RIDM 2017 : NOTHINGWOOD (Afghanistan – Germany – France) Closing film

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for Cinetalk.net

«Is the road potentially dangerous?» inquires director Sonia Kronlund, talking to her leading man, Salim Shaheen, in Nothingwood. If there is a fatal explosion, «we’ll both die for the glory of Cinema» is Shaleen answer.

After visiting Afghanistan several times, being confronted to grave subjects, Kronlund heard of Salim Shaheen. With more than a hundred pictures under his belt, he is the prince of Afghan Z movies. As he puts it «there is Hollywood, there is Bollywood and when you have no money you have Nothingwood». The director decided to follow him n a crazy journey. Heavily influenced by the Bollywood spectacles, but Continue reading

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RIDM 2017: A Modern Man (Germany/Denmark– 2017)


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Don’t be fooled by silly synopses about Eva Mulvad’s A Modern Man. Many insinuate a tale of a hoity-toity, body and fashion-conscious, rich hunk. In fact, the subject in front of Mulvad’s lens is much more relatable, albeit falsely aloof. Yes, he has money. Yes, he likes fancy cars and luxury items, but this simply comes with the territory for a successful classical violinist from a well-off family. Overall, this is an essay about using the spotlight to achieve one’s goals without compromising one’s ideals. As with most active musicians, Charlie Siem jetsets between countries, appears for wardrobe fittings, and spends hours practicing his instrument. This lifestyle could include friendship and romance, but Siem is too fixated on his dreams to let such petty things taint his world.

There is a fine line between being stuck up and simply sticking to one’s objectives to a fault. The life the violinist lives brings him the joy of success, achievement, and recognition. However, the two-sided coin is that recognition only symbolizes ‘making it’ if it is the craft – the music – that is recognized. What does modeling for Hugo Boss do for a classical musician? It brings him adoring female fans that are only attracted to the photographer’s interpretation of who Siem is. Even Siem cannot recognize himself in these artistic portraits. Contrary to public opinion, he is not the most attractive hunk on the face of the planet. He is an average-looking man with boyish features and ill-sitting hair. He is neither poised when he stalks around in his tailored summer wear, nor when he’s bumming around in Continue reading

RIDM 2017: Taste of Cement (Syria)

 

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Syrian filmmaker Ziad Kalthoum’s Taste of Cement is a great achievement. His documentary essay follows the destiny of Syrian construction workers building a new Beirut while their own homes are destroyed. Using the contrast of situations that were in reverse not long ago, with war torn Lebanon, Kalthoum creates a gallery of artistic and thoughtful powerful images. The medium of cinema is well served with sharp cinematography by Talal Khoury and highly effective sound design by Ansgar Frerich & Sebastian Tesch (who’s also on scoring duty) whilst its subject’s depth is also mastered all along.

In Taste of Cement, exiled men in captive freedom (they are restrained to their quarters by a curfew and can’t visit the city they help to reshape) are filled with memories, dreams, nightmares exposed in a voiced poetry (Written by Kalthoum with Talal Khoury and Ansgar Frerich) that matches the exquisite visuals. We hear moving stories of Continue reading

Atypical Serial killer Movies # 1

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1 – M (Fritz Lang, Germany, 1931)

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The inevitable classic. Atypical if compared to what a young audience will think of when we talk about serial killer films.

In 1930’s Germany, the manhunt to catch a child-murderer…

Lang’s first talkie (shot by legendary cinematographer Fritz Arno Wagner) is, of course, a much celebrated classic from all artistic angles. But it also foresees the degradation of social climate leading to Nazi Germany by depicting a common resignation from ordinary people to let criminals take care of ‘things’. The bound linking criminals to officials in a race for the first to find a child killer with general acceptance (regardless of the fact we all agree they actually are abominable crimes) is still very contemporary.

As the child killer everyone’s after, Peter Lorre pushes acting to a level of genius rarely matched in the history of the film medium.

*** See All 13 here: https://cinetalk.net/tag/13-atypical-serial-killing-movies/

 

FNC 2017: Animated Features Spotlight

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There are many animated shorts and features at the 2017 FNC. Two full-length films worth noting are Mutafukas (Shoujirou Nishimi, Guillaume Renard), and Tehran Taboo (Ali Soozandeh).

In Tehran Taboo, if you’re a woman, you will always need a man’s written validation to make any serious life decisions. So, you landed that great job! Your husband must sign a waiver giving his permission for you to work. So, you want a divorce but your husband is in jail and high? Still, his written authorization is obligatory.

This is the lifestyle in Iran. Soozandeh’s insight into the male dominated society reveals things outsiders may not expect. Sure, it’s socially acceptable to smoke shisha and cigarettes, but is it commonly known that students and starving artists smoke weed just like in North America and Europe? Young adults can’t go to a nightclub without recreational drugs and promiscuous sex. Is Iran’s society then, so different than others? Well, there are some glaring differences. Public hangings are legal. Holding hands in public with the opposite gender if you Continue reading