“Plot”: In 13 segments and with 13 different protagonists (Cate Blanchett), the film digs into artists’ manifestos, combining and contrasting them to meditate on art, artists and their role in society.
Manifesto is an experimental and highly demanding film. At times I was very lost and would have liked somebody to take my hand and walk me through it. But even when I didn’t understand everything about it and could categorize it perfectly, it affected me.
Nell (Ellen Page) and Eva (Evan Rachel Wood) grow up with their father (Callum Keith Rennie) just outside of a small town in the Redwood Forest. But then something happens and slowly the infrastructure around them falls apart. First there is no more electricity, then no more gas and then they are entirely isolated in their forest home. When they realize that power, infrastructure and life as it was won’t be reinstated any time soon, Nell and Eva have to try and manage their lives on their own.
Into the Forest is not only a great adaptation of the novel I utterly loved, but simply a beautiful film in its own right.
James (Reef Ireland) was just released from prison on parole, after having served time for drowning a little boy when he was a child himself. As he returns to his hometown, he has to face his past, both in the shape of the boy’s still grieving mother (Helen Morse) and his former best friend Anthony (Thom Green) who has a decidedly cruel streak. Haunted by the events, James is determined to find the boy’s body that’s still missing and to give closure to everybody involved.
Downriver was an exhausting bit of cinema. Watching it felt like wading through muck: possible, but way more work than walking on hard ground would be. And is that extra work really necessary when the road is right there?
Naama Barash (Sivan Noam Shimon) doesn’t have it easy. Her parents are constantly fighting, her sister, who is in the army, disappears and the only thing that gives her respite is to hang out with her friends, getting drunk and high. But then there’s a new girl in school: Dana (Hadas Jade Sakori). Dana is exciting and new and seems invulnerable and Naama finds herself falling in love quickly and confusingly.
Barash is a sweet coming-of-age film that doesn’t quite work as well as it could and should have. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it.
Greta (Bethany Whitmore) is almost 15 and just started at a new school where she is befriended by Elliott (Harrison Feldman). When her well-meaning mother (Amber McMahon) wants to help her find her social footing by throwing a birthday party for Greta and inviting everyone, Greta is mortified. Feeling the pressure of the situation and of growing up in general, it’s no surprise that some of Greta’s fantasies my run away from her a little bit.
Girl Asleep is a funny and sweet film that shines when it works with fantasies but loses a bit of its glow when it turns to more mundane moments. Nevertheless, it’s a coming-of-age film that is worth checking out even in a well-saturated genre.
On a small pacific island ruled by a volcano and the patriarchal structure of the tribes that live on it, Wawa (Marie Wawa) and Dain (Mungau Dain) are in love. But after altercations with another tribe, Dain – the Chief’s grandson – is supposed to marry a woman from that other tribe to cement their peaceful relationship. But Wawa and Dain can’t accept their separation easily.
Tanna is an unusual film that deserves to be seen, although it also has a few lengths that kept me at a bit of a distance from the film.
Eli (Nadiv Molcho) and Maya (Aya Beldi) were in love until about a year ago when their relationship went down in flames. By chance, they meet again at a party and take the opportunity to reflect on their relationship. As they walk through Vienna and talk things through, maybe they’ll be able to shed new light on past events.
History of Now is obviously Molcho’s passion project and it shows in every minute of the film that he is a very young man – with emphasis on both the young and the man part. The result is okay, but not really my cup of tea. Maybe because I never was a young man.
Ray (Elle Fanning) is fighting to get the hormones he needs to transition. His mother Maggie (Naomi Watts) supports him as best she can, even when she does struggle herself sometimes with his being trans. They live together with Ray’s lesbian grandmother Dolly (Susan Sarandon) who tries to help, too, but doesn’t really understand what Ray is going through. They do not live with Ray’s father Craig (Tate Donovan) who has a new family and not much interest in Ray. But Craig needs to agree to Ray’s treatment, so Maggie and Ray have to convince him.
I knew going in that About Ray – retitled 3 Generations – wouldn’t be an unproblematic film about being trans, but I wanted to give it a try anyway. What I got was okay, but definitely not great.
Tom (Tom Sturridge) loses his memory after an accident. He is plagued by vague flashes of things half-remembered. Desperately trying to piece everything together, he starts to use the recompensation he got for the accident, he hires Naz (Arsher Ali) to help him build the pieces of his memory up again – literally.
Remainder works off an interesting idea, but the idea is not enough to carry the film – and it needed carrying. Despite a couple of good things, I ultimately didn’t care for it.
Emman (Angelo Ilagan) is a student who devotes most of his time to activism, protesting school fees and trying to create a more equal world for everybody. Nathan (D.M. Sevilla) is sent to one of the demonstrations to take photos for his newspaper. When he sees Emman, he feels immediately drawn to him and continues to go to demos. When violence erupts at one of those, Nathan pulls Emman to safety, kicking off a relationship that has to deal with more than its fair share of problems.
Shadows of Yesterday is a film that tries a lot and fails a lot. But at least they tried, I have to give them props for that.