Visages villages [Faces Places] (2017)

Visages villages
Director: JR, Agnès Varda
Writer: JR, Agnès Varda
Seen on: 22.6.2018

“Plot”:
JR is a street artist, specializing in large scale black-and-white prints of photographies that he plasters over any available surfaces. Agnès Varda is a filmmaker, especially known for her New Wave films. The two of them are an unlikely pair, but have decided to go on a road trip through rural France together, meeting people, taking their photos and installing the photos on walls and more. And, of course, they are filming the entire journey of discovery.

Visages villages as a beautiful, simple concept that allows us to discover not only JR and Varda and the places and people they travel to, but gives us insight in much grander themes, despite (or maybe because) not limiting itself to one in particular.

Film poster showing JR and Agnès Varda walking in front of a tank truck with an eye printed on it.
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Tully (2018)

Tully
Director: Jason Reitman
Writer: Diablo Cody
Cast: Charlize Theron, Mackenzie Davis, Ron Livingston, Asher Miles Fallica, Lia Frankland, Mark Duplass, Elaine Tan, Gameela Wright, Tattiawna Jones
Seen on: 19.6.2018

Plot:
Marlo (Charlize Theron) just had her third baby, her husband Drew (Ron Livingston) works a lot and is only of moderate help. Marlo is struggling with lack of sleep and the general demands of having three children. Her brother Craig (Mark Duplass) offers to hire a night nanny for her, but Marly initially declines. But after becoming more and more exhausted, Marlo gives in and Tully (Mackenzie Davis) comes around, helping her with the baby during the night. Quickly, Marlo and Tully become closer.

Tully is not a great film, but it isn’t bad. Therer were a couple of things that made me grimace at it, but mostly I enjoyed myself.

Film poster showing a close-up of Charlize Theron's face covered in stickers, looking exhausted.
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Aritmiya [Arrhythmia] (2017)

Aritmiya
Director: Boris Khlebnikov
Writer: Boris Khlebnikov, Nataliya Meshchaninova
Cast: Aleksandr Yatsenko, Irina Gorbachova, Nikolay Shrayber, Maksim Lagashkin, Lyudmila Motornaya
Seen on: 2.6.2018

Plot:
Oleg (Aleksandr Yatsenko) and Katya (Irina Gorbachova) have been married for a while, but by now their marriage is in danger. Oleg is a paramedic and Katya a doctor, they both work a lot and are accustomed to party hard, too. But when Oleg, once again, gets drunk and embarrasses Katya at a family party, she has had it: she texts Oleg that she wants a divorce. But Oleg has a hard time accepting that, their break-up quickly turning messy.

Aritmiya feels like a very Russian film, and not only because of the copious amounts of alcohol consumed in it. There’s a grim outlook with a touch of warmth to it that reminded me of other Russian films and novels. In any case, it’s a strong film, but also frustrating at times.

Film poster showing a couple hugging.
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The Bookshop (2017)

The Bookshop
Director: Isabel Coixet
Writer: Isabel Coixet
Based on: Penelope Fitzgerald‘s novel
Cast: Emily Mortimer, Bill Nighy, Hunter Tremayne, Honor Kneafsey, Michael Fitzgerald, Frances Barber, Reg Wilson, James Lance, Patricia Clarkson
Seen on: 22.5.2018

Plot:
Florence Green (Emily Mortimer) needs a fresh start after her husband’s death. She moves to a small town on the coast and opens a bookshop there. Unwittinlgy she disrupts the local politics with her opening – the powerful Violet Gamart (Patricia Clarkson) had set the sights on her shop. Florence manages to gain the trust and appreciation of a local few – like Edmund Brundish (Bill Nighy) regardless. But her bold choice to promote Nabokov’s Lolita at her store, causes quite an upheaval in town.

I expected The Bookshop to be this romantic, cute film and it does start that way. But then it suddenly throws so much sadness in your face that I could barely handle it. You should definitely be prepared for that.

Film poster showing Emily Mortimer leaning against the wall of a book store.
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Liliane Susewind – Ein tierisches Abenteuer [Little Miss Dolittle] (2018)

Liliane Susewind – Ein tierisches Abenteuer
Director: Joachim Masannek
Writer: Matthias Dinter, Beate Fraunholz, Betty Platz, Antonia Rothe-Liermann, Katrin Milhahn
Based on: Tanya Stewner‘s book series
Cast: Malu Leicher, Peri Baumeister, Aylin Tezel, Christoph Maria Herbst, Meret Becker, Tom Beck
Seen on: 21.5.2018

Plot:
Liliane (Malu Leicher) just moved to a small town with ther parents (Peri Baumeister, Tom Beck) and her best friend, her dog. Liliane has a special talent: she can talk with animals. It’s a talent that comes in as handy as it brings her trouble. In this case, there’s a zoo in town and the animals there tell Liliane that animals have been going missing. And even though Liliane promised to keep a low profile in the new town, she can’t let things rest.

Liliane Susewind is a sweet film that I would have lapped up as a child. And it’s very definitely for children. Looking at it with an adult’s eye, though, there are a few things that bothered me about it.

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You Were Never Really Here (2017)

You Were Never Really Here
Director: Lynne Ramsay
Writer: Lynne Ramsay
Based on: Jonathan Ames‘ novel of the same name
Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Ekaterina Samsonov, Dante Pereira-Olson, Vinicius Damasceno, Judith Roberts, Frank Pando, John Doman, Alex Manette, Alessandro Nivola
Seen on: 11.5.2018

Plot:
Joe (Joaquin Phoenix) is a veteran with PTSD whose job it is to retrieve trafficked girls as a freelancer. His newest task is to find Nina (Ekaterina Samsonov) who ran away from home. Her father (Alex Manette) is a state senator and he’s pretty sure she’s held against her will at a house he knows of. He wants as little fuss as possible, not only for his own position, but also because he works for the Governor (Alessandro Nivola). Joe takes the job but soon finds that things may be more complicated than anticipated.

You Were Never Really Here is a fantastic film that really carries a punch. There’s a lot to dissect and reflect here – and since it is such a good film, you’ll be happy to engage with it after having seen it to do just that.

The film poster showing Joaquin Phoenix with a hammer in his hand, looking down with an image of Ekaterina Samsonov floating in water superimposed over his body.
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Vuelven [Tigers Are Not Afraid] (2017)

Vuelven
Director: Issa López
Writer: Issa López
Cast: Paola Lara, Juan Ramón López, Hanssel Casillas, Rodrigo Cortes, Ianis Guerrero, Tenoch Huerta
Part of: /slash 1/2 Filmfestival
Seen on: 5.5.2018

Plot:
One day, when Estrella (Paola Lara) returns from school, her mother isn’t there. And she doesn’t come back that night or the next day or the day after that. Hunger finally pushes Estrella out the door and she finds El Shine (Juan Ramón López) and his family, a group of homeless children. They are not a welcoming bunch, but Estrella does find a connection there after proving herself worthy to them. The streets are a violent place, but fortunately, Estrella has a secret: she has three wishes. Wishes that she must carefully consider how to use.

Vuelven is an amazing film. Beatiful and sad and also scary and brutal in many ways. It really impressed me.

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Revenge (2017)

Revenge
Director: Coralie Fargeat
Writer: Coralie Fargeat
Cast: Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz, Kevin Janssens, Vincent Colombe, Guillaume Bouchède, Jean-Louis Tribes
Part of: /slash 1/2 Filmfestival
Seen on: 4.5.2018

Content Note: Rape

Plot:
Jen (Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz) has been dating the rich, older, married Richard (Kevin Janssens) for a while. Now they managed to get a weekend away in the desert where Richard has a house he usually uses to hunt with his friends Stan (Vincent Colombe) and Dimitri (Guillaume Bouchède). The two friends are supposed to come the next day, after Jen has left, but they arrive earlier than anticipated. Being alone with the three men soon turns into an absolute nightmare for Jen – and then for the men.

Revenge was the film I looked forward to the most at the /slash 1/2. Unfortunately, it was also the film that disappointed me the most. It has many strengths, but in the end, I was so annoyed by it that it really overshadowed everything.

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As Boas Maneiras [Good Manners] (2017)

As Boas Maneiras
Director: Marco Dutra, Juliana Rojas
Writer: Juliana Rojas, Marco Dutra
Cast: Isabél Zuaa, Marjorie Estiano, Miguel Lobo, Cida Moreira
Part of: /slash 1/2 Filmfestival
Seen on: 4.5.2018

Plot:
Clara (Isabél Zuaa) is a nurse looking for a job. Ana (Marjorie Estiano) is rich, but alone and pregnant – and she needs someone who will take care of her. Clara takes the job. Both of them need a little time to warm up to each other, but once they do, they bond strongly and fiercely. But when the baby is born, things change very quickly.

As Boas Maneiras is a wonderfully cute film that turns into a weird and slightly boring entirely different film at around the halfway mark. I loved the first part, but the second part not so much.

SPOILERS after the jump.

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3 Tage in Quiberon [3 Days in Quiberon] (2018)

3 Tage in Quiberon
Director: Emily Atef
Writer: Emily Atef
Cast: Marie Bäumer, Birgit Minichmayr, Charly Hübner, Robert Gwisdek, Denis Lavant, Vicky Krieps
Seen on: 25.4.2018

Plot:
Romy Schneider (Marie Bäumer) has withdrawn to a spa hotel slash rehab center to attempt to get her life under control again. Her friend Hilde (Birgit Minichmayr) comes to visit and support her, as she always does. Joining them are two journalists from the STERN magazine, Robert (Charly Hübner) and Michael (Robert Gwisdek) who want to interview Romy. Over the course of three days, they try to get past the surface while Hilde tries to shield Romy from their invasive questions.

3 Tage in Quiberon has an amazing cast and a good story, but I nevertheless had trouble staying with the film sometimes. Still, I did get the sense that those three days were a very special event.

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