Sylvain Richard's best ever films = (Babij Jar; Man Who Wipes
Mirrors; Napola; Les Choristes; The Headsman; My Nikifor; Hell
in Tangier; Camaron; Who Are You; King of the World).
Abel, Gordon & Romy
absurd black comedy that isn't funny and personally insulting.
Distatefuly treats tragedy as a joke.
STRANGER IN ME, Emily
drama involving young mother suffering from post-partum depression.
Credible acting, lazy editing and script, compelling story.
fantasy of young girl who makes her wishes come true. Acting
uneven, convincing mix of animation and cinema verité.
about women in central Asian village going on strike: no water,
no sex. Engaging narration, beautiful locations.
UNE ETOILE DANS LA NUIT, René
movie of the week involving a terminal disease. Overly sentimental
but acting was forceful with tight script.
Sabine El Gemayel
drama concerning pre-adolescent seeking emancipation from
Islamic tradition. Slow but extremely effective pacing. Despite
harsh cultural conditions film avoids stereotypes. No truths
are left untouched.
CHICKEN, THE FISH AND THE KING CRAB,
Jose Luis Lopez-Linares
interest film about world class cooking contest. Too much
food and not enough plot.
HOME OF THE DARK BUTTERFLIES, Dome
drama that takes place inside isolated boarding school. Uplifting
film with fine acting performances and well chosen locations.
conceived crime drama that takes place in Moscow. Couldn't
identify with the characters; uneven editing.
crime drama taking place in Johannesburg. Racial tensions
set the tone in post-Aparteid era. Gripping original S. African
score. Film compares well with City of God (Brazil).
Neele Leana Vollmar
hearted cold-war comedy as seen through the eyes of 3 children;
well acted, well directed and edited.
SAISON DES ORPHELINS,
psychological drama of survivor returning to scene of earlier
tragedy. Quasi religious score and apropos locations enhance
the mystery element.
drama about Arab sent to Tel Aviv on suicide mission. Powerful
beginning undermined by weak editing and spotty script. Not
in the class of Paradise Now.
TROISIEME PARTIE DU MONDE,
fantasy about a woman who is like a Black Hole: her loves
disappear. Interesting concept defeated by weak script and
1938 musical comedy -- self-evident classic. Thoroughly enjoyable
featuring native folk and classical music that is both sung
and played. One of 6 films playing in Russian retrospective.
Period drama that effectively captures the atmosphere of Parisien
music halls circa 1936. Now with two excellent films under
his belt (Les Choristes), this director is a major candidate
to become a big name on the international scene.
-- LE BANQUET,
Social drama centering on individuals trying to find their
true calling. Although a bit confusing in the beginning this
film will grow on you. Top notch performances from the entire
-- ELEVE LIBRE,
A coma inducing film that is shallow in all its aspects. I
was anxiously awaiting the final credits.
Historical drama depicting the massacre of the Polish officers
in the spring of 1940. Can be compared to the film Babij Jar.
Over abundance of characters & lack of identification re.
locations & dates made this fine film a little hard to follow.
DOG EAT DOG,
variation of gangster action where small guy keeps the boss's
money. Voodoo element helps sustain interest that is helped by
a good soundtrack from a Columbian group. A credible late nite
flic for those who tune into the tube after midnight.
Romantic mystery regarding a femme fatale. Soothing melancholic
score. Poetic dialogue unfortunately undermined by "unsteady
First film. A coming of age pre-adolescent boy at a major crossroad
in his life. Top notch performances. Poignant songs. A director
to keep your eye on. Added bonus: subtitled in French.
Alejandros Cardenas Amelio
Drama involving an Argentinian family living in exile in Berlin.
Light-hearted humour in a bittersweet film. Camera movements
A young woman returns home to her grandfather's ranch after
he dies. Humour helps this overly long film.
Romantic fantasy involving 2 comatose patients falling in love.
Fun to watch; beautiful mix of fantasy vs reality. Music score
OF WHITE MONKEYS,
One of the most fantastical films that I have ever seen @WFF.
Shoddy subtitles made this dialogue rich film hard to follow.
Script & editing were spotty. Music well chosen.
Quiet drama about an ex con wandering the streets of Athens
trying to find himself. No character developement. Poor
cinematography. Slow pacing failed to keep my attention.
-- AFTER SCHOOL,
Yakuza comedy drama. Good acting. Editing could have been tighter.
-- THE RED SPOT,
young Japanese woman goes to Germany alone to excorcise her nightmares
regarding a fatal car accident involving her parents 18 years
ago. Debut feature shows tremendous potential. Excellent performances,
script, & editing. Solo piano score evocatively beautiful.
Jose Corbacho & Juan Cruz
hitting social drama about bullying. Top-notch performances especially
from the teens. Film will ring true for many viewers.
URTIN DUU (Long Tune),
Meaning traditional Mongolian Folk Music. Exquisite & spectacular
cultural drama depicting life in a traditional Mongolian village
& the return of one who had gone to the big City (Beijing).
Natural & sincere. Minor fault: Translation of english subtitles
seemed a bit off the mark.
A SONG OF GOOD,
All too common theme of a desperate drug user attempting to
clean up his life. Decent acting; OK pop soundtrack.
-- THE WAVE,
Socio-political drama of a high school project on Autocracy
that goes quickly overboard. Despite solid performances film
was weakened by incomplete script & editing. Punk rock soundtrack.
-- UNDER THE MOON,
Candel Figuera & Maitena Muruzabel
Slow repetitive pace could not hold my attention. What worked
well in the film was the interaction between the 4 main characters.
-- MY MAGIC,
Based on the true life story of Singapore fire eater Francis
Bosco (who stars in the leading role), adds credibilty to this
bitter social drama about a yong boy with an absent mother &
an alchoholic father. Many of the "magic acts" border on S&M
& will make you squirm. Eclectic music score.
First feature for Pla who also stars in the leading role in
this Canadian indie about an attempted BURN that goes horribly
wrong. A very high dose of comedy. Good performances, Tight
script, Moody electro score. A director/actor to keep an eye
Powerful witness of how governmental laws often threaten the livelyhoods of first nation peoples. Powerful score. Scenic images of northern Sweden.
-- THE MIRACLE OF BERLIN,
Rolan Suso Richter
Political thriller of a divided East German family just 17
months before the fall of the Berlin wall. In the same class
as director`s The Tunnel, Goodbye Leninand The Lives Of Others.
-- THE LITTLE HEART,
Nguyen Than Huan
Social drama about a young village woman lured by the promise
of a high paying job in Saigon & ends up being forced into
prostitution. Doesn`t live up to the promise of being a gritty
powerful treatment of this much travelled subject. Film was
not helped by confusion editing. Subtitles were replete with
typographical errors. Confusing editing.
FOLLE DE DIEU,
Well crafted & researched documentary portrait of Marie
de L`Incarnation who founded the Ursulin Order. Marie Tifo
does a beautiful reincarnation of the main personage.
DON`T LOOK DOWN,
Slowly paced erotic & philosophical comedy drama that slips
into redundancy. Editing could have much tighter.
-- EN PLAIN COEUR,
Meaningless drama about a car thief looking for love. Credible
CHATURANGA (FOUR CHAPTERS),
Disturbing, social drama of one man`s search for moral truth.
Outstanding score. Top notch acting. Well scripted & edited.
Human drama set in mid 20th century Kazakstan USSR. Linked
destinies between a man & his horse during the rule of Stalin.
Georgeous cinematograhy of countryside. Spellbinding score.
-- WISPERING EMBERS,
Drama with political & moral overtones. Conceptualy strong
begining but transmission of message breaks down. Good humour,
music. Noteworthy location shots.
Directorial debut from a veteran of cinema. He is 90 years
old & has been credited in over 230 films. Human drama that
deals adeptly with multiple themes.
Crime drama involving a rare 13th century Koran. Too short.
Confusing script. Expansive scenes of the Salt lakes in
Turkey. When it ends you say, `Is that it?´
Shano Shinju & Kerlan Nurmuhambetou
Disturbing mix of fiction & documentary regarding the plight
of the Uygur people in China & Kazazakstan. Educational
but a little slow. Conclusion of fictional part is unclear.
A MOMENT OF FREEDOM (POUR UN INSTANT LA LIBERTE),
Arash T Riahi.
Drama about refugees fleeing Iran. Touching & rings true.
A common yet very relevant theme. Rates comparison with
Spare Parts & El Norte.
All too common theme of being victimized by a brutal &
often fatal attack of a loved one. As a revenge film,
the Death Wish series is better. Scene shifts were abrupt.
Sister & mute brother escape Nicaragua to try & locate
their mother in Costa Rica. Does not stand up to last
years similar themed "Under the Same Moon. Lack of focus&
I quickly lost interest.
-- THE FOURTH MAN,
East European Hollywood style "Who done it?" thriller.
Man awakes after 2 months in a coma with total amnesia
. He is told that his wife & son have been murdered. A
joy to watch. Subtitles were fuzzy, were not in synch
& disappeared too quickly.
ROMAN POLANSKY: WANTED & DESIRED,
Documentary focusing on Polanski's scandal in 1978 in which
he was accused of statuatory rape & subsequently fled USA.
Well researched & crafted apart from some superfluous material.
-- THE LEMON TREE (ETZE LEMON),
Humanitarian drama about a private citezen (Palestinian widow)
standing up to government forces (Isreali defence minister).
Shares similarity with the documentary "The Colour of Olive."
We sense the humanity & helplessness from both sides.
Documentary that focuses on a universal dilemma of what one
goes thru when he/she feels they don't belong to the religion/culture
they were born into. A bit too short.
-- THE END OF POVERTY,
NECESSITIES OF LIFE, by Benoit Pilon
Social issue documentary asking what is the true cause of
poverty in a world with enough for all. Too much information
to handle in one film. Film includes an excellent historical
overview from colonial times till the present.
An Inuit man suffering from tuberculosis is uprooted and sent
to a Quebec sanatorium. An extraordinary film that holds up
a mirror to xenophobia and its unsustainability in the face
of the give and take of everyday life. Winner of 3 Genie Awards
and an Academy finalist for Best Foreign Language film.
Marcel Dubois' best ever films = (All Quiet on the Western
from (1930); Magnolia; Ben Hur; Dances with Wolves; Marathon
Man; Papillon; Saving Private Ryan, Manchurian Candidate;
Casino; Naked Prey) .
Neele Leana Vollmar
Social comedy, well acted, children take matters into their
own hands to save their parents' marriage and mother's happiness.
LA SAISON DES ORPHELINS,
Suspense, unconvincing plot, credible acting by children
about disappearance of 6 children from orphanage. Too long,
FOR MY FATHER,
Psychological drama, engaging plot that examines young man's
feelings who is sent on a terrorist suicide mission. Beautiful
locations (Israel), tight directing.
LA TROISIEME PARTIE DU MONDE,
Fantasy drama, rambling story about a young girl whose lovers
disappear after love making. Interesting special effects.
Russian musical comedy (1938 b & w). For period film
buffs only. Two amateur groups race down the Volga to attend
the Moscow Musical Olympiad. Worthwhile singing and dancing.
36, Chirstophe Barratier
drama. Credible acting. Well directed, very short 2 hour
film featuring veaudeville of the late 1930s. Three friends
occupy a closed down theatre and stage a hit show against
LE BANQUET, Sebastien
drama. In depth study of the turmoil existing in a university
between director, teachers and students. Tight
scenario, very well acted.
made film on the
indoctrination of a young student as it concerns education,
relationships and sex.
Disturbing scenes depicting the effects of peer pressue.
well-researched war drama depicting man's inhumanity to
man and the effects on their relatives and family. Commendable
editing and pacing.
Drama about the conditions of surival that challenge the
rules of society in a village where wolves are killing reindeer.
Superb locations and cinematography; a well paced film with
Psychological drama about a 25 year old pick pocket living
in an emotionless void. He finds a videotape of a young
lady he robbed and it leads to some rash decisions on his
part. Jerky plot ine and pacing not helped by acting performances.
THE HOME DARK BUTTERFLIES,
14-year old Juhani is oppressed by a traumatic childhood
experiences. Now in a boy's home under the strict supervision
of the administrator, his experiences are many as he enters
a world of its own. Powerful
script, excellent directing.
THE BLUE XANADU,
A giant judo instructor is released from prison to bring
a 12 year old girl back to her mother. On the way a strong
relationship will develop. Exquisite
scenery. Note: subtitles are good but disappear quickly.
-- THE INVENTION OF CURRIED SAUSAGE,
War drama Story of a woman who meets a younger man during
the war and holds him hostage in her apartment. Remarkable
acting, skilled directing, a film that leaves you feeling
-- NINA'S WOMEN,
Social drama. Nima, an aging matriarch has two daughters
who, for their mother's birthday, plan to give her a gift
of joy and good news. Beautiful locations, persuasive
acting, emotionally charged film that suffers somewhat
from slow pacing.
-- THE MAGIC HOUR,
A straight no chaser comedy about a man who has stolen
away the girlfriend of his crime syndicate boss and must
face an ultimatum: find a legendary assassin or die. Special
effects are numerous, intense script. Film was a tad long
but nonetheless very enjoyable.
A highly entertaining comedy about 5 friends, short
of cash, who start up an escort service for needy women.
Good script and editing.
HEROES FROM THE NEIGHBOURHOOD,
Light comedy about a fireman stuck in a failing marriage
who looks to his block neighbours for sympathy. Uneven
acting, unconvincing plot.
-- BACK SOON,
comedy. Anna sells her cell phone and its enclosed marijuana
client base. Attractive locations and catchy cinematography
undermined by weak plot and unimaginative acting.
-- MISSING PERSONS UNIT,
Very watchable serious film about a young 16 year-old
facing problems at home with her father. When she disappears,
the Missing Persons Unit opens an investigation. Good
plot, fast action, some disturbing scenes.
Action drama. A young Turkish immigrant defies her family
by training at a kung fu club. She is forced to decide
who she is and what she wants.