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Send a Bullet
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Irina Palm
4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days


Festival Nouveau Cinema de Montreal, Oct. 10-21st, (514) 844-2172


So far, A & O film critics Robert J. Lewis, Marcel Dubois and Sylvain Richard have seen the following films. Here are their ratings and comments, always out of 4, reserving 2.5 or more for a noteworthy film, 3.5 for an exceptional film, 4 for a classic.


Robert J. LewisAmong Robert J. Lewis' best ever films = (Io Non Ho Pauro (I'm Not Afraid), Life Is Beautiful, Death In Venice, Babel, Days of Heaven, A Long Walk, Amadeus, Secrets and Lies, Monsignor Quixote, Looking For Richard, Mulholland Drive).

2.6 -- DETROIT METAL CITY, Toshio Lee
Comic book into celluloid about an adolescent who reluctantly becomes a heavy metal star. A sometimes very affecting film, albeit flawed, that makes it more satisfying than Sin City. Character (under)development, rhythm and plot line follow the comic book template. High definition music score.

2.5 -- THE TIGER'S TAIL, John Boorman
Film begins and ends with hard biting social commentary about economically stretched Dublin; in between, all the talent in the world from both director and actors can't redeem the thin, formulaic but engaging Dickensonian tale that tells the story of a rich man who is replaced by his identical twin from whom he was separated at birth.

2.2 -- UNIVERSALOVE, Thomas Woschitz
Cross-culture, Altmanesque (Short Cuts) examination of love, the way we reach out for it, the forces that conspire to unravel or prevent it. An occasionally interesting film that lacks focus and direction. I wondered if the director conceived of the film in order to feature his favourite music provided by the Austrian band Naked Lunch.

2.5 -- ALL TOGETHER NOW, Adrian Wills
Docu on LOVE: the collaboration between Beatles and Cirque de Soleil. Lots of talking Paul, Ringo, Olivia (Harrison) & Yoko (Lennon). If you like the Beatles and Cirque you'll rate this docu a 3 or more.

2.8 -- LE JOUR AVANT LE LENDEMAIN, Cousineau & Invalu
A majestic, haunting docu drama that examines life among the Inuit, where the living 'ain't easy.' Like Atanarjuat (2001), or The Black Robe (1991), it's a 'day in the life film' that throws into bold relief the access to the amenities of life we take for granted and the meaning of community from which we have become disconcertedly estranged.

3.2 -- ADORATION, Atom Egoyan
A stylistically confusing, but thoroughly engaging, challenging post 9/11 existential mystery/concept film that soars above the cross-fire of its many plots in order to lay bare the human condition
and the sometimes good, bad and ugly people we are. Caveat: if you didn't take to the method behind Mulholland Drive, where fantasy and reality are seamlessly intertwined leaving you to perform the unravelling, you won't 'adore' this film.

3.0 -- WONDERFUL TOWN, Aditya Assara
In a small town in post-tsunami Thailand, a visiting architect begins to court a hotel receptionist. Their relationship causes a tsunami of resentment. Wonderfully lyrical, atmospheric, gracefully paced film that features exquisite locations and landscape, a haunting, acoustic (diatonic) score and alas -- an ending that was a letdown.

1.9 -- LE PREMIER VENU, Jacques Doillon
Dismal, self-conscious, off-beat take on the 'beautiful losers' theme in a small town in France. Disjointed script, illogical cause and effect story-line somewhat redeemed by characters who might have otherwise been engaging if it weren't for their lines.

2.3. -- ESTOMAGO, Marcos Jorge
Fun film about a dim witted chef who looks back at his life from his Brazilian prison cell. The food scenes are definitely more delectable than the somewhat improbable story line.

2.8 -- DELTA, Kornel Mundruczo
Long absent brother returns home (to Hungarian village on the Danube) and begins relationship with sister, an event that doesn't sit well with the locals. Sparse but effective script, cinematography poetically rendered -- pacing not unlike Silent Light.

2.2 -- VOY A EXPLOTAR, Gerardo Naranjo
Hormone driven teenage couple flee from dysfunctional families in order to work out their ennui and angst. First half wavers unsuccessfully between comedy and drama; 2nd and more serious half somewhat saves the film.

2.4 -- CALOS CALMO, Antonello Grimaldi
Sentimental drama that fails to deliver, about a man, living in self-deception, trying to come to terms with the death of his wife who he didn't quite love. A talky film that inconclusively examines the nature of deception. Occasionally engaging, mostly uneven script.

3.1 -- HUNGER, Steve McQueen
Disturbing, riveting prison drama that, like x-rated cinema, takes you into the dirty and horror and brutality of prison life and the anguishingly gruesome self-immolation through starvation of Bobby Sands during his 1981 hunger strike in Dublin. Not for the squeamish. Unforgettable sets, unforgettable film. Irish English sometimes hard to catch; no French subtitles.

2.5 -- HEAVEN ON EARTH, Deepa Mehta
Mehta throws a harsh, critical light on the culture of female subservience and concomitant domestic violence that tradition vouchsafes in Indian marriage -- both at home and abroad. Second half of film is weakened by dubious turn to myth and symbolism.

2.5 -- EVERYBODY DIES BUT ME, Valeria Gai Guermanika
Trials and tribulations of tenement raised teenage girls wanting to grow up fast in the new Russia where more than vodka required to bridge the generation gap. Small budget film benefits from gritty script.

3.0 -- THE MOURNING FOREST, Naomi Kawase
Strange, haunting film that unfolds like a parable about an elderly, somewhat addled man and his young female care-giver, both who have lost loved ones, who get lost in a forest. What they find is more important than getting found. Great performances from the two leads and drop-dead gorgeous locations in the pristine, mountainous tea plantations of Japan.

2.7 -- WENDY & LUCY, Kelly Reichhardt
On her way to Alaska to find work, 20 something Wendy loses her dog Lucy in a small Oregan town. Despite an unsteady moral compass, her reaction to Lucy's disappearance becomes the event that brings out her true character. A small budget film with a big heart that tells an even bigger story.

3.0 -- GOMORRA, Matteo Garrone
Unglamourous look at crime in Naples from the bottom up, where every asepct of life, from garbage disposal to the garment industry, is controlled, fought over by crime syndicates. Being born in a Naples untouched by crime is like being born in a place without weather. Excellent casting and camera work and tight editing. Napoli, in its unmistakeable Mediterranean light and sordid colours, is the unholy truth of Gomorra.

1.8 -- ELDORADO, Bouli Lanners
Belgium road film that goes no where. Sympathetic characters not enough to sustain interest. In French, no English subtitles.

2.5 -- DERRIERE-MOI, Rafael Ouellet
In a small town in Quebec worldly 23-year old Betty befriends 14-year old Léa. The reasons why are why the film succeeds. After a somewhat contrived opening few minutes, tight, disciplined editing to the end. A young director to keep an eye on.

2.7 -- TULPAN, Sergey Dvortsevoy
The backdrop to the film (and not the young brother's efforts to find a wife -- and by extention -- flock of sheep) is the real story of Tulpan: the harshness of daily life in the Steppes of Kazakhstan. Unforgettable birthing scene (of lamb) and sandstorm. If, besides providing entertainment, one of cinema's mandates is to enlarge our sympathies, Tulpan does that mandate proud.

2.4 -- SALT OF THIS SEA, Annemarie Jacir
A US born Palestinian returns to Israel to reclaim her grandfather's house. Politically charged film but surprisingly even-handed. Interesting idea sometimes poorly served by an uneven script; the romance was poorly handled.

2.7 -- THREE MONKEYS, Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Mood piece, about a chauffeur who decides to take the fall (serve time) for his boss -- a politician involved in a hit and run -- for the extra money his family could use. While serving a 6 month sentence, a single miscalculation brings tragedy to his family. Noteworthy sound track and wonderfully understated colour scheme throughout make Istanbul the perfect setting for this small gem of a cautionary tale.

2.1 -- ACNE, Federico Veiroj
Light comedy about a self-conscious pimply teenager trying to connect with the girls. Escapist fare we all need from time to time. Good performance from the lead.

1.8. -- TALE 52, Alexis Alexiou
Thoroughly confusing, disjointed story about a psycho who may or may not have murdered his girl friend. The narrative, à la Rashomon, is told from multi perspectives. Credibility factor in major short supply.

3.0 -- COUNTRY TEACHER, Bhodan Slama
A young teacher, with a secret, moves to a small village and sets off a series of romances all of which terminate in unrequited love. Absorbing evocation of Czeck country life, memorable birthing symbolism, brokeback acting.

Pretentious, absurdist satire, in brilliant HD, that unfolds like a theatre production. Misappropriation of Samuel Beckett (Godot), the avant-garde and special effects combine to produce an interminably long, self-indulgent exercise in the banal. Where are double-digit negative integers (for ratings) when you need them?

3.1 -- RACHEL GETTING MARRIED, Jonathan Demme
A no-holds barred homage, ode to dysfunctionality, cultural diversity and marriage. Tennessee William's ghost is smiling all over this script, replete with hot tin roofs, doubled-up fists, delicious moments musicaux and a wonderfully nuanced, performance that has Oscar written all over it from Anne Hathaway as Rachel's sister. A film that celebrates life in its irrepressable plenitude.

2.3 -- ADAM'S WALL, Michael Mackenzie
Decent low-budget debut film about romance between Jewish and Arab students living in Montreal that only occasionally slips into the sentimental. Fine performance from Flavia Bechara.

2.4 -- SURVEILLANCE, Jennifer Lynch
The director, Jennifer Lynch, under the influence the father, David Lynch, litters the screen with psychopaths modelled after "Blue Velvet's" Dennis Hopper. The entertaining results translates into a 'nothing new here' film, but you'll be treated to excellent camera work and memorable scenes from a young director who is only going to get better.

3.1 -- SECRET OF THE GRAIN, Abdellatif Kechiche
In southern France, a French speaking Arab family decide to open a cous cous restaurant. Engrossing social drama that throws a warm light on the meaning of family, community and the radiant possibility of unlike communities saying 'no' to borders. Magnificent performances from the two leading actresses. Film could have been 30 minutes shorter and can be viewed as a 'setting the record straight' effort that compares favourably with "The Yacoubian Building."

2.5. -- SNOW, Aida Zubcevic
In the aftermath of the Serbian-Bosnian conflict, a tattered group of village women (their men have been massacred) are trying to live with dignity when a sleazy land developer arrives, offering big money and promise of a better life. A film where small production values turn out big insights into human nature.

2.5 -- ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO, Kevin Smith
An offoffoff hilarious comedy about a young (Platonic) couple who decide to make a porn film to get out of debt. Adult humour with an x-rated script that unfolds like fraying cable wire and goes where no script has gone before: beyond totem and taboo.

2.6 -- ZIFT, Javor Gardev
Over the top stylistic film that triumphs over substance and/or the Bulgarian version of "Pulp Fiction" hyper-intensified by Lynchian camera work. In Communist Bulgaria a man is sent to prison for stealing a diamond. The film features a hard driving, resounding sound track, memorable scenes and sets, shot in black and white.

2.3 -- 14 KILOMETERS, Gerardo Olivares
A film that somehow transcends its often flawed and unsustainable parts. Two brothers and a young woman decide to leave Mali for the better life in Europe and embark on a perilous journey that will take them through spectacular, mesmerizing desert where they will encounter the best and worst of humanity. The landscape alone recommends this film.

2.9 -- FOUR NIGHTS WITH ANNA, Jerzy Skolimowski
A disturbing, haunting film about a voyeur whose predilection is not a perversion but his way of loving. When he is charged with rape, the question asked is it possible to rape the woman you love? Expert direction enhanced by lighting effects that produce the unrelenting grey and drabness of village life that fortells the story.

2.0 -- NOLLYWOOD BABYLON, Samir Mallal, Ben Addelman
Documentary examines Nigeria's burgeoning and busy cinema as it relates to and responds to the needs of the everyday Nigerian for whom film represents an alternative world to the hard life. Occasionally insightful but too long: memorable shots of Lagos and its 14 million wretched of the earth.

2.2 -- A YEAR AGO IN WINTER, Caroline Link
A film that begins strong and finishes weak and indecisive. A mother commissions an artist to paint a picture of her daughter and deceased son, which obliges the painter to get to know his subjects -- and their family secrets. Script and story line breakdowns punctuate the especially latter half of the film.

3.2 -- 12, Nikita Mikhalkov
A Chechen is accused of killing his adoptive Russian father; a 12 man jury must decide his fate. During the lengthy deliberation, Russia's complex relationship with its history and ethnicities will surface as well as its fears for the present. The sometimes brilliant script that has Dostoievsky's fingerprints all over it is nothing less than an homage to the voluptuous, boisterous magnificent Russian soul.

0.9 -- PALMERMO, Wim Winders
With the exception of "Buena Vista," Wenders hasn't put out a decent film in 21 years, since his masterpiece "Wings of Desire." I'm frankly sick to death of films that seem to be made in order for the director to play his favourite 15 songs. Wenders reminds me of a lost director looking for a writer to give him life. Philosophically, he is adrift, (not unlike Norman Mailer who betrayed his own genius), and sadly ensnared in the 'being cool at all costs' paradigm.

The truths of capitalism are revealed in this highly original musical that features well crafted song and a compelling story line. Costumes and black and white admirably recreate the roaring 20s.

2.8 -- SYNECDOCHE, Charlie Kaufman
A synecdoche is figure of speech in which a part is used to represent the whole. Seymour Hoffman is a playwright who is dying, and has the opportunity to produce a play about his life where he plays the lead. This is much more than an art imitating life and/or all the world is a stage film; it fulfills one of the key function of art which is to extend, grow the range of our sympathies and reveal the possibilities of meaning in an indifferent universe. Without a trace element of didacticism, this sometimes long and confusing film takes on the largest philosophical questions without pretending to have the answers. Fine performances throughout as Hoffman continues to make the case that he is one of the great actors of his time.

Marcel DuboisAmong Marcel Dubois' best ever films = (All Quiet on the Western from (1930), Magnolia, Ben Hur, Dances ith Wolves, Marathon Man, Papillon, Saving Private Ryan, Manchurian Candidate, Casino, Naked Prey).


Docu on human abuse and torture. Riveting testimony from victims and military showing man's inhumanity to man and the moral drift that underlies the politics.

2.5 -- LA MEMOIRE DES ANGES, Luc Bourdon
Documentary featuring Montreal in the 50s and 60s based on visual and sound sequences, in B & W and colour, from the National Film Board. An interesting, sometimes fascinating perspective that through its architecture, streetcars, nightlife, and inhabitants was becoming the cosmopolitan city we know today.

3.1 -- LE JOUR AVANT LE LENDEMAIN, Marie-Helene Cousineau & Madeleine Invalu
Inuit drama with breathtaking scenery and outstanding 'natural' acting. A mesmerizing look at the challenges of surviving in a harsh land and the direct connection between story-telling (myth) and life, and the importance (necessity) of community and bonding, If you liked Atanarjuat, the Fast Runner, you'll love this one.

2.4 -- ADORATION, Atom Egoyan
Psychological drama. Confusing, fractured script that goes back and forth between reality and fantasy, dealing with diverse topics such as terrorism, religion, memory and identity.

2.3 -- WONDERFUL TOWN, Aditya Assariat
Drama. Romantic interlude between an architect and a frail young woman working as a hotel lerk. Beautiful locations, evenly paced, credible acting, but cliched with weak script.

1.6 -- LE PERMIER VENUE, Jacques Doillon
Story of a young woman chasing a deranged young man who hasn't seen his wife & daughter in three years whose childhood friend is a cop. Merry go-round script. Drawn out sequences. Actors locked into roles.

2.8 -- JCVD, Mabrouk El Mechri
Psychological drama that examines the hardships of being a celebrity and the media circus that ensues when the hero falls from grace. Original story line that blends irony and humour is helped by good acting and tight script.

3.2 -- COUNTRY TEACHER, Bogdan Slama
Somewhat slow paced but affecting drama about an insecure teacher who accepts a job in a remote country school. His gradual integration and secret he can't deal with are lessons on self-acceptance and tolerance. Both script and performances top-notch.

2.8 -- DELTA, Kornel Mundruczo
Drama about a young man who returns to his native village and his sister decides to move in with him, causing a major reaction from from family and villagers. An evocative examination of intolerance and peer pressure as it concerns those strong enough to live outside society's norms. Very good acting and impressive cinematography.

2.9 -- GOMORRA, Matteo Garrone
Social drama that focusses on five destinies connected to the Mafia and the utter disregard for human life. In the suburban building blocks of Naples, crime's tentancles are everywhere and the The Law is nothing more than an inconvenience. Tight script, good acting, subject well researched.

3.6 -- 12, Nikita Mikhalkov
Twelve jurors must decide the fate of a young Chechen boy accused of killing his adoptive father, a Russian officer. The vote must be unanimous. After much soul searching, a supposedly clear cut case is found not to be so simple as human values are put to the test. The situation mirrors the social unrest and fearfulness of a nation going through a very difficult period. Strong script, powerful acting.

2.9 -- THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE WEIRD, Kim Ji-Woon
Action, comedy and adventure mix from start to finish. Three strangers are brought together in a very disorganized treasure hunt. Cross over between Mad Max and Sergio Leone's spaghetti westerns featuring weird and exaggerated comic book-like characters. Striking special effects, retina wrecking stunts and fabulous locations guarantee 2 hours of top-notch entertainment for genre afficionados.

Comedy. Albert takes his daughter on her 17th birthday to visit Sweden. He has rented a house but their occupation dates get mixed up. Beautiful locations, weak script, very slow paced, actors locked into roles.

2.7 -- DOWN TO THE DIRT, Justin Simms
Enjoyable drama. A self-destructive hooligan meets a young girl who is madly in love with him. They head tor St John's for a new start. Some of the sequences were drawn out; notable cinematography.

2.5 -- ACNE, Federico Veiroj
A somewhat slow-paced, original coming of age comedy. A 13-year, in the throes of puberty, is introduced by his older brother to the joys of paid sex. Good acting from the lead.

2.8 -- LA DERNIERE CARTE, Sylvain Biegeleisen
Docu. The director films and questions his mother. The son discovers the depths of his mother's love, sacrifice, strength and determination in this unusual documentary.

2.9 -- CLOUD 9, Andreas Dresen
Drama. A married woman in her mid-sixties falls in love with another man. The results will tear them apart. Good acting, well directed. If you liked "Away from Her" you will love this one.

3.4 -- RACHEL GETTING MARRIED, Jonathan Demme
Social drama. A dysfunctional family is celebrating a wedding. A merry-go-round of human relationships, coupling, comedy and tragedy. Kim, a former model, has been in and out of drug rehabilitation centers. Her presence will bring forgotten tensions to the surface. Original music score, tight script, fine acting and directing, great pacing. All in all, excellent entertainment.

2.9 -- C'EST DUR D'ETRE AIME PAR LES CONS, Daniel Leconte
Docu. Examines the controversy surrounding the publication of 12 contest-winning caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed and the debate over the right to freedom of expression that ensued between the weekly "Charlie Hebdo," the International Muslim League and the Union of Muslim Organizations in France. A fascinating account.

2.7 -- NURSE FIGHTER BOY, Charles Officer
Drama. Jude is a night nurse who meets an has-been boxer named Silence; they fall in love. Jude has a son named Ciel and they both dream of returning to Jamaica where she was born. When Jude struggles with a fatal disease bonding will effect this triangle. A slow-paced film with an Interesting script and credible acting.

2.3 -- MUST READ AFTER MY DEATH, Morgan Dews
Docu. Super 8, audio recordings and file scripts make up the material used for this documentary. Allis and Charley have four children and they live in Connecticut. The female narrator, an artist, recounts the secrets and lies and ties that bind family. Well documented but not particularly engaging.

1.9 -- PALERMO SHOOTING, Wim Wenders
A photographer in his mid-forties faces mid-life crisis, has haunting visions of death. Fine music score, complex script, good directing, pacing slow.

3.0 -- ZIFT, Javor Gardev
Suspense. A man is thrown in jail for a crime he did not commit. After his release, he is hunted by police and partners in crime for a missing diamond. Tight script, heavy sound track, good acting.

1.5 -- THE WOMAN OF AHHS, Benjamin Paquette
Comedy about a man who falls in love with a woman he has never met. From the Internet, his research takes him to Montreal where he tries to fulfill his dream. Fil was long and drawn out; obsessive behaviour unconvincingly turned into comedy. Confusing script.

1.9 -- LA FRONTIERE DE L'AUBE, Philippe Garrel
Drama about a women named Carole who is married to an actor who lives in Hollywood. She falls in love with Francois a photographer. Film shot in black and white, poor acting, pacing and sc script.

2.8 -- ADAM'S WALL, Michael Mackenzie
Social drama that examines a budding romance between a Jewish boy and a Lebanese girl; families clash and the relationship is tested. Good cinematography, decent script, instructive approach to a complex situation thanks to fine acting and directing.

Comedy. Vincent Lemieux is a broker on the lam after cheating investors of millions. He sends a video to his two little girls, trying to explain his actions. A dramatic subject is treated in a light hearted fashion helped by an interesting plot twist. Francois Papineau is superb in main role. Fine cinematography, beautiful locations, script well adapted.

2.1 -- AFTERSCHOOL, Antonio Campos
Drama. Robert, a student addicted to violent porn, accidentally videotapes the drug overdose of two sisters at school. The film follows the aftermath of the tragedy and its effect on the students. . Performances fair, weak script, sluggish pacing.

2.9 -- THREE MONKEYS, Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Drama. The driver of a wealthy politician accepts responsibility for a hit and run he did not commit. While incarcerated, his wife has an affair with the politician, unaware that her son is witting. Violence will ensue, changing their lives forever. Good script and cinematography, well acted.

1.3 -- UN LAC, Philippe Grandieux
Unconvincing drama about a family living in the woods. The son, a woodcutter, is epileptic and has a strange relationship with his sister. A stranger shows up and will change everyone's life. Some of the camera work was out of focus or affectatiously moving away from the main area of interest. There were too many purposeless dark scenes and silences. A movie that should be sent to the bottom of Un Lac.

3.3 -- THE TIGER'S TAIL, John Boorman
Social drama about the businessman of the year who is in financial difficulties who discovers he has a twin brother who is setting to steal his identity. Lives will be upset. Fine script, good performances, very apropos energetic pacing.

2.9 -- THE HURT LOCKER, Kathrryn Bigelow
In Iraq homemade bombs are exploded every fifteen minutes. The film follows a bomb squad and a new sergent who is unstable and gets a high from any chaos and danger. Good cinematography, excellent acting, strong sound track.

3.2 -- FLAME & CITRON, Ole Christian Madsen
War drama, A police officer in occupied Copenhagen known as Flame is working with a partner named Citron. They are in the Resistance and they receieve orders to terminate Ketty. Flame knows her and he begins to wonder about the validity of the order, the execution of which will result in the loss of human life just as hesitation will have its consequences. Subject well researched, good period cinematography, interest kept at a high pitch throughout.

Sylvain RichardAmong Sylvain Richard's best ever films = (Babij Jar, Man Who Wipes Mirrors, Napola, Les Choristes, The Heasman, My Nikifor, Hell in Tangier, Camaron, Who Are You, King of the World).


1.9 -- DETROIT METAL CITY, Toshio Lee
Silly Japanese comedy based on comics of same name. Die hard fans of either the comic or style of music will love this. Many funny moments but found silliness irritating at times.

2.6 -- THE TIGER'S TALE, John Boorman
Drama involving identical twins separated at birth, each ending at diametrically opposite ends of life. The "have not" sets out to steal the "have's" life. Unclear as to who was who. Lilting classical score.

2.6 -- JCVD, Mabrouk El Mechri
Celebrity hostage taking drama is aided by understated jazz score, sharp editing -- a joy to watch.

2.8 -- DELTA, Kornel Mundruczo
Slow paced, poetic evocation of life on the Danube and an unconventional relationship between brother and sister. Strong beginning undermined by inconclusive ending. Score and cinematography effectively blended.

3.0 -- HUNGER, Steve McQueen
Brutally realistic "arthouse" historical essay on the 1981 Maze Prison hunger strike in Belfast. Some of the sequences were hard to follow due to editing & heavy Irish accents.

2.5 -- ESTOMAGO, Marcos Jorge
A gastronomic sensous comedy. Narrative told ftom 2 timelines. Subtitles were a bit hard to read.

1.0 -- CHERS ELECTEURS, Manuel Foglia
Quebec documentary on politics more suitable for specialty TV channel; focus is too narrow to interest wider audience.

2.5 -- MUST READ AFTER MY DEATH, Morgan Dews
A documentary based on the memorabilia left to a man by his grandmother. Well put together; narratively forceful.

2.0 -- WENDY & LUCY, Kelly Reichhardt
Lost girl Wendy, accompanied by her dog Lucy, get bogged down in a small Oregon town. Despite fine acting performance and credible script, I just couldn't identify.

3.1 -- BLIND LOVES, Juraj Lehotsky
Touching and compassionate portrait of love experienced by the blind. Imaginatively conceived with instant connection to all of the characters.

3.2 -- WONDERFUL TOWN, Aditya Assara
Debut film set in southern Thailand. In a calm, serene town, malevolent, tsunami-like undercurrents surface when an outsider falls in love with the local hotel receptionist. Compelling guitar, piano-bass score; quietly majestic cinematography, and memorable performances from two non-professional actors.

3.0 -- GOMORRA, Matteo Garrone
Based on monumental study of Camarra Mafia in Naples. Overly complicated which doesn't detract from the larger message. Closer to Day to Day than Godfather or Scarface. Locations and actors well chosen.

2.5 -- FILTH AND WISDOM, Madonna
A vulgar comedy that examines good and evil. Good debut film that's lots of fun; not unlike Borat.

2.3 -- A VIEW FROM BELOW, P. Dinatale & M. O'Connor
Documentary portrait of Karl Stanley who built and runs a deep sea submarine. Too much commentary, not enough cinema despite HD photography of an largely unexplored region of our earth.

2.4 -- RESTLESS, Amos Kollek
Drama of exiled Jew living in NY who is haunted by memories of wife left behind 20 years ago. Difficult to sympathize with main character.

2.8 -- PATTI SMITH: DREAM OF LIFE, Steven Sebring
A kaleidoscopic, intimate portrait of the Godmother of Punk. Film takes us into the psyche of the song writer in order to lay bare the underpinnings of her creativity.

3.2 -- FOUR NIGHTS WITH ANNA, Jerzy Skolimowski
Low-keyed, somber drama about obsessive voyeurism as expression of love. Jigsaw puzzle of a film was aided by folky-classical score, tight editing, sharp script.

2.6 -- DERNIER MAQUIS, Rabah Ameur-Zaimeche
Repair shop owner decides to build a mosque for his employees. A touching, humourous drama that could have been more tighly focussed.

2.3 -- A L'OUEST DE PLUTON, H. Bernadet, M. Verreault
A film that looks at the life of teens. In contrast with the adult actors, very natural performances from the teens. Message wasn't very compelling.

2.1 -- SITA SINGS THE BLUES, Nina Paley
Animated musical adaption of the Ramayana. Score is a mix of Bangra and 20s vocals. Animation ranges from the simplistic to experimental.

2.2 -- OF TIME AND THE CITY, Terrence Davis
Personal recollection and ode to the city of Liverpool.
Madden's "My Winnipeg" more compelling.

Debut film about an up-tight divorced father who takes his 17-year old daughter to Sweden. Effective piano + orchestra score, exquisite landscape, subplots were a distraction.

2.3 -- THREE MONKEYS, Nuri Bilge Ceylan
A drama showing how past indiscretions and hidden secrets can come back to haunt and even destroy us. A well thought out idea undermined by weak editing. Good performances throughout.

2.6 -- CALOS CALMO, Antonello Grimaldi
A drama about a man and his daughter dealing with a sudden loss, where the latter reacts much more naturally than the adult, whose first instinct is to mask his/her true feelings.

2.5 -- TOKYO SONATA, Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Psychological drama about a high ranking executive who has been demoted but goes about as if nothing has changed. A film that explores the delicate nature of communication.

Important documentary dealing with environment and health issues focussing on an individual mayor who can no longer remain indifferent. Engaging, informative, in the same league as "Homo Toxicos" and "Tableland."

0.9 -- DOWN TO THE DIRT, Justin Simms
Commonplace drama about a small town rebel. Lousy script, lousy acting; rating raised by good folksy sound track.

1.1 -- UN LAC, Philippe Grandieur
A film that explores the link between relationships and nature. The affected use of close-ups & sombre lighting obscured the narrative. As for its symbolic content, I didn't find any. Beautiful Lapland locations.

3.4 -- THE MOURNING FOREST, Naomi Kawase
Bitter-sweet human drama set in the Japanese countryside. The majestic forest serves as the backdrop that poses the existential question: What is life?

3.1 -- SURVEILLANCE, Jennifer Lynch
A genre film that recalls her father's canon. (The Lynchian element is in strong evidence throughout). A very original take with surprise plot twist in a typical slasher film. Excellent acting. A director who needs and will get out of her father's formidable shadow.

Investment broker on the lam heads north and sends a video message to his daughters. An original idea that would have worked better as a play.

2.3 -- LOST SONG, Rodrigue Jean
Slow moving drama about post partum depression. Despite stunning vocal performances atmosphere was strained. Less engaging than German film "The Stranger Within."

2.4 -- INJU, LA BETE DANS L'OMBRE, Barbet Schroeder
Film noir. A French author travels to Japan to promote his latest book and meet his favourite author. A cliched mix of eroticism and mystery but entertaining.

2.7 -- LA DERNIERE CARTE, Sylvain Biegeleisen
An affecting documentary that explores the efforts to bridge the chasm between mother and son caused by decades of silence and unbearable Holocaust memories.

2.5 -- 881, Royston Tan
Musical fantasy based on the "getai" set up during the 7th Chinese lunar month = battle of the bands featuring Asian disco infused with magic. Short on human drama but long on extravagant costuming. Enjoyable and fun.

2.8 -- MARTYRS, Pascal Laugier
A girl escapes after being tortured, returns 15 years later to exact revenge, and begins descent into hell. Recalls "Clockwork Orange," "Haute Tension," and "Hostel" but original. Scenes of extreme torture.

2.4 -- ZIFT, Javor Gardev
Bulgarian film noir of a man released from prison in the 1960s, in totalitarian Sofia. Narrative unfolds from different time perspectives and hard to follow. Dramatic score.

2.1 -- NUIT DE CHIEN, Werner Schroeter
Unconventional war drama that was difficult to appreciate. Fine acting was not helped by affected dialogue.

2.6 -- RACHEL GETTING MARRIED, Jonathan Demme
Dysfunctional family comedy drama. Excellent performances. Good music by Robyn Hitchcock.

2.0 -- CHELSEA ON THE ROCKS, Abel Ferrara
Documentary on New York's celebrated Chelsea Hotel. Narrow appeal, perhaps only to those who have stayed there.

2.5 -- AFTERSCHOOL, Antonio Campos
Prep school drama that centers on the death of popular twins from drug overdose. Promising debut film with credible performances. A bit slow here and there; redundancies should have been edited out.

2.6 -- FIFTY DEAD MEN WALKING, Kari Skogland
Portrait of Martin McGartland, recruited by British to infiltrate the IRA in the 1980s. Difficult Irish accent and jerky editing made film hard to follow. Good performances from leading roles.

2.7 -- NOLLYWOOD BABYLON, Samir Mallal & Ben Addelman
Documentary examining Nigerian film industry (now 3rd largest in the world. Inspired to dig deeper. Some images used were unclear.

2.9 -- A YEAR AGO IN WINTER, Caroline Link
A family in mourning (in its own way ) the loss of son/brother. A local artist is commissioned to paint a portrait of sister & brother together. Riveting drama, good dance sequences, some distracting sub plots.

3.6 -- 12, Nikita Mikhalkov
Reorchestration of "12 Angry Men." Many elements make this distinctly Russian/Chechen. Its unfolding & logic of the dialogue logic (as with original) kept me glued to my seat, attentive to every word. Unfortunately subtitles were a bit hard to read.

2.8 -- PALERMO SHOOTING, Wim Wenders
Existential, metaphysical & surrealistic. Established photographer has an encounter with Death. Contains tributes & references to Antonelli & Bergman. A bit confusing at the beginning (I thought the protagonist had died).

2.7? -- RIP: REMIX MANIFESTO, Brett Gaylord
Documentary examining "copyright laws" in age of digital & when Remixes/Mashups create new works of art which are considered illegal? Since many versions of this film will appear on the web, Remixes/Mashups are encouraged.

2.7 -- THE HURT LOCKER, Kathryn Bigelow
Riveting war drama focusing on a bomb squad's last 38 days in Baghdad. Gritty & realistic. A bit longish.

2.8 -- FLAME & CITRON, Ole Christian Madsen
Historical spy thriller that plays like a "film noir." Danish resistence 1944. Beautiful skyline shots of Copenhagen. Some logistic irregularities in script.

2.0? -- AUDIENCE OF ONE, Michael Jacobs
Documentary on Richard Gazowsky -- Pastor in the Pentecostal church -- who claimed GOD told him to make the BIGGEST Film of ALL TIME. Hard to truly rate as director's intent is unknown. Accurate portrayol of the "God fearing people" who are often naive and/or have lost touch with reality.

2.6 -- LADY JANE, Robert Guidiguan
Mystery thriller about an owner of a cosmetic shop named "Lady Jane" whose son is kidnapped. Good performances from leads. Appropriate use of songs especially Canned Heat's "Fried Hockey Boogie." Editing a bit choppy.

1.7 -- VOY A EXPLOTAR, Gerardo Naranto
Promising concept undermined by poor script, editing and directing.

Ratings for 2007 Nouveau Cinema Festival.








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