Lady Bird (US – 2017)

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When the tricky Oscar buzz is at the gate, there is usually one or two Indie contenders. This year, actress Greta Gerwig’s second film as adirector, Lady Bird, falls into such category. It is praised in almost every lists around.

An partially agreeable coming-of-age comedy drama boosting lovable performance by lead actress Saoirse Ronan ( Hanna, Atonement, Brooklyn), Lady Bird introduces us into the world of Christine a young adolescent woman, in Sacramento, year 2002. Bored by how life goes on in her city, she dreams of going to college in NY.

Through one year in the life of Christine we get episodic honest drama and humor with friends, parents, teachers, etc. Nice.

But…

The Oscar buzz for this film is beyond me. We’ve (approximately) seen this Continue reading

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2017 Oscar Nominated Shorts (Live Action)

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France’s Enemies Within, directed by Selim Azzazi, leads the nominees as Best Short Film (Live action) for the upcoming Academy Awards in Hollywood. A simple, but well crafted, behind closed door tale of racism as a system set in 1990’s France, Azzazi’s film seems to appear at the right time in these troubled days. On the road to Oscar consideration Enemies Within will be up against another take on racism, with highly different approach, Continue reading

2016 was a disaster movie

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Judging from what made it to the screen, 2016 was a pitiful year at the Movies. And the awards season is merely a reminder.

First, Cannes:

With its rich history the Cannes Film Festival has a duty as a reference for international films. They are the diplomats, the aristocrats of the film business. There is no real public in the crowd. So they are disconnected from our reality. The official competition has become predictable in the last decade (at least) as there is too much politic off screen in order to create a balance to please buyers. Too many directors have season tickets for competitions in Cannes. Some others are just not good enough. After slowly creating hype around these filmmakers for years, they compose a jury that offer possibilities to fill (or deceive) the expectations of an international Press that looks more and more like hooligans cheering for home team in a football derby. The Film Market should concentrate on this whole semantic, not the competition. The competition should play films that are great achievements. It should discard films that aim at… festivals. While shooting, Fellini was definitely not thinking about Cannes. He was not a festival brand. He was a film maker. The awards, this year, were Continue reading

LION (Australia, 2016) – Short review

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An Oscar contender, Gareth Davis’ Lion is the (true story)of a five year old Indian boy under the care of Australian foster parents after he got lost in his native country. The new technologies of the day (namely Google Earth) helped him find his way back 25 years later. It stars Dev Patel(Slumdog Millionaire), Rooney Mara and Nicole Kidman.

In time for Christmas Holidays, Lion is your feel good movie with postcard images sustained by elevator music. It is no surprise to learn Davis is Continue reading

El abrazo de la serpiente (Colombia – 2015)

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El abrazo de la serpiente is Colombian director Ciro Guerra third feature and it went straight to the 2016 Oscars with a well deserved Academy Awards nomination for this beautifully shot Black and white film.

Loosely based on diaries of the Amazon by German ethnologist and explorer Theodor Koch-Grunberg (played by Belgian actor Jan Bijvoet) and American biologist Richard Evans Schultes (co-Author with chemist Albert Hoffman,  discoverer of LSD properties, of the book  The Plants of the Gods), it follows the path, on two different time period, of Karamakate, an Amazonian shaman and last survivor of his people who guides both men.

Obviously Guerra was searching, in part, for a clear and straight forward statement about the ominous treatment of first nations rather than being accurate with the story of the two men and in part to tell, in a poetical way, the fictionalizes final days of Grunberg. And we’re in for a travel in time and space with spiritual aspects within the great gorgeous settings where it takes place. We obviously think, because of the Amazon, of some Werner Herzog films (without the overscaled ambition though) and Ken Russell’s Altered States for the spiritual input (but with a much lighter tone) and the writings of Joseph Conrad especially in the later part. A beautiful film.

Yours to discover.