The Garden Left Behind (2019)

The Garden Left Behind
Director: Flavio Alves
Writer: Flavio Alves, John Rotondo
Cast: Carlie Guevara, Miriam Cruz, Anthony Abdo, Alex Kruz, Tamara M. Williams, Ivana Black, Michael Madsen, Edward Asner
Part of: Transition Queer Film Festival
Seen on: 21.11.2020

Content Note: (critical treatment of) transmisogyny; murder of a trans woman; stalking; mention of suicide (in the review)

Tina (Carlie Guevara) lives with her grandmother Eliana (Miriam Cruz) in a small apartment. They are both undocumented immigrants from Mexico. Tina works as a driver and all the money she makes there that she can spare goes into her transition fund. She is waiting for her therapist (Edward Asner) to clear her for transition, and hopes she will have the necessary funds together by then. But even apart from transition, being a trans woman in New York isn’t easy. Her boyfriend Jason (Alex Kruz) seems uncomfortable with her transition, the guy in the corner store (Anthony Abdo) keeps eyeing her weirdly, and danger is always lurking.

The Garden Left Behind is an insightful look at the many struggles trans people have to face in the USA, including the unrelenting violence against them. It is with said violence that the film stumbles a little, but the effectiveness of the ending and the entire film still stands.

The film poster showing a close-up of Tina (Carlie Guevara).


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The Hateful Eight (2015)

The Hateful Eight
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Writer: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins, Demián Bichir, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Bruce DernJames Parks, Zoë Bell, Channing Tatum
Seen on: 2.2.2016
[I saw the roadshow version.]

Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson) finds himself with a dead horse, a few frozen corpses he means to deliver to collect the bounty and in the cold in the middle of nowhere. It’s just his luck that John Ruth (Kurt Russell) comes along with his carriage, also transporting a body for the bounty, but a live one – Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh). Warren manages to hitch a ride with them to the next inn, Minnie’s Haberdashery where they are promptly snowed in. Trapped with a group of strangers in a snow storm, tensions start to rise.

The Hateful Eight was one of Tarantino’s weaker films. Definitely his weakest in a while. But a weak Tarantino is still a strong, well-made film. But it didn’t make me enthusiastic and I did have my issues with it.

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Re-Watch: Sin City (2005)

Sin City
Director: Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez, (Quentin Tarantino)
Writer: Frank Miller
Based on: Frank Miller’s comics
Cast: Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis, Clive Owen, Jessica AlbaElijah Wood, Rosario Dawson, Benicio Del Toro, Powers Boothe, Michael Clarke DuncanRutger Hauer, Michael Madsen, Devon AokiJosh Hartnett, Alexis BledelJaime King, Carla Gugino, Brittany Murphy, Nick Offerman, Nick Stahl

Basin City is called Sin City for a reason. A town full of crooked politicians, even more crooked cops, murderers, sex workers and pretty much everyone who was thrown out everywhere else. After the last good cop Hartigan (Bruce Willis) saved Nancy (Jessica Alba) from a pedophile and Senator’s son (Nick Stahl), he had to take the fall for it. But now he is out of prison and full of worry for Nancy’s continued safety. Nancy works as a stripper in a local club. At that same club, Shelly (Brittany Murphy) works as a waitress and she’s freshly in love with Dwight (Clive Owen). But her ex Jackie (Benicio Del Toro) is not done with her yet and Dwight suddenly finds himself in over his head in the part of town run by the sex workers. One of them (Jaime King) was just murdered – while Marv (Mickey Rourke) slept next to her no less. Now Marv is determined to find her killer and to exact vengeance.

I remember when I first saw Sin City – I was completely blown away by it (back then I was also a rather unaware baby-feminist, so I barely noticed the incredible sexism). Now I look at it with a more critical eye, but it’s still an awesome film.

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Re-Watch: WarGames (1983)

Director: John Badham
Writer: Lawrence Lasker, Walter F. Parkes, Walon Green
Cast: Matthew Broderick, Ally Sheedy, Dabney Coleman, John Wood, Barry Corbin, [And if you can spot them: Michael Madsen and William H. Macy]
Part of: /slash Filmfestival

David (Matthew Broderick) is in high school, but his vocation lies more in hacking. And it so happens that, while searching information aboout a new game, he hacks into the recently fully automated nuclear defence system WOPR at NORAD, a nuclear missile station. Still thinking that he was playing a novel game, David starts engaging the system, leaving the people at NORAD in a panic, thinking that Russia is actually threatening to bomb the USA.

I hadn’t seen WarGames since my childhood. I quite liked it then – and it still holds up the test of time very well.

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Movies of the Weekend

This weekend brought me to the cinema, though not to see, as announced, Lars and the Real Girl and Cassandra’s Dream, but The Happening and In Bruges.

And then deadra and me went completely crazy and watched an Uwe Boll double feature – BloodRayne and In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale.

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