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

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

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)

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

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

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

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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Into the Forest (2015)

Into the Forest
Director: Patricia Rozema
Writer: Patricia Rozema
Based on: Jean Hegland’s novel
Cast: Ellen PageEvan Rachel WoodMax MinghellaCallum Keith RennieMichael EklundWendy Crewson
Seen on: 2.9.2017

Nell (Ellen Page) and Eva (Evan Rachel Wood) grow up with their father (Callum Keith Rennie) just outside of a small town in the Redwood Forest. But then something happens and slowly the infrastructure around them falls apart. First there is no more electricity, then no more gas and then they are entirely isolated in their forest home. When they realize that power, infrastructure and life as it was won’t be reinstated any time soon, Nell and Eva have to try and manage their lives on their own.

Into the Forest is not only a great adaptation of the novel I utterly loved, but simply a beautiful film in its own right.

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Kedi [Cat] (2016)

Director: Ceyda Torun
Seen on: 31.8.2017

Istanbul has a special relationship with the cats that live in it. There are the cats who live with people and those that just live next to them. But there are always people who find themselves taking care of cats – and through taking care of them, also taking care of themselves.

Kedi is a beautiful and very sweet documentary, especially but not exclusively for people who like cats (or pets in general). It’s touching and funny and filled with cats – and that is simply a good time.

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Viceroy’s House (2017)

Viceroy’s House
Director: Gurinder Chadha
Writer: Paul Mayeda BergesMoira Buffini, Gurinder Chadha
Cast: Hugh BonnevilleGillian AndersonManish DayalHuma QureshiMichael GambonOm PuriDavid HaymanSimon CallowDenzil SmithNeeraj KabiTanveer GhaniLily Travers
Seen on: 30.8.2017

Lord Louis Mountbatten (Hugh Bonneville) and his wife Edwina (Gillian Anderson) arrive in India as Mountbatten is tasked with overseeing the transition from India to independence from British colonialism. It’s a job where Mountbatten has a very slim chance to come out on top, as religious and political tensions in India are high. A fact that is also very apparent to Jeet (Manish Dayal), a Hindu who just started working at the Viceroy’s palace. There he finds Aalia (Huma Qureshi) again, a young Muslim woman who he used to be in love with. And while Aalia seems to like Jeet as well, things really aren’t easy.

There were a couple of things I struggled with during the film, but it was an engaging film, albeit one that doesn’t quite manage to be the film it could have been.

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Die göttliche Ordnung [The Divine Order] (2017)

Die göttliche Ordnung
Director: Petra Biondina Volpe
Writer: Petra Biondina Volpe
Cast: Marie LeuenbergerMaximilian SimonischekRachel BraunschweigSibylle BrunnerMarta ZoffoliBettina StuckyNoe KrejcíElla RumpfNicholas Ofczarek
Seen on: 23.8.2017

Nora (Marie Leuenberger) is a young housewife and mother, happy with her husband Hans (Maximilian Simonischek). Things could go on forever like they have and it feels like they did. But even the remotest Swiss town will be touched by the 68 movement. For Nora it comes in the shape of the discussion about the right for women to vote. And she finds that in 1971, this really shouldn’t be a discussion anymore, but a reality. As she starts to campaign in her village, though, she realizes that far from everybody shares her conviction.

Die göttliche Ordnung is a lighthearted, feminist comedy that manages to balance serious politics with a sense of humor. It’s enjoyable, though maybe a little too well behaved.

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