Arts &
  Arts Culture Analysis  
Vol. 15, No. 2, 2016
  Current Issue  
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Robert J. Lewis
  Senior Editor
Bernard Dubé
  Contributing Editors
David Solway
Louis René Beres
Nancy Snipper
Farzana Hassan
Daniel Charchuk
Samuel Burd
Andrée Lafontaine
Marissa Consiglieri de Chackal
  Music Editors
Emanuel Pordes
Serge Gamache
  Arts Editor
Lydia Schrufer
Mady Bourdage
Marcel Dubois
Emanuel Pordes
  Film Reviews
  Bowling for Columbine
Shanghai Ghetto
Talk to Her
City of God
Magdalene Sisters
Dirty Pretty Things
Barbarian Invasions
Fog of War
Blind Shaft
The Corporation
Station Agent
The Agronomist
Maria Full of Grace
Man Without a Past
In This World
Buffalo Boy
Shake Hands with the Devil
Born into Brothels
The Edukators
Big Sugar
A Long Walk
An Inconvenient Truth
Sisters In Law
Send a Bullet
Banking on Heaven
Chinese Botanist's Daugher
Ben X
La Zona
The Legacy
Irina Palm
4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days
Poor Boys Game
Finn's Girl
Leaving the Fold
The Mourning Forest
Beneath the Rooftops of Paris
Before Tomorrow
Paraiso Travel
Necessities of Life
For a Moment of Freedom
Blood River
By the Will of Genghis Kahn
The Concert
Weaving Girl
Into Eternity
When We Leave
Le Havre
Presumed Guilty
A Separation
Take This Waltz
Beyond The Walls
The Place Beyond the Pines
The Past




A & O film critic Nancy Snipper has seen the following films. Here are her 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.

[reviewed  by Nancy Snipper] A film about suicide that is in equal parts monotonous and pretentious. A reporter in Rwanda meets a young woman who he falls for, but like so many other African women who get pregnant, she disappears. Was she kidnapped or murdered? He talks about pregnant young women who commit suicide by drowning. In this young women’s case, we really do not know, but she does wrap herself in sticky packing tape in the jungle. That is where the film ends. Interminably long pauses and close ups whose only effect is to create yawns from those watching make this work a joke. Such a serious subject handled with no dramatic action, and therefore intrigue and interest score pitiably low in this film.

2.4 -- LES PUITS, Lofti Bouchouchi
[reviewed  by Nancy Snipper] In southern Alergia, women and their children are dying of thirst, but to get to the well, they have to transgress a small foot bridge that will bring them certain death; French soldiers will shoot them if they leave the village, and the women know this. Despite an Algerian young man's attempt to mislead the nasty gang of snipers towards another village -- he is tortured on the spot to talk, but lies, nothing is working out in the Algerians’ favour. The music was excellent but suspense was weak. Too much talking; not enough action and a tad melodramatic. It seemed staged.

1.2 -- RENAÎTRE, Jean-François Seguin
[reviewed  by Nancy Snipper] This short naively shows a Tunisian woman who travels to meet her lover who lives far away from her only to find out he is married. She’s still a virgin, but can you convince him to change that? Despite the physical appeal of the two people. The 24-minute film is forgettable.

[reviewed  by Nancy Snipper] Too many blurred and confusing scenes that do not clarify where the characters are as each is on his own mission: one is obsessed with tracking down his brother who apparently is somewhere dead in Iraq; the other is on his way in a car; he is going to travel far to sell the girl whom he abuses, along with his girlfriend. Despite the depressive mood in this film, there are lovely lyrical moments where nature shots and tranquility rise above the nasty, but not enough for overcome the film's lack of emotional impact. That being said, the final shot of a sea of women in black burqas – each holding an identity card naming their missing beloved – an assumption we make – as these women are heading to a huge series of circular arches on one site (most likely morgues) is most powerful. The acting of the little girl was excellent. The ending presents a double-edged sword. A 2016 Vues d'Afrique film that was screened at Sundance Festival.

3.1 -- DEAD LEAVES, Younes Reggab                
[reviewed by Nancy Snipper] A slow building suspense that introduces Zahara, a dancer in charge of overseeing a performance to take place weeks away, but ruinous deception and trauma from her past and now in her life set her on a course that puts her on trial, and ironically initiates a renewed life for her but the shocking ending is one of the biggest surprises, along with the sinister man with a facial scar who may or not be the hero or enemy in this interesting film. A variety of camera angles that reveal main character’s mental state recall the work of Hitchcock, but despite the sudden violence in this film, and the evocative music, no one was compelled to bite their nails or block their eyes. The psychological plot misleads and fools us all. Only in the film’s final moment as the camera pans upward to a building that reveals its name, can we piece it together. Redemption and resolution result in a satisfying but sad result for Zahara and others. This was the Moroccan director’s first feature.

2.2 -- ASHA, Nanji
[reviewed by Nancy Snipper] Asha's husband is taken away by the police in the fields where he is working. His name is not the "right" name for the tribe in power. People are being taken in Kenya, and never return. When her husband is taken away, she sings a song. A little boy is with them. Fast forward, and a policeman demands to see her ID. She begins to sing the same song she did decades ago. This man was the little boy in the field with them that fateful day.

3.4 -- GONE TOO FAR, Rim Mejdi                
[reviewed by Nancy Snipper] A hilarious comedy coming out of Nollywood (Nigeria’s version of Hollywood). Yemi’s older brother from Nigeria comes to live with rebellious Yemi and his mother in London, but both bros are in complete conflict, mainly because Yemi denies his Nigerian origin. Despite the fact they are brothers, they have nothing in common. We find out that Jamaicans hate Africans – at least in the neighbourhood of Peckham where the family lives. Fights, flirtations and an angry mom trying to tame Yemi and teach him to be a good younger brother make up this really funny film. Eventually, the very things that drive them apart cause a climactic event that truns his brother into a kind of hero. Yemi begins to respect his Nigerian brother, while discovering that the girl he liked is bad news. Entertaining with its own important message about racism and family derision and division, Gone too Far is a cute feature that automatically recommends her next film.

2.4 -- EN DEHORS DE LA VILLE, Rim Mejdi                
[reviewed by Nancy Snipper] A Moroccan woman tries to have an abortion in a car dump place, but the woman who is supposed to do it changes her mind. A short but an interesting one – thanks to the acting and irony the characters display.

2.2 -- SAGAR, Rim Mejdi                
[reviewed by Nancy Snipper] A Moroccan woman is cradling her baby as it cries. The husband is sick and tired of the crying, drugs his wife with a needle. When she wakes up the baby is gone, and the husband and his mom are complicit in the disappearance. This well acted short was nevertheless a bit short on substance.

3.3 -- LA FORÉT SACRÉE, Camille Sarret
[reviewed by Nancy Snipper] In the villages of the Ivory Coast, and in so many other African countries, clitoral mutilation of young girls is practiced, and the women who carry out this cultural catastrophe are proud of the tradition and occurrence; now the girls have "crossed over." However, Martha Diomandé, a married 30-year-old woman who resides in France, and who was mutilated in her village has returned to her village with a French health professional. Both are intent on trying to teach the irreparable damage the practice causes to women's health and the horrid difficulty and complications during labour. The women who perform the mutilation are trained by an elder, but they gather in a group to receive their lesson and the dangers in the practice. The teaching is sensitively handled. It is an age-old tradition that does not go away easily. An excellent documentary.

3.7 -- CHOUCHA,UNE INSONDABLE INDIFFÉRENCE, Sophie Bachelier & Djibril Diallo
[reviewed by Nancy Snipper] In Tunisia, Camp Choucha in the desert is without water and food, and those living under tents there -- if lucky enough -- are granted refugee status, and they get money and nourishment. However, most are denied the status. People there come from all over Africa, trying to escape wars and famine. The High Commission for Refugees is a joke, and a shameful one at that. Murders happen, and no one investigates from the organization. The unlucky people trying to survive in Choucha have been there for over two years. Those who got in are held in detention centres in Europe. This film documents the shameful, horrific heartbreak for those stuck there and for those of us watching, unable to rescue them though we desperately want to. Only 49 minutes in length, the film inserts the camera directly into the barren camp as the camp people living there reveal their suffering. A riveting documentary.

1.9 -- LES FRONTIÉRES DU CIEL, Chabel El Janna
[reviewed by Nancy Snipper] Sami and Sara are a couple in turmoil. The husband leaves Sara; he is grief stricken, and becomes a chronic drinker. Why? Sami was negligent; it seems their little daughter Yasmine drowned; it was his fault for not watching her. We do not see this, but through a series of terrible editing, our own piecing together and flashbacks, we figure it out. This Tunisian film is so long and boring. In the end, we do not care if the couple ever reunites. I dare to say this, as the work has garnered several awards.



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