Eden (2014)

Eden
Director: Mia Hansen-Løve
Writer: Mia Hansen-Løve, Sven Hansen-Løve
Cast: Félix de Givry, Pauline Etienne, Vincent Macaigne, Hugo Conzelmann, Zita Hanrot, Roman Kolinka, Hugo Bienvenu, Vincent Lacoste, Arnaud Azoulay, Greta Gerwig, Brady Corbet
Seen on: 21.5.2015

Plot:
It’s the 90s in Paris and electronic music, in particular House, is on the rise. Paul (Félix de Givry) loves the music and the scene. He dreams of becoming a DJ himself and is slowly making that dream become a reality. Together with his friend Stan (Hugo Conzelmann) they become the DJ duo Cheers and they enjoy some success, even though they’re far from as successful as their friends Quentin (Hugo Bienvenu) and Thomas (Vincent Lacoste), aka Daft Punk and far from successful enough to really make a living from it. But Paul doggedly stays with his choice of career, despite estrangement from (girl)friends, mounting debts and a drug problem.

Eden dragged quite a bit, unfortunately, and I think that it’s a film I’ll forget quickly. I just never really connected with Paul and since the film focuses exclusively on him, not connecting is as good as a death sentence.

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Clouds of Sils Maria (2014)

Clouds of Sils Maria
Director: Olivier Assayas
Writer: Olivier Assayas
Cast: Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart, Chloë Grace Moretz, Lars Eidinger, Brady Corbet, Nora von Waldstätten

Plot:
20 years ago, Maria Enders (Juliette Binoche) became a famous actress for her part in the play Maloja Snake, in which she played Sigrid, a young woman who seduces the older Helena. Now Maria is on her way to receive an award on behalf of the writer and director of the play. But before she arrives, she is informed that he passed away. Maria is shocked by the news. In that vulnerable state, her assistant Valentine (Kristen Stewart) tells Maria that up and coming director Klaus Diesterweg (Lars Eidinger) would like to remake Maloja Snake – with Maria as Helena and Hollywood starlet Jo-Ann Ellis (Chloë Grace Moretz) as Sigrid. Despite her trepidations about the role, Maria accepts the offer.

Clouds of Sils Maria was absolutely fantastic, if slightly long. It was interesting, intelligent, beautifully shot and above all, wonderfully acted.

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Turist [Force Majeure] (2014)

Turist
Director: Ruben Östlund
Writer: Ruben Östlund
Cast: Johannes Kuhnke, Lisa Loven Kongsli, Vincent Wettergren, Clara Wettergren, Kristofer Hivju, Fanni Metelius, Karin Myrenberg, Brady Corbet
Part of: Viennale

Plot:
Tomas (Johannes Kuhnke) and Ebba (Lisa Loven Kongsli) wanted to enjoy their skiing holiday with their kids (Vincent Wettergren, Clara Wettergren), maybe even grow a little closer again with the time spent together since Tomas is working too much. But then a controlled seemingly goes out of control. Ebba turns to Tomas to help protect their children, but Tomas has already grabbed his cell phone and is running for his life. A few minutes later they are all full of snow, but unharmed – at least physically. But Tomas’ reaction was a blow to the entire family structure.

Turist has a good set-up and a very good cast but other than that I couldn’t really get into it. Probably because it’s yet another film about what it means to be a man in today’s world and I am ever so tired of these films.

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Melancholia (2011)

Melancholia
Director: Lars von Trier
Writer: Lars von Trier
Cast: Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kiefer Sutherland, Alexander Skarsgard, Stellan Skarsgard, Charlotte Rampling, John Hurt, Brady Corbet, Jesper Christensen, Udo Kier

Plot:
It’s Justine’s (Kirsten Dunst) wedding day. But even though she should be the happiest person alive, apart from her husband Michael (Alexander Skarsgard), she is haunted by dreams and visions of the end of the earth, when the planet Melancholia collides with ours. Her sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg) tries to hold it all together, but is ultimately helpless against the overwhelming presence of Melancholia – both the planet and the mood.

After Antichrist, I was very reluctant if I actually wanted to see Melancholia. But the cast and the trailer’s aesthetics drew me in. In the end my fears that it would be the misogynist disaster Antichrist was, proved to be unnecessary. But I still only liked the first half.

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Funny Games (1997 and 2007)

Funny Games is an Austrian movie by writer/director Michael Haneke starring Susanne Lothar, Ulrich Mühe, Arno Frisch and Frank Giering which he then remade shot for shot ten years later with Naomi Watts, Tim Roth, Michael Pitt and Brady Corbet.

Plot:
A well-off family travels to their weekend getaway at the shore of a lake. While the father Georg(e) [Ulrich Mühe/Tim Roth] and the son get the boat ready, the mother Ann(a) [Susanne Lothar/Naomi Watts] stays in the house to prepare dinner. Suddenly a young man, Peter, [Frank Giering/Brady Corbet] comes from the neighbour’s house to ask for some eggs. He’s joined by another young man, Paul, [Arno Frisch/Michael Pitt] and while both of them are very polite, things become threatening really quickly. When the father and the son return to the house, Peter and Paul take the whole family hostage to play “games” with them.

Both movies are heavy cost – a thorough and deep analysis of violence in movies and what it does to the viewer. Haneke uses the horror genre conventions to hammer home a point – and hammer it he does. This is no subtle pointer that maybe violence in movies is not such a good thing but a huge, blinking neon sign that screams about the depravity of the average movie consumer.

[SPOILERS]

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