Persepolis (2007)

Persepolis
Director: Vincent Paronnaud, Marjane Satrapi
Writer: Vincent Paronnaud
Based on: Marjane Satrapi’s autobiographical comic
Cast: Chiara Mastroianni, Danielle Darrieux, Catherine Deneuve, Simon Abkarian, Gabrielle Lopes Benites, François Jerosme, Tilly Mandelbrot
Seen on: 24.5.2021

Plot:
Marji (Gabrielle Lopes Benites) is precocious and rather wild girl. She grows up with her parents (Catherine Deneuve, Simon Abkarian) and her grandmother (Danielle Darrieux) in Tehran. Her family is political – a fact that has gotten her uncle Anoush (François Jerosme) into prison already. With the Islamic Revolution, things become even more difficult for them. Finally her parents decide to send Marji – now a teenager and called Marjane (Chiara Mastroianni) – to Austria for her own safety. But being an Iranian girl in Austria isn’t much easier than being one in Iran.

Persepolis has been on my radar for a while now, and I’m not sure why I never watched it until now (probably a case of me wanting to read the comic this is based on first, but I never did). Anyhow, I watched it now and it really was very good.

The film poster showing Marjane, her chin in her hand. Behind her is a bubble that shows her family - mother, father, uncle and grandmother standing around a sofa on which she sits as a child.
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Naissance des pieuvres [Water Lilies] (2007)

Naissance des pieuvres
Director: Céline Sciamma
Writer: Céline Sciamma
Cast: Pauline Acquart, Louise Blachère, Adèle Haenel, Warren Jacquin
Seen on: 18.4.2021

Plot:
Marie (Pauline Acquart) and Anne (Louise Blachère) are best friends, united in being not terribly popular. Anne is in the synchronized swimming team, as is Floriane (Adèle Haenel) with whom Marie is very much in love, while Anne has her eye on François (Warren Jacquin) who happens to be dating Floriane. When both Marie and Anne go after their crushes without telling the other, things become very complicated, though.

Water Lilies is a beautiful coming-of-age film, at once kind and emotionally raw, it will probably remind you of many moments when you were young yourself – mostly in a good way. Absolutely fantastic.

The film poster showing Marie (Pauline Acquart) and Floriane (Adèle Haenel), their faces close together. Floriane is looking straight at the camera, Marie is looking at Floriane.
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Unrelated (2007)

Unrelated
Director: Joanna Hogg
Writer: Joanna Hogg
Cast: Kathryn Worth, Tom Hiddleston, Harry Kershaw, Emma Hiddleston, Henry Lloyd-Hughes, Mary Roscoe, Michael Hadley, David Rintoul
Seen on: 5.4.2021

Plot:
Anna (Kathryn Worth) arrives in Italy. The plan was that she and her husband Alex would spend a nice holiday with her oldest friend Verena (Mary Roscoe) and her family – husband Charles (Michael Hadley) and three children, Archie (Harry Kershaw), Badge (Emma Hiddleston) and Jack (Henry Lloyd-Hughes), as well as Mary’s friend George (David Rintoul) and his son Oakley (Tom Hiddleston). But after a fight with Alex, Anna decided to travel on her own, to take a break. Much to Verena’s consternation, Anna doesn’t share what’s going on and doesn’t even spend a lot of time with her. Instead she rather hangs out with the kids, especially Oakley.

Unrelated feels almost like a documentary in its approach to its story, and this sense of detachment coupled with Worth’s personal performance allows it to both empathize with Anna while casting a critical glance at her environment, and also at Anna herself. I really enoyed it.

The film poster showing Anna (Kathryn Worth) sitting on the shore of a river or lake. Behind her, we can see Oakley (Tom Hiddleston) talking to Verena (Mary Roscoe).
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Ploshcha [Kalinovski Square] (2007)

Ploshcha
Director: Yuriy Khashchevatskiy
Writer: Yuriy Khashchevatskiy
Part of: this human world Film Festival
Seen on: 11.12.2020

Content Note: police violence

“Plot”:
In 2006, Belarus had presidential elections, re-confirming Alexander Lukashenko as the president. But the election turned out to be fraudulent and protestors took to Minsk’s main square. Khashchvatskiy details the events leading up the election and how the protestors were “handled” by police – including mass arrests and violence – to silence dissidence.

With current events in Belarus, Ploshcha is an incredibly topical documentary still. It’s irreverent tone also makes it more fun than I thought possible, given the content. I guess it’s an instance of gallows humor, but it works.

The film poster showing a young man in a crowd of people, surrounded by militia.
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L’automne [The Fall] (2007)

L’automne
Director: Ala Eddine Slim
Writer: Ala Eddine Slim
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 26.10.2019

Plot:
Somebody makes his way from somewhere in Africa towards the sea, towards a better future – or at least that’s what they hope.

L’automne is an impressive short film that tells the story, or stories, of making the long hard trek towards refuge without really showing any people. It shows the way rather than the people making it and develops its very own atmosphere that certainly leaves an impression. It also has some really excellent shots, despite obviously being very limited in its technology. Really good.

Hands on a steering wheel.

Ten Inch Hero (2007)

Ten Inch Hero
Director: David Mackay
Writer: Betsy Morris
Cast: Elisabeth Harnois, Clea DuVall, Sean Patrick Flanery, Jensen Ackles, Danneel Ackles, Alice Krige, John Doe
Seen on: 26.8.2018

Plot:
Piper (Elisabeth Harnois) moves to Santa Cruz to go to art school there and to maybe find the daughter she gave up for adoption when she was just a teenager. She starts working in a sandwich shop run by Trucker (John Doe), together with shy Jen (Clea DuVall), flirty Tish (Danneel Ackles) and punky Priestly (Jensen Ackles). Much like Piper, all four of her colleagues struggle with love and finding their place in the world.

I didn’t know much about Ten Inch Hero other than Jensen Ackles is wearing outrageous hair in it, and then I watched it and got Clea DuVall in the bargain, and that’s pretty much the best thing that can happen. Overall, the film is pretty sweet.

The film poster showing Elisabeth Harnois, Clea DuVall and Jensen Ackles.
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Re-Watch: Sunshine (2007)

Sunshine
Director: Danny Boyle
Writer: Alex Garland
Cast: Cillian MurphyMichelle YeohTroy GarityRose ByrneHiroyuki SanadaBenedict WongChris EvansCliff CurtisMark Strong
Seen on: 27.11.2016

Plot:
2057. The sun is dying and the only solution humanity has found is to send a team of astronauts there to reignite it with a fission bomb or else find all of life on earth doomed. The first mission, Icarus-I, to do just that has already failed, now a new team, Icarus-II, is on its way. When they pick up the distress signal of the Icarus-I, they decide to pick up the bomb that the ship has aboard, as a failsafe for their own mission. But that bomb may come at a higher price than they expected.

When I watched Sunshine for the first time, I remember not being particularly taken with it. But it was one of those films where I started getting doubts about my own judgement and that made me curious to check it out again almost 10 years later. And in this case, it definitely paid off, although I still didn’t fall head over heels for it, I did appreciate it much more than the last time.

[SPOILERS]

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Immer nie am Meer [Forever Never Anywhere] (2007)

Immer nie am Meer
Director: Antonin Svoboda
Writer: Christoph Grissemann, Dirk Stermann, Heinz Strunk, Antonin Svoboda, Jörg Kalt
Cast: Christoph Grissemann, Dirk Stermann, Heinz Strunk, Philip Bialkowski, Christopher Schärf
Seen on: 15.10.2016

Plot:
Baisch (Dirk Stermann) is an archaeology professor who believes that his ex-wife will at one point want him back. His ex-brother-in-law Anzengruber (Christoph Grissemann) is less uptight than Baisch and pretty sure that ex will stay ex, but comes with his own problems. The two of them met at an event and are now on their way back into town. They stumble upon Schwanenmeister (Heinz Strunk), a musician/comedian, who hitches a ride with them. And then they crash their car and while they end up unhurt, they are unable to leave the car. And so the three men are trapped with each other – and tensions will have to rise.

I liked the idea of Immer nie am Meer, but the film was a homophobic, antiscientific and unfunny mess that dragged more than its short runtime should have made possible.

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Persuasion (2007)

Persuasion
Director: Adrian Shergold
Writer: Simon Burke
Based on: Jane Austen’s novel
Cast: Sally Hawkins, Rupert Penry-Jones, Alice Krige, Anthony Head, Julia Davis, Peter Wight, Marion Bailey, Amanda Hale, Tobias Menzies
Seen on: 28.6.2015
[Here’s my review of the 1995 version.]

Plot:
Many years ago, Anne Elliot (Sally Hawkins) was engaged to Frederick Wentworth (Rupert Penry-Jones), but took the advice of her motherly friend Lady Russell (Alice Krige), as well as listened to the opinions of her father Sir Walter (Anthony Head) and her sister Elizabeth (Julia Davis)and dissolved the engagement since Wentworth didn’t have much standing. Quite by coincidence Frederick is back in her life after years in the Navy and has made a name for himself as well as a fortune. Anne is convinced, though, that he will never forgive her for her past actions. And when her cousin William Elliot (Tobias Menzies) starts courting her, she might be getting another chance, despite being alread 27 years old and still unmarried.

Despite my love for Sally Hawkins, this version of Persuasion absolutely did not work for me. Which is not her fault, but mostly due to the script and the direction.

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28 Weeks Later (2007)

28 Weeks Later
Director: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo
Writer: Rowan Joffe, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, Enrique López Lavigne, Jesús Olmo
Sequel to: 28 Days Later…
Cast: Imogen Poots, Mackintosh Muggleton, Robert Carlyle, Rose Byrne, Jeremy Renner, Harold Perrineau, Catherine McCormack, Idris Elba
Seen on: 02.04.2015

Plot:
After the virus outbreak that decimated the population of the UK, it is time to rebuild and repopulate the island. Don (Robert Carlyle) survived on the island and is waiting for his children Tammy (Imogen Poots) and Andy (Mackintosh Muggleton) to join him – the first children back on UK soil. Medical officer Scarlet (Rose Byrne) is a little miffed that she wasn’t informed about it – and she really doesn’t approve. Another outbreak could still happen. When the children find their obviously infected and supposedly dead mother (Catherine McCormack), everything starts to go wrong.

28 Weeks Later was a more than decent zombie movie. Even if I didn’t totally love it, I very much enjoyed it and I thought it was a really good sequel.

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