Ya umeyu vyazat [I Know How to Knit] (2016)

Ya umeyu vyazat
Director: Nadezhda StepanovaSergey Ivanov
Writer: Tatyana Bogatyreva
Cast: Alina KhodzhevanovaVladimir SvirskiyIrina Gorbacheva
Part of: FrauenFilmTage
Seen on: 3.3.2017

Plot:
Tanya (Alina Khodhzevanova) realizes one day that nothing about her life really makes sense to her. Her father is an alcoholic, her boyfriend brings other women home – while she’s there -, her mother is distant. She really has no joy in her life. Her conclusion is to attempt suicide. But it doesn’t work out that way and she finds herself in a psychiatric hospital where she starts to knit – both literally and figuratively.

I Know How to Knit was described as a dark comedy, a heartwarming tale in dire circumstances. Unfortunately, all I found were dire circumstances and depression, and very little humor.

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The Eagle Huntress (2016)

The Eagle Huntress
Director: Otto Bell
“Cast”: Aisholpan NurgaivRys NurgaivDaisy Ridley (narrator)
Part of: FrauenFilmTage
Seen on: 3.3.2017

Plot:
Aisholpan dreams of one thing and one thing only: she wants to become an Eagle Huntress and prove her skills in the big annual competition where all of Mongolia flocks together. The only problem is: girls don’t become Eagle Hunters. But Aisholpan’s father Rys doesn’t care too much about these traditions and he wants to see his daughter succeed as well. So together they embark on the training mission.

The Eagle Huntress tells a good story that I enjoyed watching, even through its more manipulative moments.

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Margarita with a Straw (2014)

Margarita with a Straw
Director: Shonali BoseNilesh Maniyar
Writer: Shonali Bose, Nilesh Maniyar, Atika Chohan
Cast: Kalki KoechlinRevathySayani GuptaHussain DalalTenzing DalhaKuljeet SinghMalhar KhushuWilliam Moseley
Part of: FrauenFilmTage
Seen on: 3.3.2017

Plot:
Laila (Kalki Koechlin) has cerebral palsy but the much bigger issue is that she has to share her room with her brother (Malhar Khushu). Despite difficulties and worried parents (Revathy, Kuljeet Singh), she gets the opportunity to move from India to New York for her studies and that’s just what she does. Being on her own in a foreign country prompts a journey of self-discovery that leads Laila to co-student Jared (William Moseley) and Khanum (Sayani Gupta), a young blind activist from Pakistan who lives in New York.

There should be more films in the world like Margarita with a Straw: films that feature a queer, disabled women of color as their protagonists and tell a touching, funny story about them.

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History of Now (2015)

History of Now
Director: Nadiv Molcho
Writer: Nadiv Molcho
Cast: Nadiv Molcho, Aya BeldiKai HillebrandLea Wolfram
Seen on: 1.3.2017

Plot:
Eli (Nadiv Molcho) and Maya (Aya Beldi) were in love until about a year ago when their relationship went down in flames. By chance, they meet again at a party and take the opportunity to reflect on their relationship. As they walk through Vienna and talk things through, maybe they’ll be able to shed new light on past events.

History of Now is obviously Molcho’s passion project and it shows in every minute of the film that he is a very young man – with emphasis on both the young and the man part. The result is okay, but not really my cup of tea. Maybe because I never was a young man.

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A Cure for Wellness (2016)

A Cure for Wellness
Director: Gore Verbinski
Writer: Justin Haythe
Cast: Dane DeHaanJason IsaacsMia GothIvo NandiAdrian SchillerCelia ImrieHarry Groener, Tomas NorströmJohannes KrischSusanne Wuest
Seen on: 28.2.2017

Plot:
Lockhart (Dane DeHaan) works for a company in trouble. They need their CEO Pembroke (Harry Groener), but he has been unreachable in a retreat in the Swiss mountains for a long time, so they send Lockhart there to get him. Once Lockhart arrives there, he is involved in an accident even before he gets to see Pembroke. His broken leg traps him at the retreat and he realizes that something strange is going there. The director Volmer (Jason Isaacs) may be hiding something. And what’s the deal with Hannah (Mia Goth), the only young person there who has spent basically her entire life at the retreat?

A Cure for Wellness is a clusterfuck of epic proportions. It’s overly long, makes no sense and is incredibly sexist, racist and ableist to boot. It’s pretty but that’s all it has going for it.

[SPOILERS]

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Erotikon (1920) + Matti Bye Ensemble

Erotikon
Director: Mauritz Stiller
Writer: Gustaf MolanderArthur Nordén, Mauritz Stiller
Based on: Ferenc Herczeg‘s play
Cast: Anders de WahlTora TejeKarin MolanderElin LagergrenLars HansonVilhelm BrydeBell HedqvistTorsten HammarénVilhelm Berndtson
With music by: Matti Bye, played by the Mattie Bye Ensemble
Part of: Film and Music Cycle
Seen on: 27.2.2017

Plot:
Entomologist Leo Charpentier (Anders de Wahl) spends most of his time with his research and very little time with his wife Irene (Tora Teje). Especially since he has his niece Marthe (Karin Molander) who takes care of his every need. Irene actually doesn’t mind that much because she’s very busy flirting with the dashing aviator and baron, Felix (Vilhelm Bryde), though she’s actually drawn more to her husband’s best friend, the sculptor Preben (Lars Hanson).

Erotikon is an amazingly funny film. While the live-music-setting usually calls more attention to the film music, in this case, I found the film so captivating that I barely noticed the music.

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John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)

John Wick: Chapter 2
Director: Chad Stahelski
Writer: Derek Kolstad
Sequel to: John Wick
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ian McShane, Ruby Rose, Common, Claudia Gerini, Lance Reddick, Laurence Fishburne, Tobias Segal, John Leguizamo, Bridget Moynahan, Thomas Sadoski, Erik Frandsen, David Patrick Kelly, Perry Yung, Peter Serafinowicz, Peter Stormare
Seen on: 22.2.2017

Plot:
After John Wick (Keanu Reeves) finished his quest of vengeance and made sure that there will be no continuation of a blood feud, all he wants is to get back to his life of peace and quiet. But his reappearance in the world of assassins hasn’t gone unnoticed and there is still a debt John owes to Santino (Riccardo Scarmarcio) – and Santino has come to collect. John wants to refuse, but if he does, he goes against one of the central principles of this world – and his life will be up for grabs.

John Wick: Chapter 2 may not have blown me away quite as much as the first film (which may be due mostly to my higher expectations now), but it is definitely a more than worthy sequel.

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Re-Watch: John Wick (2014)

John Wick
Director: Chad Stahelski, David Leitch
Writer: Derek Kolstad
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Willem Dafoe, Dean Winters, Adrianne Palicki, John Leguizamo, Ian McShane, Lance Reddick, Bridget Moynahan
Seen on: 21.2.2017
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
John Wick (Keanu Reeves) used to be a hitman. The best hitman. But he gave it all up for is wife (Bridget Moynahan) and went straight. But now he lost her after a long illness and he’s lost without her. When a little puppy arrives on his doorstep, courtesy of his wife who didn’t want him to lose his ability to love, he is immediately taken by it. But then he is robbed by Iosef Tasarov (Alfie Allen), a young thug who happens to be the son of mafia boss Viggo Tasarov (Michael Nyqvist). Iosef wants to steal John’s car, but can’t leave it at that: he kills John’s dog. That is the last straw for John who decides to get back into business and take his revenge on Iosef and anybody who stands in his way.

Before seeing the sequel, I knew I had to re-watch John Wick. And also on re-watching it’s a beautiful, amazing, wonderful action movie that I simply adore.

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Wilde Maus [Wild Mouse] (2017)

Wilde Maus
Director: Josef Hader
Writer: Josef Hader
Cast: Josef Hader, Pia Hierzegger, Jörg Hartmann, Georg Friedrich, Denis Moschitto, Crina Semciuc, Nora von Waldstätten, Maria Hofstätter, Murathan Muslu
Seen on: 21.2.2017

Plot:
Georg (Josef Hader) has worked as a critic of classical music for decades, but with budget cuts hitting media outlets, he is fired. When it happens, he finds he can’t tell his wife Johanna (Pia Hierzegger) who is hoping to become pregnant despite being over 40 already. So Georg pretends to go to work every day and instead finds himself in the Prater, Vienna’s big amusement park. There he runs into Erich (Georg Friedrich). Despite their differences, the two start to spend a lot of time together, starting to renovate an old rollercoaster. But Georg is also set on taking revenge on his former boss Waller (Jörg Hartmann).

Wilde Maus is a dry and very black comedy that makes you laugh more often than it’s actually funny. It could have stood more female voices, but I did enjoy it.

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Ma vie de Courgette [My Life as a Zucchini] (2016)

Ma vie de Courgette
Director: Claude Barras
Writer: Céline Sciamma, Germano Zullo, Claude Barras, Morgan Navarro
Based on: Gilles Paris’ novel Autobiographie d’une Courgette
Cast: Gaspard Schlatter, Sixtine Murat, Paulin Jaccoud, Michel Vuillermoz, Raul Ribera, Estelle Hennard, Elliot Sanchez, Lou Wick, Brigitte Rosset
Seen on: 21.2.2017

Plot:
After an accident, Icare, called Courgette, (Gaspard Schlatter) is orphaned. Police man Raymond (Michel Vuillermoz) brings him to a foster home where Courgette lives together with other kids, most notably the rowdy Simon (Paulin Jaccoud) who keeps pressuring Courgette for his story and the new arrival Camille (Sixtine Murat) who Courgette falls for immediately. But how did she end up in the home?

Ma vie de Courgette is a sweet, touching thing that approaches the topic of foster care with caution and a lot of realism. I enjoyed it a lot.

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