Kmêdeus (2020)

Kmêdeus
Director: Nuno Miranda
Writer: Nuno Miranda
Part of: We Are One Film Festival
Seen on: 09.06.2020

“Plot”:
Kmêdeus was a fixture of street life in Cape Verde; a homeless eccentric whose philosophical ramblings inspired António Tavares to a dance piece. The film accompanies Tavares in his process and his dance, as well as trying to find out who Kmêdeus was, ultimately asking questions about the line between art and mental illness.

Kmêdeus is a short documentary that shines whenever it looks at the art part and stumbles when it talks about mental health/illness. It does have interesting parts, but it just doesn’t quite work.

The film poster showing António Tavares wearing a fish hat and a blanket.
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Copwatch (2017)

Copwatch
Director: Camilla Hall
Part of: We Are One Film Festival
Seen on: 07.06.2020

“Plot”:
The documentary follows the copwatch group WeCopwatch, showing how they formed and how they operate: filming police officers at work in the hopes of mitigating excessive violence or to at least document it. It includes interviews with Ramsey Orta, Kevin Moore and David Whitt.

With the Black Lives Matter protests going on, Copwatch is, of course, very topical which is why it was included in the festival on short notice. And I’m glad that it was because it shows once more that these incidents of violence and murder by police are not isolated, singular cases but they happen a lot, all over the USA and have been going for about forever.

The film poster showing the hands of a Black person raised high.
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Detrás de la Montaña [Beyond the Mountain] (2018)

Detrás de la Montaña
Director: David R. Romay
Writer: David R. Romay
Cast: Benny Emmanuel, Gustavo Sánchez Parra, Renée Sabina, Enrique Arreola, Marcela Ruiz Esparza
Part of: We Are One Film Festival
Seen on: 07.06.2020

Plot:
Miguel (Benny Emmanuel) lives a quiet life with his alcoholic mother (Marcela Ruiz Esparza) whom he takes care off. He works as a clerk to write letters for analphabetic people and always looks forward to Carmela (Renée Sabina) who often comes to send letters to her boyfriend. When Miguel finds his mother dead at home, clutching a letter with his father’s name and address, Miguel packs everything and leaves to find the father he never knew, determined to kill him. But things don’t quite go the way he plans.

Detrás de la Montaña isn’t bad for a debut feature, but unfortunately, it really doesn’t treat its women very well and that took my appreciation for the film away pretty quickly.

The film poster showing Miguel (Benny Emmanuel) with a bandaid on his forehead in blue-green-pink lighting.
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Volubilis (2017)

Volubilis
Director: Faouzi Bensaïdi
Writer: Faouzi Bensaïdi
Cast: Mouhcine Malzi, Nadia Kounda, Abdelhadi Talbi, Faouzi Bensaïdi, Nezha Rahile
Part of: We Are One Film Festival
Seen on: 06.06.2020

Plot:
Malika (Nadia Kounda) and Abdelkader (Mouhcine Malzi) have not been married long and are still in the process of building their life together. For now, they live with his family, which is uncomfortable in many ways, and work both – Malika as a house maid and Abdelkader as a security in a shopping center. Abdelkader takes his job very seriously. When he isn’t deferential, but outright aggressive to a shopper who is married to an important man, the consequences are dire for him. The resulting humiliation has him spiraling and threatens to bring down his life with Malika before it ever really began.

Volubilis packs a lot of social criticism – and while I usually love that, in this case, I just didn’t really connect emotionally with the film, making the criticism feel a lot weaker than it should have felt.

The film poster showing Malika (Nadia Kounda) and Abdelkader (Mouhcine Malzi) leaning close together.
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Katte ni furuetero [Tremble All You Want] (2017)

Katte ni furuetero
Director: Akiko Ohku
Writer: Akiko Ohku
Based on: Risa Wataya‘s novel
Cast: Mayu Matsuoka, Takumi Kitamura, Daichi Watanabe, Kanji Furutachi, Anna Ishibashi, Hairi Katagiri
Part of: We Are One Film Festival
Seen on: 05.06.2020

Plot:
Yoshika (Mayu Matsuoka) is an introverted accountant who spends most of her time dreaming of her high-school crush Ichi (One) although she hasn’t seen him in years. When a colleague at work, Ni (Two) (Daichi Watanabe) starts showing an interest in Yoshika, it completely throws her and she decides that she needs to reconnect with Ichi (Takumi Kitamura) to see if she can finally win his heart. So she organizes a class reunion even as she starts dating Ni.

Katte ni furuetero looks like a pretty standard RomCom but it bucks the trend a little with its complicated main character and its sometimes pretty ambiguous developments. Whether you will like that will probably depend on just how sweet you expect and want the film to be. I am a little undecided about it myself.

The film poster showing Yoshika (Mayu Matsuoka) surrounded by small cut-outs of the other characters in the film.
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Gwat mooi [Sisterhood] (2016)

Gwat mooi
Director: Tracy Choi
Writer: Kin-Yee Au, Yee Lam Wong
Cast: Gigi Leung, Fish Liew, Jennifer Yu, Lee-zen Lee, Kevin Kam-Yin Chu, Panther Chan, Stephanie Che, Eliz Lao, Teresa Mak
Part of: We Are One Film Festival
Seen on: 3.6.2020

Plot:
Many years ago, Sei (Gigi Leung) fled Macau and went to Taiwan, trying to forget her past. But when the news of Ling’s death reaches her, she has to return and confront it. When they were both barely adults, Sei (Fish Liew) and Ling (Jennifer Yu) met working in a massage parlor and they quickly became best friends. Their relationship was everything to them – until it wasn’t anymore. But looking back at it now, Sei may discover some things she hadn’t previously seen.

If you’re looking for a good cry, Sisterhood is ready and here for you. It’s such a nicely told film with such charming leads, I almost didn’t mind that it was another sad queer story.

The film poster showing two girls in uniform holding hands. Both are wearing bracelets with numbers - 18 and 19 respectively.
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Bildnis einer Trinkerin [Ticket of No Return] (1979)

Bildnis einer Trinkerin [literally: Portrait of a Drinker]
Director: Ulrike Ottinger
Writer: Ulrike Ottinger
Cast: Tabea Blumenschein, Lutze, Magdalena Montezuma, Orpha Termin, Monika von Cube, Paul Glauer, Nina Hagen, Günter Meisner, Kurt Raab, Volker Spengler, Eddie Constantine
Part of: We Are One Film Festival
Seen on: 1.6.2020

Plot:
A young woman, the drinker (Tabea Blumenschein) buys a ticket to go to Berlin where she plans to drink as much as she can, whereever she can. At the same time as her, Soziale Frage (“social question”) (Magdalena Montezuma), Exakte Statistik (“exact statistics”) (Orpha Termin) and Gesunder Menschenverstand (“good judgment”) (Monika von Cube) arrive in Berlin for a conference. Their paths keep crossing with the drinker as she makes her way through the bars, accompanied by the homeless woman (Lutze), also a drinker, she befriended.

Bildnis einer Trinkerin is a strange film. Visually impressive, it remains on the level of metaphor rather than storytelling, making it rife for interpretation rather than more straightforward understanding. I really enjoyed going on that journey.

The film poster showing the protagonist (Tabea Blumenschein) walking through a hallway underground in an extravagant, futuristic dress.
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Hatuna Meuheret [Late Marriage] (2001)

Hatuna Meuheret
Director: Dover Koshashvili
Writer: Dover Koshashvili
Cast: Lior Ashkenazi, Ronit Elkabetz, Moni Moshonov, Lili Koshashvili, Aya Steinovitz, Rozina Cambos, Simon Chen, Sapir Kugman, Dina Doron, Leonid Kanevskiy, Libia Hakmon, Eli Turi, Maria Ovanov
Part of: We Are One Film Festival
Seen on: 31.5.2020

Plot:
Zaza (Lior Ashkenazi) is over 30 years old and about to finish his PhD. For his family this means one thing: he really needs to get married. Tradition demands that he marries a young virgin and so they have brought him to girl after girl, but Zaza never found the right one among them. The truth is, Zaza doesn’t want any of the girls his parents find for him because he is already very much in love with Judith (Ronit Elkabetz). But Judith is divorced and has a child already – Zaza’s family could never accept that and things are bound to come to a head soon.

Hatuna Meuheret is an engaging, but also somehow unsatisfying film .I appreciated it, but I didn’t like it very much.

The film poster showing Zaza (Lior Ashkenazi) holding up his left hand with a wedding ring. Judith (Ronit Elkabetz) can be seen in the mirror.

[SPOILERS]

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Ani Mulalu? The Crazy World (2014)

Ani Mulalu? The Crazy World
Director: Nabwana I.G.G.
Writer: Alan Hofmanis, Nabwana I.G.G.
Cast: Isaac Newton Kizito, Kirabo Beatrice, Nattembo Racheal Monica, Kayibaare Fausitah, Lubega Jojo, Kyazze Phillo, Alex, Mukiibi Alex, Kabuye John, Nakabiiri Tisha, Kasigwa Diana, Wephukulu Anthony, Nabaggala Phionah, Bisaso Dauda, Kagolo Francis, Farouk
Part of: We Are One Film Festival
Seen on: 29.5.2020

Plot:
Tiger Mafia have been kidnapping children at the behest of Mr. Big (Mukiibi Alex). When they kidnap the daughter Diana (Kirabo Beatrice) of the greatest commando (Bisaso Dauda) just as he returns home, it seems at first that they have bitten off more than they can chew. But in the end, Tiger Mafia succeeds and the commando turns crazy. But when another father (Wephukulu Anthony) stumbles upon him as he tries to chase after his son Kido (Isaac Newton Kizito) who has been kidnapped as well, the two fathers team up to save their children. Not that they need much saving, given that their kids are proficient martial artists themselves.

I haven’t seen many Wakaliwood movies so far (Who Killed Captain Alex? and Bad Black), but those I have seen have been utterly delightful in the anarchist way they pay hommage to action movies. Ani Mulalu? The Crazy World is another case in point. As long as you don’t expect the films to adhere to Western storytelling standards, you’ll have the time of your life.

The film poster showing a drawing of planet earth in a trench coat holding a gun to its head; and a bunch of kids in karate poses.
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Truth or Dare (2018)

Truth or Dare
Director: Jeff Wadlow
Writer: Michael Reisz, Jillian Jacobs, Christopher Roach, Jeff Wadlow
Cast: Lucy Hale, Tyler Posey, Violett Beane, Hayden Szeto, Sophia Ali, Nolan Gerard Funk, Landon Liboiron, Sam Lerner, Tom Choi, Aurora Perrineau
Seen on: 21.5.2020

Plot:
Olivia (Lucy Hale) lets herself get dragged along on spring break to Mexico by Markie (Violett Beane), her best friend, who insists that they have one last bash together with their friends before university is over. Olivia had other plans, but she finds that she does enjoy herself, especially when she meets Carter (Landon Liboiron). Looking for a new thrill, Carter suggests to the group that they could all head to a special place: ruins of a monastery. Once there, they start to play Truth or Dare. But even when they leave and say that they want to quit playing, the game has other ideas – and the stakes grow ever higher.

I didn’t expect much of Truth or Dare (I mostly watched for Lucy Hale), but even so what I got was pretty underwhelming. It’s just generally a meh kind of film.

The film poster showing Olivia (Lucy Hale) in black and white with a big pink question mark superimposed.
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