Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Two Gates of Sleep

USA 2010


Details IMDB

Seen 29 April 2014

Ratings from other sources
IMDB 6.1/10


After preparing for their mother's imminent death, two brothers go on an arduous upriver journey to honor her final request






My ratings 6.0/10

My impressions:

Siblings, brothers devoted to the mother
Her last wish must be fulfilled
Her final resting place
Her final journey

It is not an easy journey
Words might not be spoken
Silence more the norm

Until emotions overflow
An outburst, changes
The situation

Then the journey begins again
Ensuring the wish, the dream
Is fulfilled


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Map (Mapa)

Spain 2012


Details variety

Seen 27 April 2014

Ratings from other sources
IMDB 7.0/10



This is the story of a young Spanish director burned out by his job on TV, who went to India in search of his first feature film






My ratings 7.0/10

My impressions:

The journey gave an opportunity to reflect on what and why his life has changed in such a way. The emotional past catches up and there is an emptiness which is not filled by the travels. He has to go back and face the truth.

His past relationship was cut short by the other party and even now when he feels there might be hope, history repeats itself. The process of healing takes many forms and his work seems to be the solution.

The photography and music gives an added dimension to the story. An engaging film.


Monday, April 28, 2014

Hawaii

Argentina 2013


Details IMDB

Seen 24 April 2014

Ratings from other sources
IMDB 7.7/10


Martin seeks for a temporary job at Eugenio's house. When they recognize to be childhood friends, Eugenio offers him work for the summer. A power and desire game starts and their relationship grows beyond their friendship.






My ratings 7.5/10

My impressions:

Circumstances bring childhood friends together again. They might not be from the same social class but there is a bond between them. The happy memories bring back smiles.

The present is slightly different. Each has grown to be his own man. Individuals with their own dreams and ambitions. Can feelings remain the same throughout the years or has it mellowed and changed. Hopefully for the better.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

A Thousand Times Good Night (Tusen ganger god natt)

Norway 2013


Details IMDB

Seen 23 April 2014

Ratings from other sources
IMDB 7.3/10


Rebecca is one of the world's top war photographers. She must weather a major emotional storm when her husband refuses to put up with her dangerous life any longer






My ratings 7.5/10

My impressions:

The war photographer is a special breed and in this case she is a mother and wife. Balancing those roles is not easy to say the least and her latest escapade from danger seems to have put some sense into her. Her family needs her despite her assurances that she knows what she is doing and capable of taking care of herself.

A trip with her daughter to s supposedly safe zone triggers an emotional flare up within the family. It is in her to use her talents and skills to bring attention to the plight of those oppressed. The family pull is strong too.

The choice has to be made. Even when doing her work, certain scenes are too heart wrenching for her to capture. How much more has to be done to stop the atrocities?



Friday, April 25, 2014

Moloch Tropical

Haiti 2009

Details IMDB

Seen 22 April 2014

Ratings from other sources
IMDB 7.0/10


A look at the final moments of a ruler in Haiti as a violent revolution erupts around him









My ratings 7.0/10

My impressions:

The beautiful opening shots did not prepare the audience for the unfolding drama that will be laid out later. Each person has an agenda and none more so than the main character. The leader of a nation who believes that he was elected fairly by an adoring nation.

He could not come to terms with reality that people are disappointed with his track record. He did begin his climb up the political ladder by being the leader and saviour of the down trodden. Unfortunately once in power he became a different animal.

His grasp on the situation is shaky, coddled by a team of advisers and others who have vested interests. The final decision was just waiting for the right trigger.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

A City of Women (La città delle donne)

Italy 1980

Details IMDB

Seen 21 April 2014

Ratings from other sources
IMDB 7.1/10

A businessman finds himself trapped at a hotel and threatened by women en masse.










My ratings 7.0/10

My impressions:

A man who has always had a soft spot for women finds himself surrounded by many. That is the beginning of his journey of discovery not only of the many women he encounters but also of himself.

He is bewildered every step of the way. He could not find an answer why he has been put in such a situation. The smiles work their charm every time and he is trapped, pursuing that ideal elusive woman of his dreams.

The journey does come to an end and his views on women might change for the better.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Hole In My Heart (Ett hål i mitt hjärta)

Sweden 2004

Details IMDB

Seen 20 April 2014

Ratings from other sources
IMDB 4.6/10

In a decrypt apartment, a young man watches as his father and a friend shoot an amateur porn film. Issues of morality, reality TV and friendship are explored









My ratings 5.0/10

My impressions:

Some might say it is a masterpiece while others think it is trash, exploitative and degrading. Despite the divergent views, the story does convey a sense of pathos and lost among those on the fringe.

They do have their own desires and dreams but it is a different world entirely from the norm. Friendship, love and that longing for human company is raw. Not everyone would agree with the way the director helms the story. Some parts are disgusting to our sensibilities.

Tread with caution.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Portuguese Nun (A Religiosa Portuguesa)

Portugal 2009

Details IMDB

Seen 19 April 2014

Ratings from other sources
IMDB 6.4/10

A young French actress in Lisbon to shoot a movie is intrigued by a nun she sees kneeling in the in the chapel where she is filming.







My ratings 7.0/10

My impressions:

The first few minutes is already an indication of the style and approach the film is going to take to tell the story. A woman asked the main character in a later scene, what kind of film is she working on. When the answer was an unconventional film, the retort was it must be a boring film.

How very apt that a character would say that. A deliberate offhand dig at so many who might have the same impression.

Yes, it is slow and tedious. It took some time for the plot to develop and most probably that was the intention. To let the message simmer before coming to a boil at nearly the end of the film.

The theme of love, its effects on your relationship with yourself and those near you is the main thrust. The story also touches on the love for God. Questions are asked on how many loves can there be in one's lifetime and the different forms it takes.

Monday, April 21, 2014

You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet (Vous n'avez encore rien vu)

France 2012

Details wikipedia

Seen 19 April 2014

Ratings from other sources
IMDB 6.5/10

From beyond the grave, celebrated playwright Antoine d’Anthac gathers together all his friends who have appeared over the years in his play “Eurydice.”








My ratings 7.0/10

My impressions:

Even though its nearly 2 hours long, with patience, it is such a rewarding watch. The themes of love, jealousy and relationships permeates throughout the proceedings. The fact that a group of young actors are recreating a play seen by the original players is a delicious treat.

The juxtaposition of text, action, art direction at the hands of an experienced director gives such delight. Listening, watching and savouring each actor's gestures going through their paces made this a wonderful piece. 

 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Howl

USA 2010

Details howlthemovie

Seen 18 April 2014

Ratings from other sources
IMDB 6.8/10

As Allen Ginsberg talks about his life and art, his most famous poem is illustrated in animation while the obscenity trial of the work is dramatized








My ratings 7.0/10

My impressions:

Using animation in the film highlighting the poem gives a different perspective to the viewer and those familiar with the work. Juxtaposed against the court case, the relevance of the words used in the poem seem more apt and necessary.

The court itself heard testimonies of experts in literature on the merits or otherwise of the book. The landmark ruling for the book heralds a new openness on what is considered obscene and appropriate for public consumption.

Opens the doors for others to venture and explore in their own words what they wish to convey to others.


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Leo's Room (El cuarto de Leo)

Uruguay 2009

Details IMDB

Seen 18 April 2014

Ratings from other sources
IMDB 6.7/10


Leo, a young man coming to terms with his own sexuality, runs into Caro, a primary school friend he fancied when they were kids, who's now trying to ward off her own personal demons







My ratings 7.0/10

My impressions:

A languid pace gives the story time to grow and sink into our consciousness while the subject of same sex attraction is handled gently and with much compassion.

The dilemma faced by the main character might ring true for some in a similar situation. More questions seem to appear as the story continues and answers are not any nearer. Decisions had to be made which leads to further complications.

Whatever the consequences, a choice has to be made in order for some hope of happiness to occur.


Friday, April 18, 2014

Pure (Till det som är vackert)

Sweden 2009

Details wikipedia

Seen 17 April 2014

Ratings from other sources
IMDB 6.410












My ratings 7.0/10

My impressions:

Courage is life's only measure – a constant refrain throughout the story. The main character might be from the wrong side of town but that refrain kept her going despite the odds.

An alcoholic mother is not the best of role models. Life had not been too kind to her. Music came into her life and the world seemed to offer hope at last. But not without some soul searching to realise her dreams. She had to make the effort and courage to change her situation.

Others did not know what she knew.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A little bit of freedom (Kleine Freiheit)

Germany 2003

Details German films

Seen 17 April 2014

Ratings from other sources
IMDB 6.410


The friendship between two teenage boys who are illegal immigrants in Germany









My ratings 7.0/10

My impressions:

Both are looking for a better future but the odds are always stacked against them. Illegals are almost always on the fringes of a community even with the support and help from their friends or family who have the necessary papers.

The Kurdish community with their past history are recreating the same scenario in their adopted country. Those who had betrayed the fighters are also in the same vicinity and there are others who point an accusing finger.

The young boy is caught in an unresolved situation made more difficult by his loyalty and affection for his friend.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Mother (La Mere)

Switzerland 2007

Details magnificent7

Seen 16 April 2014

Ratings from other sources
IMDB 7.3/10


Story of a Russian single mother with nine children.






My ratings 7.0/10

My impressions:

The single mother in this film is not rich. She works hard at a farm providing as best as she can for her family of nine children. Her own childhood was bereft of love and affection. Now with her own brood, she strives to give them that motherly support.

Life seems bleak for such a big family with just enough to live moderately. The children have their fights and fun just like others their age. They may not have the trappings of wealth but they seem a happy lot.

The mother has a soft spot for everyone and is even willing to take on more under her care. Alas, she is only able to do what is within her capabilities. She acknowledges that her years are limited. If and when the mother is no more, a question hangs on the fate of her children.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Conversation Piece (Gruppo di famiglia in un interno)

Italy 1974

Details IMDB

Seen 15 April 2014

Ratings from other sources
IMDB 7.6/10

A retired professor's quiet life is turned upside down when a family rents the apartments upstairs.








My ratings 7.0/10

My impressions:

Money seems to be the key
The power that can be used over others
Even though the one person
That attracts and fascinates
Is the opposite and from
A different background

Intelligent, with his own ideas
The money would just be a tool
The inner self is still the same
The rebel, reformer, against
Injustice and inequality

He has the power
Not wealth or riches
His physical presence, and mind
Is the key that attracts others
Like moths to the light

Changing oneself after the encounter


Monday, April 14, 2014

The Counsellor

USA 2013

Details IMDB

Seen 14 April 2014

Ratings from other sources
IMDB 5.5/10

A lawyer finds himself in over his head when he gets involved in drug trafficking








My ratings 5.0/10

My impressions:

Once your are involved
The chances of getting out
Is very slim indeed

Caught in between
Through no fault of your own
Except for that big motivating factor
Greed

The consequences if the plan goes wrong
Has been told and retold
With warnings subtle and up front

The danger lurks not just for you
But involves others
Whom you love and care
Whom you dream of having a life with

Those in control have a different idea
Since what has happened
Is linked to you

Yes, the so called innocent you


Rio

USA 2011

Details IMDB

Seen 13 April 2014

Ratings from other sources
IMDB 7.0/10

When Blu, a domesticated macaw from small-town Minnesota, meets the fiercely independent Jewel, he takes off on an adventure to Rio de Janeiro with this bird of his dreams






My ratings 7.0/10

My impressions:

Are they birds of a feather?
Both grew up in different environments
One almost human
The other longing for the wild
To be free again

Their adventures, mishaps
The stuff of thrills and spills

Will they succeed and be the beginning
The starting point of future generations
That was the main aim
Of their meeting
To propagate and multiply
To ensure the species will survive
That the species will not end

Will they succeed?

The Story of the Weeping Camel

Mongolia, Germany 2006

Details IMDB

Seen 12 April 2014

Ratings from other sources
IMDB 7.5/10

When a Mongolian nomadic family's newest camel colt is rejected by its mother, a musician is needed for a ritual to change her mind








My ratings 8.0/10

My impressions:

A mother rejects her new born
A traumatic experience definitely for both
Mother and child

It was a difficult birth
That might account for the detached feelings
Towards your own flesh and blood
Despite the crying for recognition
From the baby

How long can the baby endure
He is helpless without the mother's care
In the harsh reality of the environment

Others try to persuade
But to no avail
Until the plaintive sounds of the music
And the voice of another mother

Soothes and cajoles


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Time (Shi gan)

South Korea 2006

Details IMDB

Seen 11 April 2014

Ratings from other sources
IMDB 7.3/10

To save her relationship, a woman puts herself through extensive plastic surgery










My ratings 7.5/10

My impressions:

Does a change in physical appearance help
What exactly should be changed

A relationship is fragile
Needs nurture and care
That is certain

Doubts lead to decisions
So appropriate at that point in time
But thinking again
It might not have been a brilliant idea

Where does one go from that point
Change again or try
And recapture the old self

Unfortunately, that is not feasible
What is in the past stays there
Memories

The present and future
Brings new experiences
Different