>Nat Film Festival – Days 7 and 8

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Garage (Ireland, 2007) – Josie is a gas station attendant in a nameless village located in a rural irish region. In this provincial place, everyone knows everyone, but despite the familiar atmosphere, Josie has no real friends and lives a quite lonely existence. Not focusing in an obvious dramatic atmosphere, the film’s tragicomedy plot is subtitle while showing minimalistic every day life moments of Josie, like when he talks to a local horse while feeding it with apples, has a chat with the guys at the pub or even tries to be accepted by a group of teens. He finally finds some companionship in the teenager assistant David, as they share beers at work, but something else Josie naively shares with David will twist Josie’s life, which is already sinked in apathy. Despite touching in the universal theme of loneliness, I found the film’s nuances easier to be comprehended by an irish audience, especially the ones aware of the character’s reality.

Mad Detective (San Tam, Hong Kong, 2007) – Co-directed by Johnny To (from him, I had only see Exiled before) and Wai Ka-Fai, this is a mix of comedy and tragedy that didn’t really work for me, but the festival audience seemed to love it. Inspector Bun (Lau Ching Wan, the film’s best thing) is the mad detective of the title, a cop that works using his supernatural gift of seeing people’s true selves – “I can see a person’s inner personality” – he says, and what he sees is literally on screen, like in the moment he’s in a room with someone who suffers from a multiple personality disorder while the room is occupied by several different people, who are actually just one person. Forced to retire from the force after cutting off his own ear as a “gift” to his boss (!), Bun will use his peculiar investigational methods again in the future, as the story fast forwards five years later, when a clueless office can’t figure out a case and asks for Bun’s help.

Angel (France, UK, 2007) – It begins with a group of school girls walking at the snow, wearing beret hats and carrying their leather satchel bags, and from this moment, I knew I’d love the film directed by François Ozon, who pays homage to the classic Hollywood melodramas making a nearly “vintage” film. Classic, as it’s easy to take the side of Angel (Romola Garai, outstanding), the film heroin, cheering for her welfare and happiness despite her arrogance and petulance, from the first moment she appears, reading an essay in front of the classroom in what should be a brief and plain drescription of the place she lives. Actually her “essay” is an imaginary description of the mansion “Paradise”, where she dreams of living someday. Determined to become a writer, she sends one of her novels to a publisher (Sam Neil), whose relation with Angel is hardly explored along the film, as it focuses on Angel’s search for the same unconditional happiness her novels’ characters achieve. Almost deprived of a sense of reality, dreamer and optimistic, she likes all beautiful things, and not even a war makes her see the world with less bright colours. In this sense, Angel suffers, but doesn’t let the ones around notice her pain, however, as she matures, she becomes clear.

Redacted (Canada, USA, 2007) – This film is not only one of the best I’ve seen in this year’s first semester due to its clear political message – Stop this damn war – but for its sense of immediatism – what’s happening now, what could be avoided right now, which is not often seen in an anti-war picture. It’s not a subjective look of something that once happened, but a forward question about what’s going to be left in the future, and to state this message, director Brian De Palma used images from ordinary digital cameras to videos uploaded on the web, or even a footage from a french documentary about Iraq. Images that are obviously fictional, but outstanding in how realistic they feel, as realism-naturalism is what this film pursues. Some might find Redacted ordinary, manipulative, manicheist, nearly obvious and they could even be right. Some others, like me, will see the film’s simplicity as a virtuosity.

18 Comments to “>Nat Film Festival – Days 7 and 8”

  1. >Haven't seen nothing here. Angel interets me greatly, and I really want to get to know more about Ozon and his films. Garai seems to have really launched with Atonement for great roles, thats very good. Redacted is very awaited by me. I admire De Palma and it'll be interesting thing to see a diferent anti-war filme. Great commentarys!Ciao!

  2. >Wally, I loved "Angel", but I'd say this is completely different than anything he's ever directed. Some will misunderstand his intentions and underrate this film, based on what he's done previously. I can even guess his hardcore fans will execrate it. Romola Garai is such a revelation, she's so versatile it's hard to believe she's the same person who acted in "Atonement". I'm not a huge De Palma fan, but "Redacted" is one of the best war films I've ever seen. Everyone should see it.

  3. >i just put angel on the list of things for me to see when I get back to the states! hah thank you:)

  4. >Caroline, you're welcome!:-)(…)Something regarding Redacted's reception by the extreme conservative media I thought I should share in case not everyone has seen it:http://br.youtube.com/watch?v=RcbsaoZBd6EUnbelievable, isn't it?

  5. >Eu amo Across the Universe…no início o filme parece meio bobo, mas depois fico muito bom!!mil beijos!!

  6. >that angel on looks like it would be great!

  7. >Aê, finalmente seu texto sobre "Angel", um dos meus filmes favoritos desse primeiro semestre. Adorei o que você escreveu sobre o filme.Outro que me deixou bastante curiosa a respeito foi "Redacted", de Brian de Palma.

  8. >I adore your film critiques. I must watch Angel now!

  9. >Darling, thank you so much for this post! I cannot wait to watch Angel! It seems so different and fantastic! P.S. Sorry for the belated reply, I've been really busy these a few days and struggling to keep up blogging! Oh, my camera is an old Canon xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  10. >Kira, beijos!Sam, "Angel" is wonderful. I'm sure girls will love it more than boys will.Kamila, nossas opinioes sobre "Angel" sao bastante semelhantes, adoramos o filme. "Redacted" foi uma surpresa, como nao sabia nada sobre o filme (apenas que se tratava da guerra no Iraque), assisti-lo foi muito impactante. The Clothes Horse: Glad you enjoy them;-)Times of Glory: No problem! ^.^

  11. >Hi from Paris RomeikaI just wanted that you are talented.that's it !I wish you a wonderful dayKamelSTYLE AND THE CITY – PARIS

  12. >oo Angel looks and sounds good, anything Romala touches is gold to me! thanks for previewing all of these films, i was reading your earlier i posts i missed, and im glad you did like across the universe, it is a bit over the top and cleshe, but whatever it was fun, has great set ups, and a charismatic cast. oh and i loved your leo and kate pre-post titanic mash up, awww 🙂

  13. >hmmm… i need to add "classic" to my netflix queue

  14. >i watched the first few minutes of mad detective and urgh – *shivers*. i pressed stop. it was disgusting when he bit off the guy's ear and gave it to the boss as a present. gruesome. and ooh – angel sounds so good and looks good too. i want to watch it!!

  15. >Redacted looks pretty amazing- and I love Brian De Palma! Also seems like you've got a great taste in film, judging by your posts and your profile!

  16. >Dear Romeika, I have yet to see all these films. I fear they might be a bit hard to find here in Lima. I did however watch Azuloscurocasinegro from your last post. I agree with you, while you can't help but observe the Almodovar influences throughout the movie, it certainly is a far cry away from reaching the depth his movies do.I hope everything is well!

  17. >Tenho assissitido a muitas coisas boas do Ozon (Amantes Criminosos, Gotas D'Água Sobre Pedras Escaldantes, Amor em Cinco Tempos) e quero muito ver esse Angel, mas ainda não tive essa oportunidade. Seu comentário só me deixa mais animado ainda para vê-lo. Redacted é outro que eu não vejo a hora de assistir, parece um De Palma diferente do que ele costuma fazer. Os outros dois não conheço, e embora não vá muito com a cara do Johnnie To (vi Exiled esses dias e não achei lá grande coisa), me interessei por esse Mad Detective. Só não faço a mínima idéia de quando vai aparecer por aqui (isso se aparecer!).

  18. >Kamel, thanks a lot!:)Jayne, no problem;) You're right about Romola, she's such a talented young female actor. I'm already a fan! I was seeing some "Across the Universe" scenes today, made me feel like watching it all again – I do agree on what you think its flaws and good aspects are.LML, 😉Cotton candy, I'm not mad about MD either. I wish I had picked something better to see that evening, but one can never guess… I went because it was directed by the guy from "Exiled".. Really disappointing.Mariel, "Redacted" is pretty different from the typical De Palma film. But I was really impressed by it, so you should give it a try! I was pleased to find about your blog, as you mix movies and fashion like I do.Jimena, hope you get to find some of them at least. The spanish film's plot was quite interesting, imagine the same idea in Almodovar's hands! It would result quite differently. I missed your posts, hope you have something new;)Rafael, não conheço nada da filmografia do Ozon antes de "8 Femmes", mas quero ver algum dia, já que gosto de todos os filmes dele que vi. "Redacted" é totalmente diferente do estilo De Palma de se fazer cinema, mas como não sou fã dele, não senti falta da técnica que costuma empregar.. Gostei de como a experimentação foi usada para o propósito que ele teve. "Mad Dective" é bem diferente de "Exiled", adorei o segundo, mas o primeiro, não gostei..

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