AFERIM!

2015; directed by Radu Jude; written by Radu Jude and Florin Lazarescu; 101 mins

Billed as a Romanian western (fair enough) but also as a comedy. Hmm. There are comedic elements to it, certainly but it is comedy of the blackest hue! A brutal depiction of brutal characters in a brutal world. Perhaps, in Radu Jude, we finally have the director who can tackle Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian on film. It won’t make any money but it will be a masterpiece. Continue reading

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OKJA

2017; directed by Bong Joon-ho; written by Bong Joon-ho and Jon Ronson; 121 mins

A few years ago, I had a chat with a mate of mine, having just found out he was vegetarian. It was a chat that made me realise how full of shit us meat-eaters are. We always moan about; “vegetarians and vegans – always having a go at us!”… Thinking about it for more than two seconds, I’d never had that. Not once. All I’d ever heard was meat-eaters complaining about the tongue-lashings they’d never actually got. In the end, there is no argument against vegetarians and vegans. They are nice people with the courage of their convictions, which is a rare commodity in this day and age. Hasn’t stopped me eating meat. Okja, however, challenged me that bit more in it’s story about a little girl and her pet. Continue reading

CARLOS

2010; directed by Olivier Assayas; adapted by Olivier Assayas, Dan Franck and Daniel Leconte; 339 mins

“The man who hijacked the world”

In a recent interview, the filmmaker and critic Alex Cox complained that critics have become “hucksters”, touting and selling films to audiences rather than being honest about a film. I agree with him up to a point but I do think that there is a slight element of whore-ishness that enters into it when you really love a film but you know it’s a tough sell. This is definitely the case with Carlos, which is one of my absolute favourite films but bear in mind that whilst – Yes! – I am selling this movie to you, I honestly love it to bits and I want to share it because it’s such an exciting movie! Continue reading

LE SAUVAGE

1975; directed by Jean-Paul Rappeneau; written by Jean-Loup Dabadie, √Člisabeth Rappeneau and Jean-Paul Rappeneau; 107 mins

[No english language trailer, sorry]

So, here’s a film I saw completely out of the blue, basically because it’s the last screening that I could get to this year at the Dunedin Film Society and I needed to use up my three-ticket pass. Went in completely unaware of what it was other than it was an old French rom-com. Now! I’ve nothing against rom-coms (per se) but recently, doing the weekly reviews, the genre that has stood a mile out for sheer awfulness has been French rom-coms! Continue reading

NZIFF ’17/13: LET THE SUNSHINE IN

2017; directed by Claire Denis; written by Christine Angot and Claire Denis; 94 mins

[Sorry, no trailers yet but here’s a nice clip to get you going]

Final fest flick* and why not finish with Binoche and Denis (sounds like a magic act)? Quite different from my previous experience of Denis’ work, from the notices it got at Cannes, I’d’ve expected the Woody Allen** mixed with the quagmire of atrocious French farces I’ve been subjected to amidst the weekly releases. Happily, whilst not up there with either White Material or 35 Shots of Rum, we’re far, far away from the self-satisfied witterings of the aforementioned shite. Continue reading

NZIFF ’17/12: POP AYE

2017; written and directed by Kirsten Tan; 104 mins

So, here’s a strange one. I’m not sure what I think of this film and I may have to discover that as I write. Honestly, I’m not sure if it was the unusual Buddhist, Thai-centric pacing of the film that had me unsure of what to think. Maybe it was the natural short-comings of first time feature writer/director Kirsten Tan. Maybe it was all the drinking I did the night before, which is a hazard of this job. Was it people coming in late to the screening and all being sat down near us that hindered those ever crucial first ten minutes? Or was it that I just didn’t quite know what to make of Pop Aye which, from the outside, looked like a fairly genteel road movie about a man and his elephant? Continue reading