Farah Goes Bang (2013)

Farah Goes Bang
Director: Meera Menon
Writer: Laura Goode, Meera Menon
Cast: Nikohl Boosheri, Kandis Fay, Kiran Deol, George Basil, Michael Steger, Samrat Chakrabarti, Lyman Ward, Kate French
Seen on: 5.1.2018
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Plot:
2004. Farah (Nikohl Boosheri) is campaigning for John Kerry, a work that takes her knocking on doors across the USA. She is accompanied by her two best friends, K.J. (Kandis Fay) and Roopa (Kiran Deol). Their trip isn’t all business, though. K.J. and Roopa think that it is the perfect opportunity for Farah to finally lose her virginity. Farah does tend to agree but is uncertain and doesn’t want to embarass herself.

Farah Goes Bang is not a perfect film but especially for a first feature film it is very good. Engaging characters, good pacing and interesting politics more than make up for the weaknesses of the film that probably stem from inexperience.

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Laggies (2014)

Laggies
Director: Lynn Shelton
Writer: Andrea Seigel
Cast: Keira KnightleyChloë Grace Moretz, Sam Rockwell, Mark Webber, Ellie Kemper
Seen on: 28.12.2017
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Plot:
Megan (Keira Knightley) and her boyfriend Andrew (Mark Webber) have been together since high school. In fact, nothing much has changed for Megan since high school even though she’s approaching 30. Then Andrew proposes and Megan is shocked by something so adult encroaching in her life. Chance lets her meet teenaged Annika (Chloë Grace Moretz) who is intrigued by the older woman who behaves so little like an adult. Megan, too, is drawn by Annika’s teenager life and it doesn’t take long for her to move in with her and Annika’s dad Craig (Sam Rockwell) while she mulls over Andrew’s proposal.

Laggies may not be my favorite of Shelton’s film but it is sensitive, fun and sweet – just the right fare for a cozy Sunday.

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The Bad Batch (2016)

The Bad Batch
Director: Ana Lily Amirpour
Writer: Ana Lily Amirpour
Cast: Suki Waterhouse, Jason Momoa, Jayda Fink, Keanu Reeves, Jim Carrey, Yolonda Ross, Aye Hasegawa, Giovanni Ribisi, Diego Luna
Seen on: 28.12.2017
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Plot:
Arlen (Suki Waterhouse) is released into the Texan desert, a wasteland where all of the undesirables are sent to and have to weather not only the harsh climate but also each other to survive. It doesn’t take long and Arlen is captured by cannibals led by Miami Man (Jason Momoa). But even though she doesn’t escape unharmed, Arlen does manage to escape and find her way in this cruel world.

I wasn’t a big fan of A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, Amirpour’s first film. But The Bad Batch, her second film, was really bad: racist, ableist and boring.

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Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed [The Adventures of Prince Achmed] (1926) + Peter Rosmanith and Otto Lechner

Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed
Director: Lotte Reiniger, Carl Koch
Writer: Lotte Reiniger
Based on: One Thousand and One Nights
Part of: Film and Music Cycle in the Konzerthaus
With music by: Peter Rosmanith and Otto Lechner
Seen on: 11.12.2017
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Plot:
A sorcerer creates a flying horse. Intrigued, the Caliph wants to buy it, but the sorcerer doesn’t want money for it – he wants Princess Dinarsade. Her brother Achmed tries to save her, but the sorcerer lures him on the horse and they fly off. It takes Achmed a while to learn to control it, but once he does, he is ready to have quite a few adventures it takes him to.

Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed is probably the oldest (surviving) full length animation film and it is obvious how painstakingly it was made. The result is impressive, even if the story itself isn’t. The incongruous accompaniment with accordion music was a surprisingly good fit, making the evening absolutely enjoyable.

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Lady Macbeth (2016)

Lady Macbeth
Director: William Oldroyd
Writer: Alice Birch
Based on: Nikolai Leskov‘s novella Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District
Cast: Florence Pugh, Cosmo Jarvis, Paul Hilton, Naomi Ackie, Christopher Fairbank, Golda Rosheuvel
Seen on: 1.12.2017
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Plot:
Katherine (Florence Pugh) was married off to an older man, Alexander (Paul Hilton) who leaves her alone at his father Boris’ (Christopher Fairbank) country estate pretty soon. Boris has to travel as well, leaving Katherine with nothing to do and nobody for company except her servants, above all her maid Anna (Naomi Ackie). This at least gives the frustrated Katherine the chance to explore the countryside on walks. One day she crosses paths with groomsman Sebastian (Cosmo Jarvis) and soon, they start to have a passionate affair.

Lady Macbeth is an engrossing film with a pretty amazing protagonist. I was entirely caught up in the events and the emotions of the story.

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Short Films from the Filmakademie Wien

Every year at the end of the year, the Filmakademie Wien presents some of the best student short films that have been produced there, giving a glimpse of the filmmaking talent that’s on the rise in Austria. A short note on each of the three films that were shown.
Seen on: 29.11.2017

Zalesie

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Daughters of the Dust (1991)

Daughters of the Dust
Director: Julie Dash
Writer: Julie Dash
Cast: Cora Lee Day, Alva Rogers, Barbarao, Trula Hoosier, Umar Abdurrahamn, Adisa Anderson, Kaycee Moore, Bahni Turpin, Cheryl Lynn Bruce, Tommy Redmond Hicks, Cornell Royal, M. Cochise Anderson
Seen on: 28.11.2017
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Plot:
It is the beginning of the 20th century and the still rather new abolishment of slavery tempts the Peazant family to leave the islands they have been living on and to attempt their luck on the USAmerican mainland. The islands and their isolation gave them the possibility to preserve some of their African ancestral traditions – the Gullah culture. So not everybody is willing to actually leave, while others can hardly wait. In any case, it’s time to make decisions.

Daughters of the Dust is an in the best sense unusual film in many ways. It is absolutely stunning in so many ways. It’s a film you should definitely watch – and then re-watch.

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Licht [Mademoiselle Paradis] (2017)

Licht [literally: Light]
Director: Barbara Albert
Writer: Kathrin Resetarits, Barbara Albert
Based on: Alissa Walser‘s novel Am Anfang war die Nacht Musik
Cast: Maria Dragus, Devid Striesow, Lukas Miko, Katja Kolm, Maresi Riegner, Johanna Orsini-Rosenberg, Stefanie Reinsperger, Christoph Luser, Susanne Wuest, Theresa Martini, Julia Pointner
Seen on: 23.11.2017
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Plot:
Maria-Theresia Paradis (Maria Dragus) is a gifted musician who lost her eyesight at a young age for no apparent reason. Now her parents have heard about the revolutionary methods of physician Franz Mesmer (Devid Striesow) and they are hoping that he will be able to restore her eyesight. So Maria-Theresia is brought to his castle where Mesmer sets to work. Soon their relationship becomes very intense and there seems to be improvement in her condition.

I was hoping I would like Licht more than I actually did. Unfortunately I was unhappy with the way the film dealt with disability and I felt that it had considerable lengths.

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Top Girl oder La déformation professionnelle [Top Girl or La déformation professionnelle] (2014)

Top Girl oder La déformation professionnelle
Director: Tatjana Turanskyj
Writer: Tatjana Turanskyj
Cast: Julia Hummer, Rolf Peter Kahl, Susanne Bredehöft, Karim Cherif, Samia Dauenhauer, Sarah Grether, Stefan Mehren, Mario Pokatzky, Janina Rudenska, Anna Schmidt, Susanne Strach
Seen on: 18.11.2017
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Plot:
Helena (Julia Hummer) is an actress and a sex worker. She has a daughter, a strained relationship with her mother (Susanne Bredehöft) and is always looking for new possibilities. When she is approached to organize a special event with some of her colleagues, Helena takes the chance. But the event is not your usual escort gig.

Top Girl is a complex approach to sex work that I don’t necessarily agree with, but it gives the topic more thought than a lot of other films and it knows how to work emotions.

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Maudie (2016)

Maudie
Director: Aisling Walsh
Writer: Sherry White
Cast: Sally Hawkins, Ethan Hawke, Kari Matchett, Gabrielle Rose, Zachary Bennett, Billy MacLellan
Seen on: 18.11.2017
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Plot:
Maud (Sally Hawkins) needs to get out from under her family’s wing. She sees her opportunity when she learns that grumpy Everett (Ethan Hawke) is looking for a housekeeper. Even though he is hesitant to take her on because of her disability, he doesn’t exactly have much choice and Maud is persistent, so they give it a try. In her off time, Maud starts to paint and polishes her personal style, while also finding a home in the community and with Everett.

Althoughe Maudie is a sweet film, I’m not entirely happy with it. Some things I knew going in would bother me, other things crept up on me during the film. Nevertheless I found it entertaining.

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