Archive for June, 2013

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EIFF 2013: Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction (Sophie Huber, 2012)

June 28, 2013

Harry Dean Stanton - Partly Fiction

In keeping with the acting style of the subject of its focus, Sophie Huber’s Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction stays away from extremes in its portrait of one of America’s greatest actors. There is affection, but it is understated and not glowing, while any melancholy elements are not over-stressed. The facts and opinions expressed, through Stanton and various collaborators, are simply allowed to be – free of added manipulation – in what amounts as a rather quiet documentary, excluding film clips with their own soundtracks and instances in which we get to see Stanton express his passion for performing music. Like the documentary’s most discussed film, Paris, Texas (1984), Partly Fiction is serene but also apt at emotional devastation, though as in Wim Wenders’ masterpiece, sorrow and optimism are intertwined…

Click for the full review at Sound on Sight

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EIFF 2013: Leviathan (Lucien Castaing-Taylor/Verena Paravel, 2012)

June 27, 2013

Leviathan

Paravel and Castaing-Taylor’s non-narrative, anthropological collaboration – both a documentary and an abstract horror film – depicts the mayhem of life and labour on a large fishing vessel through chaotic, overwhelming first-person footage on the ship, under it and even above it. The name comes from that biblical terror from the sea, and the film is a thundering beast itself…

Click for the full review for The Skinny

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EIFF 2013: Sanctuary (Fredrik Edfeldt, 2013)

June 27, 2013

Sanctuary-Faro

Sanctuary opens on a rural home in the Swedish countryside, the serenity of which is soon interrupted by the arrival of police. The child occupant Hella (Clara Christiansson), is questioned as to the location of her father, wanted on suspicion of murder. After they leave, the wanted man (Jakob Cedergren) returns, and the pair flee into large woodlands. It’s not an easy journey from the offset: the family dog has to be shot and a police car gets sent into a ditch in a roadside pursuit. They soon seem free from immediate pursuit, however, and construct a makeshift woodland home in which to live. The father and daughter are brought closer together, even if environmental concerns and the odd encounters with other people provide their own set of problems, though the authoritarian threat inevitably returns to tear them apart…

Click for the full review at Sound on Sight

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EIFF 2013: This Is Martin Bonner (Chad Hartigan, 2013)

June 25, 2013

This-Is-Martin-Bonner

Martin Bonner (Eenhoorn) is at a lull in his life. An Aussie expat, he finds himself leaving his grown-up east-coast family and moving to Reno, Nevada for the only job he can get after three years of searching – transitioning ex-convicts into society. Through this new position, he forms a friendship with one of the people he mentors, Travis (Arquette), who’s been released into a city he does not know, following a 12-year stretch for involuntary manslaughter, and is desperate for help in getting a fresh start…

Click for the full review for The Skinny

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EIFF 2013: We Are the Freaks (Justin Edgar, 2013)

June 25, 2013

We Are the Freaks

Following three teenage friends on a night out in 1990, after Thatcher has just stepped down, We Are the Freaks opens with self-reflexive narration that posits that “this is not a teen movie”; this follows an opening tirade that includes the lead expressing contempt for films where people talk to camera, right after doing so himself. It’s a film that, through meta stylistic tics (“Got any music that won’t be in wanky nostalgic films in 20 years time?”), constantly draws attention to itself; the problem is that it never provides anything to warrant the viewer’s attention…

Click for the full review for The Skinny

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EIFF 2013: Magic Magic (Sebastián Silva, 2013)

June 24, 2013

Magic-Magic

It’s become something of a cliché to draw links between any claustrophobic discomfort piece and the work of Roman Polanski. Magic Magic not only has the chamber piece qualities of the man’s apartment films and Carnage, but also the island locale and proximity to paralyzing waters of films like Knife in the Water, Cul-de-sac and The Ghost Writer; furthermore, it also shares a blonde protagonist losing her grip on reality à la Repulsion. It’s an easy film to play ‘Spot the Roman’ with, but the comparison is valid and not just superficial checklist-ticking in this case. If, as a whole, it never reaches the same heights of quality as the best of Polanski’s more horror-inclined films, Sebastián Silva’s unnerving and enigmatic thriller has moments that certainly stand up to worthy association…

Click for the full review at Sound on Sight

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EIFF 2013: Beijing Flickers (Zhang Yuan, 2012)

June 23, 2013

Beijing-Flickers

Beijing Flickers is a compelling, loosely-plotted portrait of young outcasts in the titular city, each struggling to find their own place and independence in the face of escalating setbacks both personal and economic. Lead San Bao (Duan Bowen) spends much of the film mute, his first word after hundreds of days taking place in the opening sequence. Zhang Yuan’s narrative takes us back to the beginning of San Bao’s woes, which include the departure of his beloved dog, being made unemployable, and his girlfriend dumping him for a wealthy businessman…

Click for the full review at Sound on Sight