Welcome to the ICM Forum.

If you notice any issues please post in the Q&A thread. If the main forum isn't loading correctly, try clearing browser cache. There appears to be an issue with board emails, this should only impact registration or account recovery. If you encounter this issue, contact PeacefulAnarchy This might take a couple of days to fix.
Podcast: Talking Images (Episode 41 released November 15th: The ICMForum Film Festival: Main Slate & Highlights)
iCinema Magazine: WE ARE LIVE! (We just need more content)
ICMForum Film Festival: Mon Nov 15 - Dec 13
Polls: 1946 (Results), USA (Nov 28th), Sport (Nov 30th)
Challenges: Noir, War, Argentina/Brazil/Py/Uy
Managers Cup: QF Schedule, QFA: sacmersault vs filmbantha (Dec 12th)
About: Welcome All New Members, Terms of Use, Q&A

ICMF-FF5: Main Slate

User avatar
beavis
Posts: 3336
Joined: June 20th, 2011, 6:00 am
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Contact:

ICMF-FF5: Main Slate

#1

Post by beavis »

Welcome to the 2021 ICM Forum Film Festival!


From Monday the 15th of November until Monday the 13th of December this thread is going to be the main hub for the 5th edition of our forum’s annual fest that highlights recent films that fly under the mainstream radar. Here we are discussing the 10 selected movies of this year's main slate, which features a wide range of challenging but also fun and rewarding movies, including a center piece that all seven of our programmers unanimously loved: The 20th Century. Be sure to also check out the separate threads for our ten other sections, including for the first time a section dedicated to Africa!

Africa – viewtopic.php?p=740702#p740702
Animation - viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5676
Art House - viewtopic.php?p=740705#p740705
Asia - viewtopic.php?p=740706#p740706
Documentary - viewtopic.php?p=740707#p740707
English Language Independent - viewtopic.php?p=740709#p740709
Europe - viewtopic.php?p=740711#p740711
Just Before Dawn - viewtopic.php?p=740713#p740713
Latin America - viewtopic.php?p=740714#p740714
LGBTQ – viewtopic.php?p=740716#p740716

The entire program is listed in this ICM-checklist:
https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/icmf ... am/beavis/

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

On to the films of the Main slate, starting with this year’s centerpiece highlight!

The 20th Century

Image
Matthew Rankin, Canada
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt7969836/

The 20th Century is a visually breathtaking, thoroughly bizarre and certifiably campy reimaging of the rise to power of one William Lyon Mackenzie King - one of Canada's longest-serving prime ministers and a symbol of pre and post WW2 Canada.

In this reality Canada is a poor, gaslighted and willing prisoner of a Fascistic Britain - represented by Lord Protector Moto - and flying the flag of the "Old Disappointment". Canadian citizens are to "do more than expected, and accept less than deserved". Freedom is terrorism, loyalty is all - and democracy is nowhere to be seen: replaced by baby seal clubbing, the art of passive aggressiveness - and a long line of other great trials of "Canadian manhood".

The acting style is a delightful mix of deadpan and the over-the-top earnestness of bad infomercials or 30s propaganda, and the balancing act continues and flourishes visually. We get everything from "ultra-camp" sets that may give us flashbacks to 70s TV shows, to stunning and elegant minimalist sets best described as German expressionism, but in stunning, bright colors.

Image

What is left is jarring to say the least, but in the best possible way. An eerie pastiche of reality and fiction brought to life through contradictions and a lot of heart. In this “neverworld” women (often) play men and men (often) play women. The fakest looking bird you have ever seen can talk. Boots (that no one wears) may be the sexiest of objects. This is the kind of madness you can simply get lost in - and it is hard not to love every second.

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

Image
Dylda (Beanpole)
Kantemir Balagov, Russia
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt10199640/
Beanpole follows a tall, slim nurse (a beanpole) as she struggles through life in a war torn Leningrad and cares for a child. We get tender moments between her and the child, but there is an icy underbelly which is to be revealed. We also dive into the life of her friend, damaged from the front and prospects of love. This is only Kantemir Balagov's second feature, after the violently powerful, emotive, muted and simultaneously explicit Closeness (featured in ICMFFF3). His cinematography remains grimy, but with added color and elegance this time. It creates a colorful darkness which suits the muted emotions of his characters wonderfully well and also makes Balagov fit snugly in a tradition of filmmaking in Leningrad that has Alexander Sokurov, who is clearly a mentor for Balagov, as its biggest name.

Image
La ciudad occulta (The Hidden City)
Victor Moreno, Spain
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt9303764/
This is a wordless documentary that explores hidden spaces in a sensory way comparable to a movie like Leviathan (2012), making them feel otherworldly and exciting. It also is another highlight of a current surge in experimental filmmaking in Spain (mostly taking place in Galicia, as highlighted by two movies in our art house section, though this one is not part of that scene). The makers advise you to experience this "ride" through tunnels, sewers, underground systems and other such things in complete darkness. A piece of advice we can only strongly repeat!

Image
This Is Not a Burial, It's a Resurrection
Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese, Lesotho
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt10849514/
This Is Not a Burial, It's a Resurrection lures you in with trippy, nightmarish sounds and visuals before it unleashes you into a slow, brooding and poetic work. You may be tempted to believe the title in a more literal sense, as the main protagonist, an elderly woman named Mantoa, has just lost her son. But what it really captures is progress vs. tradition, or more specifically cold progress vs. people. As the entire village is set to be flooded with a new dam, and the villagers, all seemingly poor farmers, are to be relocated to the capital. We peer into humanity, and into what stands to be lost. We spend time in the beauty and serenity of the village, we see the bonds formed, we see the pain in leaving, we see Mantoa's despair, and we feel it.

Image
Zhuang si le yi zhi yang (Jinpa)
Pema Tseden, China
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt8836292/
At first glance Jinpa is all about the look, with echoes of the noir genre. It is deliciously lit, with the frames emitting pure heat. There is limited dialogue, limited action, and a spiked haired protagonist who essentially never removes his sunglasses. The type of cool, no-nonsense look that would have fit in perfectly in a Kar-Wai Wong film 20 or 30 years ago. But this is not that kind of a film. Jinpa is actually a slow, brooding, lyrical and (this becomes clearer and clearer as the movie progresses) philosophical tale about choices, connections and thoughts. About paths merging into one. Tibet is not a place for superficial coolness. But it is also produced by Kar-Wai Wong, so it all makes sense.

Image
Sheytan vojud nadarad (There is no Evil)
Mohammad Rasoulof, Iran
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt11697844/
This may be one of the bravest denunciations of the oppressive Iranian regime, and what is accepted as the rule of law. There is No Evil leaves the vile just on the edges and focuses on the mundanity, familiarity and intimacy of life, but with actions and choices that have deadly and ever-lasting consequences. In exploring relationships and the choices people make, or do not make, There is No Evil places an emphasis on submission to no-win situations. This connected theme is carried through four separate stories, capturing entirely different emotional motifs. It packs several punches and the first encounter with the "evil" in question comes out of nowhere!

Image
Bergmál (Echo)
Rúnar Rúnarsson, Iceland
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt9296808/
Echo is a truly extraordinary work, combining 56 vignettes of everyday life, some 30-40 seconds long, into a 79-minute film. While there is no narrative, and even many of the vignettes are without plots, we start to see a greater whole taking shape. We are pulled in by dark humour and bleak minimalism, by familiarity and obfuscation. No character is ever revisited, but we do follow a clearly linear thread through time. With Christmas and a new year coming up, both in the movie and now, during the festival, this is the movie to contemplate on existence and the roles we play in our human society.

Image
Aniara
Hugo Lilja, Sweden
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt7589524/
This brooding Swedish science-fiction film takes us on an emotionally charged journey through our very own solar system when a spacecraft carrying settlers to Mars encounters difficulties along the way. Aniara is a far cry from the blockbuster territory that you might expect to see from the film's description as it focuses on the human drama and existentialism of the life-altering scenario to deliver a bleak and thought-provoking insight into consumerism and the human condition. The impressive set design provides a striking backdrop to the narrative and places us in a world full of artificiality that feels uncomfortably familiar. This is a subdued, low-key journey through space, though it succeeds in reaching for the stars by delivering a powerful message alongside its perilous voyage.

Image
Promare (Puromea)
Hiroyuki Imaishi, Japan
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt9116358/
An intense kaleidoscope of colour and sound awaits anyone who delves into the immersive sensory overload that is showcased in Promare. This Japanese animation delivers a relentless assault of visual wonder and excitement that depicts a future where a firefighting mecha service are pushed to the limits as they battle to protect our world from a new breed of pyrokinetic humans. The action is fast and frenetic and the impressive anime style makes for a variety of memorably chaotic set pieces. Those who appreciate apocalyptic action and hyper stylised cinema are sure to be blown away by the exhilarating experience on offer from Director Hiroyuki Imaishi, who started his career as an animator for the acclaimed TV Series Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Image
S He
Shengwei Zhou, China
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt8856172/
S He is a bold and beautiful Chinese stop-motion animation that will inevitably resonate with fans of Jan Svankmajer and the Quay Brothers. This impressive debut feature by Director and Writer Shengwei Zhou utilizes a wealth of quirky and inventive visuals to depict the exploits of a devoted mother shoe who camouflages herself as a male shoe to protect her daughter in this wildly original experience. S He could easily be enjoyed at face value for the absurd Lynchian nightmare world it depicts (you will come face to face with a brain walking around on legs that farts cigarettes!) though it also offers thoughtful commentary on gender, overthrowing the system, and Chinese factory shop workers, which is a spectacular achievement for an animated film without dialogue.
User avatar
cinewest
Posts: 2478
Joined: February 15th, 2017, 7:00 am
Contact:

#2

Post by cinewest »

Kudos to the programmers who have put together what looks like a very interesting festival. Is anyone planning on posting information on how we can track these films down? Last year, I think someone steered me to a website that list various places where the films can be streamed, and I was able to track down quite a few that way. Any forthcoming info on this would be much appreciated
a big thank you in advance, cineast
User avatar
beavis
Posts: 3336
Joined: June 20th, 2011, 6:00 am
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Contact:

#3

Post by beavis »

Our festival podcast is now live!
viewtopic.php?f=1&p=740793#p740793
User avatar
beavis
Posts: 3336
Joined: June 20th, 2011, 6:00 am
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Contact:

#4

Post by beavis »

Those who have had the time to checkout the threads for our various sections have already seen that this year we have spiced things up a bit with a selection of shorts! This ICM lists gathers all the links for them in a single place: https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/icmf ... ts/beavis/
Last edited by beavis on November 15th, 2021, 5:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
beavis
Posts: 3336
Joined: June 20th, 2011, 6:00 am
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Contact:

#5

Post by beavis »

cinewest wrote: November 15th, 2021, 12:47 pm Kudos to the programmers who have put together what looks like a very interesting festival. Is anyone planning on posting information on how we can track these films down? Last year, I think someone steered me to a website that list various places where the films can be streamed, and I was able to track down quite a few that way. Any forthcoming info on this would be much appreciated
a big thank you in advance, cineast
thanks!

As per usual finding the films differs a bit for everybody in different countries and with different acces to streaming services and what not. So we don't have a ready made lists that points you in certain directions. Everybody does a bit of leg work and then the picture will become clearer gradually. Found things can also sometimes be shared. Just give it some time, see what you can find on your own first and then ask around when the first viewings are coming in.
User avatar
outdoorcats
Posts: 1806
Joined: February 3rd, 2017, 7:00 am
Contact:

#6

Post by outdoorcats »

beavis wrote: November 15th, 2021, 5:34 pm
cinewest wrote: November 15th, 2021, 12:47 pm Kudos to the programmers who have put together what looks like a very interesting festival. Is anyone planning on posting information on how we can track these films down? Last year, I think someone steered me to a website that list various places where the films can be streamed, and I was able to track down quite a few that way. Any forthcoming info on this would be much appreciated
a big thank you in advance, cineast
thanks!

As per usual finding the films differs a bit for everybody in different countries and with different acces to streaming services and what not. So we don't have a ready made lists that points you in certain directions. Everybody does a bit of leg work and then the picture will become clearer gradually. Found things can also sometimes be shared. Just give it some time, see what you can find on your own first and then ask around when the first viewings are coming in.
Actually, maxwell has already done just this. :) Here's the link cinewest: https://trakt.tv/users/maxwelldeux/list ... t=rank,asc

I've only seen 3/10 of the Main Slate so far. Slacking, I know - I'll have to watch a bunch over the coming week. :circle:

A lie ain't a 'side of the story.' It's just a lie.
User avatar
beavis
Posts: 3336
Joined: June 20th, 2011, 6:00 am
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Contact:

#7

Post by beavis »

or month :)
User avatar
cinewest
Posts: 2478
Joined: February 15th, 2017, 7:00 am
Contact:

#8

Post by cinewest »

outdoorcats wrote: November 15th, 2021, 6:14 pm
beavis wrote: November 15th, 2021, 5:34 pm
cinewest wrote: November 15th, 2021, 12:47 pm Kudos to the programmers who have put together what looks like a very interesting festival. Is anyone planning on posting information on how we can track these films down? Last year, I think someone steered me to a website that list various places where the films can be streamed, and I was able to track down quite a few that way. Any forthcoming info on this would be much appreciated
a big thank you in advance, cineast
thanks!

As per usual finding the films differs a bit for everybody in different countries and with different acces to streaming services and what not. So we don't have a ready made lists that points you in certain directions. Everybody does a bit of leg work and then the picture will become clearer gradually. Found things can also sometimes be shared. Just give it some time, see what you can find on your own first and then ask around when the first viewings are coming in.
Actually, maxwell has already done just this. :) Here's the link cinewest: https://trakt.tv/users/maxwelldeux/list ... t=rank,asc

I've only seen 3/10 of the Main Slate so far. Slacking, I know - I'll have to watch a bunch over the coming week. :circle:
That's awesome. Thanks. I've only seen one so far, but there are quite a few I'm interested in
User avatar
outdoorcats
Posts: 1806
Joined: February 3rd, 2017, 7:00 am
Contact:

#9

Post by outdoorcats »

beavis wrote: November 15th, 2021, 6:20 pmor month :)
Well I want time to be able to explore some of the other slates as well - they all look great!

A lie ain't a 'side of the story.' It's just a lie.
User avatar
hurluberlu
Donator
Posts: 2864
Joined: January 4th, 2017, 7:00 am
Contact:

#10

Post by hurluberlu »

Thanks to the programmers for all the work done so far !

The Hidden City / La ciudad oculta (Víctor Moreno, 2018) 5+
Maybe an underground Leviathan indeed, for its raw take of in situ sounds, but where there was life, or death, in every shot of Leviathan, we are left with too many bland shots and long inexpressive travelling here, especially near the end. There is only so much you can get out of lights in a tunnel, even less a sewage tunnel. First mesmerized by the beauty of composition and space analogy, it gradually vanishes as less meaningful settings succeeed before falling into the mundane without much left to care for.

Seen before the festival:
Beanpole / Dylda (Kantemir Balagov, 2019) 7-
There Is No Evil / Sheytan vojud nadarad (Mohammad Rasoulof, 2020) 8
Promare (Hiroyuki Imaishi, 2019) 4+
ranking
There Is No Evil / Sheytan vojud nadarad (Mohammad Rasoulof, 2020) 8
Beanpole / Dylda (Kantemir Balagov, 2019) 7-
The Hidden City / La ciudad oculta (Víctor Moreno, 2018) 5+
Promare (Hiroyuki Imaishi, 2019) 4+
ImageImageImageImageImage
blocho
Donator
Posts: 5273
Joined: July 20th, 2014, 6:00 am
Contact:

#11

Post by blocho »

If I know almost nothing about Canadian history, will I get anything from seeing The 20th Century?
User avatar
zzzorf
Posts: 1963
Joined: April 14th, 2018, 6:00 am
Location: Kempsey, NSW, Australia
Contact:

#12

Post by zzzorf »

blocho wrote: November 16th, 2021, 4:19 am If I know almost nothing about Canadian history, will I get anything from seeing The 20th Century?
I went into this knowing no history of Canada and after watching it I went and looked a few things up. The history here is all over the place and is now way to be considered realistic. Basically, just go in thinking it's a normal movie and you will be fine.
User avatar
outdoorcats
Posts: 1806
Joined: February 3rd, 2017, 7:00 am
Contact:

#13

Post by outdoorcats »

blocho wrote: November 16th, 2021, 4:19 am If I know almost nothing about Canadian history, will I get anything from seeing The 20th Century?
I think so. It's an alternate/fantasy history anyway, and its humor seems to be riffing more on absurd Canadian stereotypes than in-jokes for Canadians only. (think Guy Maddin meets Canadian Bacon)

A lie ain't a 'side of the story.' It's just a lie.
User avatar
maxwelldeux
Donator
Posts: 9406
Joined: June 7th, 2016, 6:00 am
Location: Seattle-ish, WA, USA
Contact:

#14

Post by maxwelldeux »

outdoorcats wrote: November 16th, 2021, 5:02 am
blocho wrote: November 16th, 2021, 4:19 am If I know almost nothing about Canadian history, will I get anything from seeing The 20th Century?
I think so. It's an alternate/fantasy history anyway, and its humor seems to be riffing more on absurd Canadian stereotypes than in-jokes for Canadians only. (think Guy Maddin meets Canadian Bacon)
Well that's a hell of a description... I'm oddly intrigued enough to be in.
User avatar
pitchorneirda
Posts: 1353
Joined: February 11th, 2019, 12:07 pm
Location: France
Contact:

#15

Post by pitchorneirda »

"There Is No Evil" is almost too good to be in the contest, I think it's one class above the rest even if I still have much to discover, but no bad films so far
"La Ciudad Oculta" satisfied my curiosity longer than hurluberlu, but I agree the beginning is the strongest part
"Art is like a fire, it is born from the very thing it burns" - Jean-Luc Godard
User avatar
hurluberlu
Donator
Posts: 2864
Joined: January 4th, 2017, 7:00 am
Contact:

#16

Post by hurluberlu »

The Twentieth Century (Matthew Rankin, 2019) 6+
Asking Terry Gilliam, Wes Anderson and Bertrand Mandico to make a film together with a predefined theme (Canada's politics at the turn of the 20th century) and style (revisiting Expressionism in Cinema) would have likely produced the same result. In other words, there is a huge talent at play here although it looks a little forced. And where any of these directors would typically pull you in a complete cinematic experience, I felt a distanced observer all along: the grotesque humor mixed with Canada insider cultural, political and historical references flew well over my head for the most, let alone the cryptic ending. I am going to assume it is all clear (and fun) for citizens of the Commonwealth. But otherwise it is really a feast for the cinephile eyes and Rankin is now high on my watch list of promising directors I will look forward to the next film.
ranking
There Is No Evil / Sheytan vojud nadarad (Mohammad Rasoulof, 2020) 8
Beanpole / Dylda (Kantemir Balagov, 2019) 7-
The Twentieth Century (Matthew Rankin, 2019) 6+
The Hidden City / La ciudad oculta (Víctor Moreno, 2018) 5+
Promare (Hiroyuki Imaishi, 2019) 4+
reviews
The Hidden City / La ciudad oculta (Víctor Moreno, 2018) 5+
Maybe an underground Leviathan indeed, for its raw take of in situ sounds, but where there was life, or death, in every shot of Leviathan, we are left with too many bland shots and long inexpressive travelling here, especially near the end. There is only so much you can get out of lights in a tunnel, even less a sewage tunnel. First mesmerized by the beauty of composition and space analogy, it gradually vanishes as less meaningful settings succeeed before falling into the mundane without much left to care for.

The Twentieth Century (Matthew Rankin, 2019) 6+
Asking Terry Gilliam, Wes Anderson and Bertrand Mandico to make a film together with a predefined theme (Canada's politics at the turn of the 20th century) and style (revisiting Expressionism in Cinema) would have likely produced the same result. In other words, there is a huge talent at play here although it looks a little forced. And where any of these directors would typically pull you in a complete cinematic experience, I felt a distanced observer all along: the grotesque humor mixed with Canada insider cultural, political and historical references flew well over my head for the most, let alone the cryptic ending. I am going to assume it is all clear (and fun) for citizens of the Commonwealth. But otherwise it is really a feast for the cinephile eyes and Rankin is now high on my watch list of promising directors I will look forward to the next film.
ImageImageImageImageImage
toromash
Posts: 222
Joined: September 9th, 2015, 6:00 am
Contact:

#17

Post by toromash »

The 20th Century 4/10
I had a dream once that it would enter the <400 list, so i chose to watch it. Didn't like it, specifically the style was annoying. I also think it's a matter of preference regarding the subject matter. It revolves around politics, but is presented in a absurd manner. This has the side effect that i didn't take it seriously and lost interest in the plot and it's exploration of canadian history, and as the jokes were unfunny, it gets an unusual low rating for an <400 film.
User avatar
flavo5000
Posts: 5350
Joined: July 10th, 2014, 6:00 am
Location: Arkansas, USA
Contact:

#18

Post by flavo5000 »

Here are my thoughts on the ones I've already seen prior to the 15th:

Promare (2019) 7.5/10
I loved the shit out of this movie. Seeing it in the theater definitely helped too. The visuals are just some of the most hyperkinetic crazy stuff Studio Trigger has ever done. Having said that I could see people who prefer their movies heavy and slow will find the manic nature of this one obnoxious.

Aniara (2018) 7.5/10
Very good, thoughtful indie sci-fi. It felt like it could've used a little tightening up in places but overall very well done.

There Is No Evil (2020) 8/10
Very good movie. Heavy subject matter but filmed in some very innovative fascinating ways. The pure filmmaking talent here is top notch.

Beanpole (2019) 6/10
I don't mind a slow film but it needs to give me something to chew on. This one just seemed to revel in its dreary circumstances with a sickly pallor to its cinematography. Still it has some strong performances that raise it higher than I might've given it otherwise.

The 20th Century (2019) 7/10
I checked multiple times while watching this if Guy Maddin had anything to do with it. It REALLY felt like a Guy Maddin picture in the way it was filmed and acted as well as its bizarre sense of humor. I know nothing of Canadian politics but still found it an entertaining movie. Not a masterpiece but it had a lot of imagination in set design in particular.
User avatar
cinewest
Posts: 2478
Joined: February 15th, 2017, 7:00 am
Contact:

#19

Post by cinewest »

pitchorneirda wrote: November 16th, 2021, 7:52 am "There Is No Evil" is almost too good to be in the contest, I think it's one class above the rest even if I still have much to discover, but no bad films so far
"La Ciudad Oculta" satisfied my curiosity longer than hurluberlu, but I agree the beginning is the strongest part
There Is No Evil, and This Is Not A Burial... are the two that are calling my attention the most....
User avatar
St. Gloede
Moderator
Posts: 13022
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 6:00 am
Contact:

#20

Post by St. Gloede »

toromash wrote: November 16th, 2021, 9:17 pm The 20th Century 4/10
I had a dream once that it would enter the <400 list, so i chose to watch it. Didn't like it, specifically the style was annoying. I also think it's a matter of preference regarding the subject matter. It revolves around politics, but is presented in a absurd manner. This has the side effect that i didn't take it seriously and lost interest in the plot and it's exploration of canadian history, and as the jokes were unfunny, it gets an unusual low rating for an <400 film.
Really sorry you didn't enjoy the humour - my only defence is that is should not be taken "seriously". I never really considered that the subject itself would be too off-putting, as it never feels like a "political film", beyond the broad strokes - which I'll tie to my surprise of Hurlu mentioning it felt like a lot of "insider" humour. I knew nothing of Canadian politics of the era going in and it is my favourite film of 2019. That said, I might just be naturally more inclined to this kind of subject matter, and just care about style so much that the references didn't matter. :D Hard tosat.

How do you / and Hurlu feel about Maddin in general? He is one of my favourite directors, so the similarities made it easy to love, though I did feel Rankin gave it his own twists - mainly in centering it on an actual topic/moment of history and by having the style feel more like 30s-60s rather than 10s-30s. The expressionist outside sets (which granted, would link it to the 10s/20s too - is also something Maddin never did - but the style of intertitles, etc. was not present, which feels like a foundation in Maddin's cinematic language).
User avatar
outdoorcats
Posts: 1806
Joined: February 3rd, 2017, 7:00 am
Contact:

#21

Post by outdoorcats »

St. Gloede wrote: November 18th, 2021, 11:42 amthough I did feel Rankin gave it his own twists... by having the style feel more like 30s-60s rather than 10s-30s.
It kinda had a similar aesthetic to The Saddest Music in the World, which IIRC had an early-sound aesthetic going for it. But to the film's credit, it at least just felt like "the next Guy Maddin film" and not "a Guy Maddin knockoff" so as homages go, it hews pretty close to the mark (pun intended).

A lie ain't a 'side of the story.' It's just a lie.
User avatar
flavo5000
Posts: 5350
Joined: July 10th, 2014, 6:00 am
Location: Arkansas, USA
Contact:

#22

Post by flavo5000 »

outdoorcats wrote: November 18th, 2021, 6:21 pm
St. Gloede wrote: November 18th, 2021, 11:42 amthough I did feel Rankin gave it his own twists... by having the style feel more like 30s-60s rather than 10s-30s.
It kinda had a similar aesthetic to The Saddest Music in the World, which IIRC had an early-sound aesthetic going for it. But to the film's credit, it at least just felt like "the next Guy Maddin film" and not "a Guy Maddin knockoff" so as homages go, it hews pretty close to the mark (pun intended).
Yea, I think it wasn't so much a Guy Maddin ripoff as the kind of movie Guy Maddin would've eventually made himself.
User avatar
hurluberlu
Donator
Posts: 2864
Joined: January 4th, 2017, 7:00 am
Contact:

#23

Post by hurluberlu »

St. Gloede wrote: November 18th, 2021, 11:42 am
toromash wrote: November 16th, 2021, 9:17 pm The 20th Century 4/10
I had a dream once that it would enter the <400 list, so i chose to watch it. Didn't like it, specifically the style was annoying. I also think it's a matter of preference regarding the subject matter. It revolves around politics, but is presented in a absurd manner. This has the side effect that i didn't take it seriously and lost interest in the plot and it's exploration of canadian history, and as the jokes were unfunny, it gets an unusual low rating for an <400 film.
Really sorry you didn't enjoy the humour - my only defence is that is should not be taken "seriously". I never really considered that the subject itself would be too off-putting, as it never feels like a "political film", beyond the broad strokes - which I'll tie to my surprise of Hurlu mentioning it felt like a lot of "insider" humour. I knew nothing of Canadian politics of the era going in and it is my favourite film of 2019. That said, I might just be naturally more inclined to this kind of subject matter, and just care about style so much that the references didn't matter. :D Hard tosat.

How do you / and Hurlu feel about Maddin in general? He is one of my favourite directors, so the similarities made it easy to love, though I did feel Rankin gave it his own twists - mainly in centering it on an actual topic/moment of history and by having the style feel more like 30s-60s rather than 10s-30s. The expressionist outside sets (which granted, would link it to the 10s/20s too - is also something Maddin never did - but the style of intertitles, etc. was not present, which feels like a foundation in Maddin's cinematic language).
I have only watched Brand Upon the Brain! and My Winnipeg from Maddin, the latter quite recently: I am probably a novice with Maddin but it did not come to mind when watching the 20th Century. What I remember from these two films is something more elaborated and sophisticated than Rankin's work in terms of montage and narration while Rankin has more care on visual design.
The 20th Century humor never worked on me so I have inferred that I was probably missing some references but it could well be that it was just gross-out stuff I am not really fond of to start with :sweat: . Say for instance the hero wanking while sniffing a shoe with the phallic cactus next to him, was it metaphoric at all or just farcical ?
ImageImageImageImageImage
toromash
Posts: 222
Joined: September 9th, 2015, 6:00 am
Contact:

#24

Post by toromash »

St. Gloede wrote: November 18th, 2021, 11:42 am
toromash wrote: November 16th, 2021, 9:17 pm The 20th Century 4/10
I had a dream once that it would enter the <400 list, so i chose to watch it. Didn't like it, specifically the style was annoying. I also think it's a matter of preference regarding the subject matter. It revolves around politics, but is presented in a absurd manner. This has the side effect that i didn't take it seriously and lost interest in the plot and it's exploration of canadian history, and as the jokes were unfunny, it gets an unusual low rating for an <400 film.
Really sorry you didn't enjoy the humour - my only defence is that is should not be taken "seriously". I never really considered that the subject itself would be too off-putting, as it never feels like a "political film", beyond the broad strokes - which I'll tie to my surprise of Hurlu mentioning it felt like a lot of "insider" humour. I knew nothing of Canadian politics of the era going in and it is my favourite film of 2019. That said, I might just be naturally more inclined to this kind of subject matter, and just care about style so much that the references didn't matter. :D Hard tosat.

How do you / and Hurlu feel about Maddin in general? He is one of my favourite directors, so the similarities made it easy to love, though I did feel Rankin gave it his own twists - mainly in centering it on an actual topic/moment of history and by having the style feel more like 30s-60s rather than 10s-30s. The expressionist outside sets (which granted, would link it to the 10s/20s too - is also something Maddin never did - but the style of intertitles, etc. was not present, which feels like a foundation in Maddin's cinematic language).
No problem, you shouldn't feel sorry. Humour is a subjective taste, and i just didn't feel it (and i already watched it back in july, so). This is also the likely the reason why i judge it so harshly, because the whole movie falls apart, when the presentation and the way it wants to communicate to me doesn't work. I actually didn't take it seriously, but it came off as silly rather than funny (
Spoiler
And the sex jokes, ehhh, it annoyed me so much and there were so many of them
).

I have no issue with Guy Maddin as of today, so it came off as a little surprise given that i already knew it would feel and look like a Maddin film (the forbidden room is in my top 10 from last decade list). Its not a style problem. The content of 20th century affects everything else about the film.

I will probably give Beanpole a watch throughout this festival, as i have been thinking about watching it for quite a while, and i was fairly impressed by his debut Closeness (though a bit rough around the edges).
User avatar
hurluberlu
Donator
Posts: 2864
Joined: January 4th, 2017, 7:00 am
Contact:

#25

Post by hurluberlu »

Echo / Bergmál (Rúnar Rúnarsson, 2019) 7-
A series of single shots carefully crafted to tell each a small story on Iceland society during Christmas holiday. There is a great variety of scenes with a good pace that always leave you curious of what would come next and what choices of setting and framing are made. Some of the saynettes are intense enough to be worth developed in a longer scene or even a full film. It just lacks a stronger denominator to connect and elevate all of them to something more than a bitter sweet travel book.

ranking
There Is No Evil / Sheytan vojud nadarad (Mohammad Rasoulof, 2020) 8
Beanpole / Dylda (Kantemir Balagov, 2019) 7-
Echo / Bergmál (Rúnar Rúnarsson, 2019) 7-
The Twentieth Century (Matthew Rankin, 2019) 6+
The Hidden City / La ciudad oculta (Víctor Moreno, 2018) 5+
Promare (Hiroyuki Imaishi, 2019) 4+
reviews
The Hidden City / La ciudad oculta (Víctor Moreno, 2018) 5+
Maybe an underground Leviathan indeed, for its raw take of in situ sounds, but where there was life, or death, in every shot of Leviathan, we are left with too many bland shots and long inexpressive travelling here, especially near the end. There is only so much you can get out of lights in a tunnel, even less a sewage tunnel. First mesmerized by the beauty of composition and space analogy, it gradually vanishes as less meaningful settings succeeed before falling into the mundane without much left to care for.

The Twentieth Century (Matthew Rankin, 2019) 6+
Asking Terry Gilliam, Wes Anderson and Bertrand Mandico to make a film together with a predefined theme (Canada's politics at the turn of the 20th century) and style (revisiting Expressionism in Cinema) would have likely produced the same result. In other words, there is a huge talent at play here although it looks a little forced. And where any of these directors would typically pull you in a complete cinematic experience, I felt a distanced observer all along: the grotesque humor mixed with Canada insider cultural, political and historical references flew well over my head for the most, let alone the cryptic ending. I am going to assume it is all clear (and fun) for citizens of the Commonwealth. But otherwise it is really a feast for the cinephile eyes and Rankin is now high on my watch list of promising directors I will look forward to the next film.
Echo / Bergmál (Rúnar Rúnarsson, 2019) 7-
A series of 56 single shots carefully crafted to tell each a small story on Iceland society during Christmas holiday. Visually it is always interesting to see what choices of setting and framing were made. Some of the saynettes are intense enough to make you curious on how a longer scene or a full film would have develop. It just lacks a stronger denominator to connect and elevate the something more than a bitter sweet travel book.
ImageImageImageImageImage
User avatar
St. Gloede
Moderator
Posts: 13022
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 6:00 am
Contact:

#26

Post by St. Gloede »

toromash wrote: November 18th, 2021, 8:50 pm I will probably give Beanpole a watch throughout this festival, as i have been thinking about watching it for quite a while, and i was fairly impressed by his debut Closeness (though a bit rough around the edges).
If your issue with Closeness was the rough edges (rather enjoyed those myself) I can tell you right now that they are all gone in Beanpole. It is such a polished and cinematically stunning work. The main question there will likely be if you find it too cold and/or can/need to connect to the characters.
User avatar
St. Gloede
Moderator
Posts: 13022
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 6:00 am
Contact:

#27

Post by St. Gloede »

hurluberlu wrote: November 18th, 2021, 8:24 pm
St. Gloede wrote: November 18th, 2021, 11:42 am
toromash wrote: November 16th, 2021, 9:17 pm The 20th Century 4/10
I had a dream once that it would enter the <400 list, so i chose to watch it. Didn't like it, specifically the style was annoying. I also think it's a matter of preference regarding the subject matter. It revolves around politics, but is presented in a absurd manner. This has the side effect that i didn't take it seriously and lost interest in the plot and it's exploration of canadian history, and as the jokes were unfunny, it gets an unusual low rating for an <400 film.
Really sorry you didn't enjoy the humour - my only defence is that is should not be taken "seriously". I never really considered that the subject itself would be too off-putting, as it never feels like a "political film", beyond the broad strokes - which I'll tie to my surprise of Hurlu mentioning it felt like a lot of "insider" humour. I knew nothing of Canadian politics of the era going in and it is my favourite film of 2019. That said, I might just be naturally more inclined to this kind of subject matter, and just care about style so much that the references didn't matter. :D Hard tosat.

How do you / and Hurlu feel about Maddin in general? He is one of my favourite directors, so the similarities made it easy to love, though I did feel Rankin gave it his own twists - mainly in centering it on an actual topic/moment of history and by having the style feel more like 30s-60s rather than 10s-30s. The expressionist outside sets (which granted, would link it to the 10s/20s too - is also something Maddin never did - but the style of intertitles, etc. was not present, which feels like a foundation in Maddin's cinematic language).
I have only watched Brand Upon the Brain! and My Winnipeg from Maddin, the latter quite recently: I am probably a novice with Maddin but it did not come to mind when watching the 20th Century. What I remember from these two films is something more elaborated and sophisticated than Rankin's work in terms of montage and narration while Rankin has more care on visual design.

The 20th Century humor never worked on me so I have inferred that I was probably missing some references but it could well be that it was just gross-out stuff I am not really fond of to start with :sweat: . Say for instance the hero wanking while sniffing a shoe with the phallic cactus next to him, was it metaphoric at all or just farcical ?
Yes, I agree, the form is not in many ways very different, especially from the primarily silent cinema style Maddin focused on for most of his career - which is obviously not present in any way here (beyond the connection to German expressionism, but that's not a line of silent cinema that Maddin draws inspiration from). The Maddin films that move closer to the 30s styles are the closest, such as The Saddest Music in the World. A lot of his work is also narration heavy or draws from personal experience, which has nothing to do with Rankin's style. If more directors were doing this it wouldn't really be compared as strongly, as the kind of ghost of a neverworld/silent world is the key sense of what he has done - including for Seances/The Forbidden Room. But Rankin also uses styles of the past to create a neverworld, and the type of camp/presentation is close where they overlap - early 30s sensibilities.
User avatar
St. Gloede
Moderator
Posts: 13022
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 6:00 am
Contact:

#28

Post by St. Gloede »

The only other films I can think of as remotely comparable at the top of my head are Richard Elfman's Forbidden Zone (1980) and ​Todd Haynes' Poison (1991), but they are still very, very different.
User avatar
filmbantha
Posts: 623
Joined: July 10th, 2013, 6:00 am
Contact:

#29

Post by filmbantha »

St. Gloede wrote: November 19th, 2021, 10:51 am The only other films I can think of as remotely comparable at the top of my head are Richard Elfman's Forbidden Zone (1980) and ​Todd Haynes' Poison (1991), but they are still very, very different.
I would also add Lake Michigan Monster (2018) into the fray as a comparable film which borrows heavily from Guy Maddin's work. It comes with Maddin's seal of approval and embraces the absurd/surreal aesthetics that work so well in The 20th Century.
User avatar
St. Gloede
Moderator
Posts: 13022
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 6:00 am
Contact:

#30

Post by St. Gloede »

filmbantha wrote: November 19th, 2021, 12:20 pm
St. Gloede wrote: November 19th, 2021, 10:51 am The only other films I can think of as remotely comparable at the top of my head are Richard Elfman's Forbidden Zone (1980) and ​Todd Haynes' Poison (1991), but they are still very, very different.
I would also add Lake Michigan Monster (2018) into the fray as a comparable film which borrows heavily from Guy Maddin's work. It comes with Maddin's seal of approval and embraces the absurd/surreal aesthetics that work so well in The 20th Century.
Thanks for the recommendation. Not seen this one.
User avatar
pitchorneirda
Posts: 1353
Joined: February 11th, 2019, 12:07 pm
Location: France
Contact:

#31

Post by pitchorneirda »

Aniara was intriguing but I felt it only scratched the surface of many subjects, it seems like it was made to be a mini-series then butchered with editing.

1. There Is No Evil 8/10
2. The Hidden City 7/10
3. Echo 6/10
4. Jinpa 5/10
5. Aniara 4/10
6. The 20th Century 3/10

At least no trouble ranking them
"Art is like a fire, it is born from the very thing it burns" - Jean-Luc Godard
User avatar
beavis
Posts: 3336
Joined: June 20th, 2011, 6:00 am
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Contact:

#32

Post by beavis »

Quick shout out to last year's winner Karim Ainouz. I saw him tonight live in person presenting his new movie at IDFA (O Marinheiro das Montanhas). Such a great filmmaker!
User avatar
St. Gloede
Moderator
Posts: 13022
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 6:00 am
Contact:

#33

Post by St. Gloede »

beavis wrote: November 20th, 2021, 8:50 pm Quick shout out to last year's winner Karim Ainouz. I saw him tonight live in person presenting his new movie at IDFA (O Marinheiro das Montanhas). Such a great filmmaker!
That's really exciting? How was it? Good candidate for ICMFFF2022?
User avatar
cinewest
Posts: 2478
Joined: February 15th, 2017, 7:00 am
Contact:

#34

Post by cinewest »

Beavis’s reference to a theatrical viewing with director Karin Ainouz present taps into something I have been missing since I left the SF Bay Area, even Brasilia, where it was also easy to find film events.

Most of my best film memories over the years have been from festivals and special screenings.

Turning to the ICM virtual film festival and the main slate, my unsuccessful fiddling with film transfers eventually prompted me to ask my wife to see if she could find Jinpa on a Chinese website (no subtitles), which led to a viewing last night with her pausing and acting as translator from time to time so I could follow what people were saying (she, herself needed subtitles as the film was in Tibetan, and thankfully the dialogue was sparse).

Loved the pacing and evocative atmosphere, but I feel like I am only guessing at the underlying symbolism and analysis of what transpired because I have only a superficial knowledge of Tibetan culture.

There are clear messages about the interconnectedness of people’s lives and events, and I felt I could follow the underlying story until I got to the end, which left me perplexed and unsure of the upshot.

Would love to discuss this with those who have seen it, though I’m not sure how to do that without spoiling it for others
User avatar
zzzorf
Posts: 1963
Joined: April 14th, 2018, 6:00 am
Location: Kempsey, NSW, Australia
Contact:

#35

Post by zzzorf »

cinewest wrote: November 21st, 2021, 3:27 am Beavis’s reference to a theatrical viewing with director Karin Ainouz present taps into something I have been missing since I left the SF Bay Area, even Brasilia, where it was also easy to find film events.

Most of my best film memories over the years have been from festivals and special screenings.

Turning to the ICM virtual film festival and the main slate, my unsuccessful fiddling with film transfers eventually prompted me to ask my wife to see if she could find Jinpa on a Chinese website (no subtitles), which led to a viewing last night with her pausing and acting as translator from time to time so I could follow what people were saying (she, herself needed subtitles as the film was in Tibetan, and thankfully the dialogue was sparse).

Loved the pacing and evocative atmosphere, but I feel like I am only guessing at the underlying symbolism and analysis of what transpired because I have only a superficial knowledge of Tibetan culture.

There are clear messages about the interconnectedness of people’s lives and events, and I felt I could follow the underlying story until I got to the end, which left me perplexed and unsure of the upshot.

Would love to discuss this with those who have seen it, though I’m not sure how to do that without spoiling it for others
From my understanding after watching it and from a few reviews I read the ending is supposed to give you that sort of feeling, it is supposed to keep you asking what exactly happened. I think others will have better responses but that is what I got out of it.
User avatar
beavis
Posts: 3336
Joined: June 20th, 2011, 6:00 am
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Contact:

#36

Post by beavis »

St. Gloede wrote: November 20th, 2021, 10:09 pm
beavis wrote: November 20th, 2021, 8:50 pm Quick shout out to last year's winner Karim Ainouz. I saw him tonight live in person presenting his new movie at IDFA (O Marinheiro das Montanhas). Such a great filmmaker!
That's really exciting? How was it? Good candidate for ICMFFF2022?
It was good! But this was now the first festival it hit since the Cannes première, so it is a bit early to think about where it could fit 😀
User avatar
maxwelldeux
Donator
Posts: 9406
Joined: June 7th, 2016, 6:00 am
Location: Seattle-ish, WA, USA
Contact:

#37

Post by maxwelldeux »

There Is No Evil (2020) 7/10

My mind kinda went in two directions on this one. First there was the obvious direction, with dealing with the death penalty - an issue I'm intensely interested in, especially from an international (i.e., non-US, for me) perspective. Secondly, thought, I have a fascination with "cultural banality" as depicted in film. Key example of what I'm talking about germane to this film: Until this film, I've never seen an Iranian grocery store. It was just about exactly as I would have expected - it looked like a grocery store I'm used to and what I would have guessed. But it was awesome to actually see it. Anyway, this film was a cool look at how death penalty cases actually affect the typical citizen in Iran.
User avatar
hurluberlu
Donator
Posts: 2864
Joined: January 4th, 2017, 7:00 am
Contact:

#38

Post by hurluberlu »

This Is Not a Burial, It's a Resurrection (Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese, 2019) 8-
Splending cinematography in 4/3 format which was seemingly the winning ratio of 2019 for auteur cinema, looking at First Cow, Sin, The Lighthouse, Enormous... We dont get to see a film from Lesotho too often so when it manages to give us a hint of what life and customs look like and on top connect a local drama with universal matters such as mourning, transmission and cultural values vs modernity, lovers of world cinema should exult. Mosese skills with a camera certainly serve the multiple layers of the story as he is excelling in close, intimate shots as well as deep space compositions and other techniques. It sometimes looks a little too self-aware but this really the only grief I have and this is a great find !
ranking
There Is No Evil / Sheytan vojud nadarad (Mohammad Rasoulof, 2020) 8
This Is Not a Burial, It's a Resurrection (Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese, 2019) 8-
Beanpole / Dylda (Kantemir Balagov, 2019) 7-
Echo / Bergmál (Rúnar Rúnarsson, 2019) 7-
The Twentieth Century (Matthew Rankin, 2019) 6+
The Hidden City / La ciudad oculta (Víctor Moreno, 2018) 5+
Promare (Hiroyuki Imaishi, 2019) 4+
reviews
The Hidden City / La ciudad oculta (Víctor Moreno, 2018) 5+
Maybe an underground Leviathan indeed, for its raw take of in situ sounds, but where there was life, or death, in every shot of Leviathan, we are left with too many bland shots and long inexpressive travelling here, especially near the end. There is only so much you can get out of lights in a tunnel, even less a sewage tunnel. First mesmerized by the beauty of composition and space analogy, it gradually vanishes as less meaningful settings succeeed before falling into the mundane without much left to care for.

The Twentieth Century (Matthew Rankin, 2019) 6+
Asking Terry Gilliam, Wes Anderson and Bertrand Mandico to make a film together with a predefined theme (Canada's politics at the turn of the 20th century) and style (revisiting Expressionism in Cinema) would have likely produced the same result. In other words, there is a huge talent at play here although it looks a little forced. And where any of these directors would typically pull you in a complete cinematic experience, I felt a distanced observer all along: the grotesque humor mixed with Canada insider cultural, political and historical references flew well over my head for the most, let alone the cryptic ending. I am going to assume it is all clear (and fun) for citizens of the Commonwealth. But otherwise it is really a feast for the cinephile eyes and Rankin is now high on my watch list of promising directors I will look forward to the next film.

Echo / Bergmál (Rúnar Rúnarsson, 2019) 7-
A series of 56 single shots carefully crafted to tell each a small story on Iceland society during Christmas holiday. Visually it is always interesting to see what choices of setting and framing were made. Some of the saynettes are intense enough to make you curious on how a longer scene or a full film would have develop. It just lacks a stronger denominator to connect and elevate the something more than a bitter sweet travel book.

This Is Not a Burial, It's a Resurrection (Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese, 2019) 8-
Splending cinematography in 4/3 format which was seemingly the winning ratio of 2019 for auteur cinema, looking at First Cow, Sin, The Lighthouse, Enormous... We dont get to see a film from Lesotho too often so when it manages to give us a hint of what life and customs look like and on top connect a local drama with universal matters such as mourning, transmission and cultural values vs modernity, lovers of world cinema should exult. Mosese skills with a camera certainly serve the multiple layers of the story as he is excelling in close, intimate shots as well as deep space compositions and other techniques. It sometimes looks a little too self-aware but this really the only grief I have and this is a great find !
ImageImageImageImageImage
jdidaco
Posts: 1806
Joined: February 3rd, 2017, 7:00 am
Contact:

#39

Post by jdidaco »

flavo5000 wrote:Beanpole (2019) 6/10
I don't mind a slow film but it needs to give me something to chew on. This one just seemed to revel in its dreary circumstances with a sickly pallor to its cinematography. Still it has some strong performances that raise it higher than I might've given it otherwise.
I absolutely agree with you, but mostly in relation to its first 80 minutes, which are indeed drab and predictable - those sickly orange/green hues as conduits of inner/outer insalubrity convey absolutely nothing but the most obvious visual (and thematic) cliches, plus its accumulation of "little catastrophes" and miserly happenstances produce a state of such passivity in the viewer, that by the end of that hour and a half I was as dead inside as the film itself! But something changed beautifully within the extraordinary juxtaposition of the film's last three sequences...

... first the dinner table sequence, staged and performed with a chilling, nerve-racking mastery, deeply astute in its use of unemotional dialogue — the eyes of the two actresses almost creating a different partiture whilst the words are spoken with a becalming cruelty —, slowly but inexorably revealing issues of women's roles (and not only during wartime), class and privilege, infirmity (physical and psychological) and societal disintegration...

...then, the bus sequence, an interlude of anxiety, anticipation and dread, again remarkably staged from the face of the actress inside the vehicle, to a long tracking shot outside of it, until something is revealed - hope and doom encapsulated in a single moment...

...and finally, the last sequence with the two young actresses, the only time I really liked them together, and where the film's Chekhovian motifs became clear - like Chekhov's Three Sisters, these two women (one of them also named Masha, no coincidence) no longer eager to go back to Moscow or dream of the presence of a dashing man in uniform to make them feel alive, the needs are different now, but no lesser devastating - How will we go on living our lives? What will become of us?… silence, silence…

A 7.5/10
User avatar
cinewest
Posts: 2478
Joined: February 15th, 2017, 7:00 am
Contact:

#40

Post by cinewest »

hurluberlu wrote: November 21st, 2021, 7:46 pm This Is Not a Burial, It's a Resurrection (Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese, 2019) 8-
Splending cinematography in 4/3 format which was seemingly the winning ratio of 2019 for auteur cinema, looking at First Cow, Sin, The Lighthouse, Enormous... We dont get to see a film from Lesotho too often so when it manages to give us a hint of what life and customs look like and on top connect a local drama with universal matters such as mourning, transmission and cultural values vs modernity, lovers of world cinema should exult. Mosese skills with a camera certainly serve the multiple layers of the story as he is excelling in close, intimate shots as well as deep space compositions and other techniques. It sometimes looks a little too self-aware but this really the only grief I have and this is a great find !
ranking
There Is No Evil / Sheytan vojud nadarad (Mohammad Rasoulof, 2020) 8
This Is Not a Burial, It's a Resurrection (Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese, 2019) 8-
Beanpole / Dylda (Kantemir Balagov, 2019) 7-
Echo / Bergmál (Rúnar Rúnarsson, 2019) 7-
The Twentieth Century (Matthew Rankin, 2019) 6+
The Hidden City / La ciudad oculta (Víctor Moreno, 2018) 5+
Promare (Hiroyuki Imaishi, 2019) 4+
reviews
The Hidden City / La ciudad oculta (Víctor Moreno, 2018) 5+
Maybe an underground Leviathan indeed, for its raw take of in situ sounds, but where there was life, or death, in every shot of Leviathan, we are left with too many bland shots and long inexpressive travelling here, especially near the end. There is only so much you can get out of lights in a tunnel, even less a sewage tunnel. First mesmerized by the beauty of composition and space analogy, it gradually vanishes as less meaningful settings succeeed before falling into the mundane without much left to care for.

The Twentieth Century (Matthew Rankin, 2019) 6+
Asking Terry Gilliam, Wes Anderson and Bertrand Mandico to make a film together with a predefined theme (Canada's politics at the turn of the 20th century) and style (revisiting Expressionism in Cinema) would have likely produced the same result. In other words, there is a huge talent at play here although it looks a little forced. And where any of these directors would typically pull you in a complete cinematic experience, I felt a distanced observer all along: the grotesque humor mixed with Canada insider cultural, political and historical references flew well over my head for the most, let alone the cryptic ending. I am going to assume it is all clear (and fun) for citizens of the Commonwealth. But otherwise it is really a feast for the cinephile eyes and Rankin is now high on my watch list of promising directors I will look forward to the next film.

Echo / Bergmál (Rúnar Rúnarsson, 2019) 7-
A series of 56 single shots carefully crafted to tell each a small story on Iceland society during Christmas holiday. Visually it is always interesting to see what choices of setting and framing were made. Some of the saynettes are intense enough to make you curious on how a longer scene or a full film would have develop. It just lacks a stronger denominator to connect and elevate the something more than a bitter sweet travel book.

This Is Not a Burial, It's a Resurrection (Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese, 2019) 8-
Splending cinematography in 4/3 format which was seemingly the winning ratio of 2019 for auteur cinema, looking at First Cow, Sin, The Lighthouse, Enormous... We dont get to see a film from Lesotho too often so when it manages to give us a hint of what life and customs look like and on top connect a local drama with universal matters such as mourning, transmission and cultural values vs modernity, lovers of world cinema should exult. Mosese skills with a camera certainly serve the multiple layers of the story as he is excelling in close, intimate shots as well as deep space compositions and other techniques. It sometimes looks a little too self-aware but this really the only grief I have and this is a great find !
I agree, “…Burial…” is an excellent find and would place in my top 10 almost any year. The cinematography (lighting, color, composition), soundscape, and central performance are the main stars in this one.
This is a filmmaker to keep an eye on, as I think he/she is capable of even greater mastery over the medium.
Post Reply