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iCMFF4: Main Slate

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beavis
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iCMFF4: Main Slate

#1

Post by beavis » October 26th, 2020, 8:46 pm

Welcome to the 2020 iCheckMovies Film Festival!


From Monday the 16th of November until Monday the 14th of December this thread is going to be the main festival hub, discussing the 10 selected movies of this years main slate. Be also sure to check out the separate threads for our nine other sections:

Art House - viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5154
Animation - viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5153
Europe - viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5160
Latin America - viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5157
Africa and Asia - viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5151
Indie - viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5156
Just Before Dawn - viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5161
Documentary - viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5152
LGBTQ - viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5150

the entire programme is listed in this handy ICM-checklist:
https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/icm+ ... st/beavis/

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



Martin Eden
year - 2019
director - Pietro Marcello
imdb - https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4516162/
ICM - https://www.icheckmovies.com/movies/martin+eden-2019/
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"...it’s the conceit of this vibrant and passionate film, directed with mad brio by Pietro Marcello, that no meaningful difference between past and present or between fiction and nonfiction, really exists. It’s as if the whole 20th century had been distilled, or scrambled, into an eternal, mercurial now."


A Russian Youth (Malchik russkiy)
year - 2019
director - Alexander Zolotukhin
imdb - https://www.imdb.com/title/tt9681728/
ICM - https://www.icheckmovies.com/movies/malchik+russkiy/
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"The key to comprehend the film is presented to its viewers from the beginning,without any concealment.The film tries to create a link between the concepts of “seeing”and “hearing”, through the alignment of cinema and music"


School's Out (L'heure de la sortie)
year - 2018
director - Sébastien Marnier
imdb - https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7175992/
ICM - https://www.icheckmovies.com/movies/lhe ... la+sortie/
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"Marnier, greatly aided by Romain Carcanade’s glossy yet foreboding cinematography, and Zombie Zombie’s contemporary and discreetly menacing score, establishes a sense of unease from the get-go, with things slowly becoming creepier as time passes and no explanation seems to be forthcoming."


Jallikattu
year - 2019
director - Lijo Jose Pellissery
imdb - https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8721556
ICM - https://www.icheckmovies.com/movies/jallikattu/
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"Get ready to be gored by cinema’s horns, trampled under a stampede of deliciously grotesque, fleshy imagery and tossed aloft on a buffalo-snort of bravado"


Hagazussa
year - 2017
director - Lukas Feigelfeld
imdb - https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7323600/
ICM - https://www.icheckmovies.com/movies/hagazussa/
Image
"As a graduation thesis film (Geigelfeld, a photographer by training, was at Deutsche Film-und Fernsehakademie Berlin), it's extraordinary, pulling from Nosferatu the Vampyr-era Herzog without ever feeling derivative. It gets under the skin, in no small part due to Mariel Baqueiro's cinematography layering shadows on shadow, and a wall-shaking score from Greek drone trip Mmmd"


Atlantics (Atlantique)
year - 2019
director - Mati Diop
imdb - https://www.imdb.com/title/tt10199586
ICM - https://www.icheckmovies.com/movies/atlantique/
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"‘Some memories are omens,” says the heroine of this intriguingly ruminative and poetic movie from Mati Diop, making her feature film debut in the Cannes competition after an acting career that notably included work in Claire Denis’s 35 Shots of Rum..."


Araby (Arábia)
year - 2017
director - Affonso Uchoa, João Dumans
imdb - https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6400280/
ICM - https://www.icheckmovies.com/movies/arabia-2017/
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"...Brazilian wonder Araby (Arabia) sets a high bar for world cinema of 2017. An intriguingly structured, multilayered road movie in which an ordinary working-class dude looks back over a nation-wandering decade of his life"


Invisible Life (A Vida Invisível de Eurídice Gusmão)
year - 2019
director - Karim Ainouz
imdb - https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6390668/
ICM - https://www.icheckmovies.com/movies/a+v ... ivel-2019/
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"Running a generous two hours and 20 minutes, his new film is languid at times but always involving, enveloped in the characteristically Brazilian feeling of melancholy known as saudade, yet sustained by a sense of warmth and solidarity that seems present even when all physical connection between the central characters has been broken."


Ruben Brandt, Collector
year - 2018
director - Milorad Krstic
imdb - https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6241872/
ICM - https://www.icheckmovies.com/movies/rub ... collector/
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"It’s a sexy, exciting tale that’s equally inspired by classical and pop art. The visual influences are found in museums, with characters and backgrounds lifted from Manet and Picasso, but the storytelling style is straight out of Mario Bava’s “Danger Diabolik,” with a cinematic philosophy more akin to Brian De Palma’s Hitchcockian pastiches."


The Seen and the Unseen (Sekala Niskala)
year - 2017
director - Kamila Andini
imdb - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt7216260/
ICM - https://www.icheckmovies.com/movies/sekala+niskala/
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"Shown through the eyes of twin siblings, she creates a somber tasting folklore that is chilling and disturbing that effortlessly sweeps into the constant ambiguity of realism and myth. It immerses itself in a hazy dream space, often romanticising surrealism, that is structured around a powerful emotional arc."
Last edited by beavis on October 28th, 2020, 8:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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#2

Post by outdoorcats » October 27th, 2020, 1:27 am

Great work putting this together, beavis and fellow programmers! :cheers: I'm really excited to watch this slate of films and discuss them (which I had always been too burnt out to do in prior years). I'll remember to take notes while watching them as that always gives me more to say.

I've seen one, and plan to see others before 11.16, but I'll keep my ratings and thoughts quiet until then.

A lie ain't a 'side of the story.' It's just a lie.

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#3

Post by Kublai Khan » October 27th, 2020, 3:05 am

Excited for this again this year!
Owner of three platinums:
  • FilmTotaal top 100
  • IMDb's Animation Top 50
  • IMDb's Sci-Fi Top 50

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#4

Post by Melvelet » October 27th, 2020, 2:06 pm

The line-up on Letterboxd: https://letterboxd.com/melvelet/list/ic ... 0-line-up/

(PS: small spelling error in the opening post, it says 'untill' instead of 'until')
Current recommendation: Batch '81 (1982)


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Current focus: Complete ICMFF (20/46, starting at 2), 1000<400

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#5

Post by beavis » October 27th, 2020, 2:26 pm

Melvelet wrote:
October 27th, 2020, 2:06 pm
(PS: small spelling error in the opening post, it says 'untill' instead of 'until')
My English spelling is far from perfect, it seems separate was also wrong and the mondays should have been capitalized. Fixed all that now. probably going to copy-paste some of that text for the threads that still need to be made, and even small errors in a welcoming post are a bit annoying, so I'm glad you pointed this out. My spellcheck also doesn't recognize "programme"... but I thought that was a correct English word...?

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#6

Post by mightysparks » October 27th, 2020, 2:28 pm

I think it’s considered old-fashioned and maybe only an English thing (as in UK),
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#7

Post by beavis » October 27th, 2020, 2:33 pm

mightysparks wrote:
October 27th, 2020, 2:28 pm
I think it’s considered old-fashioned and maybe only an English thing (as in UK),
nobody has said anything about it so far. do you think it is alright as words go? or do you have a better alternative?

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#8

Post by Teproc » October 27th, 2020, 2:35 pm

Programme is definitely British English, so not incorrect. Americans (and apparently Australians, probably other non-Brits English speakers as well I assume) spell it program.

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#9

Post by beavis » October 27th, 2020, 2:41 pm

ah so a schedule of films or any other roster/line-up for a festival is also spelled just "program"... I thought for something like that it was the spelling I used and program was only used for things like software, or school courses and such

thanks for the feedback... let's not turn this thread further into an English course ;) I think I'll leave it as it is, because you say it is not technically incorrect (and I like that way of spelling program).

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#10

Post by blocho » October 27th, 2020, 5:19 pm

Will there be any other lineups beyond the main slate?

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#11

Post by Teproc » October 27th, 2020, 5:44 pm

I also had my own LB list with annotated sections, but Melvelet is also organized in that way, with the four films right after the main slate being the Indie section for instance.

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#12

Post by Lonewolf2003 » October 27th, 2020, 9:08 pm

Where did you get all the little write-ups, summaries from? In this and all other threads. They are great and make me interested in them.

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#13

Post by beavis » October 27th, 2020, 9:33 pm

Thanks! It is just a quick google search for reviews on each title, pulling a short quote that seems most important / descriptive / interesting to me. It helps that i've seen most of the films already, so often know what kind of quote i'm looking for.

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#14

Post by cinewest » October 28th, 2020, 5:04 am

I would have loved to join the jury, but am not in a situation where I feel I could fulfill my duties as a juror at this time, so I will follow along best as I can, and try to see / comment on some of the featured films, particularly those in the Main, Art-House, and Africa/Asia slates which look very inviting.

I have already seen a few from those slates, which also gives me a headstart.

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#15

Post by beavis » October 28th, 2020, 8:26 pm

all separate threads are now also up, and linked to in the opening post of this thread!

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#16

Post by prodigalgodson » October 28th, 2020, 8:35 pm

Sorry if this has already been addressed elsewhere, but are there gonna be any links to where to watch these when the time comes?

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#17

Post by beavis » October 28th, 2020, 8:51 pm

There are websites out there that can check if movies are available on streaming services that you have access to and a lot of the movies are available to rent or buy. It takes a bit of research for each different part of the world. This is why I wanted to have the threads up early. Also, folks on here will help each other out with tips on where they have found the films... I am sure most people who want to join in should be able to find most films!

But yeah, this is unlike a normal festival in that you have to do a small bit of legwork yourself on the getting access part :)

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#18

Post by prodigalgodson » October 29th, 2020, 12:45 am

Gotcha, I'll keep an eye out for the ones that interest me then :cheers:

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#19

Post by cinewest » October 29th, 2020, 7:19 am

I have seen Atlantique and Invisible Life from the main slate, Long Days Journey Into Night and The Day After from the Asian slate, and Birds of passage from the Latin slate.

Do I understand that if I can see another 7 that I can participate in the voting?

Any available on YouTube, amazon prime, or Netflix?

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#20

Post by mightysparks » October 29th, 2020, 7:39 am

You can participate in the voting no matter how many you see (ratings will contribute to the audience award), but you need to watch all films in one slate to be a juror for that particular slate.
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#21

Post by cinewest » October 29th, 2020, 10:23 am

mightysparks wrote:
October 29th, 2020, 7:39 am
You can participate in the voting no matter how many you see (ratings will contribute to the audience award), but you need to watch all films in one slate to be a juror for that particular slate.
Thanks, mighty. That was the easy question. Any thoughts on the availability of the films per the channels I regularly use?

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#22

Post by Lonewolf2003 » October 29th, 2020, 10:44 am

cinewest wrote:
October 29th, 2020, 10:23 am
mightysparks wrote:
October 29th, 2020, 7:39 am
You can participate in the voting no matter how many you see (ratings will contribute to the audience award), but you need to watch all films in one slate to be a juror for that particular slate.
Thanks, mighty. That was the easy question. Any thoughts on the availability of the films per the channels I regularly use?
As answered above you by beavis, availability on streaming services or dvd/blu-ray depends on your location and is something you will have to check yourself.

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#23

Post by cinewest » October 29th, 2020, 2:12 pm

Lonewolf2003 wrote:
October 29th, 2020, 10:44 am
cinewest wrote:
October 29th, 2020, 10:23 am
mightysparks wrote:
October 29th, 2020, 7:39 am
You can participate in the voting no matter how many you see (ratings will contribute to the audience award), but you need to watch all films in one slate to be a juror for that particular slate.
Thanks, mighty. That was the easy question. Any thoughts on the availability of the films per the channels I regularly use?
As answered above you by beavis, availability on streaming services or dvd/blu-ray depends on your location and is something you will have to check yourself.
Beavis also said that folks involved would provide tips as to where these films might be found. Of course, I will do some leg work, as well, and if I find any sites that have them I will inform the group. For example, I saw The Day After on Amazon Prime, and Atlantique on Netflix. The Invisible Life and Birds of Passage were also seen on Prime or netflix, and Long Days Journey into Night I watched in China.

In my research up to now, I have found Jallikatu, The Seen and Unseen, and Hagazussa also on amazon prime. 37 Seconds is available on netflix, at least in the U.S.
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#24

Post by kingink » October 29th, 2020, 8:10 pm

With this new lockdown here, I expect to watch them all! :D :P (D:)

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#25

Post by Eve-Lang-El-Coup » October 30th, 2020, 8:32 am

I've had a pretty long time away from watching films so I should be able to watch quite a few of the festival films this year.

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#26

Post by TalkingElvish » November 10th, 2020, 1:04 am

Thank you so much for putting together. I've seen a few of these already (I saw Atlantiques and Long Days Journey at Cannes) and very keen to see the others after reading those synopses.

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#27

Post by lynchs » November 11th, 2020, 6:59 pm

only one:

Arábia (2017) 6/10 kinda redundant

Hagazussa - have here to see (TV)

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#28

Post by cinewest » November 12th, 2020, 1:44 am

Two more relative disappointments, given my expectations, and one relative surprise.

I was really looking forward to Atlantique and La Vida invisivel, and while I enjoyed both to some extent, I was underwhelmed in terms of my hopes, which is partly a warning about sitting down to watch films with too much yearning beforehand.

I didn’t carry any of that baggage to my watch of The Seen and the Unseen, and was able to discover it’s qualitiess without the interference of any notions about it, and that allowed me to appreciate what it offered on its own merits.

I would give all 3 films 7’s, as each drew me in to a certain extent, though none was spellbinding the way that they could have been, or the way that films I give scores of 8 and above do.

Looking forward to Martin Eden and Araby, and any others I come across, but I will try to temper my expectations

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#29

Post by beavis » November 16th, 2020, 10:32 am

We are now officially open!!

happy viewing everybody

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#30

Post by outdoorcats » November 16th, 2020, 2:55 pm

Before I start, I want to once again thank the programmers for the amazing job putting together this festival. :poshclap: :cheers: I've been busy the past few weeks - currently at 7/10 Main Slate films seen - and I've already discovered new favorites.

Even the films I was disappointed by, I still found interesting. Let's tackle those first, and work our way up from there.

Hagazussa (Lukas Feigelfeld - 2017)

Image

The lonely howl of wind sweeping through a drafty log cabin. The crackling of a fire. The vast isolation of the 15th century Alps. In the opening scenes of Hagazussa, the folkloric art-horror from young director Lukas Fiegelfeld (the film is his film school graduation project, impressively), we're conjured into an eerie, hypnotic atmosphere where concepts such as magic and witchcraft suddenly don't seem so far-fetched. Music is sparse - for this type of story, wind makes the best soundtrack - and when we do hear it, it's played on traditional instruments, which sound utterly alien.

In this setting, we meet a mother and daughter living alone. When the mother dies - perhaps from the Black Plague - we jump ahead many years to see the now adult daughter, Abrun, a near-mute outcast accused of witchcraft.

Hagazussa may herald a bold new talent in Fiegelfeld as a director, if not a writer or storyteller. As a film school graduation project, it definitely gets an "A." But grading it against the wider world of film, it is, while beautifully shot, lacking meaningful characterization, emotional depth, or a real sense of purpose. I watched this film, which plays as a series of scenes of abject misery, and tried to feel for its quiet protagonist. But despite a committed performance from lead actress Aleksandra Cwen, she fails to come to life as anything but a two-dimensional receptacle of grim tragedy. The few other characters we see have no inner life either, cardboard cutouts intended to animate a crude thesis on misogyny in early Christianity. This film very well could have had a 3 or 4 page script.

Image

From interviews, I get the sense Fiegelfeld thinks a film showing that witches were just persecuted women is a pretty novel idea (if so, he hasn't seen a lot of horror movies), which is maybe why he's content to make the point and not tell a real story with it. He uses imagery, sound, symbolism and (ironically Biblical) imagery like a seasoned art director, but skipped the arguably important first step of crafting a compelling story in the first place, to adorn those skills with.

I can imagine how good the films he could make if he collaborated with other writers, which is why I wish critics had been a little more (constructively) critical in their assessment. The film has a 96% on Rotten Tomatoes, and many critics compared it favorably to The Witch or, even more boldly, the films of Andrei Tarkovsky. Let's not get ahead of ourselves. Fiegelfeld hasn't made an actually good film yet, in my opinion, but he has made a promising one.

5/10

The Seen and the Unseen (Kamila Andini - 2017)

Image

I have very similar feelings about The Seen and the Unseen, a film about a young girl named Tantri dealing with the impending loss of her sick twin brother.

I have now spoiled the entire story.

The second feature from Andini, the film has an amateur lo-fi feel, like a few friends got together with a camcorder, no script, someone's kids and threw together this film influenced by some arthouse movies Andini saw. A particular reference point seems to be post-Malick "poetic childhood" films like Gummo and George Washington. Those films had an improvised feel, a lax and wandering approach to narrative and an interest in recapturing the magic of childhood boredom. The Seen and the Unseen is just a series of barely-connected vignettes of the girl in different places looking moody, and rarely do she or her brother seem like actual kids. They have a Hallmark Card perfect relationship, never argue, and when the film thinks its time to tug on our heartstrings again, we get another scene of them singing together, like they're performing at a school concert and we're the audience.

I want to grade this film on the amateur curve. Hey, you did a great job! These shots were beautiful! That cut was super cinematic!

But, again, this is the director's second widely-distributed feature. So I feel the uncomfortable need to grade this on the same scale I grade other films, and on that scale, this isn't very good. The biggest issue is that we learn nothing about the characters and the story feels hastily made up as it went along, a thin excuse to show off a cinematography reel. But the film is plagued by smaller issues as well. The director's fondness for dark, silhouetted images sometimes come at the expense of basic coherence, without necessary cues to show us who's who. The film jumps back and forth in time, but doesn't always have any way to key us in on which we're watching, or whether it's one of the film's many magical realist vignettes which might be dream sequences. The film's ending is abrupt - like, really abrupt. Like Monty Python and the Holy Grail abrupt.

Someone in my class once talked to us about the drug recovery agency he was interning at, more specifically about the seasoned group leader who led meetings. This group leader, he told us, had an incredibly forceful and passionate presence. He would look at everyone in the circle and say, "You all know what the problem is. Just listen to me and I'll tell you. The problem is you all need to STOP. DOING. DRUGS." We asked whether despite this unorthodox approach, he was still a good group leader. He responded, "Well, the passion's there, the heart is there. He maybe just needs to, you know, take a couple classes."

The Seen and the Unseen is a beautiful film to look at, but unfortunately perhaps not much else. Yet Andini has an astute visual eye. I will follow her career and see where she goes from here - perhaps with just a little more polish, and after taking a couple more classes, she could develop into something really special.

4.5/10



What did you all think? How wrong am I on a scale of "not wrong" to "correct"? I'll be publishing one of these write-ups for the Main Slate films every day or so. Since I'm also watching films from other sections, those will probably just get short review/ratings, unless it's a film I particularly loved and the spirit moves me.

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#31

Post by mightysparks » November 16th, 2020, 3:04 pm

Martin Eden (2019) 6/10
I loved the grainy look, and the first hour exploring Martin's 'growth' as a poor, uneducated man putting in so much effort to become something more than that--was done so well. I thought the first love interest and love story was quite good and I was invested, but she could've been a little more complex, and the rest of the 'love' stuff didn't work at all. But as soon as it started getting all political, I started dozing off and didn't care much. The lead actor was good, very convincing in his transformation and showing the different sides of Martin, particularly his frustration and anger. I didn't get what the point of the silent reels were, they didn't make any sense or add anything to me. Overall I did like this, but if I could cut about 30 minutes of political rants it may have been much better.

Jallikattu (2019) 6/10
The film is beautiful, the rhythmic score is atmospheric and effective, the editing is great, it's a wonderfully made film. However, I didn't really love it. The first ten minutes were really strong and I loved all the montage stuff. But while everything happening on screen is chaotic, I never 'felt' the chaos or the tension and couldn't get pulled into its world and it dragged a lot at times. I thought it could've been an amazing short film, but there wasn't enough 'plot' to keep it going for that long -- I did like the glimpses into the village and people's lives rather than overdoing it like a 'typical mainstream trash' American film would've done, but all the little threads didn't come together for me. All the violence towards the buffalo was sad as well, culminating in quite a depressing ending.

Hagazussa (2017) 6/10
This is quite an impressively moody debut--and graduation film. There is little plot, though it is never difficult to follow. When searching for reviews for its entry on They Shoot Zombies Don't They, I noticed a lot of comparisons to 'The VVitch' and this does have a similar look and feel with its focus on 'minimalist historical horror' atmospheric imagery, slow pacing and sparse dialogue. All its actors have interesting and emotive faces and give strong performances. The score and sound design are also instrumental in creating a haunting mood that bring together its ideas of paranoia and psychosis. While a solid film, this failed to really engross or connect with me in any meaningful way.

Atlantique (2019) 6/10
Interesting film though I wasn’t quite sure what the point was and felt that I was missing something. The lead actress was very good, and I thought the music and visuals were beautiful. There was a genuine kind of sadness and longing in those shots of the sea and the moving, yet creepy, score. However, I didn’t find the romance parts that convincing. I mean
SpoilerShow
the teenage kid dies and comes back for the ‘love of his life’ who he seemed to barely know? Yeah he was really just a horny dead teenager who came back to finally get a piece of that ass before his soul went to rest. Just weird and not romantic as the film seems to want you to think...
There were some cool things about it, but it just didn’t all come together entirely for me. And the very last scene just seemed dumb.

Ruben Brandt, Collector (2018) 6/10
Not really my kind of thing, but it has some really beautiful and unique animation that makes the world and the characters feel really alive instead of flat and dead like I find with a lot of animation. The characters could've been more interesting and dynamic, but they at least look really cool. There are some fun crime caper moments, but it also dragged a bit and ultimately I wasn't really sure what I was meant to be getting from this. The detective mystery stuff wasn't really that interesting and though it served to bring all the loose aspects together towards the ending, it didn't feel relevant for a large portion of the film. And who knew 'Oops I Did it Again' would make for a fantastic lounge song?
"I do not always know what I want, but I do know what I don't want." - Stanley Kubrick

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#32

Post by Teproc » November 17th, 2020, 8:59 am

Alright, let's get this started. Two I'd already seen in this lineup, so let's start there.

Martin Eden (Pietro Marcello, 2019)

Gorgeously shot, with an excellent performance by Luca Martinelli, nice to see him playing something else than smarmy and disgusting, though of course he brings those to the table later on when the film needs it. The London novel is meant to be a critique of individualism, but I think this plays out more as a look at the danger of ideology in general: being right while being a prick still makes you a prick, would be the trivialized summary of this film, which also comments on how language is used as a social instrument, and also has a pretty interesting reverse Pygmalion thing going on. A little bothersome that the actress has a strong French accent when it doesn't seem like her family is supposed to be (her parents don't have it), given that this a film that plays close attention to how people speak in general, especially in scenes featuring her character.

Though the source material is set in California, the only thing that feels slightly out of place in the Napoli setting here is the protagonist's name (and the aforementioned accent). Aside from that, it looks and feels like it belong in the Italian cinematic tradition, specifically recalling Bertolucci's Prima della rivoluzione, a film that equally sees through the bullshit of young ideologues while still empathizing with them.

8/10

Atlantique (Mati Diop, 2019)


Mystical and mysterious, this is captivating at times, but it also struggles to reach for something greater at times, with Diop repeatedly coming back to the same shot of the Atlantic Ocean in the hope that we might derive meaning from it... well, I didn't get there the first, second or third (not sure how many there were in total) time, really. This is a film with a lot of promise that doesn't quite deliver. Looking at the loss that migration represent (whether they journey is succesful or not) through a ghost story is imaginative and bold, and at times very effective, but tying it into a romantic story at the center of it doesn't work all that well for me, even though I get the idea: it is mostly young men embarking on this journey, and that implies a loss specifically for young women that is shown here.

In the end I feel similarly to this as I do with Claire Denis's films, which makes sense since Mati Diop was mostly known before this for acting in one of them, that is to say that I appreciate it but find myself at a bit of a remove from it.

6/10

And now for the first film I watched for this festival:

Arabia (Joao Dumans & Affonso Uchôa, 2017)

A film shaped like a folk song, a meandering evocation of working class life in contemporary Brazil. Stunningly shot, #EveryFrameaPainting type-stuff (in a good way) which suffers slightly from its episodic nature and its framing device, but has a sense of everyday poetry and ends quite powerfully.

If we did specific awards, I definitly would consider this one for filmography, even though it has some fierce competition. It's truly impressive,and even though I don't think the opening section serves much of a purpose narratively, those shots of the young man biking with the mountains in the background probably make it worth being in there on their own.

7/10

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#33

Post by beavis » November 17th, 2020, 9:08 am

Teproc wrote:
November 17th, 2020, 8:59 am
those shots of the young man biking with the mountains in the background probably make it worth being in there on their own.
very nice write ups!
I singled out your last sentence because I very much felt the same way there

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#34

Post by Melvelet » November 17th, 2020, 9:18 am

The Seen and the Unseen - 6
I have mentioned before that I watched this film under circumstances where I couldn't really appreciate such a slow burn and I immediately thought that I might need to rewatch it. I don't think I'll get around to it now - 44 films within 29 days is quite a task for me. Reading outdoorcats' thoughts I also wonder if it wasn't also narrative and character development weaknesses that held me back (although it's clear that this wasn't the focal point of the movie in the first place). What the film still managed though is to leave a lingering feeling that I feel when I see its name.

Atlantique - 6
My opening fil for the festival and I had it on my pc for a longer time. I enjoy it for the bigger part although I agree with more critical voices that talk about the storylines not quite harmonizing. Visually I can't complain though.
Current recommendation: Batch '81 (1982)


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#35

Post by beavis » November 17th, 2020, 9:32 am

Melvelet wrote:
November 17th, 2020, 9:18 am
Reading outdoorcats' thoughts I also wonder if it wasn't also narrative and character development weaknesses that held me back (although it's clear that this wasn't the focal point of the movie in the first place). What the film still managed though is to leave a lingering feeling that I feel when I see its name.
Cats also compares it to his experience with Hagazussa, where he misses story elements, while for me the restrain of those elements is the absolute strongpoint of the movie! (besides a strong audio-visual concept of course).... so it still could go either way ;)

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#36

Post by outdoorcats » November 18th, 2020, 3:08 pm

beavis wrote:
November 17th, 2020, 9:32 am
Melvelet wrote:
November 17th, 2020, 9:18 am
Reading outdoorcats' thoughts I also wonder if it wasn't also narrative and character development weaknesses that held me back (although it's clear that this wasn't the focal point of the movie in the first place). What the film still managed though is to leave a lingering feeling that I feel when I see its name.
Cats also compares it to his experience with Hagazussa, where he misses story elements, while for me the restrain of those elements is the absolute strongpoint of the movie! (besides a strong audio-visual concept of course).... so it still could go either way ;)
To clarify, I do often love films that are purely audiovisual experiences, with thin stories or no stories at all. So why didn't I form any type of connection for Hagazussa? I'm not sure. Perhaps it's the film posited uncomfortably between a narrative-driven and a non-narrative film. I think the problem is that it does have a narrative, it wants us to empathize with the protagonist, but even though I tend to get in my feels over films all the time, I never felt anything. She has no personal touches that make her feel human or like someone with any kind of inner life. Everything about her only exists to move the plot forward.

But had the film gone "full experimental" and done away with the narrative entirely, or made it vaguer/more ambiguous/mysterious (for a random example, like L'intrus), then I could have just settled into the audiovisual experience more and not worried about how little I was feeling. Does that make sense? :shrug:

A lie ain't a 'side of the story.' It's just a lie.

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#37

Post by beavis » November 18th, 2020, 3:16 pm

It makes sense :)
Guess I was enjoying everything too much to be worried about how I felt about a lacking character-arc... or, I personally didn't feel that lack... expectations and personal preferences always color an experience in different ways!

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#38

Post by lynchs » November 18th, 2020, 4:22 pm

one more:

Hagazussa (2017) 6/10 well made but kinda disjoined or futile.. ?

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#39

Post by outdoorcats » November 18th, 2020, 4:24 pm

Martin Eden (Pietro Marcello - 2019)

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"Martin Eden" is one of Jack London's most popular novels, out of a little over 20 published in his short lifetime (he died at 40 in 1916). The bastard child of the daughter of a canal digger, he spent his early life working in canneries, on sealing schooners, and living as a hobo. At 21, he joined the Gold Rush to the Yukon. But, he also had a passion for self-education, instilled in him by a sympathetic librarian as a child - all the while improving his reading and writing. He went back to school as an adult, and eventually was admitted to the University of California. He wrote stories based on his real-life adventures, they became popular, and by 25 he was rich -- a genuine rags-to-riches story. Martin Eden has a similar life story, leading many to conclude the novel is autobiographical. London seemed to confirm this, but with the caveat that although they are both socialists, Eden remains an "individualist" while London gave up individualism for collectivism. London intended to show how Eden's individualism destroys him.

Announcing himself as a bold and exciting new voice in cinema, Pietro Marcello transplants the story of Eden to Italy and an unspecified time period that from the cars, clothes, and pop soundtrack, seems to be both the 1920s and the 1980s and something in between all at the same time. The story outline is the same, Jack London's socialist politics are still at the forefront, and stylistically Marcello's voice is a breath of fresh air among contemporary arthouse movies. Where the trend in festival favorites is to be meditative, static, and emotionally distant, Marcello crafts a wild and epic melodrama with the same spirit of its protagonist: fast-moving, bold, passionate, and sentimental. Yet with its intercut stock footage, which shares Bill Morrison's love of damaged celluloid from film's early days, it's love affair with 16mm grain, and it's sometimes stream-of-consciousness editing, it is very much also an arthouse film.

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Who is Eden? Like London, a poor-but-happy sailor living life to the fullest. When he rescues a man named Arturo from a beating on the docks, he turns out to be a member of a wealthy, elite family. He is invited back to the man's home where he is greeted warmly, and he falls in love with Arturo's sister Elena. When she suggests to him that he should improve his learning, he begins a quest of self-education--with the end goal of becoming a writer who will write stories about the poor and working class.

These early scenes are bursting with life, and Marcello is on the verge of creating a contemporary classic about love, class, politics and artistic creation. But the story keeps going and going, and unfortunately adapting London's story faithfully means that the film must come to a conclusion that is self-pitying, myopic, and extremely bitter. The film's life is suddenly drained by scenes of rampant excess and emotional isolation, like a musical celebrity biopic. After all, towards the end of his life, London was also an unhappy and sickly alcoholic who lost tons of money on failed business ventures and a mansion destroyed by a fire.

Had he lived a longer life, I'd like to imagine he would have found serenity again after his disappointment that wealth and success didn't bring happiness. The grim look on life shared with us by Martin Eden is a romantic and youthful one, the mindset of someone who hasn't yet recovered from a heartbreak and is convinced they never will. I would have gobbled this sort of thing right up in my late teens or early 20s. I'm a little more critical of this viewpoint now. Life goes on. I'm aware not everyone lives to see that hope and find new meaning, but don't storytellers have a responsibility to portray it?

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In short, Marcello could have made this adaptation a little less faithful and it would have been all the better for it. Ironically, despite it being one of the novel's (intended) themes, we never step back from Eden's solipsistic and "individualist" world view - he's at the center of the film's universe all the way to the end. The story doesn't necessarily have to share London's "collectivist" beliefs, but in order to be a truly great film about life, in my opinion, this needed a "big picture" moment, and we arguably don't get one.

We do get an epic that is as ambitious as it is gorgeous, with a star-making turn by Luca Marinelli (who deservedly won Best Actor at Venice). That alone makes it worth the price of admission.

7/10

A lie ain't a 'side of the story.' It's just a lie.

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#40

Post by outdoorcats » November 18th, 2020, 4:28 pm

beavis wrote:
November 18th, 2020, 3:16 pm
It makes sense :)
Guess I was enjoying everything too much to be worried about how I felt about a lacking character-arc... or, I personally didn't feel that lack... expectations and personal preferences always color an experience in different ways!
Indeed, it's the beauty of subjectivity. I refuse to believe that those who prefer Adam Sandler comedies to my favorite movies are "wrong" in any way, only that their experiences color what they look for and enjoy in movies differently. The important thing is to find what you enjoy and just enjoy it.

A lie ain't a 'side of the story.' It's just a lie.

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