Jeune femme [Montparnasse Bienvenüe] (2017)

Jeune femme
Director: Léonor Serraille
Writer: Léonor Serraille, Clémence Carré, Bastien Daret
Cast: Laetitia Dosch, Souleymane Seye Ndiaye, Grégoire Monsaingeon, Jean-Christophe Folly, Nathalie Richard
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 28.10.2017
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Plot:
Paula (Laetitia Dosch) just broke up with her much older boyfriend Joachim (Grégoire Monsaingeon). Or rather, he left her for an even younger woman. Now all she has to show for the last few years is the cat she took from her ex. But Paula is willing to start over – at any price. First, she finds a place to stay by starting to work as a nanny – a job she only gets by lying. But with that as a starting point, Paula is ready to figure things out.

At the beginning of Jeune femme, I thought that the film would be rather exhausting because I found Paula so exhausting. But as Paula is allowed to grow as a person, she and the film both grew on me.

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Die Strecke (1927) + Wien Diesel

Die Strecke [probably best translated as The Tracks]
Director: Max Neufeld
Writer: Jacques Bachrach, Oskar Bendiener, Max Neufeld
Cast: Maly Delschaft, Anton Edthofer, Hans Unterkircher, Eugen Neufeld, Hans Thimig, Hans Marr, Carmen Cartellieri
Part of: Viennale
With music by: Wien Diesel
Seen on: 28.10.2017
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Plot:
Marie (Maly Delschaft) is stuck in a small-town train station where her husband works. She dreams of the big city, a dream that is fueled by her husband’s new boss. But he has ulterior motives and Marie finds herself under a lot of pressure by him as her husband grows suspicious of her own loyalties.

Die Strecke is not a great film, but thanks to accompanying band Wien Diesel, it was an experience to watch it – an experience I enjoyed a whole lot.

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Un beau soleil intérieur [Let the Sun Shine In] (2017)

Un beau soleil intérieur
Director: Claire Denis
Writer: Christine Angot, Claire Denis
Based on: Roland Barthes‘s A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments
Cast: Juliette Binoche, Xavier Beauvois, Philippe Katerine, Josiane Balasko, Sandrine Dumas, Nicolas Duvauchelle, Alex DescasLaurent GrévillBruno PodalydèsPaul Blain, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Gérard Depardieu
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 27.10.2017
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Plot:
Isabelle (Juliette Binoche) is a rather successful artist, but she’s less successful when it comes to love. She has an affair with the married Vincent (Xavier Beauvois), but that isn’t enough for her. So she goes on various dates and meets quite a few men. But none of it lasts and Isabelle keeps on searching.

I found Un beau soleil intérieur pretty disappointing. There wasn’t a single character I liked in the film – and yes, that includes Isabelle. That made the film rather trying to sit through.

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Song of Susannah (Stephen King)

Song of Susannah is the sixth novel in The Dark Tower series by Stephen King.
Finished on: 27.10.2017
[Here are my reviews of the other novels in the series.]

Plot:
The ka-tet make their way to our world, but they are split up. Susannah, sharing her body with Mia and her baby, heads for New York, and Jake, Father Callahan and Oy follow them, hoping to catch up before the birth. Meanwhile, Eddie and Roland go to Maine to make sure that they get ownership of the lot where the rose grows to keep it safe. But things don’t quite work out the way as planned.

I am not a huge fan of mystical pregnancies, so Song of Susannah was a bit of a drag in that department, but there was also a lot of pretty awesome meta stuff that I absolutely loved.

[SPOILERS]

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Hannah (2017)

Hannah
Director: Andrea Pallaoro
Writer: Andrea Pallaoro, Orlando Tirado
Cast: Charlotte Rampling, André Wilms, Stéphanie Van Vyve, Simon Bisschop
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 27.10.2017
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Plot:
Hannah (Charlotte Rampling) and her husband (André Wilms) of many years eat dinner. He changes a lightbulb. She packs a bag for him. They drive to prison and he stays there, while Hannah has to navigate the life they used to share on her own from now on. Their son (Julien Vargas) isn’t of much help, Hannah remains at a distance in her theater group and the only human contact she has is with Nicholas (Simon Bisschop), a young disabled boy she takes care of.

Hannah isn’t an easy film, but for me, it was a film well worth the effort I had to put in watching it (funnily enough, I said pretty much the same thing about Pallaoro’s first film, Medeas). Crafted carefully in every frame, it’s an exercise in what isn’t said or shown

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L’atelier [The Workshop] (2017)

L’atelier
Director: Laurent Cantet
Writer: Robin Campillo, Laurent Cantet
Cast: Marina Foïs, Matthieu Lucci, Florian Beaujean, Mamadou Doumbia, Mélissa Guilbert, Warda Rammach, Julien Souve, Issam Talbi
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 27.10.2018
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Plot:
Olivia (Marina Foïs) is a respected novelist who is participating as a teacher in a summer class for underprivileged kids. The seven participants are supposed to write a story together but one of them, Antoine (Matthieu Lucci) won’t play along. His writing is filled with violence and empathy for the perpetrators of it. His behavior in class is antagonistic, racist and shows him sympathizing with neo-nazis and fascism. Olivia struggles with the situation in a class where most of her students aren’t white. But she’s also intrigued by Antoine’s obvious intelligence and tries to find out more about him.

L’atelier could have been interesting if it had been the film I was hoping to see and not yet another story that asks us to please empathize with the neonazi. Maybe if the film hadn’t been made by white people, it would have been good.

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Patti Cake$ (2017)

Patti Cake$
Director: Geremy Jasper
Writer: Geremy Jasper
Cast: Danielle MacdonaldSiddharth Dhananjay, Mamoudou Athie, Bridget EverettCathy Moriarty, Patrick Brana, Sahr NgaujahMC Lyte, Anthony Ramos
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 25.10.2017
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Plot:
Patti (Danielle Macdonald) lives with her alcoholic mother Barb (Bridget Everett) and her sick grandmother (Cathy Moriarty) and works a thankless job. But she really comes to live when she starts rapping. Always supported by her best friend Jheri (Siddharth Dhananjay), both morally and with beats, she’s constantly rhyming. But New Jersey isn’t necessarily a rapping hotbed, especially not for fat white women. But when Patti and Jheri stumble on punk artist Basterd (Mamoudou Athie), Patti is convinced that they have found the missing ingredient for their music to really take off. Plus, he’s intriguing and she’s curious.

Patti Cake$ had me leaving the cinema with a huge grin on my face, despite the fact that I did have some squabbles with it. It’s sweet and funny and the music is pretty great.

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The White Girl (2017)

The White Girl
Director: Jenny Suen, Christopher Doyle
Writer: Christopher Doyle, Jenny Suen
Cast: Angela Yuen, Jeff Yiu, Tony Tsz-Tung Wu, Joe Odagiri
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 24.10.2017
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Plot:
The White Girl (Angela Yuen) is allergic to sunlight. She lives with her father in a very sheltered home but her reclusive existence, so far only interrupted by her friend Ho Zai (Jeff Yiu), is opened a little with the arrival of Sakamoto (Joe Odagiri), a mysterious stranger who fasincates The White Girl – and vice versa.

The White Girl has a fantastic soundtrack and some very strong moments, but it didn’t take off quite as much as I would have liked.

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Was ist Liebe…? [What Is Love…?] (1924) + Battle-ax

Was ist Liebe…?
Director: Leopold Niernberger
Writer: Carla Karman, Leopold Niernberger
Cast: Dora Kaiser, Alice Hetsey, Carmen Cartellieri, Theo Shall, Rudolf Kaiser
Part of: Viennale
With music by: Battle-ax
Seen on: 24.10.2017
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Plot:
Doris (Dora Kaiser) and her sister Carmen (Carmen Cartellieri) are very different people. Where Doris is all innocence and kindness, Carmen is much more selfish and calculating. But after their mother’s death, the two of them find work at the Variété together. Doris’ star keeps rising there and Carmen wants to capitalize on it any way she can.

I enjoyed large parts of the film, but in this case, the live music did the movie a disservice. That being said, there was still much to like about it.

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Avant la fin de l’été [Before Summer Ends] (2017)

Avant la fin de l’été
Director: Maryam Goormaghtigh
Writer: Maryam Goormaghtigh
Cast: Arash, Ashkan, Hossein
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 24.10.2017
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Plot:
Arash (Arash) has been studying in France for the last few years, but he didn’t really get into life in France, so he wants to return to Iran. His two best friends, also originally from Iran, Ashkan (Ashkan) and Hossein (Hossein) don’t want to see him go, so they propose to go on a road trip together, hoping that they could change his mind in the course of it.

Avant la fin de l’été was a short film butit felt surprisingly long and was a little too aimless for my taste, making it a little tedious.

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