Content note: (critical treatment of) colonialism, mention of rape
Plot: Almayer (Stanislas Merhar) lives in the jungle in Malaysia, hoping to come to riches there, from trading or from finding gold. He is married to a Malaysian woman, Zahira (Sakhna Oum) whom he despises, much like he hates pretty much everything but their daughter Nina (Aurora Marion). When his patron Captain Lingard (Marc Barbé) comes to visit and insists that Nina needs an European education, to learn to be white, Almayer is reluctant to let Nina go, but gives in, even against Zahira’s protestations and attempts to run away with Nina. This decision further cements all of their desperation.
La folie Almayer is an interesting attempt to criticize colonialism that doesn’t always work as well as it should. But it does have many strengths that make it worth thinking about.
Plot: A dark stage. A barber shop quartett. A cone of light. And outside that light, something is lurking.
Shine is the first “puppetcore” project by Blanchard: a gorey horror comedy made entirely with puppets. And I loved both the narrative concept and the idea behind puppetcore. The short is entirely charming and very funny, and was the perfect intro for seeing Blanchard’s first feature lenght puppetcore movie, Frank & Zed.
Plot: Casper (Sam Rosen) is back in his hometown Minneapolis for a short while only. Out one evening, he runs into Rebecca (Zoe Lister-Jones). They went to high school together and Casper had a big crush on her back then, while Rebecca barely remembers him. Nevertheless they start talking and find that they enjoy each other’s company. With neither having a clear plan for the night, they end up making their way through town together.
Stuck Between Stations is a typical indie / mumblecore film by rather young filmmakers and how much you enjoy it will probably depend on how much you like those films in general. In any case, I am pretty neutral-positive about Stuck Between Stations, maybe more positive than my general stance towards mumblecore.
“Plot”: Slaying the Dragon looks at how stereotypes about Asians, especially Asian women, shaped their portrayal in Hollywood movies and vice versa. Trying to outline the major tropes, female and male actors are interviewed and films examined. 23 years later, Slaying the Dragon updates that documentary and looks at how films have – and have not – changed in the meantime.
Both documentaries are insightful, making clear statements about representation and how movies affect the world beyond the screen as well. They’re an excellent primer to recognize problematic characterizations and offer a succinct explanation of why they’re problematic.
Plot: When Mr Earnshaw (Paul Hilton) brings home an orphaned Black boy who he calls Heathcliff (Solomon Glave), his daughter Catherine (Shannon Beer) is at first taken aback. But then the two become inseperable. But in their harsh surroundings, their relationship also becomes one of harshness. When they grow up (James Howson, Kaya Scodelario), it turns to bitterness, especially when the rich neighbor Edgar (James Northcote) starts courting Catherine.
Wuthering Heights does not have an easy start with me. I absolutely hated the novel. But I was hoping that Arnold would still manage to turn the story into something I’d care for. Unfortunately, my hopes were disappointed in that regard.
Plot: Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Darcy (Kate Hudson) have been best friends since about forever. Darcy is an extroverted party girl, while Rachel is pretty comfortable in Darcy’s shadow. But after a drunken night Rachel sleeps with Darcy’s fiancé Dex (Colin Egglesfield) who she’s been in love with since about forever. What starts as a single mistake soon ends up an affair that puts most of Rachel’s values in question.
It’s been almost ten years that I saw the film for the first time, and to be fair, when I decided to watch it again, I wasn’t even sure anymore if I had seen it. But I liked the film back then, and I liked it a lot again now.
Plot: Juan (Izán Corchero) lives with his mother Luisa (Pilar López de Ayala) in Madrid. Juan starts seeing a shrouded, faceless figure who comes for him at night. Luisa grows increasingly frantic and asks Father Antonio (Daniel Brühl) for help. In London, Mia (Ella Purnell) finds a book with stories about Hollowface in a tree at her grandparents’ place. When she starts to see Hollowface herself, it’s only her father John (Clive Owen) who believes that there actually is an intruder.
I stumbled upon Intruders quite by chance and was surprised that I never actually heard about it. I assumed it disappeared because it sucked, despite the excellent cast, but wanted to see it anyway. Thankfully it turns out, it’s actually quite good.
Rachel Wotton is a sex worker who specialized in working with (physically) disabled clients. At this intersection of taboos – sex work and seeing disabled people as sexual beings – she became an activist who is fighting for the rights of sex workers and the rights of disabled people.
Scarlet Road is an interesting look at a topic that’s usually not talked about. It – rightly – centers the perspective of the people at the heart of the matter, that is: disabled people and sex workers and shows what the topic means to them, making it very insightful, especially when you’re neither a sex worker, nor disabled.
Katharina Wallner (Christiane Hörbiger) owns a small shop. Much to the chagrin of her landlord Heinz Ortner (August Schmölzer) she has a contract for life. He would rather have her gone, so he can rent out the shop on better conditions. It’s just when he starts to put increasingly more pressure on Katharina that Katharina’s long lost sister Hannah Laval (Maresa Hörbiger) returns to Vienna. And Hannah isn’t as nice as Katharina, not by a long shot.
I stumbled into the film and since the cast wasn’t bad, I stuck around. It’s a rather solid TV production, but it’s really nota must see film.
Fucking Different XXX is a queer porn anthology where the lesbian directors tackle the gay sex and the gay directors the lesbian sex.
I liked the idea of this anthology, but unfortunately the result wasn’t really my thing. Apart from a few moments, I didn’t really enjoy it. Also, for an anthology that is all about switching and queering things up, it felt pretty tame. There was only one segment, Offing Jack, that features a nonbinary person and a fat guy, that really manages to break through the mold of usual, if mostly homosexual sex.
After the jump, I’ll talk about each segment separately.