior member of the group, Jimmy during the initial period of familiarisation with the workings and philosophy of the group.

The initial cold relationship between the two turns into something unexpected. The warm feelings get stronger until one day when Jimmy is given an ultimatum. Jimmy has to choose since he can't have it all.

His decision led them to a different path in their lives.

Initial hatred and misgivings turn into love and affection. Despite the odds, they will triumph.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

In Another Country (Da-reun na-ra-e-seo)

In Another Country (2012) Poster
South Korea 2012

Details IMDB

Seen 9 October 2013

Ratings from other sources
IMDB 6.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes Average rating 6.7/10

My ratings 6.5/10
Three stories of a foreign woman in South Korea

My impressions:

Three stories played by the same group of actors with the action taking place at a seaside resort. The sequence of events is almost similar in each story as the woman will go through the same routine in each story. The only difference would be why and how she is there.

All stories revolve on how a foreign woman copes with the different cultural background in a foreign country. Her past history still has a hold on her and the sojourn at the resort is in a way an escape from reality.

There are moments of sweet innocence between two strangers trying to communicate using the limited vocabulary of a common foreign language, in this case, English. Sometimes there is a feeling that the story persist in portraying certain characters in a stereotypical way.

A fleeting moment, most of it happy but certain aspects remain unsolved.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Raging Sun, Raging Sky (Rabioso sol, rabioso cielo)

Raging Sun, Raging Sky (2009) Poster
Mexico 2009

Details IMDB

Seen 8 October 2013

Ratings from other sources
IMDB 6.1/10

My ratings 6.0/10
A story of love, sex and destiny

My impressions:

The film is a bit too long with some unnecessary scenes. There are times the long duration of a film adds more insight into the story but in this case, a shorter version would have conveyed the message as effectively.

The age old of story of love, passion and jealousy is shown in snippets of long walks and wanderings. Fortunately the actors manage to transcend the sometimes tedious scenes and the audience are able to feel for their characters. A plus factor of watching the film on DVD is the ability of using the fast forward button to skip those indulgent scenes.

A love story. Triumphant and raging mirroring the film title.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Caterpillar (Kyatapirâ)

Caterpillar (2010) Poster
Japan 2010

Details IMDB

Seen 7 October 2013

Ratings from other sources
IMDB 6.7/10

My ratings 7.0/10
During the Second Sino-Japanese War, in 1940, Lieutenant Kurokawa returns home as a honored and decorated soldier... but deprived of his arms and legs lost in battle in mainland China

My impressions:

How does a wife cope when the husband returns from war without any limbs. She has to assume responsibility for everything. The husband himself, is deemed a living war god. Such is the honour attached to war heroics. War itself has never brought any semblance of good to most people. This film shows the consequence in the lives of ordinary folks.

Living with an invalid husband is no stroll in the park. The wife has her limitations as well and copes as best as she can. She remembers the past too when the husband was well and that affects how she treats him now. Often times, she goes through highs and lows. As a consequence the husband and wife team might seem such a devoted couple to the public, but the struggles between the two at home takes the audience into the inner circle.

Both actors show depth especially the actress who has the pivotal role. The cinematography is kept simple and to the point, bringing the story closer to the audience.

A denunciation of war and its horrific effects on ordinary lives.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Eyes Wide Open (Einaym Pkuhot)

Eyes Wide Open (2009) Poster
Israel 2009

Details IMDB

Seen 6 October 2013

Ratings from other sources
IMDB 7.1/10

My ratings 7.0/10
A married, Orthodox Jewish father of four falls in love with a twenty two year old male student.

My impressions:

How does one reconcile feelings and affection as well as loyalty to the family, and community. In this case, he is a man of God, devoted and pious until another man enters his life.

That event triggers emotions unknown previously or it might have been just latent waiting for the right person or moment. The realisation that he can feel for someone of his own gender puts him in a spot. He at first tries to discard and prevent those feelings from taking root. It was not meant to be.

The story of love between two men is juxtaposed against another story of a young couple's unapproved relationship. The treatment meted out by the community is justified in order to preserve the traditions and sanctity of future generations. The impure must be cast out.

That is the fate of those deemed sinners in the eyes of the others.