RIDM 2017: City of the Sun (Georgia – 2017)

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for Cinetalk.net

Rati Oneli’s hypnotically impressive City of the sun brings us at the center of a disturbing abyss.

In the Georgian mining town of Chiatura, people seem abandoned by the rest of civilization. They go on about their mining business during the day and about their social life later, resumed by expressing creativity in half-preserved surroundings and decaying architectures. Longings and hopes seem like distant foggy dreams.

Using numerous long trackings, longshots and deliberate slow pace, City of the sun, with its depiction of a semi-ghost town, is a dark and moody piece in a near apocalyptic setting. The approach is of a fiction film. Oneli spent months with his subjects. He observes his protagonists, rather than interviewing them.  They forget his presence. It took Continue reading

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Fantasia 2017 : Ron Goossens, Low Budget Stuntman (Netherlands)

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for Cinetalk.net

The humor is straight forward and pretty vulgar in Ron Goossens, Low Budget Stuntman. It works several times and fails at others. This silly comedy is directed by Dutch duet Steffen Haars & Flip Van der Kuil.

After a video of a failed stunt (he was dead drunk) becomes viral, Ron uses his new found celebrity to become a canon fodder on film sets, while trying to seduce a movie celebrity to win a bet he made with his girlfriend.

Ron Goossens, Low Budget Stuntman is a no-brainer deprived of any political correctness (there is some amusing drunk driving and failed stunts) on a Continue reading

Schneider vs. Bax (Netherlands – 2015)

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for Cinetalk.net

One of the most fascinating filmmaker of the last 30 years is Dutch director Alex Van Wanderdam. The leader of the Mexicaanse Hond theatre group takes time, every three years or so, to shoot a feature. He directed ten highly enjoyable dark comedies since the end of the 80’s. Wanderdam’s latest,  Schneider vs. Bax, is a black comedy.

Two hitmen are hired by the same boss to send one another into retirement. What seems like an easy job in the first gets, of course,  more complicated than expected.

Using unusual country house settings, Wanderdam delivers his trademark of absurd situations, fine dialogs and unexpected turns with his unsettling casual manners. A true signature. The cat and mouse play, within the beautiful rural surroundings, is simple. Everything seems, even the murders, like everyday life. That’s the Wanderdam (gentle) way…

Surrounded by regulars, actors Tom Dewispelaere,  Annet Malherbe,  Gene Bervoets,  Henri Garcin, the director  runs his movies like a theater production using the same faces (Fassbinder work comes to mind).  His body of work is like  patiently aged wine. Tasteful.

Schneider vs. Bax, is Yours to discover.