Me Talk Pretty One Day (David Sedaris)

Me Talk Pretty One Day is a short story/essay collection by David Sedaris.
Finished on: 27.2.2016

Me Talk Pretty One Day is a collection of (more or less) autobiographical short stories that often revolve around the topic of language, include David’s father Lou at several points and more often than not are very, very funny. Sedaris’ sharp wit, his self-deprecating sense of humor and his way to create vibrant characters out of his family members makes the entire thing work, even though, as usual, there were some stories I liked more than others.

sedaris_metalkprettyonedayAfter the jump I’ll talk about each of the stories individually.

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Cialo [Body] (2015)

Director: Malgorzata Szumowska
Writer: Malgorzata Szumowska, Michal Englert
Cast: Janusz GajosMaja OstaszewskaJustyna Suwala
Part of: FrauenFilmTage
Seen on: 27.2.2016

Janusz (Janusz Gajos) lives with his daughter Olga (Justyna Suwala). Since the death of his wife Helena, their relationship has been strained: Janusz fled into his work as a district attorney and into alcohol, Olga into bulimia. Janusz tries to help her, but her resentment of him doesn’t make that easy. After Olga attempts suicide, Janusz brings her to hospital where they meet the psychiatrist Anna (Maja Ostaszewska). Anna reveals to them that she can contact the dead and offers to contact Helena for them.

Cialo was very promising in parts, but despite its tense atmosphere that is intriguingly intertwined with humor, it couldn’t keep my attention all the way through.


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Viikossa aikuiseksi [Adult Camp] (2015)

Viikossa aikuiseksi
Director: Johanna Vuoksenmaa
Writer: Johanna Vuoksenmaa
Cast: Minttu MustakallioTaneli MäkeläEppu SalminenIina KuustonenMinna KoskelaEssi HellénJarkko PajunenJarkko NiemiLauri TanskanenAnnaleena Sipilä
Part of: FrauenFilmTage
Seen on: 27.2.2016

Saara (Minttu Mustakallio) just got divorced and needs to get out from the everyday drudgery and, preferably, get laid. So she decides to go on a weekend retreat in the form of a camp: just a group of people who don’t know each other spending some time together on a small island; a summer camp but for adults. But as the heterogenous group realizes, the promotional video might have promised too much and when the camp organizers leaves to take care of his pregnant dog, they are all quite at a loss.

Adult Camp is a funny, sweet film that manages to spend enough time with each of its characters – although the group isn’t small – that everyone gets some character development. It didn’t blow me away, but it was absolutely entertaining.


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The Hunting Ground (2015)

The Hunting Ground
Director: Kirby Dick
Writer: Kirby Dick
“Cast”: Andrea Pino, Annie Clark
Part of: FrauenFilmTage
Seen on: 27.2.2016

[Trigger Warning: rape, sexual assault]

The Hunting Ground takes a long, hard look at USAmerican university campuses and their treatment of rape and rape survivors. Survivors like Andrea Pino and Annie Clark who were both raped at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As if that mere fact wasn’t bad enough, the way the university handled the attacks on them was so appalling that they decided to become active so that in the future, rape survivors won’t be traumatized all over again by the way their traumatic experience is handled afterwards.

It’s not that long ago that I saw The Invisible War. With The Hunting Ground, Kirby delves yet again into the topic of rape and how it’s treated by authorities and institutions after it happened. Only that this time he turns to an institution that doesn’t meet the strict patriarchal, hypermasculine criteria like the army does (or so you’d think) and still shows the same problems all over again.

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Kalt kocht [Kalt Cooks] (2008)

Kalt kocht
Director: Eva Testor, Niki Mossböck
Part of: FrauenFilmTage
Seen on: 26.2.2016

In 1999, Eva Testor and Niki Mossböck wanted to start a documentary cycle where they interview filmmakers (each other and others) about their creative processes and activities. They started with Jörg Kalt, who cooked them dinner and the opened up about his thoughts. It took them almost another 10 years to finish the film, which they only completed after Kalt had passed away.

The first half of the about 15 minutes of the film, we watch Kalt cooking, explaining the recipes, seeing him move in his own kitchen. It’s an effective way to get an impression of his personality and an intimate and very private look at him as a person. The second half seems a little more distanced, as he talks about his work but I quickly realized that the privacy of the setting also transferred to his disclosures. In fact, I hadn’t known before that Kalt had committed suicide, but after this short interview I was very ready to assume that he suffered from depression.

But apart from hobby-psychologing it was also intersting to hear him talk about making art, making films and what drives him. The film shows how much you can uncover when you just let smart, knowledgeable people talk (to each other).


Living in a Box (2000)

Living in a Box
Director: Jörg Kalt
Part of: FrauenFilmTage
Seen on: 26.2.2016

Almost 20 years ago, Kalt and cinematographer Eva Testor visited the Hotel 17 in New York. It was the location for Woody Allen’s Manhattan Murder Mytery, but also provides permanent home for a few people who all ended up staying much longer than they expected. Four of those are the people they interviewed for this documentary.

Eva Testor – who was already the cinematographer for Meine Mutter war ein Metzger – told us after the film that they were actually shooting Shops Around the Corner (which took a while to finish and is coming out this year), and Living in a Box just happened in the margins of that shoot. They found four of the permanent residents, shot interviews with them (one only wanted audio recordings) and shot a bit of footage in the hotel and that’s what became the film.

Surprisingly for a film that came together quite spontaneously and is short to boot (only 30 minutes), it feels extremely well-rounded. I have seen films that don’t manage that sense of purpose, or maybe meaning is the better word, with much more extensive planning. They found extraordinary people in a fascinating place and managed to capture their respective qualities. A wonderful film.


Meine Mutter war ein Metzger [My Mother Was a Butcher] (1999)

Meine Mutter war ein Metzger
Director: Jörg Kalt
Writer: Jörg Kalt
Cast: Jiri Bábek, Pavel Zvaríc, Christoph Müller, Sebastian Blomberg, Andrej Losin
Part of: FrauenFilmTage
Seen on: 26.2.2016

Two students need to transport a body from Vienna to Russia which is a pretty expensive thing to do officially. So they decide to pretend that the body was simply drunk and to smuggle it to Russia by night train.

Meine Mutter war ein Metzger is a short film that was shot pretty much without a budget and in black and white, making it feel older than it actually is. But that doesn’t hurt the film at all. Neither does the fact that I can’t quite believe that the outlandish story is based on actual events like the film claims. Whether it’s half-true, all-true or all-made-up, it’s a funny film with awhole lot of black humor. I wouldn’t have minded if it had been longer.


The Girl King (2015)

The Girl King
Director: Mika Kaurismäki
Writer: Michel Marc Bouchard
Cast: Malin Buska, Sarah Gadon, Michael Nyqvist, Lucas Bryant, Laura Birn, Hippolyte Girardot, Peter Lohmeyer, François Arnaud, Patrick Bauchau, Ville Virtanen, Martina Gedeck
Part of: FrauenFilmTage
Seen on: 26.2.2016

Kristina (Malin Buska) becomes the ruler of Sweden at a young age. Her mother (Martina Gedeck) is of little help and Kristina is educated profoundly by Chancellor Axel Oxenstierna (Michael Nyqvist) to rule – as King, not as Queen. When Kristina comes of age, it’s him who raises the question of marriage and hopes that Kristina will choose his son Johan (Lucas Bryant). But Kristina is neither interested in marriage, nor in men. The only person who holds her fascination outside of the intellect is Ebba (Sarah Gadon) who she names her lady-in-waiting and with whom she grows ever closer.

The Girl King tells a fascinating story of a fascinating woman and it does so quite well. It’s not an amazingly great film, but it’s definitely good with the cast being a particular stand-out.

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Hozier (Support: Rhodes)

Hozier played a concert in Vienna with the support of Rhodes.
Seen on: 25.2.2016.

Unfortunately, the organization at the Gasometer, the concert venue was less than ideal. We were queuing for a good long while before one entrance to the concert hall where nothing budged for at least 30 minutes. After that time somebody from the organization team told us that we should head to the other entrance which was empty. Why they didn’t give us that information before, nobody knows. In any case, after we headed there, it took us another 15 minutes to get in and yet another 10 minutes to check our coats. By the time we finally got to the stage itself, Rhodes was done playing and Hozier was about to start.

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Umimachi Diary [Our Little Sister] (2015)

Umimachi Diary
Director: Hirokazu Koreeda
Writer: Hirokazu Koreeda
Based on: Akimi Yoshida‘s manga
Cast: Haruka Ayase, Masami Nagasawa, Kaho, Suzu Hirose, Ryô Kase, Ryôhei Suzuki
Seen on: 25.2.2016

Sachi (Haruka Ayase), Yoshino (Masami Nagasawa) and Chika (Kaho) are sisters who live together in their grandmother’s house. They have had to fend for themselves for a while, with Sachi as the oldest acting as a surrogate mother. When they hear that their estranged father died, they decide to go to the funeral where they meet their young half-sister Suzu (Suzu Hirose). The three older sisters are surprised, but after realizing that things are rather dire for Suzu at home, they invite her to stay with them. Suzu accepts, bringing a fresh wind into all of their lives.

Umimachi Diary is a sweet, uplifting film. It’s a film where nothing much happens and at the same time a lot is going on – just as with life, giving it a welcome air of realism, but nicely honed to exclude most of the struggles.

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