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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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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Beach Rats (2017)

Beach Rats
Director: Eliza Hittman
Writer: Eliza Hittman
Cast: Harris Dickinson, Madeline Weinstein, Kate HodgeNeal Huff
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 21.10.2017
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Plot:
Summer is hot and long. Getting away from his oppressive family environment, Frankie (Harris Dickinson) spends it hanging around with his rough group of friends and flirting with Simone (Madeline Weinstein). When he’s alone, he uses the internet to meet and sleep with older men. These two parts of his life are strictly separated as Frankie tries to figure out who he is and where he belongs.

Beach Rats is not a bad film, but I didn’t like it as much as I hoped I would. It stays a little too much on well-established grounds for its own good.

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Milla (2017)

Milla
Director: Valérie Massadian
Writer: Valérie Massadian
Cast: Severine JonckeereLuc ChesselEthan Jonckeere
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 20.10.2017
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Plot:
Milla (Severine Jonckeere) and her boyfriend Leo (Luc Chessel) find shelter in an abandoned house. They are both very young and Milla is pregnant. While Milla looks at the world with a certain carefree outlook, Leo struggles to find a job to support them. But somehow they make it work, at least for a while.

Massadian’s first film Nana was an almost magical experience, so I knew I had to see Milla, while at the same time worrying if it could ever possibly live up to Nana. But I need not have worried – Milla is a beautiful, emotional film and a worthy sophomore film.

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Axolotl Overkill (2017)

Axolotl Overkill
Director: Helene Hegemann
Writer: Helene Hegemann
Based on: Helene Hegemann‘s novel Axolotl Roadkill
Cast: Jasna Fritzi BauerArly JoverLaura TonkeJulius FeldmeierMavie HörbigerSabine VituaBernhard Schütz
Seen on: 13.10.2017
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Plot:
Mifti (Jasna Fritzi Bauer) lives with her brother (Julius Feldmeier) and sister (Laura Tonke), their rich father (Bernhard Schütz) having other ideas of how to spend his time than with his children. Mifti drifts through Berlin, barely going to school. But when she does, she meets Ophelia (Mavie Hörbiger), an actress who has been sentenced to community hours in the school kitchen. The two start drifting through Berlin’s club scene together. It’s around that time that Mifti also meets the intriguing, much older Alice (Arly Jover) in the supermarket who sparks her fantasies.

Axolotl Overkill is a fascinating, well-made film that is a little marred by its author/director. But that shouldn’t keep you from seeing it.

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Laissez bronzer les cadavres [Let the Corpses Tan] (2017)

Laissez bronzer les cadavres
Director: Hélène CattetBruno Forzani
Writer: Hélène Cattet, Bruno Forzani
Based on: Jean-Pierre Bastid and Jean-Patrick Manchette’s novel
Cast: Elina LöwensohnStéphane FerraraBernie BonvoisinMichelangelo MarcheseMarc BarbéMarine SainsilyHervé SognePierre NisseAline StevensDorylia Calmel
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 28.9.2017
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Plot:
Rhino (Stéphane Ferrara) has stolen 250kg of gold with his gang and they have scoped out the perfect hiding place: a mostly abandoned village where artiste Luce (Elina Löwensohn) has set up camp. But as things are wont to do, they don’t go according to plan. So what should have been a done deal turns into a tense battle.

Laissez bronzer les cadavres is a beautiful, stunning, gorgeous film that bored me half to death. I really didn’t know what to do with it.

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Bitch (2017)

Bitch
Director: Marianna Palka
Writer: Marianna Palka
Cast: Marianna Palka, Jason RitterJaime KingBrighton SharbinoRio ManginiKingston FosterJason MaybaumSol Rodriguez
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 26.9.2017
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Plot:
Jill (Marianna Palka) is a mother of three who tries to keep it all together while her husband Bill (Jason Ritter) is away for work, and for his own fun. But she struggles increasingly until one day she just snaps and leaves her old life behind by starting to live as a feral dog. Bill calls in her sister Beth (Jaime King) to help, but the entire family is overwhelmed by the situation.

I enjoyed Bitch. It was a strong, often funny and definitely critical film that has a lot to say and does so in an entertaining way.

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Fantastic Shorts Competition at the /slash Filmfestival 2017

A short note on all the short films at the /slash Filmfestival 2017 that were part of the Fantastic Shorts Competition. The winner was Rémy Rondeau for his short J’aime Eva Marsh.
Seen on: 22.9.2017, 25.9.2017, 26.9.2017

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Les bienheureux [The Blessed] (2017)

Les bienheureux
Director: Sofia Djama
Writer: Sofia Djama
Cast: Salima AbadaFaouzi BensaïdiAdam BessaSami BouajilaNadia KaciLyna KhoudriAmine Lansari
Seen on: 6.9.2017
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Plot:
It’s 2008 and Samir (Sami Bouajila) and Amal (Nadia Kaci) are celebrating their 20th anniversary in Algiers, remembering not only their relationship, but also the time of the civil war. Meanwhile their son Fahim (Amine Lansari) and his friends Feriel (Lyna Khoudri) and Reda (Adam Bessa) are having a different kind of night out: Reda wants to get a surah tattooed, an act of faith for him that may very well be perceived as blasphemous. Fahim, who is mostly preoccupied with pissing of his parents, and Feriel – a progressive young woman outspoken in her politics – don’t really understand Reda, but as they have nothing better to do, they join him on his quest to find somebody willing to do it.

The Blessed takes a while to get where its going, but once it’s underway, it carries quite a punch, sketching a layered picture of a struggling, post-war society.

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Strange Colours (2017)

Strange Colours
Director: Alena Lodkina
Writer: Alena Lodkina, Isaac Wall
Cast: Kate CheelJustin CourtinDaniel P. Jones
Seen on: 5.9.2017
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Plot:
Milena (Kate Cheel) makes her way to a very remote location, even for Australian standards: an opal mine where her father Max (Daniel P. Jones) works and lives. They haven’t talked in a long time and the distance between isn’t entirely comfortable. But Max is ill and in hospital at the moment – the reason for Milena’s visit. She slowly explores her father’s strange surroundings, trying to take in his world – and maybe through that, understand also the man himself.

I really enjoyed the first half of the film, but then it felt more and more that the film lost its control – and with it also my interest.

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