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The 2nd Annual iCMFF: International I-IV

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The 2nd Annual iCMFF: International I-IV

#1

Post by outdoorcats » November 1st, 2018, 1:32 am

Welcome to the 2018 iCheckMovies Film Festival!

Festival Dates: Nov. 1-27

Please rate the films the films you've seen on a scale from 1-10 to help contribute to this year's Audience Award.

This is the thread where all users can rate and discuss the films in this year's International I, II, III, and IV sections:

International I: Latin America

Aquarius dir. Kleber Mendonça Filho. 2016, 146 min. :imdb: :ICM:
Filho astonished critics worldwide with his debut feature Neighboring Sounds, immediately establishing him as a director to watch. His follow-up, Aquarius, fully cements him as one of arthouse cinema's auteurs. Sonia Braga stars in a majestic performance as a widow who refuses to sell her apartment to developers.
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Ixcanul dir. Jayro Bustamente. 2015, 93 min. :imdb: :ICM:
In this gorgeous, ethnographically fascinating story set among the Maya-speaking people in Guatemala, a Kaqchikel girl living on an active volcano dreams of escaping to another world when her parents arrange a marriage for her.
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The Chosen Ones dir. David Pablos. 2015, 105 min. :imdb: :ICM:
A brutally unsentimental slice of Mexican neorealism, Pablos directs the story of teen Ulises who falls for a girl he is forced to entrap into his family's prostitution ring.
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I Dream in Another Language dir. Ernesto Contreras. 2017, 103 min. :imdb: :ICM:
Channeling the mystical and eerie spirit of Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Contreras directs a spellbinding drama of the last two men who speak a forgotten indigenous language, and an academic's attempt to discover why they refuse to speak to one another.
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From Afar dir. Lorenzo Vigas. 2015, 93 min. :imdb: :ICM:
When a wealthy, voyeuristic middle-aged man receives a beating from a teenage gang member, it leads to a surprising connection between the two in this dark romance, which won the Golden Lion at Venice.
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Neon Bull dir. Gabriel Mascaro. 2015, 101 min. :imdb: :ICM:
Exuding "frank sexuality and unforgettable imagery" (Peter Debruge), Mascaro (August Winds)'s festival favorite focuses on a vaqueiro who performs in the ultra-macho world of Brazilian rodeo, but who maintains a secret dream of a career in fashion.
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International II: Europe

1945 dir. Ferenc Török. 2017, 91 min. :imdb: :ICM:
In this black-and-white Hungarian drama, two strangers arrive in a small village whose presence unleash a chain of events that force the village to reckon with its wartime crimes.
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Les Cowboys dir. Thomas Bidegain. 2015, 104 min. :imdb: :ICM:
Bidegain's contemporary update of The Searchers finds a racist, country-western obsessed Frenchman's life upended when his teenage daughter runs away with a radicalized Muslim classmate. The decade-and-country-spanning search he and his son undergo looking for her will challenge their black-and-white vision of the world.
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My Golden Days dir. Arnaud Desplechin. 2015, 123 min. :imdb: :ICM:
Master director Desplechin (who directed previous festival winner Jimmy P) stages his genre-bending coming-of-age story in three distinct chapters, careening unexpectedly from miniature Cold War thriller to bittersweet epic romance.
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The Measure of a Man dir. Stéphane Brizé. 2015, 91 min. :imdb: :ICM:
The incomparable Vincent Lindon stars in this formally rigorous portrait of a middle-aged factory worker forced to apply for retail jobs when he is laid off, as Brizé detailins the cruel, stupid and degrading world of retail employment in agonizing, furious detail.
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Home dir. Fien Troch. 2016, 103 min. :imdb: :ICM:
This tough, uncompromising tale of damaged teens and their fractured relationships with their parents in today's Belgium is shot in Academy ratio suggestive of Instagram and other social media platforms.
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Layla M dir. Mijke de Jong. 2016, 98 min. :imdb: :ICM:
A controversially empathetic portrait of how a teenage Muslim girl in Amsterdam could be radicalized into marrying someone who joins ISIS, even as the protagonist of the title realizes too late that the world she's joined is no place for a strong-willed woman and that she might be in over her head.
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International III: Africa

Clash dir. Mohamed Diab. 2016, 107 min. :imdb: :ICM:
The critical darling of the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, Clash is a nail-biting Egyptian thriller set during the 2013 protests, contained entirely within a police van, jam packed with Muslim Brotherhood and pro-Military activists carelessly thrown together. The prisoners are threatened by police beatings and hosings, heat exhaustion, snipers, outside rioters, and the constant threat of internal strife.
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Félicité dir. Alain Gomis. 2017, 129 min. :imdb: :ICM:
A bar singer in Kinshasa desperately tries to raise money to help her son after he gets in a motorcycle accident in this musically oriented drama from Senegal.
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I Am Not a Witch dir. Rungano Nyoni. 2017, 93 min. :imdb: :ICM:
Nyoni mixes humor and pathos in this absurdist tale of an 8-year-old Zambian girl accused and convicted of witchcraft and sent to a "witch camp" to be contained from the rest of society--and ogled at by tourists.
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Lamb dir. Yared Zeleke. 2015, 94 min. :imdb: :ICM:
Shades of De Sica are present in this poetic, beautiful film about a young Ethiopian boy who runs away with his pet lamb to save it from slaughter.
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Wùlu dir. Daouda Coulibaly. 2016, 95 min. :imdb: :ICM:
A young man, egged on by his greedy sister, becomes embroiled in the Malian drug ring, ascending from poverty to riches at the cost of his soul in this satirical, politically-minded crime drama.
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International IV: Asia and Oceania

First They Killed My Father dir. Angelina Jolie. 2017, 136 min. :imdb: :ICM:
Jolie lends a visually stunning eye to this true story of author and human rights activist Loung Ung who survived the "killing fields" under the Khmer Rouge as a child.
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Heart Attack dir. Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit. 2015, 130 min. :imdb: :ICM:
An unusually mature romantic comedy evolves into a dark portrait of an addictive personality in this Thai dramedy about an obsessed workaholic who starts to exhibit strange medical symptoms as he tries to push himself to new records of time spent without sleeping.
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Interrogation dir. Vetrimaaran. 2015, 117 min. :imdb: :ICM:
One of the top-rated Tamil movies on IMDb, this critically-acclaimed and furious political thriller is the true story of four Tamil laborers tortured by the authorities to try and get them to confess to a theft they did not commit.
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Office dir. Johnnie To. 2015, 119 min. :imdb: :ICM:
Johnnie To turns his attention from crime thrillers to satirical office musicals in this brilliant send-up of the 2008 financial crisis, featuring incredibly designed experimental sets and showstopping numbers.
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Tanna dir. Martin Butler and Bentley Dean. 2015, 104 min. :imdb: :ICM:
This Oscar-nominated tribal fable comes from the island of Vanuatu, where Romeo-and-Juliet-like star-crossed lovers ignite tensions between two feuding clans.
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Last edited by outdoorcats on November 5th, 2018, 11:09 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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#2

Post by outdoorcats » November 1st, 2018, 1:34 am

(I'm taking a break after this one--the rest will be posted either later tonight or tomorrow)

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#3

Post by edward5 » November 1st, 2018, 3:35 am

International I: Latin America
Aquarius 7.5/10
Ixcanul 6/10
The Chosen Ones not seen
I Dream in Another Language not seen
From Afar 7/10
Neon Bull 7/10

International II: Europe
1945 6/10
Les Cowboys 6/10
My Golden Days 7/10
The Measure of a Man 6.5/10
Home not seen
Layla M not seen

International III: Africa
Clash 6/10
Félicité 5/10
I Am Not a Witch not seen
Lamb 5/10
Wùlu not seen

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#4

Post by joachimt » November 1st, 2018, 6:21 pm

Las elegidas 7/10
Visaaranai 8/10

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#5

Post by tommy_leazaq » November 2nd, 2018, 4:16 am

Glad to see Visaaranai is selected here. It was supposed to be my next choice for India in the WC if Thithi makes it to next round, which is not going to happen now. So I'm eager to see the response it gets here.

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#6

Post by joachimt » November 2nd, 2018, 5:54 am

tommy_leazaq wrote:
November 2nd, 2018, 4:16 am
Glad to see Visaaranai is selected here. It was supposed to be my next choice for India in the WC if Thithi makes it to next round, which is not going to happen now. So I'm eager to see the response it gets here.
You should have picked it for round 2.

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#7

Post by tommy_leazaq » November 2nd, 2018, 7:50 am

joachimt wrote:
November 2nd, 2018, 5:54 am
tommy_leazaq wrote:
November 2nd, 2018, 4:16 am
Glad to see Visaaranai is selected here. It was supposed to be my next choice for India in the WC if Thithi makes it to next round, which is not going to happen now. So I'm eager to see the response it gets here.
You should have picked it for round 2.
Then Thithi would have been there for R3 where it might have met even worser fate. :lol: To be honest, I didn't expect Thithi to be one of the worst entrants as it has won several international awards including Locarno film festival (best debut feature).

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#8

Post by flaiky » November 4th, 2018, 2:43 am

My brief initial comments on Clash, from the programming thread:
I watched Clash and thought it was pretty excellent. It's incredibly realistic - I honestly questioned whether some of the scenes were filmed amid actual protests and riots - and truly disturbing to know that people are genuinely going through experiences like this. The film throws you into that terrifying situation and asks how we can possibly allow it to happen. Keeping everything confined to the truck works surprisingly well, both in enhancing the intensity and as a kind of analogy/microcosm of present-day Egypt. My only complaints really are that too many characters end up in the truck - I think it would have been a better film for focusing on half the amount and giving viewers more space to connect with them (although I also understand why the director went with his more chaotic approach) - and the dialogue and situations occasionally slip into slight cliché.

But those are minor complaints. A truly impressive, memorable, and important film that I think would be great for the festival. I'm shocked it hasn't been more hyped since its initial festival run.

And anyone else who watches it, here's a great interview with director Mohamed Diab about its production: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/a ... -was-crazy
One thing I didn't mention back then is the final scene, which is still seared in my brain. A wonderful piece of direction. Like the nighttime rave from hell.
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#9

Post by cinewest » November 4th, 2018, 8:59 am

A couple of these made my 500<400 list:

Aquarius- 8
Ixcanul- 7
Las Elegidas- 7
Neon Bull- 8

My Golden Days- 8.5

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#10

Post by St. Gloede » November 4th, 2018, 12:13 pm

Just checking in to say that I have completed the animated slate, but will also finish the main slate before covering International 1.

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#11

Post by Mysterious Dude » November 4th, 2018, 11:55 pm

Clash - 8
Wùlu - 8

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#12

Post by joachimt » November 5th, 2018, 8:59 am

Sueño en otro idioma AKA I Dream in Another Language
8/10

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#13

Post by cinewest » November 7th, 2018, 3:22 pm

Saw First They Killed My Father, which was a very poignant war memoir, with fine performances by the child-lead and others in the film- 7+

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#14

Post by xianjiro » November 9th, 2018, 3:22 am

So, just finished La loi du marché. Any French forum members see it yet? I found it surprising the way the HR director talked to the gathered employees. How typical is this?

Otherwise an interesting take on what it means to a breadwinner. Not quite as bleak as I, Daniel Blake, but we get the same sense of a system that isn't really working for people even when they apply themselves. Also found it interesting that it's reported on IMDb the film received a 9+ minute standing ovation. I won't say I thought it was that good. Provocative, yes. And once again I'm struck, on the whole, by the similarities between cultures rather than the differences.

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#15

Post by outdoorcats » November 10th, 2018, 12:10 am

I'm American but the retail world depicted is very similar to the retail world I worked in for years. Refresh my memory, which HR director scene in particular are you referring to?

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#16

Post by xianjiro » November 10th, 2018, 1:53 am

outdoorcats wrote:
November 10th, 2018, 12:10 am
I'm American but the retail world depicted is very similar to the retail world I worked in for years. Refresh my memory, which HR director scene in particular are you referring to?
towards the end, the protagonist is working as a security guard and is involved in uncovering an employee's malfeasance.
SpoilerShow
She then kills herself in the store.
I get that companies treat their employees like children, but I was really surprised that the HR director 1) gave out personal information about another employee, 2) only talked at (down to) the employees rather than trying to get them to talk about what was on their minds. #1 was the most difficult for me to accept since generally HR professionals in the US are loathe to discuss anything personal and many companies have strict policies regarding what anyone can say about a past employee when someone calls for a reference.

It's like no HR professional here would ask "How old are you and are you married?" but I realize this isn't necessarily the case in other countries. So I was just hoping for some perspective on the reality in France.

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#17

Post by outdoorcats » November 10th, 2018, 2:46 am

Ah good question then. Well never been to France so can't say for sure. But perhaps it's simply a question of, yes, most are trained to know better than to release personal information (so as to avoid lawsuits) but some will carelessly do it anyway. #2 doesn't surprise me at all. Retail workers are usually thought of as easily replaceable machinery to their superiors, not human beings to be listened to and cared about. Anyone who complains, well, that's a good excuse to replace him/her with someone else who starts at the lowest salary.

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#18

Post by xianjiro » November 10th, 2018, 3:49 am

yeah, thought that's something the movie illustrated quite well without beating the viewer over the head - really universalizes the issues too

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#19

Post by outdoorcats » November 10th, 2018, 6:12 am

The part that really made me furious was the interview where afterwards he had to sit in and listen to an HR training where they discussed his performance as if he wasn't there. Glad that I never went through that experience at least. Coming so soon after the scene where they have to haggle the price of their house I had to get up and walk away for a minute before coming back to the film, I was just too angry. I can't actually remember a film that got that type of reaction out of me.

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#20

Post by xianjiro » November 10th, 2018, 8:39 pm

Yeah, know what you mean. The training review reminded me of performance reviews. Luckily I never had to go through an actual 360, but was really dreading that. But my time is 'retail' is quite limited: mostly as a bank teller many years ago. Still, was quite easy to relate to.

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#21

Post by joachimt » November 10th, 2018, 9:43 pm

Aquarius 6/10

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#22

Post by outdoorcats » November 10th, 2018, 11:08 pm

What did you think of the ending of Acquarius, joachimt?

Overall I was really in love with the film's unique use of structure - the extended prologue, for instance.

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#23

Post by joachimt » November 11th, 2018, 7:08 am

I got more and more annoyed by the leading lady, so I really couldn't relate to her at all. I should have felt sorry, I guess, but I didn't.

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#24

Post by cinewest » November 11th, 2018, 10:00 am

outdoorcats wrote:
November 10th, 2018, 11:08 pm
What did you think of the ending of Acquarius, joachimt?

Overall I was really in love with the film's unique use of structure - the extended prologue, for instance.
Though you're not asking me, I will say that I liked the ending of Aquarius a lot, and it reminded me a bit of the ending to Neighboring Sounds (the directors previous film) where everything is essentially building towards that moment.

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#25

Post by blocho » November 12th, 2018, 5:04 am

Ixcanul 6/10

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#26

Post by outdoorcats » November 12th, 2018, 9:37 am

I really need to see Neighboring Sounds.

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#27

Post by lynchs » November 14th, 2018, 1:53 pm

not a good bunch ;)

Aquarius (2016) 7/10

6/10
Las elegidas (2015)
Desde allá (2015)
Boi Neon (2015)
Les cowboys (2015)
La loi du marché (2015)
Eshtebak (2016)

Trois souvenirs de ma jeunesse (2015) 5/10

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#28

Post by Armoreska » Yesterday, 11:16 am

Trois souvenirs de ma jeunesse (My Golden Days)
is a sequel to 500<400's
Comment je me suis disputé
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currently working thru such film lists (besides TV): 2010s bests, RW Fassbinder, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Luis Bunuel, Yasujiro Ozu, Eric Rohmer, Visual Effects nominees, kid-related stuff, great animes (mini-serie or feature), very 80s movies, 17+ sci-fi lists on watchlist, remarkable Silent Films and Pre-Code (exploring 1925 atm) and every shorts and docu list I'm aware of and
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1434
and "Gordon" Liu Chia-Hui/Liu Chia-Liang and Yuen Woo-ping and "Sammo" Hung Kam-bo

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#29

Post by outdoorcats » Yesterday, 6:02 pm

Not exactly. It's supposedly a prequel, but if you've seen both films, that doesn't make sense. The best way to explain it would be, that Desplechin liked the characters of My Sex Life so much he rebooted younger versions of them into an alternate timeline. I suggest when watching either film to think of them as completely separate (stand-alone) entities...otherwise things get pretty confusing. :blink:

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#30

Post by Ivan0716 » Today, 9:22 am

Latin America
I Dream in Another Language – 8/10
SpoilerShow
Rural magical realism is very much my jam, would have been a favourite if not for the way that the relationships outside of the central love triangle came off as little more than unnecessary distractions from it: the friendship between Isauro and Martin wasn't given enough time to develop, it didn't feel genuine, and as a result I didn't get the emotional impact from the ending that I was obviously supposed to; likewise for the romance between Isauro and the granddaughter.
Aquarius – 7.5/10
SpoilerShow
Didn't know this was from the same director who did Neighbouring Sounds, I found that out when I looked it up just before watching the film, but I'd like to think that if I hadn't done that I still would have figured it out by myself at some point - it's the same cynical portrayal of Brazilian society set within a small multi-class community.

“Old people being strong-armed into selling their property by estate development companies(read: capitalist cunts)” stories aren't exactly new, usually one is expected to sympathise with the old person, but there was clearly no attempt to paint Clara as a victim here. Actually, the characterisation was so back-and-forth that I found it difficult form an opinion of her. It felt like I was meant to admire her for her resolve in one scene, but then the next scene would deliberately have her acting like a self-righteous hypocrite. She makes for an interesting character study sure, and Braga gave one hell of a performance yes, but I found it hard to give a shit about her struggle with the developers, especially knowing that the worst thing that could have happened was her having to relocate, and she clearly had the means to do so even without the profit from the sale, it just made it all just seemed like needless/selfish clinging on.

I think the film could have used more subtlety (don't even get me started on those "passive-aggressive" attempts to drive her out), or just less plot. This, along with the last 5 minutes of Neighbouring sounds, gave me the feeling that Mendonça doesn't really know how to do dramatic, thankfully he does slice of life very well, and I loved just about every non-confrontational scenes.
Neon Bull – 7/10
Volcano – 6/10
SpoilerShow
It didn't offer anything new apart from the setting, but the gorgeous landscapes made it enjoyable. What I really want to comment on is that one scene where they rushed Maria to the hospital that appeared to have been shot on handycam. It seemed very real, and by that I mean it looked like they had actually carried her running and screaming into a real hospital during its operating hours and made everyone think that there was an actual emergency. The idea of that pisses me off, and if it's true then I hope they got an earful at the very least for being a bunch of inconsiderate twats.
The Chosen Ones – 6/10
From Afar – 4/10


Europe
1945 – 7/10


Africa
Clash – 7/10

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