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The real deal starts today at FNC 2019 with a string of films from around the world. Need some guidance? Follow us…

5:30PM, Quartier Latin Cinema: Beanpole (also playing October 14th and 19th, see schedule below)

Following the critically acclaimed Closeness (2017), director Kantemir Balagov comes up with another austere, but assumed drama, Beanpole. It is Russia’s submission for Oscar consideration. Set in postwar Leningrad, Bagalov story is a tale of women working at an hospice for war veterans. The men coming back, but also the surroundings, the time and place, are in poor condition. It is a no man’s land. The director explores the bound between lady friends Ilya and Masha.  A process of borderline dependency that is as indulging as painful, both having distinct unfulfilled aspirations resulting from the same extreme circumstances. There is scars you can see on the bodies of men returning from the front, but war left some deep into the soul too, requiring some painful healing. In Beanpole, as in the real world, the wounds of conflicts are never completely healed long after the actual facts.

6:45PM – Cinema du Parc – And then We Danced  (also playing on October 13 and 19, see the program below)

Levan Akin’s And then We Danced is Sweden’s submission for Oscar consideration.

Merab dances at the National Georgian Ensemble. The young man’s is shaken by the arrival of good looking male dancer Irakli, partly as unexpected competition, but mostly because he becomes an object of desire. Within orthodox Georgia, their teachers are certainly not open to any fooling around with ‘cultural heritage’. They want the boys (and girls) to walk straight, by all means. Orthodoxy and tradition are watching you!

What works well with And then We Danced is the fact it avoids being preachy in tackling a serious subject, thus not falling into melodrama or Queer pamphlet. It is straight forward, well played  (dancer Levan Gelbakhiani is a new comer as acting goes) and slightly impertinent

Don’t fool around with ‘traditions’ young man! Well, director Akin had another agenda…

Cinema du Parc, 9:00PM: Little Joe  (also playing on October 20, 5PM – see Official Site below)

Austrian director Jessica Hausner’s English speaking film, Little Joe, won Best Actress Award in Cannes for Emily Beecham’s performance as a Happy flower creator in the corporate world of scientific and big bucks botanics. A manipulated flower whose scent makes you happy. But, what if the manipulated would become the manipulator? And what does being happy really means without freedom? There is a takeover indeed, but who’s who?

In this cross take on Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Little shop of Horrors and The Thing, Hausner, and screenwriter Géraldine Bajard, usual mannerism seems fit to their clinical approach. It may also be deceptive for fans of the genre as it does not aim at this particular audience.  If the metaphor in the original ‘Snatchers’ of the 50’s was against the backdrop of McCarthy’s era, this one is owing more to the biological take from the 1978 version by Philip Kaufman. The ultimate restrain euphoria of numerous emotionless characters a la Greta Thunberg, puts over a conflict between technologies in our lives and nature mutating to fight back.

It doesn’t completely live up to its promises, staying mainly on surface, but sure has some moody efficiency (not going for the gore, so the faint of heart should survive) with a few stingers, effective use of music by the late Teiji Ito (1935-1982) and colorful aesthetic by the art and set design department, beautifully captured by cinematographer Martin Gschlacht (Goodnight Mommy, Revanche).

 

FNC Official Site: https://nouveaucinema.ca/en

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