Magical Girl (2014)

Magical Girl
Director: Carlos Vermut
Writer: Carlos Vermut
Cast: Luis Bermejo, Lucía Pollán, Bárbara Lennie, José Sacristán
Part of: Scope50
Seen on: 22.02.2015

Plot:
Alicia (Lucía Pollán) is sick and her foremost wish is that she’ll live to be 13 years old. If that can’t happen, she would like the Magical Girl costume from her favorite anime. Her father Luis (Luis Bernejo), an unemployed literature professor, would love to fulfill her wish but the costume is very expensive and he has no money. When his path crosses with Barbara’s (Bárbara Lennie), a psychologically labile but wealthy woman, he finds a way to blackmail her on an impulse, not knowing the lengths Barbara has to go to to get him the money, nor the countermeasures she will take.

Magical Girl is an atmospheric and well-constructed film that had me thinking about it for a bit afterwards. It’s not perfect, especially not when it comes to Barbara, but I enjoyed it.

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La Sapienza [Wisdom] (2014)

La Sapienza
Director: Eugène Green
Writer: Eugène Green
Cast: Fabrizio Rongione, Christelle Prot, Ludovico Succio, Arianna Nastro
Part of: Scope50
Seen on: 21.02.2015

Plot:
Alexandre (Fabrizio Rongione) and Aliénor (Christelle Prot) have been married for a while and everything seems to be going fine, even if a little stale, maybe. Alexandre, an architect, decides that he wants to finally write the book on Borromini he’s had in his head forever and for that he has to travel to Switzerland, then Italy. Aliénor spontaneously decides to come with him. When they arrive in Borromini’s birth town, they run into the siblings Goffredo (Ludovico Succio) and Lavinia (Arianna Nastro). Aliénor is immediately intrigued and she convices Alexandre to take budding architect Goffredo on his trip to Italy, while she will stay with the sickly Lavinia. Through the eyes of the young siblings, they themselves start to rediscover their own joy.

La sapienza is a film that talks about emotions, but only from a rational perspective. While that starts off interesting, it ends up being a little too stiff and distant, giving the film not inconsiderable lengths. But it’s still interesting enough.

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Cavalo Dinheiro [Horse Money] (2014)

Cavalo Dinheiro
Director: Pedro Costa
Writer: Pedro Costa
Cast: Ventura, Tito Furtado, Antonio Santos, Vitalina Varela
Part of: Scope50
Seen on: 20.02.2015

Plot:
Ventura (Ventura) is staying at a dilapitated (mental?) hospital, or so it might seem. Constantly circling around his own past in the revolution of Cabo Verde, but also encountering other figures whose lives were touched by the revolution – a woman (Vitalina Varela) who lost her family who apparently knows and doesn’t know Ventura.

Cavalo Dinheiro is hard to sum up, hard to understand and hard to like. Personally I failed on all three counts, and I was far from engaged enough in the film to really try and make more of it. About halfway through, if not earlier, I just gave up and waited until it was over.

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Hippocrate [Hippocrates] (2014)

Hippocrate
Director: Thomas Lilti
Writer: Pierre Chosson, Baya Kasmi, Julien Lilti, Thomas Lilti
Cast: Vincent LacosteReda Kateb, Jacques Gamblin, Marianne Denicourt, Félix Moati, Carole Franck
Part of: Scope 50
Seen on: 20.02.2015

Plot:
Benjamin (Vincent Lacoste) just started his doctor’s training at the hospital where his father (Jacques Gamblin) is a renowned surgeon. Benjamin goes in full of confidence and immediately butts heads with Abdel (Reda Kateb) who already has substantial experience as a doctor in Algeria, but for nostrification purposes has to go through training again and who doesn’t think much of Benjamin’s view of himself. And when a patient dies on Benjamin’s watch and due to Benjamin’s error, Benjamin starts to question himself as well.

Hippocrate has a pretty realistic view on the everyday experiences of doctors (as far as I can tell – I’m no doctor myself, but my sister and a close friend are), probably due to the fact that Lilti himself trained as doctor. But unfortunately he chose the wrong character as the protagonist. Generally more could have been made of the film, but what we got was also nice.

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Concerning Violence (2014)

Concerning Violence
Director: Göran Olsson
Writer: Göran Olsson
Based on: Frantz Fanon‘s book The Wretched of the Earth
Narrated by: Lauryn Hill
Part of: Scope50
Seen on: 15.02.2015

Plot:
Olsson uses historic footage about the fight for freedom from European rule in Africa and underscores it with the writing of Frantz Fanon, a philosopher and social theorist who wrote in particular about colonialization and de-colonialization.

Concerning Violence is a difficult film with a challenging concept which probably pushes it further into a particular niche of filmmaking than strictly necessary. Personally I was surprised that I wasn’t quite as exhausted by the film than I thought I would be. But it certainly isn’t a film that’s fun or entertaining.

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Återträffen [The Reunion] (2013)

Återträffen
Director: Anna Odell
Writer: Anna Odell
Cast: Anna Odell, Kamila BenhamzaAnders BergJimmy CarlbergErik EhnNiklas EngdahlHenrik Norlén
Part of: Scope50
Seen on: 14.02.2015

Plot:
Anna Odell wasn’t invited to her high school reunion, so she decided to make a movie where she goes and tells everybody what she thinks and what she experienced in high school. But she’s not content with that. After she’s done with the film, she tracks down her former classmates to show them the film in person and see how they react.

Återträffen starts off as a normal, albeit autobiographical feature film, then veers into (semi-)documentary territory and that is a mix that is certainly interesting, even though it probably won’t appeal to everyone. I liked the mix of fiction and reality, though.

atertraeffen

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Blind (2014)

Blind
Director: Eskil Vogt
Writer: Eskil Vogt
Cast: Ellen Dorrit Petersen, Henrik Rafaelsen, Vera Vitali, Marius Kolbenstvedt
Part of: Scope50
Seen on: 06.02.2015

Plot:
Ingrid (Ellen Dorrit Petersen) suffers from an illness that has left her completely blind. She hasn’t left her apartment since it happened, instead trying to focus on her writing. But her imagination keeps running away with her – not only when it comes to her fictional characters Elin (Vera Vitali) and Einar (Marius Kolbenstvedt), she also keeps thinking that her boyfriend Morten (Henrik Rafaelsen) keeps sneaking back into their apartment instead of going to work to watch her as she writes.

Blind is a film full of fantasy, humor and emotion. I liked both idea and execution – I’m just not sold on the ending. But altogether I really enjoyed the film.

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P’tit Quinquin [Li’l Quinquin] (2014)

P’tit Quinquin
Director: Bruno Dumont
Writer: Bruno Dumont
Cast: Alane Delhaye, Lucy Caron, Bernard Pruvost, Philippe Jore, Philippe Peuvion, Lisa Hartmann, Julien Bodard, Corentin Carpentier
Part of: Scope50
Seen on: 06.02.2015

Plot:
P’tit Quinquin’s (Alane Delhaye) home is a tiny village in Northern France. He, his friends and his girlfriend Eve (Lucy Caron) drive around on their bicycles, always looking for something to do. So when a helicopter arrives, they follow it and are close, when the police retrieve a dead cow from a ditch. But that is not all: inside of the cow they find at least parts of a body and now Commandant Van der Weyden (Bernard Pruvost) and his lieutenant Carpentier (Philippe Jore) have to figure out who put it there.

I can’t recall the last time I was this bored during a film. I had to keep hitting pause as I kept falling asleep while I watched it. And I didn’t see it late at night but pretty much right after getting up after a good night’s sleep. There was practically nothing that worked for me.

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Mot naturen [Out of Nature] (2014)

Mot naturen
Director: Ole Giæver, Marte Vold
Writer: Ole Giæver
Cast: Ole Giæver, Rebekka Nystabakk, Marte Magnusdotter Solem
Part of: Scope50
Seen on: 25.01.2015

Plot:
Martin (Ole Giæver) has planned a weekend away from his wife and his kid: just he on his own with his thought in the wilderness, hiking up a mountain, giving him space to reflect on his life and whether he actually wants to continue in that way or if he’d rather fuck the hiking store shopkeeper.

Mot Naturen is another of those films about the fragility of the male ego in a modern world – like Turist. But unlike most of these films, I did like Mot Naturen. Reduced to the bare essentials of one man and his inner monologue out in nature, it manages to feel more honest and less artificial than most of the films of its kind.

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Bird People (2014)

Bird People
Director: Pascale Ferran
Writer: Guillaume Bréaud, Pascale Ferran
Cast: Josh CharlesAnaïs DemoustierRoschdy ZemTaklyt VongdaraGeoffrey CantorCamélia JordanaRadha Mitchell
Part of: Viennale, Scope50
[Review by cornholio.]

Plot:
Gary (Josh Charles) comes to Paris for a business meeting and quite suddenly he decides that he won’t be returning home anymore. Audrey (Anaïs Demoustier) works as a chamber maid in the hotel Gary’s staying at. Her interest is piqued by Gary but quickly moves away from him when she finds herself transformed into a sparrow. For both of them, the sudden shift in perspective means a re-ordering of their lives.

Bird People was charming and amusing, but it lacked a sense of direction for me. I would have liked to get a bit more focus, but I didn’t miss it too much.

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