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iCMFF19 - Main Slate

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iCMFF19 - Main Slate

#1

Post by outdoorcats » November 8th, 2019, 11:49 pm

Welcome to the 2019 iCheckMovies Film Festival!

Festival Dates: Nov. 9-Dec. 2

Please rate the films the films you've seen on a scale from 1-10 to help contribute to this year's Audience Award.
(Ratings are due by the end of day on December 2nd EST to be counted)

This is the thread where all users can rate and discuss the films in this year's Main Slate. We're looking forward to everyone in the iCM Forum community taking part!

Anyone who watches all 10 films by the end date can also help pick this year's Grand Prize winner.

Ash is Purest White dir. Jia Zhangke. 2018, 136 min. :imdb::ICM:
Jia's decades spanning epic reflects on changes in Chinese society through the surprising and bittersweet journey of a tough-as-nails gangster's moll.
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Closeness dir. Kantemir Balagov. 2017, 118 min. :imdb::ICM:
In the late-1990s squalid town of Nalchik, a poor young Jewish couple is kidnapped and a grievous ransom is demanded, as bitter resentments and cruel dilemmas come to light.
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Columbus dir. Kogonada. 2017, 104 min. :imdb::ICM:
A Korean-born man finds himself stuck in Columbus, Indiana, where his architect father is in a coma. He meets a young woman and they have a series of conversations about architecture and life.
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Custody dir. Xavier Legrand. 2017, 93 min. :imdb::ICM:
Two bitterly separated parents both claim the other is lying in a custody battle over their 11 year old son.
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I Am Not Your Negro dir. Raoul Peck. 2016, 93 min. :imdb::ICM:
An alternately haunting and damning essay film (narrated by Samuel L. Jackson) constructed around James Baldwin's final unfinished novel, which was to be titled "Remember This House."
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It's Only the End of the World dir. Xavier Dolan. 2016, 97 min. :imdb::ICM:
A writer dying of AIDS returns home to his long-estranged family to tell his family about his terminal illness. Based on the very personal play of the late Jean-Luc Lagarce.
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Madeline's Madeline dir. Josephine Decker. 2018, 93 min. :imdb::ICM:
A theatre director's latest project takes on a life of its own when her young star takes her performance too seriously.
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Rafiki dir. Wanuri Kahiu. 2018, 83 min. :imdb::ICM:
When two Kenyan girls develop feelings for one another, they are forced to choose between happiness and safety. Banned, then un-banned in its native Kenya for one week, during which it played back-to-back sold out shows.
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The Rider dir. Chloé Zhao. 2017, 104 min. :imdb::ICM:
After suffering a near fatal head injury, a young cowboy undertakes a search for new identity and what it means to be a man in the heartland of America.
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Sunday's Illness dir. Ramón Salazar. 2018, 113 min. :imdb::ICM:
A rich elderly woman receives a surprise visit from a stranger who unearths a guilty secret she's been hiding for 30 years, requesting to spend 10 days with her.
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Last edited by outdoorcats on November 9th, 2019, 1:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

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#2

Post by mightysparks » November 9th, 2019, 12:04 am

Have watched a few over the last couple of days:

The Rider (2017) 6/10
A rodeo rider is left with a severe head injury after a riding accident and struggles to accept a life without horse riding. There's nothing much original here and the plot is very simple, but it still feels quite fresh. It's a quiet and reflective film that is more about identity, community and losing your dreams than horse riding; however, the film still keeps us at a bit of a distance from what it feels like to be a part of this world and in some ways it positions us with Brady's character, but it also sometimes makes his decisions seem dumb. The acting was hit and miss for me, there were times when it felt natural and others where it felt forced. All the characters are interesting and feel more-or-less 'real' and their interactions with each other were generally engaging, with the exception of some generic dialogue.

I Am Not Your Negro (2016) 6/10
A documentary exploring the history of racism in America through James Baldwin's unfinished manuscript. American political/social issues are one of the things that interest me in the least so this isn't something I would've normally sought out. It's a passionate and personal look at how racism affected - and still affects - America. The archival footage is really interesting, and contains a lot of stuff I hadn't seen before; it always amazes me that the world was ever like that. The narration annoyed me a bit, however James Baldwin's speeches were awesome. What a speaker that guy was.

Columbus (2017) 7/10
The son of an architect is stranded in the small city of Columbus after his father falls into a coma, starting a friendship with a young architecture enthusiast who is resistant to pursue her dreams. This was such a visually beautiful film that communicates through framing, colour and buildings rather than exposition dumps. The acting is also very good, particularly from Haley Lu Richardson who just radiates a warmth and a charm in every scene. We don't get inside the character's heads much; we're positioned as observers and this distance helps prevent it getting overly sentimental. Some of the scenes revolving around Richardson's character's mother disrupt the pacing a little, but otherwise this is a very slow and soft film where very shot is a treat to look at.
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#3

Post by mightysparks » November 9th, 2019, 7:10 am

Jiang hu er nü (2018) 6/10
The girlfriend of a mob boss fires a gun to protect him during an attack from a rival gang and is sent to prison for five years. This was ok, but neither the story, nor the characters interested me and it doesn't really make up for it visually or in mood. It never really drags or feels overlong - actually, it feels like it needed more time to develop the characters and 'world' - but it never did anything for me. Tao Zhao's performance is good, particularly during the more interesting part of the film as she struggles to adapt back to normal life, but the character is just bland. The relationship between her and the mob boss is also flat and there isn't really anything between them, and her desperation to return to him is kind of dumb.
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#4

Post by Ivan0716 » November 9th, 2019, 8:36 am

Speaking of good performances, the 5 films I've seen here so far all contain killer performances from the female leads. I think it'll be fun to have acting awards for the main slate, shouldn't take too much effort, just have the jurors (or anyone who's seen all the films) name a top 3-5.

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#5

Post by St. Gloede » November 9th, 2019, 9:05 am

Jusqu'à la garde / Custody (2017, Xavier Legrand)
Custody is a slow-brooding and restrained drama that succeeds in creating tension, unease and dread from something as "simple" as ambiguity. At first clinical, we look on a largely dispassionate custody hearing, carried out first and foremost by the lawyers. Only the parents are present. Him, somewhat imposing, her small, he more aggressive, her - matter of fact.

This is where the seeds are planted. A written note from the couple's young son states he does not wish to see his father, the mother's lawyer claims the father hurt his daughter's wrist 3 years prior and cites unsubstantiated harassment of the mother. Trivial matters are settled. Emotional states are glanced at. The full picture is never revealed.

There are elements of the Dardennes and early on, even elements of Bresson, the slow unraveling of emotions of the former, the stripped plot of the latter - especially noticeable at the first time jump. Custody is granted, we never even hear the verdict, or see our original "protagonists" again. Instead, we jump to reaction, an emotion, a sense of unexplained dread. 

This is what grants Custody it's greatness. The ambiguity of not knowing what the father has done, the degree to which his son is upset with him or scared of him, and whether he actually poses a threat of some kind. Is there danger? The atmosphere would certainly imply there is. Has his mixture of tenderness with , but also inquisition of, his young son - and their complicated emotions - form the films' true core.

We just don't know how to feel. We don't know if the son is doing or saying the right thing. This is a simply genius way to create suspense as every display of emotion, from all parties involved, must be surveyed and judged as we try to understand the broken intimacy and the broken bonds.

Cinematically there is a strong departure from the previously mentioned masters. While an effective director, Legrand is not (yet) a master of his craft.
His slow, atmospheric scenes are cut an unnecessary amount of times, when longer takes (some are attempted) could have built far more tension. The language appears sophomore, and the lack of visual prowess is carried by the emotional foreground. Certain scenes, such as a key moment between father and son, and uncertainty of action brings forth the best of the Dardennes, and other such scenes do a film a great service. This was of course Legrand's feature film debut, and the fact that he is already at this level makes me very hopeful for his future efforts.

Sadly the tension and atmosphere somewhat unravels in the final act, which clears up any ambiguity, and brings in additional perspectives. The entire tone changes, and it feels somewhat out of place compared to what we had seen before. Many may disagree and feel it was simply a logical, and powerful conclusion - I will expand on my views under spoiler tags below.
SpoilerShow
In my opinion, the film was the strongest when there was a degree of doubt, a degree of clear uncertainly and sympathy for the motive and actions of all involved. the father's actions loomed above the entire work, and was the main source of suspense. When stripped bare, and resolved with such resolution the work feels flat. I could, as the final 10 minutes or so unfolded just think how much more powerful the ending may have been had we stopped with the mother and son in bed not sure if the father had left. 

Leave us with a degree of uncertainty. Leave us with a degree of fear. In this ending everything is wrapped up, we can be sure the father loses custody, and while there may still be elements of danger in the future, he willingly be away for a long time. Our characters are even told it is over. It just felt so much cheaper than it could have been.

And this degree of cheapness was there throughout the climax: It felt almost like advertising for effective and friendly police. Our well-lighted telephone operator suddenly becoming a leading role. If we had to go down this path why show him, why let him be so present? This is the kind of easy way to build suspense you can see on your weekly cop show. Legrand did not need such cheap devices before this point.

Similarly, the neighbour calling in feels irrelevant, the mother called instantly after. Why was she needed? Especially strange: Why end with her? Why dedicate time to her walking to the door, being the onlooker (and in a way savior), seeing them safe and, after the police close the family's door and she closes hers. Was she a representation of society looking on? If so, what is the message? That society works is preventing family abuse? If not, again, why take so much focus away from the family?
As a complete work, it is a great film, I am happy it was included, incredibly impressed with the suspense created and rate it 8/10.

Small, but important, sidenote: I realized after finishing the film that it is a sequel to Legrand's only previous work, the short film Avant que de tout perdre / Just Before Losing Everything (2013): https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2689992/. I wonder if having seen it first would have changed the experience, as so much of the film's suspense and stmosphere comes from ambiguity and lack of knowledge. Has anyone here seen it?

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#6

Post by cinewest » November 9th, 2019, 12:53 pm

Any sources for The Ash Is White, Closeness, or The Rider? I've seen 2, and have two more lined up, and will weigh in when I see them

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#7

Post by Teproc » November 9th, 2019, 2:50 pm

@St. Gloede : I agree with your assessment of the last third or so of Jusqu'à la garde/Custody, except I feel it completely invalidates the film as a whole and makes the whole thing feel dirty to me, by throwing away everything that I thought worked before that.

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#8

Post by Nathan Treadway » November 9th, 2019, 3:53 pm

St. Gloede wrote:
November 9th, 2019, 9:05 am
Small, but important, sidenote: I realized after finishing the film that it is a sequel to Legrand's only previous work, the short film Avant que de tout perdre / Just Before Losing Everything (2013): https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2689992/. I wonder if having seen it first would have changed the experience, as so much of the film's suspense and stmosphere comes from ambiguity and lack of knowledge. Has anyone here seen it?
No, it doesn't make things any more ambiguous. Actually, quite the contrary; he's obviously painted as the villain from the get-go. Basically, the short is the mother and kids going to her place of employment, and him following her there, and then them hiding from him before escaping. It's definitely a worthwhile watch if you enjoyed Custody, as the tension and atmosphere is still on display here.

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#9

Post by flaiky » November 9th, 2019, 6:33 pm

outdoorcats wrote:
November 8th, 2019, 11:49 pm
Please rate the films the films you've seen on a scale from 1-10 to help contribute to this year's Audience Award.
I remember suggesting last year that we switch to a different scale (such as 1-6, with named tiers), since everyone interprets 1-10 differently and is stuck in their ways. Before people start voting, what do we think of that idea?
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#10

Post by maxwelldeux » November 9th, 2019, 8:09 pm

flaiky wrote:
November 9th, 2019, 6:33 pm
outdoorcats wrote:
November 8th, 2019, 11:49 pm
Please rate the films the films you've seen on a scale from 1-10 to help contribute to this year's Audience Award.
I remember suggesting last year that we switch to a different scale (such as 1-6, with named tiers), since everyone interprets 1-10 differently and is stuck in their ways. Before people start voting, what do we think of that idea?
I'm against it, personally, because I don't think it'll solve the problem. Even if we carefully describe each level of the rating scale, we're still going to have people interpreting the levels differently. Add to that the "translation" issue (where people have to convert their original rating scale to a new one) for folks who watched the films a while ago, and I think it will be more trouble than it's worth. It's a really good idea, just not a productive one, methinks.

Incidentally, there are decades of research on Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scales (which is what you're describing), and the general findings are that if it does help, it doesn't help much. Even with extensive rater training on interpreting the scales, you get rater effects where some people are more difficult than others.

Hi, and welcome to nerd talk with your host, maxwelldeux. This week, we're covering BARS and their influence on rater effects. Next week, we'll discuss the standard deviation, its interpretation, and its derivation. :P

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#11

Post by fori » November 9th, 2019, 10:24 pm

None of the ones I’ve seen grabbed me. I don’t give ratings usually, but I’ll do it specifically within this context:

Ash is Purest White: 4/10
Observant without ever really having much to say about changes in contemporary China. I get the self referential stuff and the formal accomplishment is impressive, but those things should just be a given for someone like Jia at this point in his career. Feels like Xu Zheng wrote the narrative of his leg of the movie; would anyone be praising those scenes if they appeared at the start of ‘Crazy Alien’?

Madeline’s Madeline: 2/10
Puts you through agonising scene after agonising scene, all for the revelation that exploiting the narratives of the mentally ill is bad? The criticisms with which the film condemns the antagonist could just as easily be applied to the filmmakers.

It’s Only The End of The World: 4/10
Columbus: 5/10
I Am Not Your Negro: 6/10
The Rider: 5/10
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#12

Post by mightysparks » November 9th, 2019, 11:51 pm

maxwelldeux wrote:
November 9th, 2019, 8:09 pm
flaiky wrote:
November 9th, 2019, 6:33 pm
outdoorcats wrote:
November 8th, 2019, 11:49 pm
Please rate the films the films you've seen on a scale from 1-10 to help contribute to this year's Audience Award.
I remember suggesting last year that we switch to a different scale (such as 1-6, with named tiers), since everyone interprets 1-10 differently and is stuck in their ways. Before people start voting, what do we think of that idea?
I'm against it, personally, because I don't think it'll solve the problem. Even if we carefully describe each level of the rating scale, we're still going to have people interpreting the levels differently. Add to that the "translation" issue (where people have to convert their original rating scale to a new one) for folks who watched the films a while ago, and I think it will be more trouble than it's worth. It's a really good idea, just not a productive one, methinks.

Incidentally, there are decades of research on Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scales (which is what you're describing), and the general findings are that if it does help, it doesn't help much. Even with extensive rater training on interpreting the scales, you get rater effects where some people are more difficult than others.

Hi, and welcome to nerd talk with your host, maxwelldeux. This week, we're covering BARS and their influence on rater effects. Next week, we'll discuss the standard deviation, its interpretation, and its derivation. :P
Yeah, every time people describe their rating scale it usually just sounds like mine until they put it into practice. Each rating has to do a specific thing for me to be able to give it to a film, and I find DTC style of rating much harder to convert to because that doesn’t have anything to do with the way I rate films so it ends up just being a literal conversion.
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#13

Post by outdoorcats » November 10th, 2019, 12:48 am

I'm really sorry flaiky if it seems like I was ignoring your input - I just forgot. :( Perhaps we could stick to a 1-10 scale, but with a clarifying descriptive scale, such as:

10 - uncommonly great; an all-time favorite
9 - great
8 - excellent
7 - very good
6 - good/above average
5 - average
4 - poor
3 - really bad
2 - awful
1 - uncommonly awful; an all-time least-favorite

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#14

Post by outdoorcats » November 10th, 2019, 12:49 am

fori I'm not sure whether any of your votes should be counted as you have a history of trolling us in the past. Are these serious votes, or are you just having a laugh at our expense again?

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#15

Post by fori » November 10th, 2019, 2:00 am

outdoorcats wrote:
November 10th, 2019, 12:49 am
fori I'm not sure whether any of your votes should be counted as you have a history of trolling us in the past. Are these serious votes, or are you just having a laugh at our expense again?
When did I ever troll? I even wrote reviews here. I legitimately thought all of these were in the range decent to awful. I suppose you can discount them if you want, I don’t do ratings for the most part.
Last edited by fori on November 10th, 2019, 2:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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#16

Post by outdoorcats » November 10th, 2019, 2:06 am

:facepalm:

Well I guess it was a user with an identical username and account as you who signed up as a programmer a couple years back, submitted only two joke films for consideration, complained that no one shared their taste and played victim, and then ghosted.

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#17

Post by fori » November 10th, 2019, 2:07 am

outdoorcats wrote:
November 10th, 2019, 2:06 am
Well I guess it was a user with an identical username and account as you who signed up as a programmer a couple years back, submitted only two joke films for consideration, complained that no one shared their taste and played victim, and then ghosted.
Forgot about that.. one-off I swear

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#18

Post by cinewest » November 10th, 2019, 2:09 am

I have now seen two from the main slate, and have two more on the burner (any insights as to how I can find the 3 I most want to see, much appreciated):

I Am Not Your Negro- I went through a James Baldwin period in my University days, and this film brought me back in touch with him in a powerful way. That said, there was nothing outstanding about it as a documentary or work of cinema, but very well crafted, so I'll give it a 7.3

Madeline's Madeline- This is one of those films that people will either champion or hate. First of all, it's about several unbalanced female characters, and makes women seem completely loopy, at best. Second, the cinematography is also completely unbalanced and loopy, all of which must be understood through the mind's eye of the central protagonist, Madeline, a teenager, who clearly has mental and psychological problems. She has joined an improvisational theatrical group, which at times seems to serve as therapy, while at others seems to provide free reign for her madness. The two female counterpoints for her are mother figures who she simultaneously wants approval from, but at the same time strives to overthrow.
Can't say I liked any of the characters, but the performances and writing were stellar, and the camera work reflective of the main character's warped view of others and the world around her. Even if I am more in the "impressed" camp, it is not a movie I completely approve of. It should be very memorable, though, and for that I am giving it a 7.4
Last edited by cinewest on November 10th, 2019, 5:46 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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#19

Post by outdoorcats » November 10th, 2019, 3:57 am

For those of you who've had a chance to look through all your sections, what's your favorite screenshot?

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#20

Post by mightysparks » November 10th, 2019, 4:26 am

outdoorcats wrote:
November 10th, 2019, 3:57 am
For those of you who've had a chance to look through all your sections, what's your favorite screenshot?
I'm not much of a screenshot person, but there were quite a few I liked.. Columbus and Endless Poetry probably at the top for me.
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#21

Post by mightysparks » November 10th, 2019, 6:34 am

Juste la fin du monde (2016) 6/10
A terminally ill man returns home after 12 years to inform his family that he is dying. The cast is solid, with Ulliel's performance being particularly noteworthy, but the characters and dialogue are weird. The characters have random outbursts for seemingly no reason and some of the dialogue makes no sense at all. They never really felt like a dysfunctional family, they felt like actors putting on a show (possibly due to it being based on a play). The film has some tension as it builds towards Ulliel's character telling them the news, but it doesn't keep this going the whole time and so prevents it from being emotionally effective. The music choices were interesting, but sometimes those dreamy moments felt awkward.
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#22

Post by hurluberlu » November 10th, 2019, 10:47 am

Closeness dir. Kantemir Balagov. 2017, 118 min. :imdb::ICM:
Verdict: 8-
It did not disappoint from its reputation of being one the most stunning directing debut of the recent years. Balagov manages to pull a film encapsulating ethnic, community and family confllcts, in the small and fairly unknown autonomous Russian republic of Kabardino-Balkar raising local tragedy to universality with a mastery which is quite bluffing for a young director. His camera work alone is worth all the praises, using close shots and narrow settings, locking the viewer close with the scenes, all magnified by the 1:37 frame ratio. Light and colors are gorgeous, wisely tuning dramatic intensity. The lead actress is another highlight, portraying very convincingly women's fight for freedom and independance with a stellar presence.
Warning: for sensitive viewers, there is a gruesome sequence that took me by surprise and felt unnecessary given the entrapment we already feel in at that stage of the movie, if not politically dubious - more in spoiler
SpoilerShow
In the sequence, protagonists watch as a snuff movie the actual video tape of some Russian prisoners being slaughtered by Chechen soldiers including a soldier having his throat cut and a man begging for his life over long minutes

The rankingShow
8- Closeness dir. Kantemir Balagov. 2017
7 I Am Not Your Negro dir. Raoul Peck. 2016 (watch before ICMFF)
5 It's Only the End of the World dir. Xavier Dolan. 2016 (watch before ICMFF)
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#23

Post by maxwelldeux » November 10th, 2019, 4:53 pm

All - I'm in charge of collecting ratings for the sections, so please keep a few things in mind to help make my life just a bit easier:

- Please use the English titles when noting your ratings
- Make sure you report your ratings on the 1-10 IMDB scale
- Don't edit your posts - please make a new post when you add more ratings (so I actually see them)
- If you see any errors or omissions on my data collection, please point it out to me.

If you want to see the ratings and follow along, here is the spreadsheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... sp=sharing

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#24

Post by maxwelldeux » November 10th, 2019, 5:02 pm

Have only seen I Am Not Your Negro from this slate - 8/10

It's been a while, but my recollection is largely liking what was said and thought it was paced well, but I thought some of the messaging didn't come through as clear as in similarly themed docs, like 13th.

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#25

Post by Teproc » November 10th, 2019, 6:33 pm

Ash Is Purest White - 6/10. So far Jia Zhangke's films have left me appreciative, but cold.
Custody - 4/10. What promised to be a interesting social drama on a tough subject proved to be... something else, and not in a succesful way.
It's Only the End of the World - 8/10. Emotionally intense, as always with Dolan, with a killer cast. Cassel and Cotillard especially nail it, Dolan is one of the best actor's director working today.
The Rider - 7/10. Strong naturalistic drama.

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#26

Post by joachimt » November 10th, 2019, 8:40 pm

I don't plan to watch movies because of the iCMFF, but I'll rate the ones I happened to have seen.

Jusqu'à la garde AKA Custody (2017) 9/10
The Rider (2017) 8/10
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#27

Post by mightysparks » November 11th, 2019, 7:29 am

maxwelldeux wrote:
November 10th, 2019, 4:53 pm
All - I'm in charge of collecting ratings for the sections, so please keep a few things in mind to help make my life just a bit easier:

- Please use the English titles when noting your ratings
- Make sure you report your ratings on the 1-10 IMDB scale
- Don't edit your posts - please make a new post when you add more ratings (so I actually see them)
- If you see any errors or omissions on my data collection, please point it out to me.

If you want to see the ratings and follow along, here is the spreadsheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... sp=sharing
Yay spreadsheets (l) I'll try to remember including the English titles...
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#28

Post by mightysparks » November 11th, 2019, 10:51 am

Jusqu'à la garde (2017) AKA Custody 6/10
A divorcing couple battle over custody of their youngest son. The opening scene was brilliant and had me hooked; the judges being convincing of each side of the battle, and the parents being cool and collected, worked up some great tension. But from then on, it just became a drama. There is some leftover tension as the father gets increasingly aggressive, but it lacks that uncertainty of the opening scene which was much more interesting. Every scene with the sister felt irrelevant, despite the bathroom scene being pretty cool. The kid had some promising moments but we don't get enough from him.
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#29

Post by Lonewolf2003 » November 11th, 2019, 2:39 pm

My rating and available reviews for the films I've already seen before the festival started. In brackets the rounded number for the awards.

Ash is Purest White: 7.8 (8) - Like all Zhangke movies the movie is more about the changing of China in this century than the plot of the movie. Zhangke's directing is as confident and strong as ever. It has some amazing sequences that are among the best of 2018 (f.e. the fight sequence), but unfortunately also some scenes that don't add much to the movie. Tao Zhao carries the movie with ease, while Fan Liao offers her some strong opposition.
Columbus: 7.5 (8)
I Am Not Your Negro: 7.5 (8)
It's Only the End of the World: 7.8 (8) - Another good movie by the young Dolan. You can really feel the whole family history in all the quibbles.

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#30

Post by hurluberlu » November 11th, 2019, 3:22 pm

Columbus dir. Kogonada. 2017, 104 min. :imdb::ICM:
Verdict: 5+
The young female lead is breathing life and carrying the whole film otherwise contrived by a disproportionate focus on Columbus architecture and inane script. At times it does seem Colombus Visitor Center was a sponsor as some of the settings keep coming back with no connection with characters emotional state and distracting the viewer. It is difficult to root for the characters anyway - especially when the most emotional scenes are deliberately muted- and the absence of chemistry between the two leads doesn't help. Talking about sponsorship Marlboro could be another one, never seen people smoking so much in decades.

The rankingShow
8- Closeness dir. Kantemir Balagov. 2017
7 I Am Not Your Negro dir. Raoul Peck. 2016 (watch before ICMFF)
5+ Columbus dir. Kogonada. 2017
5 It's Only the End of the World dir. Xavier Dolan. 2016 (watch before ICMFF)
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#31

Post by cinephage » November 11th, 2019, 4:09 pm

My ratings :

Ash is Purest White 8/10
Closeness 5/10
Custody 8,5/10
I am not your negro 8/10
The Rider 8/10

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#32

Post by maxwelldeux » November 11th, 2019, 4:28 pm

Lonewolf2003 wrote:
November 11th, 2019, 2:39 pm
My rating and available reviews for the films I've already seen before the festival started. In brackets the rounded number for the awards.
Just an FYI for you and everyone else, I'm recording the decimal points, so I took your original 7.8 etc. ratings rather than the rounded ones.

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#33

Post by hurluberlu » November 11th, 2019, 4:39 pm

maxwelldeux wrote:
November 11th, 2019, 4:28 pm
Lonewolf2003 wrote:
November 11th, 2019, 2:39 pm
My rating and available reviews for the films I've already seen before the festival started. In brackets the rounded number for the awards.
Just an FYI for you and everyone else, I'm recording the decimal points, so I took your original 7.8 etc. ratings rather than the rounded ones.
You missed my previous ratings. ;)
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#34

Post by maxwelldeux » November 11th, 2019, 4:59 pm

hurluberlu wrote:
November 11th, 2019, 4:39 pm
maxwelldeux wrote:
November 11th, 2019, 4:28 pm
Lonewolf2003 wrote:
November 11th, 2019, 2:39 pm
My rating and available reviews for the films I've already seen before the festival started. In brackets the rounded number for the awards.
Just an FYI for you and everyone else, I'm recording the decimal points, so I took your original 7.8 etc. ratings rather than the rounded ones.
You missed my previous ratings. ;)
Thank you... it was just the one, right?

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#35

Post by hurluberlu » November 11th, 2019, 5:25 pm

maxwelldeux wrote:
November 11th, 2019, 4:59 pm
hurluberlu wrote:
November 11th, 2019, 4:39 pm
maxwelldeux wrote:
November 11th, 2019, 4:28 pm

Just an FYI for you and everyone else, I'm recording the decimal points, so I took your original 7.8 etc. ratings rather than the rounded ones.
You missed my previous ratings. ;)
Thank you... it was just the one, right?
Had put my previous watchings in spoiler:
7 I Am Not Your Negro dir. Raoul Peck. 2016 (watch before ICMFF)
5 It's Only the End of the World dir. Xavier Dolan. 2016 (watch before ICMFF)
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#36

Post by maxwelldeux » November 11th, 2019, 5:44 pm

hurluberlu wrote:
November 11th, 2019, 5:25 pm
maxwelldeux wrote:
November 11th, 2019, 4:59 pm
hurluberlu wrote:
November 11th, 2019, 4:39 pm


You missed my previous ratings. ;)
Thank you... it was just the one, right?
Had put my previous watchings in spoiler:
7 I Am Not Your Negro dir. Raoul Peck. 2016 (watch before ICMFF)
5 It's Only the End of the World dir. Xavier Dolan. 2016 (watch before ICMFF)

So no - not just the one. :P

Thanks for reposting - I have them recorded now.

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#37

Post by shugs » November 11th, 2019, 6:42 pm

1. Juste la fin du monde [It's Only the End of the World] (Xavier Dolan, 2016) - 6/10
Great acting (especially Vincent Cassel), but I didn't really connect with it. Still, I am somewhat excited to try some other Xavier Dolan films.

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#38

Post by kingink » November 11th, 2019, 7:11 pm

St. Gloede wrote:
November 9th, 2019, 9:05 am
Jusqu'à la garde / Custody (2017, Xavier Legrand)
Custody is a slow-brooding and restrained drama that succeeds in creating tension, unease and dread from something as "simple" as ambiguity. At first clinical, we look on a largely dispassionate custody hearing, carried out first and foremost by the lawyers. Only the parents are present. Him, somewhat imposing, her small, he more aggressive, her - matter of fact.

This is where the seeds are planted. A written note from the couple's young son states he does not wish to see his father, the mother's lawyer claims the father hurt his daughter's wrist 3 years prior and cites unsubstantiated harassment of the mother. Trivial matters are settled. Emotional states are glanced at. The full picture is never revealed.

There are elements of the Dardennes and early on, even elements of Bresson, the slow unraveling of emotions of the former, the stripped plot of the latter - especially noticeable at the first time jump. Custody is granted, we never even hear the verdict, or see our original "protagonists" again. Instead, we jump to reaction, an emotion, a sense of unexplained dread. 

This is what grants Custody it's greatness. The ambiguity of not knowing what the father has done, the degree to which his son is upset with him or scared of him, and whether he actually poses a threat of some kind. Is there danger? The atmosphere would certainly imply there is. Has his mixture of tenderness with , but also inquisition of, his young son - and their complicated emotions - form the films' true core.

We just don't know how to feel. We don't know if the son is doing or saying the right thing. This is a simply genius way to create suspense as every display of emotion, from all parties involved, must be surveyed and judged as we try to understand the broken intimacy and the broken bonds.

Cinematically there is a strong departure from the previously mentioned masters. While an effective director, Legrand is not (yet) a master of his craft.
His slow, atmospheric scenes are cut an unnecessary amount of times, when longer takes (some are attempted) could have built far more tension. The language appears sophomore, and the lack of visual prowess is carried by the emotional foreground. Certain scenes, such as a key moment between father and son, and uncertainty of action brings forth the best of the Dardennes, and other such scenes do a film a great service. This was of course Legrand's feature film debut, and the fact that he is already at this level makes me very hopeful for his future efforts.

Sadly the tension and atmosphere somewhat unravels in the final act, which clears up any ambiguity, and brings in additional perspectives. The entire tone changes, and it feels somewhat out of place compared to what we had seen before. Many may disagree and feel it was simply a logical, and powerful conclusion - I will expand on my views under spoiler tags below.
SpoilerShow
In my opinion, the film was the strongest when there was a degree of doubt, a degree of clear uncertainly and sympathy for the motive and actions of all involved. the father's actions loomed above the entire work, and was the main source of suspense. When stripped bare, and resolved with such resolution the work feels flat. I could, as the final 10 minutes or so unfolded just think how much more powerful the ending may have been had we stopped with the mother and son in bed not sure if the father had left. 

Leave us with a degree of uncertainty. Leave us with a degree of fear. In this ending everything is wrapped up, we can be sure the father loses custody, and while there may still be elements of danger in the future, he willingly be away for a long time. Our characters are even told it is over. It just felt so much cheaper than it could have been.

And this degree of cheapness was there throughout the climax: It felt almost like advertising for effective and friendly police. Our well-lighted telephone operator suddenly becoming a leading role. If we had to go down this path why show him, why let him be so present? This is the kind of easy way to build suspense you can see on your weekly cop show. Legrand did not need such cheap devices before this point.

Similarly, the neighbour calling in feels irrelevant, the mother called instantly after. Why was she needed? Especially strange: Why end with her? Why dedicate time to her walking to the door, being the onlooker (and in a way savior), seeing them safe and, after the police close the family's door and she closes hers. Was she a representation of society looking on? If so, what is the message? That society works is preventing family abuse? If not, again, why take so much focus away from the family?
As a complete work, it is a great film, I am happy it was included, incredibly impressed with the suspense created and rate it 8/10.

Small, but important, sidenote: I realized after finishing the film that it is a sequel to Legrand's only previous work, the short film Avant que de tout perdre / Just Before Losing Everything (2013): https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2689992/. I wonder if having seen it first would have changed the experience, as so much of the film's suspense and stmosphere comes from ambiguity and lack of knowledge. Has anyone here seen it?
Great review. I agree with almost everything that you wrote. The thing that kept me a bit more restrained than you in the final rating and gave it a 7 is the things you say about the directing skills of Legrand. I was thinking what a really great movie this could be in the hands of another director, like Andrey Zvyagintsev for example.
I will post my ratings after I watch the two remaining films from this section. am just commenting now.

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#39

Post by kingink » November 11th, 2019, 7:14 pm

cinewest wrote:
November 10th, 2019, 2:09 am

Madeline's Madeline- This is one of those films that people will either champion or hate.
That's very true. I just watched it and almost hated it :whistling:

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#40

Post by kingink » November 11th, 2019, 7:16 pm

Teproc wrote:
November 10th, 2019, 6:33 pm
Dolan is one of the best actor's director working today.
:thumbsup: I couldn't agree more with this!

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