Une vraie jeune fille [A Real Young Girl] (1976)

Une vraie jeune fille
Director: Catherine Breillat
Writer: Catherine Breillat
Based on: her novel Le Soupirail
Cast: Charlotte Alexandra, Hiram Keller, Rita Maiden, Bruno Balp, Georges Guéret, Shirley Stoler
Seen on: 7.10.2017

Plot:
Alice (Charlotte Alexandra) is 14 and has the entire summer vacations in her parents’ small country home ahead of her, an outlook that fills her with dread. All she has to occupy her time with is her own body, so Alice experiments. Worker Jim (Hiram Keller) becomes a part of that experimentation as Alice starts to fantasize about him. But soon fantasy isn’t enough for her anymore.

Une vraie jeune fille wasn’t quite as engaging as Breillat’s later work Romance, at least not for me, but since this is Breillat’s first feature film, it’s not all that surprising. And it definitely has enough to say to still make it an interesting film.

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Romance (1999)

Romance
Director: Catherine Breillat
Writer: Catherine Breillat
Cast: Caroline Ducey, Sagamore Stévenin, François Berléand, Rocco Siffredi
Seen on: 6.10.2016

Plot:
Marie (Caroline Ducey) is very much in love with her boyfriend Paul (Sagamore Stévenin), but Paul doesn’t want to have sex with her. Her increasing sexual frustration leads her to encounters with other men – be it Robert (François Berléand) who work in the school she works at, or Paolo (Rocco Siffredi) who she picks up in a bar. All the while Marie still tries to keep her relationship with Paul alive.

Romance is an interesting film that provokes discussion about sex, relationships and power. Though I found myself disagreeing with a lot of the conclusions it seems to draw, I enjoyed the thought experiments that come with watching it.

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Dobra zena [A Good Wife] (2016)

Dobra zena
Director: Mirjana Karanovic
Writer: Mirjana Karanovic, Stevan Filipovic, Darko Lungulov
Cast: Mirjana Karanovic, Boris Isakovic, Jasna Djuricic, Bojan Navojec, Hristina Popovic, Vlado Kerosevic, Ksenija Marinkovic, Isidora Simijonovic, Jovan Belobrkovic, Ermin Bravo
Seen on: 3.10.2016

Plot:
Milena (Mirjana Karanovic) and Vlada (Boris Isakovic) have been married for a while, their children are grown, their life is well established. But Milena gets shaken out of her complacency when doctors find a lump in her breast and she finds proof at home that Vlada committed war crimes during the Balkan War. Questioning the very foundations of her life and the possibilities of her future, Milena will have to make some tough decisions.

The Good Wife tackles many different issues and none of them are light. But it does manage to stay on top of them and not be overwhelmed by its own gravity, making it a very engaging, interesting film with important things to say.

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Auf Augenhöhe (2016)

Auf Augenhöhe [can be translated as “At Eye Level” or “Seeing Eye to Eye”]
Director: Joachim Dollhopf, Evi Goldbrunner
Writer: Evi Goldbrunner, Joachim Dollhopf, Nicole Armbruster
Cast: Luis Vorbach, Jordan Prentice, Ella Frey, Marco Licht, Anselm Haderer, Mira Bartuschek, Philipp Laude, Anica Dobra
Seen on: 2.10.2016

Plot:
Ten-year-old Michi (Luis Vorbach) lives in a foster home. His mother has died, his father is unknown to him. But the one day he finds a letter that his mother never sent and its addressed to Michi’s father. He is overjoyed and nervous, but his dreams of the perfect father who will take him away and give him a real home are shattered when Michi finds out that his father – Tom (Jordan Prentice) is just as tall as he is. When Tom shows up at the home, interested in his son, and the other kids start making fun of Michi, he can’t stand it. Michi runs away. When the police find him a short while later, it’s Tom’s address he tells them and the two start the difficult process of trying to figure out this parent and child thing.

Auf Augenhöhe is a film that wants to teach children something and it does so with a lot of heart and in a very sweet way.

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The Love Witch (2016)

The Love Witch
Director: Anna Biller
Writer: Anna Biller
Cast: Samantha Robinson, Gian Keys, Laura Waddell, Jeffrey Vincent Parise, Jared Sanford, Robert Seeley, Jennifer Ingrum, Randy Evans
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 1.10.2016
[Review by cornholio.]

Plot:
After a fresh start in a new town, Elaine (Samantha Robinson) is looking for love. And she’s not above using her magic trying to find it. Her love potions do work, but maybe a little too strongly and men die. And then Detective Griff (Gian Keys) starts to investigate Elaine. And Detective Griff might just be the perfect guy Elaine has been waiting for.

The Love Witch is not only a film that looks great and perfectly emulates 60s to 70s aesthetics, it’s also an extremely fascinating take on feminist discourse. I absolutely loved it.

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Fantastic Shorts Competition at the /slash Filmfestival 2016

A short note on all the short films at the /slash Filmfestival 2016 that were part of the Fantastic Shorts Competition. The winner was Ariane Louis-Seize Plouffe for her short Wild Skin.
Seen on: 25.9.2016
[Reviews by cornholio.]

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Lou Andreas-Salomé (2016)

Lou Andreas-Salomé aka In Love with Lou – A Philosopher’s Life
Director: Cordula Kablitz-Post
Writer: Cordula Kablitz-Post, Susanne Hertel
Cast: Katharina Lorenz, Liv Lisa Fries, Nicole Heesters, Helena Pieske, Matthias Lier, Katharina Schüttler, Philipp Hauß, Alexander Scheer, Julius Feldmeier, Merab Ninidze, Peter Simonischek, Petra Morzé, Harald Schrott
Seen on: 21.9.2016

Plot:
Psychoanalyst and philosopher Lou Andreas-Salomé (Nicole Heesters) has lived an interesting life and now that she is getting older, she is ready to tell her life story. Watched by her maid Mariechen (Katharina Schüttler), young writer Ernst Pfeiffer (Matthias Lier) comes to her house to write her biography: when Lou was younger (Katharina Lorenz), she fell in love with philosophy and psychoanalysis, while men around her kept falling in love with her – men like Friedrich Nietzsche (Alexander Scheer), Paul Rée (Philipp Hauß) or Rainer Maria Rilke (Julius Feldmeier). But all Lou wanted was to live life on her own terms.

Lou Andreas-Salomé is an excellently acted and beautifully filmed biopic with an interesting structure about a fascinating woman. But unfortunately it attempts too much and too little at the same time to make it well-rounded.

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Whip It (2009)

Whip It
Director: Drew Barrymore
Writer: Shauna Cross
Based on: her own novel Derby Girl
Cast: Ellen PageKristen WiigZoë BellEveDrew Barrymore, Andrew Wilson, Juliette Lewis, Marcia Gay Harden, Alia ShawkatCarlo AlbanLandon Pigg, Jimmy Fallon
Seen on: 17.9.2016

Plot:
Bliss’ (Ellen Page) mother Brooke (Marcia Gay Harden) has been raising Bliss to participate in beauty pageants. But Bliss has no interest whatsoever in being pretty or in pageantry. That becomes even clearer to her when she discovers roller derby. On a whim she goes to a match, and falls in love immediately. After talking to team captain Maggie Mayhem (Kirsten Wiig), she decides to try out for the team herself. Despite the fact that her parents can’t know about it or that she isn’t the required 21 years old yet. So she dons skates and starts practicing, findig her place in the team and the world.

Whip It is a sweet film, with a lot of fun moments and it wouldn’t surprise me if it made at least half of its audience fall in love with roller derby. There’s one big draw back though – and that’s the fact that they didn’t dare to make this a queer story. But other than that I enjoyed it a lot.

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Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie (2016)

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie
Director: Mandie Fletcher
Writer: Jennifer Saunders
Based on/sequel to: the series
Cast: Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley, Jane Horrocks, Julia Sawalha, Robert WebbCelia ImrieMark Gatiss, Chris ColferKate Moss, Graham NortonGwendoline ChristieSuki WaterhouseLily ColeAlexa ChungStella McCartneyJerry HallEmma BuntonJon HammKathy LetteJeremy PaxmanDawn FrenchRebel WilsonBarry HumphriesJoan Collins
Seen on: 8.9.2016

Plot:
Edina (Jennifer Saunders) and Patsy (Joanna Lumley) have been best friends since about forever, spending most of their time battling the idea that growing older also means growing up. Instead they party in the world of high fashion all of the time. But they’re also struggling with keeping up their standard of living, Edina dreaming of finding a big client she can represent, and Patsy of finding a rich husband. When they hear that Kate Moss (as herself) is looking for new representation, they do everything to get close to her. But it ends in catastrophe: Kate is knocked into the Thames and disappears, and Edina and Patsy have to flee the country.

I’ve never seen the TV show this is based on/a sequel to, but I decided to see the film anyway because it’s rare enough to get such a female-centric film (both in front of and behind the camera). But honestly, I’m a little unsure what to do with this film – and I probably wouldn’t have if I had been familiar with the show before.

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Una hermana [One Sister] (2016)

Una hermana
Director: Sofía BrockenshireVerena Kuri
Writer: Sofía Brockenshire, Verena Kuri
Cast: Sofia Palomino
Seen on: 5.9.2016

Plot:
Argentina, in the middle of nowhere. A young woman (Sofia Palomino) is looking for her sister who disappeared. She is determined to leave no stone unturned, no path and possibility unexamined to find her. But she seems to be getting nowhere with her search – all she achieves is becoming more and more lost herself.

Una hermana is a slow film that keeps turning in circles. Even if that was its intention, it made it hard to watch and often simply boring. While I could get into it for stretches at a time, it didn’t quite come together for me.

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