Plot: Lagos. Mofe (Jude Akuwudike) is an electrician who dreams of going to Spain and making a new life for himself in Europe. But it is difficult to arrange everything and life has a habit of getting in the way. Also dreaming of Europe, Italy to be specific, is Rosa (Temiloluwa Ami-Williams) and with her her sister Grace (Cynthia Ebijie). But for them, too, life just keeps happening and crossing their already complex arrangements.
Eyimofe shows what people are willing to put themselves through in the hope for a better life (and what they have to put themselves through). While it captures that nicely, I just didn’t connect with it in the way I should have.
Plot: In a dystopian world, the Numbers from One to Ten (Oleksandr Yarema, Irina Mak, Viktor Zhdanov, Lorena Kolibabchuk, Denis Rodnyanskiy, Olena Uzlyuk, Evhen Chernykov, Agatha Larionova, Aleksandr Begma, Mariya Smolyakova) go about their daily tasks, overseen by Zero (Viktor Andrienko). Things should be settled, but illegally, Seven and Four have an affair and the ensuing child – Eleven (Evgeniy Lebedin) – brings even more disorder.
Nomery has an interesting origin story and a nicely absurd sense of humor. Unfortunately, I was a little too tired and kept nodding off, so I missed chunks of it. But the parts I saw, I very much liked.
Plot: Four stories, all set in Iran, all dealing with the death penalty and its implications in different ways. Can you be really free under a despotic regime? Can you make moral choices? And how many people will be affected by what you decide?
There Is No Evil has three (of four) very strong segments, but the last story it tells seemed to me as if it came from another film, handling another topic. Still, interesting idea and most stories are well-handled.
Plot: Spellman Investigations is busy as usual, but also as usual, Izzy has to keep a close eye on her family members as well because something is going on with pretty much all of them. Rae and David aren’t speaking, and neither is David’s little daughter Sydney. Rae has gone off to college. Izzy’s mother keeps finding new hobbies for herself so that she is barely home – only it doesn’t seem like she actually likes her new activities. And Henry’s mother is coming to visit and, what is even worse, Henry wants to have a talk with Izzy – two encounters Izzy has been trying to avoid by sneaking and hiding, her usual strategies. And Izzy’s father is working a case that seems to be connected to her own, but he won’t let Izzy peek at his files. Things are complicated indeed.
Trail of the Spellmans gives us some nice twists and turns that continue in the Spellman series tradition, but also add some new elements. It was fun and enjoyable until it ripped out my heart.
Plot: Haru (Serena Motola) lost her parents and her brother in the Tohoku earthquake and the ensuing tsunami almost a decade ago. She has been living with her aunt Hiroko (Makiko Watanabe) ever since, quite a way away from her childhood home. When Hiroko has to go to the hospital unexpectedly, by now 14 years-old Haru’s last anchor is gone – and she sets off to revisit what remains of the town she grew up in. Along the way she meets many people, all of whom were deeply affected by loss.
Voices in the Wind provides a, to me, unusual perspective on Japan, focusing on the destruction left behind by the tsunami, but also featuring, for example, immigrants in Japan. It does have a few lengths, but I did enjoy it overall.
Plot: It’s summer and the sea stretches out before Alexis (Félix Lefebvre). He borrows a small boat from a friend to sail out, but he capsizes. Fortunately along comes David (Benjamin Voisin) and fishes him out of the water. Could there be a more romantic encounter? Alexis certainly doesn’t think so. Despite his more reserved nature, he is taken in by David’s spontaneity and charm and the two start spending a lot of time together. But David isn’t quite as easy-going as it may seem at first and every summer has to end.
Été 85 has strong moments and those moments manage to create some emotional resonance, but it does not achieve the involvement that would have been necessary to really make the story work.
Plot: Inés (Erica Rivas) and her boyfriend Leopoldo (Daniel Hendler) are going on a holiday together. But the trip that should be idyllic is anything but and Inés returns home unable to cope. Her works – she is a singer and a voice actor – soon starts to suffer as she can’t hit the right notes anymore. As things become stranger and stranger, Inés starts to doubt that her voice issues are psychosomatic. Maybe something more is going on here.
El Prófugo is an entertaining film that meanders between being creepy and being funny. The middle part has some weaknesses, but overall, I had fun with this one.
Plot: Martin (Mads Mikkelsen), Tommy (Thomas Bo Larsen), Nikolaj (Magnus Millang) and Peter (Lars Ranthe) are all middle-aged teachers and kind of stuck in their daily routine. You might even say that they are in a rut. After spending a night partying and losing all control, they decide that they want to test a theory that human beings were just born with too little alcohol in their blood – and if everybody maintained a constant level of drunkenness, live quality would improve considerably. The theory seems to work in practice as well – at least at first.
I expected Druk to be much more depressing than it was. But there is a certain levity to it, all the while being a very critical look at the ways alcohol and masculinity intertwine. I really liked it.
Plot: Fred (Logan Lerman) and Rose (Odessa Young) were recently married and are excited to embark on a new step in their life: Fred got a dissertation spot with Stanley Hyman (Michael Stuhlbarg) and Rose could enrol at his university, too. Rose is also excited to meet Hyman’s wife, the famous writer Shirley Jackson (Elisabeth Moss). But things come very different than expected. Shirley is abrasive and the few days that Fred and Rose were invited to stay at their home until they get settled in their own turn longer and longer, with Rose picking up more and more of the domestic duties. Her presence seems to help Shirley focus on her work at least, and the two women become closer.
Shirley is a film made of ambivalences – ambivalent characters make very ambivalent choices in a blend of fact and fiction that is also pretty ambivalent. That makes it rather challenging, but I thought it was more than worth it.
Plot: After the death of her father Karl (Philip Gröning), Eleanor Marx (Romola Garai), who has always been a socialist activist, takes over her father’s mantle. She works hard to make workers’ concerns heard and takes a particular interest in female workers. When she meets Edward Aveling (Patrick Kennedy), also a speaker and activist, she falls for him hard – and he is equally taken with her. Despite their passion for each other and for the socialist movement, their relationship isn’t always happy.
Miss Marx was an excellent start into the Viennale, shedding light on a woman we probably know way too little about. I would have liked it if the film had focused a little more on her political activism and a little less on her relationship with Aveling, but it was really well done.