FNC 2017: Women of the Weeping River (short Review)

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for Cinetalk.net

In Filipino director Sheron Dayoc’s feature, Women of the Weeping River, two women are in the middle of an enduring blood feud slowly decimating their respective families.

Davoc, who’s documentary The Crescent Rising was about men and women caught in the middle of war and poverty in the same area of Muslim Mindanao, brings to our attention a conflict over land dispute involving the Moro Muslim group in this island of southern Philippines. With an ensemble cast of non-professionals and a background that made the locals trust him so he could go on with his work in a region considered highly dangerous, the director chronicles with empathy, the side effects of these blood feud for those involved, especially the women. A world where the first authority, before even the state, is family bond, but from another age. So embittered are the two families they mainly live for vengeance.

Through the microcosm it describes as its central theme, Women of the weeping river tackles larger issues about ultimate political responsibilities of the central state in ending cycles of violence.

Last Screening: Wednesday October 11, 12:45 – Quartier Latin 17

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FNC 2017 : COCOTE (Dominican Republic)

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for Cinetalk.net

In Dominican filmmaker Nelson Carlo de los Santos Arias’s Cocote, vengeance is a dish best served hot…

After being away for a long time, Alberto sets course to his native remote town, to attend his father’s funeral. Discovering, upon his arrival, he was murdered and already buried, Alberto soon figures out that, as the Man of the family, avenging duty lays on his shoulders.

A winner at Locarno International Film Festival, Cocote is a thing of beauty and sorrow as much as it is about the violent confrontation of a culture with itself. The lead is totally reluctant about the family’s expectation for vengeance. Thrown into religious cults, remote from his faith and what his new life is about (he is coming back from the city, he’s seen totally different ways of life), he must confront old demons. His standing against old pagan ways puts him in distress with his kin. He has no intentions to retaliate. Women of the family, involved with Continue reading

FNC 2017 : Sexy Durga (India)

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for Cinetalk.net

In Sanal Kumar Sadhidaran’s Sexy Durga , a North Indian girl traveling with a Keralite man (they are obviously not married) are given a lift by a group of turbulent young adults. Soon the assistance offered to the couple, in what appears like unfriendly surroundings filled with cultural tension, seems to transform into what could be an abduction…

With numerous incidents, involving violence toward women, in India, and making worldwide news, Sexy Durga uses a premise which surely creates tension right from the start, using extreme long takes going from inside the car (camera is often attached to it). It is ingenious dramatically, if technically not completely mastered, while it can be tiresome to some viewers because of the amount of screen time where we are Continue reading

Fantasia 2017: Spoor (Poland – 2017)

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for Cinetalk.net

Director Agnieszka Holland learned her trade with Krzysztof Zanussi and Andrzej Wajda. The Polish director is a three times Oscar Nominee, for Angry Harvest, In Darkness (both in the Best foreign language film category)and Europa, Europa (Best screenplay category, 1990).

Spoor, Holland’s new film (co-directed by, Kasia Adamik, her daughter)is based upon the book by Olga Tokarczuk.

A strange series of killings occur in Poland’s beautiful Kłodzko Valley (Near Czech Republic border). Animal rights activist Janina (played by Agnieszka Mandat) regularly confronts the local corrupted power (which share link with poachers) and befriend the outcasts of the village. Soon, poachers and officials are dying, one after another, and she tries to convince authorities it is animal vengeance. Could it be that she is right? Continue reading

Fantasia 2017: Rage (Lee Sang-il, 2016)

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DARIA GAMLIEL for Cinetalk.net

Without knowing in advance about the premise or plot, Rage throws at-first disjointed events and characters at the viewer. The connections slowly unfurl with a manhunt revealing three possible identities of a murderer. If however, the viewer goes into this 142-minute drama cum suspense thriller with the notion that it is a horror film, this isn’t the case. Perhaps by design, the mis-typing of Lee Sang-il’s film gives it the advantage of surprising its audience. It is Shunji Iwai-esque in its epic-length and treatment of subject matter. It follows multiple characters – misfits – whose confusion and grief propel their coming-of-age. Scenic Okinawan locations are juxtaposed against the neons of Tokyo, and the viewer is drawn into the relation between characters and environment.

Rarely seen in Japanese film, the gay community is surprisingly well showcased. Rage tackles several still-taboo subjects in this area, such as online hookups, what constitutes a ‘family’, and how to deal with chosen-family burial. The exchanges between characters in this story arc are Continue reading