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

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)

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

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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I tempi felici verranno presto [Happy Times Will Come Soon] (2016)

I tempi felici verranno presto
Director: Alessandro Comodin
Writer: Alessandro Comodin, Milena Magnani
Cast: Erikas Sizonovas, Luca Bernardi, Sabrina Seyvecou, Marco Giordana, Carlo Rigoni
Seen on: 5.10.2016

Tommaso (Erikas Sizonovas) and Arturo (Luca Bernardi), who may or may not be brothers, appear on the run and escape into the woods where they make a life for themselves, at least for a while. Years later there are legends about the woods, the story of a white wolf and a girl who fell in love with him. Ariane (Sabrina Seyvecou) decides to explore the woods and meets Tommaso who seems semi-feral. But they do get closer.

I tempi felici verranno presto feels like a modern attempt at capturing the magical, out of this world feeling of the fairy tales of old. And while that sounds like an intriguing idea, unfortunately the film lacks coherence and doesn’t work.

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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

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

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.]

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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In fondo al bosco [Deep in the Wood] (2015)

In fondo al bosco
Director: Stefano Lodovichi
Writer: Isabella Aguilar, Stefano Lodovichi, Davide Orsini
Cast: Filippo Nigro, Camilla Filippi, Giovanni Vettorazzo, Teo Achille Caprio, Stefano Pietro Detassis, Maria Vittoria BarrellaRoberto Gudese, Luca Filippi
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 30.9.2016
[Review by cornholio.]

During the winter festival where Krampus roam the streets, little Tommi (Alessandro Corabi) disappears. His parents Manuel (Filippo Nigro) and Linda (Camilla Filippi) are as good as destroyed by this. Five years later, a boy (Teo Achille Caprio) is found and his DNA matches Tommi. Manuel is ready to leave the past behind and embrace his son again, but Linda is plagued by doubts about the identity of the boy.

Deep in the Woods is a mixed bag of beans. There is much I liked about it, but also a few things I didn’t like. My overall impression lands more on the didn’t like side, I’m afraid.

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Kurîpî: Itsuwari no rinjin [Creepy] (2016)

Kurîpî: Itsuwari no rinjin
Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Writer: Chihiro Ikeda, Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Based on: Yutaka Maekawa’s novel
Cast: Hidetoshi Nishijima, Yûko TakeuchiTeruyuki Kagawa, Haruna Kawaguchi, Masahiro Higashide, Ryôko Fujino, Toru Baba, Takashi Sasano
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 26.9.2016
[Review by cornholio.]

Takakura (Hidetoshi Nishijima) used to work as a detective, but has given the field up for a teaching position. When he is pointed in the direction of an old case of a family’s disappearance, his curiosity is triggered and he starts to investigate, beginning with the family’s only remaining member, Saki (Haruna Kawaguchi). Meanwhile his wife Yasuko (Yûko Teakeuchi) is busy with their new house and their strange neighbor Nishino (Teruyuki Kagawa) who is by turns stand-offish and disregarding of boundaries. Nishino’s daughter Mio (Ryôko Fujino) also behaves weirdly. But that’s only the beginning of the strangeness.

Creepy starts off well enough with a decent amount of tension and intrigue, but the further we get into the plot, the stupider it gets and the more it lost me and my attention or regard. In the end it becomes a film that is at its best when it’s laughed about afterwards.

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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

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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