Princesita (2017)

Princesita (literally: Little Princess)
Director: Marialy Rivas
Writer: Camila Gutiérrez, Manuela Infante, Marialy Rivas
Cast: Sara Caballero, Marcelo Alonso, María Gracia Omegna, Emiliano Jofre
Part of: FrauenFilmTage
Seen on: 7.3.2018
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Content note: rape

Plot:
Tamara (Sara Caballero) lives in a cult led by Miguel (Marcelo Alonso) and Miguel has big plans for her: she is supposed to be the mother of the next generation. First though, she is allowed to go to school outside of the compound she’s been living so far, now that she has turned 12 years old. But that glimpse of life outside is bound to change Tamara – and Miguel certainly can’t have her disobeying his plans.

Princesita is a heavy film – not surprising, given the subject matter. Unfortunately the film doesn’t handle the subject as well as it would have deserved.

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La Holandesa [Messi and Maud] (2017)

La Holandesa
Director: Marleen Jonkman
Writer: Daan Gielis
Cast: Rifka Lodeizen, Guido Pollemans, Cristóbal Farias, Daniel Candia, Yasna Vasquez
Part of: FrauenFilmTage
Seen on: 6.3.2018
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Plot:
Maud (Rifka Lodeizen) and Frank (Guido Pollemans) are traveling in Chile. It is supposed to be a bit of a reset for the two of them, as their relationship has been strained: they have been trying to have a child together, but they have to face the fact that they may not be able to at all. But when Frank confronts Maud head-on with that, they have a fight and Maud just leaves. Going on a road trip, she meets Messi (Cristóbal Farias), a young boy who has nobody to take care of him. Messi starts to accompany Maud on her trip.

I have very mixed feelings about La Holandesa. It’s well made, if a little long, but it’s also very white for a film set in Chile and that left me with a weird taste in my mouth.

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Meditation Park (2017)

Meditation Park
Director: Mina Shum
Writer: Mina Shum
Cast: Pei-Pei Cheng, Tzi Ma, Sandra Oh, Don McKellar, Zak Santiago, Jemmy Chen, Lillian Lim, Alannah Ong, Sharmaine Yeoh
Part of: FrauenFilmTage
Seen on: 6.3.2018
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Plot:
Maria (Pei-Pei Cheng) and Bing (Tzi Ma) have been married for many years and things are fine. That is, until Maria suspects that Bing has been having an affair. As Maria questions her marriage, she starts to question her entire life – and decides to make some changes. She takes up a job, makes friends and goes for a fresh start.

Meditation Park is a Coming of Age story, with the twist that the person coming of age is definitely not a teenager, but a middle-aged to older woman. It’s a spin on the story I very much loved, as I loved the entire film.

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Authority (Jeff VanderMeer)

Authority is the second novel in The Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer.
Finished on: 4.3.2018
[Here’s my review of Annihilation, the first novel.]

Plot:
John Rodriguez, who likes to be called Control, has recently taken over the Southern Reach agency. It’s a disorienting agency and Control has trouble getting his bearings. People seem to keep things from him. His handler, called The Voice, isn’t happy with him and his progress. His assistant Grace might be plotting against him. And anyway, what is the deal with Area X in the first place?

Authority gives us an entirely different perspective on Area X than Annihilation did and I loved it in all its fucked-up weirdness.

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Kosmonautensehnsucht (2016)

Kosmonautensehnsucht [literally: Cosmonaut Longing]
Director: Catharina Göldner
Writer: Catharina Göldner
Cast: Katharina Behrens, Jan Jaroszek, Nadja Stübinger, Moritz Vierboom, Ina Tempel, Alexander Höchst, Ruth Bickelhaupt, Annekatrin Grimm
Part of: FrauenFilmTage
Seen on: 3.3.2018
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Plot:
Miriam (Katharina Behrens) works as a stage manager in the theater. When it closes over the summer, Miriam has nothing to do but wait that her big love, a cosmonaut, returns to earth. But she’s keeping her waiting and summer becomes really long. And when an astrologist tells her that the cosmonaut isn’t the person for, instead she has to find somebody who was born January 19, 1985 at 3.30am. So Miriam starts looking.

Kosmonautensehnsucht is only 60 minutes long and has absolutely no budget to speak of and yet it manages to be one of the most charming, strong films I’ve seen in a long time. A wonderful little film.

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Sztuka kochania. Historia Michaliny Wislockiej [The Art of Loving. Story of Michalina Wislocka] (2017)

Sztuka kochania
Director: Maria Sadowska
Writer: Krzysztof Rak, Blazej Dzikowski, Krzysztof Bernas, Dominika Hilszczanska
Based on: Violetta Ozminkowski’s novel Michalina Wislocka. Sztuka kochania gorszycielki
Cast: Magdalena Boczarska, Piotr Adamczyk, Eryk Lubos, Dorota Kolak, Justyna Wasilewska, Danuta Stenka, Jasmina Polak
Part of: FrauenFilmTage
Seen on: 3.3.2018
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Plot:
Michalina Wislocka (Magdalena Boczarska) is a gynaecologist and in her practice, she has seen a lot of problems, a lot of which stem from a lack of knowledge. So she decides to publish a sex education book. But that’s easier said than done in communist Poland, especially with a book that is both frank, includes graphics and focus on female lust and orgasms. But Michalina is a fighter and she won’t take no for an answer.

The Art of Loving is political, feminist and incredibly funny, staying emotionally with its characers while making its points in the most charming way.

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Chrieg [War] (2014)

Chrieg
Director: Simon Jaquemet
Writer: Simon Jaquemet
Cast: Benjamin Lutzke, Ella Rumpf, Sascha Gisler, Ste
Part of: FrauenFilmTage
Seen on: 3.3.2018
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Plot:
Matteo (Benjamin Lutzke) is not a bad kid, but he’s been getting into trouble and the relationship with his parents is not good. After another incident, Matteo finds himself practically kidnapped and carried off to a remote farm in the mountains where he is supposed to figure things and himself out by working hard and being removed from the troubles of the big city. But things don’t really turn out as expected.

Chrieg tells an extreme story in a realistic way. It’s engaging and very well made and especially for somebody like me who works with kids.

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The Post (2017)

The Post
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer: Liz Hannah, Josh Singer
Cast: Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk, Tracy Letts, Bradley Whitford, Bruce Greenwood, Matthew Rhys, Alison Brie, Carrie Coon, Jesse Plemons, David Cross, Zach Woods, Pat Healy
Seen on: 1.3.2018
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Plot:
Daniel Ellsberg (Matthew Rhys) has anonymously leaked documents to the New York Times that prove the atrocities of the USA in Vietnam. The Post, newly managed by Kay Graham (Meryl Streep) who took over after the death of her husband, doesn’t want to fall behind and finds Ellsberg for more information. Soon The Post finds itself under big pressure from the government not to publish and Kay has to make big decisions.

The Post is a film full of pathos. There’s nothing wrong with that and it works emotionally. It’s just a little too safe in its choices, making it feel a little dusty. But (unfortunately) not out of date.

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All the Money in the World (2017)

All the Money in the World
Director: Ridley Scott
Writer: David Scarpa
Based on: John Pearson‘s non-fiction book Painfully Rich: the Outrageous Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Heirs of J. Paul Getty
Cast: Michelle Williams, Christopher Plummer, Mark Wahlberg, Romain Duris, Timothy Hutton, Charlie Plummer
Seen on: 1.3.2018
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Plot:
John Paul Getty III (Charlie Plummer), grandson of Jean Paul Getty (Christopher Plummer), one of the richest men in the world, is abducted. Despite his wealth, Jean Paul Getty is unwilling to pay the ransom, much to the horror of his daughter-in-law Gail (Michelle Williams), mother of John Paul. Instead he sends his security specialist Fletcher (Mark Wahlberg) to oversee things. But as time is running out for the teenager, both Gail and Fletcher get ever more desperate.

All the Money in the World is based on real-life events that happened before my time and I had never heard of the story. But it really is a horrible and in parts mind-boggling story that the film tells mostly well. Nevertheless, it didn’t win me over completely.

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Spell Games (T.A. Pratt)

Spell Games is the fourth of the Marla Mason novels by T.A. Pratt.
Finished on 25.2.2018
[Here are my reviews of the other Marla Mason novels.]

Plot:
As usual, Marla has her hands full, even with Rondeau by her side and while training B. But then her brother Jason makes an appearance to make her hands even fuller. Jason is charming, smart and a con artist. And he and Marla have a difficult history. Now he’s there and he is planning something. Still, if it had just been Jason, Marla could have probably juggled things easily. But in a city like Felport, there is never just one thing going on.

Spell Games is an exciting entry into the series that has me anxious to learn what will happen next. I enjoyed reading it a lot.

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