★ (2017)

[aka Stern, translated as Star]
Director: Johann Lurf
Part of: Diagonale
Seen on: 14.3.2018
1-gif-review

“Plot”:
Movies have always looked to and at the stars, the sky, at the universe itself. Lurf collected all these images from the beginning of film to movies right now into one 102 minute supercut, exploring how we look at and relate to the stars.

I liked the idea of ★, but the resulting film fell a little flat for me. I felt that the stars were disenchanted by the sheer mass of images and I would have wished that the film contributed to the magic they exude instead.

Continue reading

Short Films at the Diagonale 2018

I saw four short films at the Diagonale.
Sekundenschlaf [Microsleep] (2017)
Director: Lena Lemerhofer
Writer: Lena Lemerhofer
Cast: Paula Parker, Merten Schroedter, Judith Sehrbrock, Ayla Siegmund, Heike Warmuth
Generalprobe [Dress Rehearsal] (2017)
Director: Jannis Lenz
Writer: Jannis Lenz
Cast: Anna Suk, Ahmet Simsek
Bester Mann [Main Man] (2018)
Director: Florian Forsch
Writer: Florian Forsch
Cast: Adrian Grünewald, Frederik Schmid, Yuri Völsch, Thomas Bartholomäus, Jarl Lando Beger
Arena (2018)
Director: Björn Kämmerer
Seen on: 14.3.2018

Three of the four films I saw were part of a short film program, the fourth was a short opening film to another movie. All four films were strong, but some were stronger than others.

After the jump, read about each of the films seperately.

Continue reading

Onkel Wanja [Uncle Vanya] (2017)

Onkel Wanja
Director: Anna Martinetz
Writer: Anna Martinetz
Based on: Anton Chekhov‘s play
Cast: Martin Butzke, Korinna Krauss, Wolfgang Hübsch, Julia Dietze, Manuel Rubey, Michael Kranz, Marion Krawitz, Katalin Zsigmondy, Doris Buchrucker, Karl Knaup
Part of: Diagonale
Seen on: 14.3.2018
1-gif-review

Plot:
Alexander (Wolfgang Hübsch) has withdrawn to his uncle Wanja’s (Martin Butzke) country estate to escape the financial crisis that is shaking the city and has caused a revolution. In the country, things still are mostly the same and Wanja and Sonja (Korinna Krauss) want to keep it that way. But Alexander and his wife Elena (Julia Dietze) have business ideas – lots of them.

Onkel Wanja is an ambitious project that tries a lot but it’s unfortunately also one that fails a lot. For me it was mostly marked by feeling long and exhausting, although there were a few bits that were pretty strong.

Continue reading

Murer: Anatomie eines Prozesses [Murer: Anatomy of a Trial] (2018)

Murer: Anatomie eines Prozesses
Director: Christian Frosch
Writer: Christian Frosch
Cast: Karl Fischer, Alexander E. Fennon, Melita Jurisic, Ursula Ofner, Karl Markovics, Gerhard Liebmann, Roland Jaeger, Doval’e Glickman, Rainer Wöss, Erni Mangold, Susi Stach
Part of: Diagonale
Seen on: 13.3.2018
1-gif-review

Plot:
In 1963, Franz Murer (Karl Fischer) is a pillar of his Austrian community, a politician and one of the richest men in the area. But during the Second World War, he was an important men for the Nazis and ran the ghetto in Vilnius where he was known for his cruelty. Simon Wiesenthal (Karl Markovics) has been fighting to get him in front of a judge, and finally he succeeds: Murer is tried for his war crimes. But will he be found guilty?

Murer: Anatomie eines Prozesses is an excellent film in all areas and a condemnation of Austria, especially with regards to the lack of accountability for our participation in World War Two – a lack that still haunts us to this day and causes nothing but problems. It’s hard to watch but absolutely necessary.

Continue reading

Call Me by Your Name (2017)

Call Me by Your Name
Director: Luca Guadagnino
Writer: James Ivory
Based on: André Aciman’s novel
Cast: Armie Hammer, Timothée Chalamet, Michael Stuhlbarg, Amira Casar, Esther Garrel
Seen on: 12.3.2018
1-gif-review

Plot:
Teenager Elio (Timothée Chalamet) spends the summer in Italy with his parents as every year. And as every year, they are joined by a research assistant who can work with Elio’s father – a professor (Michael Stuhlbarg). Elio isn’t too thrilled about the intrusion that costs him his room. But this year the student who shows up is Oliver (Armie Hammer) and Oliver has something about him. Elio realizes that he is in love with Oliver, but Oliver’s detached and sometimes outright brazen manner leaves little doubt that he doesn’t reciprocate the feelings.

Call Me By Your Name is an incredibly tender and soft film with an atmosphere that stayed with me even after the film had ended. Despite some weaknesses, there is something magical about it.

Continue reading

Game Night (2018)

Game Night
Director: John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein
Writer: Mark Perez
Cast: Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Kyle Chandler, Sharon Horgan, Billy Magnussen, Lamorne Morris, Kylie Bunbury, Jesse Plemons, Michael C. Hall, Danny Huston, Chelsea Peretti
Seen on: 12.3.2018
1-gif-review

Plot:
Max (Jason Bateman), Annie (Rachel McAdams), Sarah (Sharon Horgan), Ryan (Billy Magnussen), Kevin (Larmone Morris) and Michelle (Kylie Bunbury) have a regular game night together. Tonight, Max’ brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) is hosting the party, when men come into his house and take him away. Believing it to be a roleplay, the six players set out to get Brooks back. But things may be more serious than they appear at first.

I didn’t expect much from Game Night and basically just watched it because I had a gap in my schedule where it fit perfectly. But I was pleasantly surprised: Game Night is an entertaining film that made me laugh out loud.

Continue reading

Dzikie róze [Wild Roses] (2017)

Dzikie róze
Director: Anna Jadowska
Writer: Anna Jadowska
Cast: Marta Nieradkiewicz, Michal Zurawski, Konrad Skolimowski, Natalia Bartnik, Dominika Biernat, Bartlomiej Firlet, Halina Rasiakówna
Part of: FrauenFilmTage
Seen on: 7.3.2018
1-gif-review

Content note: questionable consent (adult woman/teenaged boy)

Plot:
Ewa (Anna Jadowska) returns home from the hospital. Her mother (Halina Rasiakówna) has been taking care of her children and Ewa quickly settles back into her routine, working in the Wild Roses fields. Shortly after, her husband Andrzej (Michal Zurawski) returns from many months working in Norway. Things are tense between them, especially because Andrzej heard rumors that Ewa had been having an affair with a local teenager, Marcel (Konrad Skolimowski).

Dzikie róze is a well-acted, beautiful film with some problems in the plot department that kept it from being really great. But it’s still worth seeing.

Continue reading

Princesita (2017)

Princesita (literally: Little Princess)
Director: Marialy Rivas
Writer: Camila Gutiérrez, Manuela Infante, Marialy Rivas
Cast: Sara Caballero, Marcelo Alonso, María Gracia Omegna, Emiliano Jofre
Part of: FrauenFilmTage
Seen on: 7.3.2018
1-gif-review

Content note: rape

Plot:
Tamara (Sara Caballero) lives in a cult led by Miguel (Marcelo Alonso) and Miguel has big plans for her: she is supposed to be the mother of the next generation. First though, she is allowed to go to school outside of the compound she’s been living so far, now that she has turned 12 years old. But that glimpse of life outside is bound to change Tamara – and Miguel certainly can’t have her disobeying his plans.

Princesita is a heavy film – not surprising, given the subject matter. Unfortunately the film doesn’t handle the subject as well as it would have deserved.

Continue reading

La Holandesa [Messi and Maud] (2017)

La Holandesa
Director: Marleen Jonkman
Writer: Daan Gielis
Cast: Rifka Lodeizen, Guido Pollemans, Cristóbal Farias, Daniel Candia, Yasna Vasquez
Part of: FrauenFilmTage
Seen on: 6.3.2018
1-gif-review

Plot:
Maud (Rifka Lodeizen) and Frank (Guido Pollemans) are traveling in Chile. It is supposed to be a bit of a reset for the two of them, as their relationship has been strained: they have been trying to have a child together, but they have to face the fact that they may not be able to at all. But when Frank confronts Maud head-on with that, they have a fight and Maud just leaves. Going on a road trip, she meets Messi (Cristóbal Farias), a young boy who has nobody to take care of him. Messi starts to accompany Maud on her trip.

I have very mixed feelings about La Holandesa. It’s well made, if a little long, but it’s also very white for a film set in Chile and that left me with a weird taste in my mouth.

Continue reading

Meditation Park (2017)

Meditation Park
Director: Mina Shum
Writer: Mina Shum
Cast: Pei-Pei Cheng, Tzi Ma, Sandra Oh, Don McKellar, Zak Santiago, Jemmy Chen, Lillian Lim, Alannah Ong, Sharmaine Yeoh
Part of: FrauenFilmTage
Seen on: 6.3.2018
1-gif-review

Plot:
Maria (Pei-Pei Cheng) and Bing (Tzi Ma) have been married for many years and things are fine. That is, until Maria suspects that Bing has been having an affair. As Maria questions her marriage, she starts to question her entire life – and decides to make some changes. She takes up a job, makes friends and goes for a fresh start.

Meditation Park is a Coming of Age story, with the twist that the person coming of age is definitely not a teenager, but a middle-aged to older woman. It’s a spin on the story I very much loved, as I loved the entire film.

Continue reading