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

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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

NZIFF ’17/11: LOVELESS

2017; directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev; written by Oleg Negin and Andrey Zvyagintsev; 127 mins

I remember flying over Russia once and being struck by the fact that I couldn’t see the sea. For miles and miles, there was just uninhabited green and the idea of landing in it was more terrifying than ditching in the ocean. Russian cinema often has that feel, for me. Vast, empty, agoraphobic spaces filled with harsh, deep-voiced people. Loveless takes this trend to the nth degree and – much like Michael Haneke’s Amour turned out to be a strait-laced look at undying love – Zvyagintsev gives us an equally harrowing look at the drowning effects of it’s absence. Continue reading

NZIFF ’17/09: BLADE OF THE IMMORTAL

2017; directed by Takashi Miike; adapted by Tetsuya Oishi; 140 mins

The 100th film directed by Takashi Miike and bloody hell what a way to celebrate! A ferocious adaptation of the manga series by Hiraoki Samura with guts and greatness to spare! When a movie reminds you of Kurosawa and then Sergio Leone, you know you’re onto a good thing and bearing in mind that I’d reviewed three movies before this and was fairly shagged by the time it came to watch, I was gripped from minute one! Continue reading

NZIFF ’17/07: HAPPY END

2017; written and directed by Michael Haneke; 107 mins

[By the way, sorry but no English language trailers available at the time I write this]

Aki Kaurism√§ki’s bleak, Finnish, immigration comedy, The Other Side of Hope had a cautious strain of good faith in it’s look at Europeans’ attitude towards immigrants and immigration. It was a glass half full (of vodka). Here is a film that makes it look like the most sunny-side-up, beaming, bouncing bundle of joy. Continue reading

NZIFF ’17/06: RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World

2017; directed by Catherine Bainbridge; co-directed by Alfonso Maiorana; 99 mins

The rock doc: One of the 20th century’s greatest inventions! More than any musical or even gig do I love Glastonbury, Woodstock, Punk: Attitude, The Future is Unwritten, Gimme Shelter and so many others. A great rock doc can take music you don’t even like and have you wanting more and realising the artistic integrity of musos who you previously thought were crap. Not only that, it can open you up to a whole vast tract of music that you were completely unaware of and this one kinda does a little bit of both: Continue reading