Loving Vincent (2017)


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Dorota Kobiela & Hugh Welchman ‘s Loving Vincent was hand-painted (frame by frame) by over 100 artists, and aims to shed light on Vincent Van Gogh’s final days. The writer-directors  lead the viewer into a world made of swirly brushstrokes and black and white flashback sequences with a softer appearance. Sometimes objects and characters appear to move through proper 3D space, but now and then there is a flat-looking chair, or a table with distorted perspective. These purposely 2D-ified elements are a direct homage to Van Gogh’s signature style. The oil-painted animated frames are not mimicry, but rather a re-imagination of the artist’s approach. As such, they are impressive and move in a way that embellishes without altering what the general public knows to be Van Gogh’s aesthetic. However, the downside is the artistic choice to freeze some parts of the picture plane while others boil, as in traditional 2D animation. Before the advent of computerized animation techniques, boiling referred to the effervescing strokes or outlines even apparent in still objects. This technique was seen to ‘give life’ to old-school animation, even when incorporating so-called inanimate elements.

This unusual creative decision aside, the paintings themselves are lovely. Once the spectator moves past the novelty of the artwork to become absorbed in the story, this is Continue reading


Fantasia 2017: Spoor (Poland – 2017)


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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 : ANIMALS (Tiere) – Poland/ Austria/ Germany 2017


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In Greg Zglinski’s unsettling and complex film, Animals (Tiere), Anna and Nick’s couple is on the rocks because the latter has an affair with a neighbor. A strange accident, during a trip in the Switzerland Alps, in hopes to fix things, leads to a series of even stranger events and distortion of reality.

Animals plays like a nightmarish mystery thriller in chronicling a couple’s disintegration. It has a disconcerting complexity at times, with its multiple takes on the same ideas, time and place. It is a Continue reading

Powidoki / Afterimage (Poland, 2016)


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Powidoki (Afterimage, 2016), master filmmaker Andrzej Wajda’s final film, his testament, is about another master, Polish Avant-garde painter Wladyslaw Strzeminski. It could be seen as part of a cycle of late Wajda, or post Oscar recognition films (he was honored for his career spanning five decades – at that point – in 2000), historical Films, like Katyn (2007) and Walesa (2013), to rectify some facts and thoughts about Poland history.

Wajda and co-screenwriter Andrzej Mularczyk concentrate on Strzeminski postwar World War 2 period when he was a teacher at Łódź School of Plastic Arts and design. It’s the beginning of the taking over by the communists and his liberal views and style get him in trouble. He will never recover.

The tone is set Continue reading

FNC 2016: THE LAST FAMILY (POLAND- Jan P. Matuszynski)


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From 1977 to 2005, the complex relationship of a legendary artist with his wife and troubled son.

THE LAST FAMILY is  based upon the life of Zdzislaw Beksinski, a Polish painter and photographer.  He died in 2005 at age 76. The main focus is on Beksinski’s family relationship with his Catholic wife and his eccentric son, a popular radio presenter, music journalist and movie translator with suicidal tendencies. The story evolves Continue reading