FNC 2017 : MARLINA the murderer in Four Acts (Indonesia – 2017)

 

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for Cinetalk.net

James Brown wrote : This is a man’s world…
But it wouldn’t be nothing, without a woman …

In MARLINA the murderer in Four Acts, a vicious gang of men (with criminal intentions) come at Marlina’s door, but she manages to (literally) get rid of them for good. With still some faith left toward the local justice system, she sets course on finding the nearest police station carrying with her,  as evidence,  the severed head of the gang leader…

MARLINA the murderer in Four Acts was dubbed a feminist ‘Satay Western’, a clear reference to the Spaghetti Westerns of the 1960’s. And director Mouly Surya’s film is a ravishingly shot absurdist tale that effectively plays like a Western. Cinematographer Yunus Pasolang makes great use of the breathtaking landscapes of the Continue reading

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THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN

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The widow of a farmer hires a bounty hunter to form a league of defense against a powerful and cruel gold prospector who wants to seize properties in a small village.

A minor specialist of action cinema since his debut in 1998 with The Replacement Killers, Antoine Fuqua (The Equalizer, Southpaw) now plunges  into western territory with The Magnificent Seven. This remake of the 1960  John Sturges’ classic, who transposed Akira Kurosawa’s feudal masterpiece of The Seven Samurai  in a western context, is surprisingly good. If the main narrative Continue reading

Remember : The Grey Fox (Canada, 1982)

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Do it simple, do it well was a motto for legendary cinematographer Gordon Willis (The Godfather).
This is exactly what director Phillip Borso and his screenwriter, John Hunter,  did in 1982 in crafting a simple and quiet story far from the usual approach in Westerns for The Grey Fox.  A wonderfully almost peaceful and intelligent western, listed in “Canada’s Top Ten Films of All Time” by the Toronto International Film Festival, The Grey Fox is a little gem.

A Canadian produced film with  help from Coppolas’ Zoetrope studios, it tells, based on true events, the story of an aging gentleman stagecoach robber by the name of Bill Miner, the man apparently credited by the Pinkerton people for the creation of the famous hands up!  Miner was also renown for his politeness. Fresh out of an American prison, our man is Trying to get on with his life with mixed results. After seeing the early silent version of the film The Great train robbery, at the beginning of the 20th century, he decides to emigrate to Canada in order to become a train robber. That pushes, with Canadian government help, the pinkerton people to pursue him inside Canadian territory.

By doing things simply but well balanced, the director with precious help from cinematographer Frank Tidy’s, who previously shot Ridley Scott’s The Duellists ( he offers some beautiful location lighting) provide the firm ground in which leading man and Stuntman turned actor, Richard Farnsworth (he was nominated for an oscar for performances in Comes a horse man in 1978 and David Lynch’s The straight story in 1999) gives an equally unusual approach to a genuine character in a gentleman fashion that is both refreshing and effective. He is simply awesome. Twice during the ride his character must raise his tone and he is equally convincing. What he is doing on screen is what great acting is about. Simple.

All things quite and simple, but a mighty good film. The Grey Fox is neat. And it is Yours to discover.

Slow West

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Slow West, directed by John Maclean and starring Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Road) and the always busy Michael Fassbender, is one of these little Gem that worth a look.

This is a minimalist western about a young Scotsman coming to 19th century America to locate his beloved. He finds an unscrupulous guide with a personal agenda (Fassbender) and they are trailed by a bunch of nasty bounty hunters.

A co-production between the UK and New-Zealand (shot in NZ), Slow West is a sober but effective tale told in a simple and straight fashion with enjoyable performances by its leads. Cinematographer Robbie Ryan makes the best of the great natural setting of New Zealand and Jed Kurzel’s low key but engaging music supports the whole thing beautifully.

Yours to discover (trailer):