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ICMF-FF6: Programmer's Thread

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#241

Post by zzzorf »

beavis wrote: June 20th, 2022, 7:54 am Good action!

If it eases your worry a bit we have a little over TWO months left, and if we can't get a full African slate together this time, then we'll just go back to the usual AsAf configuration (or maybe LatAf!?).
Also if we want to go Africa/Pacific it may make some changes to my future nominations.
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#242

Post by St. Gloede »

Quick thoughts on the number of nominees:

I got a bit worried as well before I saw your latest post that July indeed exists, so we should have more than enough time to discover more nominations and get everything set up.

There are much fewer nominations in total so far this year, but that's understandable as we lost Xianjiro and Kingink (and gained Onderhond) so down 1 programmer and 30 possible noms - but then it is also quite early with 2 month to go. In older editions, the programmers started much later.

Note, we are almost at 100 nominations and in 2020 there were just 117, so we are very, very likely to overtake 2020.

I have 17 nominations to go and may start using them, my only big issue is that most films I'm inclined to nominate are European ... which is why I'm holding off.

Quick thoughts on the slates:

Documentaries:

I was sure Acassa, My Home had two 3s, but then I realized the second 3 was from Xianjiro last year. (Big loss to not have Xianjiro back regardless, but this zealed the deal on the absence :D ). However, if Xianjiro and I can agree on something this is clearly a film for everyone. ;)

I'll also add another shoutout for Just Don't Think I'll Scream, which is in its final year as a possible nom and is something I think most here can relate to.

Africa:

I'm getting a bit frustrated by how long it takes to release the big African films from last year. I think we may have the films needed already and maybe we're just missing the views? (Adam and This is My Desire are already at the point with 3x2 and 2x1). Most of the African nominees have only been seen by 1-2 people.

I'll should out my nom Zinder again and see if I get some traction there. I can also bump my 1 for Tenere up to 2 if we need to complete the slate and are lacking a film.

Latin America:

I have a couple more possible nominations I might add in here that I did not try last year, so may do a write-up for them and add them into the mix.

Animation:

Wish I could help more here, but my nominations from last year did not fare that well. Already re-nominated The Nose. I could re-animate the more mainstream-friendly The Bears' Famous Invasion of Sicily, but almost all the programmers except you and Onderhond have seen it and I'm the only 3.
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#243

Post by St. Gloede »

zzzorf wrote: June 20th, 2022, 8:27 am
beavis wrote: June 20th, 2022, 7:54 am Good action!

If it eases your worry a bit we have a little over TWO months left, and if we can't get a full African slate together this time, then we'll just go back to the usual AsAf configuration (or maybe LatAf!?).
Also if we want to go Africa/Pacific it may make some changes to my future nominations.
Africa/Pacific or Africa/Oceania could work - we could also do Africa and the Middle East in a pinch, and thus split Asia.
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#244

Post by St. Gloede »

LatAm films I could nominate:

To the End (2020 - Good fit for LGBTQ+ as well)
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt11721070/?ref_=adv_li_tt

Azor (2021 - Got a lot of rave reviews and been included in many critic toplists so should have a lot of potential)
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt11136276/?ref_=adv_li_tt

-

Capitu e o Capítulo (2021 - Good fit for arthouse, but might not get a lot of support)
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt14763720/?ref_=adv_li_tt

The Tango of the Widower (2020, another film I doubt will get that much support and would be better suited for arthouse)
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0062336/?ref_=adv_li_tt


I'll also go ahead and nominate Futura for the documentary slate and Nasir for the Asian slate, I just need to get some write-ups done.

P.S. Re: Animation - Everyone should seek out The Crossing - amongst my top 5 of the year and a film I think most will like-love. Unique/rarely used animation style and a very topical theme in that it is a European set refugee drama.
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#245

Post by zzzorf »

St. Gloede wrote: June 20th, 2022, 9:16 am
zzzorf wrote: June 20th, 2022, 8:27 am
beavis wrote: June 20th, 2022, 7:54 am Good action!

If it eases your worry a bit we have a little over TWO months left, and if we can't get a full African slate together this time, then we'll just go back to the usual AsAf configuration (or maybe LatAf!?).
Also if we want to go Africa/Pacific it may make some changes to my future nominations.
Africa/Pacific or Africa/Oceania could work - we could also do Africa and the Middle East in a pinch, and thus split Asia.
With the amount of Australian/New Zealand nominations I've already done, plus I have a Pacific Island nomination up my sleeve, an Africa/Oceania slate does sound good.
Last edited by zzzorf on June 20th, 2022, 9:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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#246

Post by zzzorf »

St. Gloede wrote: June 20th, 2022, 9:14 am I have 17 nominations to go and may start using them, my only big issue is that most films I'm inclined to nominate are European ... which is why I'm holding off.
I feel the European issue, and to a smaller extent Asian, there are a few movies to those slates only that I just can't bring myself to nominate as they are already strong.
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#247

Post by beavis »

Até o Fim - 7,5
Capitu e o Capítulo - 8
The Tango of the Widower - 7
Futura - 7,5

I could give support to all those, not films I'd nominate myself, but they are all interesting and well made
I am very curious about both Azor and Nasir
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#248

Post by St. Gloede »

beavis wrote: June 20th, 2022, 9:50 am Até o Fim - 7,5
Capitu e o Capítulo - 8
The Tango of the Widower - 7
Futura - 7,5

I could give support to all those, not films I'd nominate myself, but they are all interesting and well made
I am very curious about both Azor and Nasir
Yeah, they are all in the 8 bordering on 7.5 category for me too, hence why I have not nominated them yet - with the exceptions of Nasir and Futura which are solid 8s and films I already thought about nominating. Happy to see your generally similar support, so I might just nominate everything but Tango then. Not sure if the Bressane would get support from anyone but you though :D
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#249

Post by beavis »

St. Gloede wrote: June 20th, 2022, 10:20 am Not sure if the Bressane would get support from anyone but you though :D
But that might also just be thé reason to nominate. He is a mainstay at the IFFR and one of the major figures of the Brazillian Cinema Marginal, so he should be widely seen/known, but I actually absolutely hate some of his movies! :) This is actually one of my highest ratings for one of his movies, so maybe the perfect one to start off on an unsuspecting audience ;)

I do love Bressane's frequent colaborator Rogério Sganzerla very much... and when Bressane is good he is really something special... but they are both an aquired taste indeed. I am all for highlighting more Brazillian cinema anyway.
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#250

Post by St. Gloede »

We are actually in a very similar boat there, where I love Rogério Sganzerla but am usually more lukewarm on Bressane. This one felt a little closer to directors like Ruiz for instance, with an added theatrical layer and far more cleanly stylized visuals that the films that made him famous.
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#251

Post by Fergenaprido »

Sorry that my programming-watching hasn't been keeping up with the rest of you. My intended June focus on festival viewings got thrown out the window when my laptop stopped working properly; I've seen 4 films in total this month, I think, way below average. I am booking an appointment with the Genius Bar for tomorrow, so hopefully they will be able to either fix it/tell me what's wrong/help me get a new one.

That being said, I don't think things are as dire as it may sound - with over two months to go I think there is still plenty of time to build up some solid slates. :)
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#252

Post by St. Gloede »

I'll try to increase my focus on Latin America this/next month

These are my LatAm points of interest for the festival at the moment (will likely not see most). Anyone caught any of the below? The films above the - are the ones I currently aim to see soon.

2019
Malpaso (Dominican Republic)
The Cordillera of Dreams (Chile)
A Febre / Fever (Brazil)
-
Pacarrete (Brazil)
Workforce (Mexico)
Again Once Again (Argentina)
A Dog's Death (Argentina)
Land of Ashes (Costa Rica)
Ema (Chile)

2020

Identifying Features (Mexico)
-
Manco Cápac (Peru)
The Heist of the Century (Argentina)
Las ranas / The Frogs (Argentina)
Ofrenda (Argentina)
499 (Mexico)
Forgotten We'll Be (Colombia)
Vento Seco (Brazil)
Êxtase (Brazil)
Rosa Tirana (Brazil)

2021

Clara Sola (Costa Rica)
Mariner of the Mountains (Brazil)
-
A Cop Movie (Mexico)
The Great Movement (Bolivia)
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#253

Post by beavis »

beavis wrote: June 20th, 2022, 8:01 am 342. Cinema Nuevo orden (2020) 8.0
378. Internet Los tiburones (2019) 7.5
For LatAm I've also seen these...
Taking another look at my watch- and watched lists for the ICMFFF, I have to make a correction on this mornings remark of mine first. Nuevo Orden is already nominated, of course!
So even less watched on offer than I thought ;)

Looking at the watch lists:

- Kiro Russo and El Gran Movimiento are still at the very top of the must see, I expect another heavy art house discovery here, looking at all the praise this one got... might watch it tomorrow already... that would be one for Bolivia, which I think is also special

- A Matéria Noturna has gone up the ladder, because main actor Welket Bungué also had a prominent role in the new Cronenberg movie. Brazil

- Um Animal Amarelo. More Brazil, I expect a lot of creativity and weirdness from this one

- Errante corazón. Argentina. Noche from this director was an absolute masterpiece, even if it flew under everyone's rader, just like this new one seems to do... but I spotted it, and can't wait to watch it!

for animation I haven't searched hard, because we seem(ed) to have a lot of options and I thought Onderhond would maybe dig up a few. But I still got "The Old Man Movie" and "My Favorite War" lined up. Of course I will also watch La Traversee.

For Africa I will watch Notre-Dame du Nil for sure (the director is Afghan btw? does it matter?) but next to that I have only Souad lined up... it is scheduled to hit local cinema's only on November 17th though... which is why I have been holding it off a bit, but I feel it might be a surefire contender and I maybe need to let a cinema screening go for once...
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#254

Post by Fergenaprido »

The only one I've seen is A Febre, which I could support. It's in my list of "Other Films I'm considering" and I'd give it a 2 on the festival scale.
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#255

Post by beavis »

The Cordillera of Dreams (Chile) - 7.5
A Febre / Fever (Brazil) - 7
Land of Ashes (Costa Rica) - 7.5
Ema (Chile) - 6.5
Identifying Features (Mexico) - 7.5
Êxtase (Brazil) - 8
Mariner of the Mountains (Brazil) - 7.5

Mariner of the Mountains might have the most chance of getting support, and it is also a follow up on one of "our" directors... I did watch it at IDFA with the director attending and his stories behind the movie really gave a lot of valuable context... but even without that it is still a very stylish look at Algeria, with lots of interesting and unexpected asides...

Have you seen Chico ventana también quisiera tener un submarino (2020)? That is another 7.5 for me, but it is really intriguing (not only the title ;)) I think it might be another cool option for LatAm.... it turns out I got a lot of these 7.5 kinda viewings stacked up :)... not material I would have thought to nominate, but I might need to point more people towards these movies as my personal taste can be a bit too far of the beaten tracks (for me to nominate them) and some very good festival candidates might be hidden among them
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#256

Post by beavis »

another interesting local cinema program that is happening the coming two months is "Previously Unreleased"

this is this years selection:

Malmkrog (Roemenië 2020) Cristi Puiu
The Souvenir part two Joanna Hogg (UK 2021)
Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountain (China 2019) Gu Xiaogang
Mass (VS 2021) Fran Kranz
Kill it and leave this town (Polen 2020) Mariusz Wilczynski
There's no evil (Iran 2020) Mohammad Rasoulof
Forest - I see you everywhere (Hon 2021) Benedek Fliegauf
Dinner in America (VS 2020) Adam Rehmeier
Destello Bravio (SPA 2021) Ainhoa Rodriquez
After Love (GB 2020) Aleem Khan
Evolution (Dui/Hon 2021) Kornel Mundruczo

I'm going to watch all titles I haven't seen yet (this includes previous ICMFFF title "There is no Evil", which is one cinema screening I did not want to skip... even if Corona made me wait longer than expected...). So After Love is on my watch list :) and Kill it and leave this town might be another excellent suggestion for Animation!
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#257

Post by St. Gloede »

beavis wrote: June 20th, 2022, 7:30 pm The Cordillera of Dreams (Chile) - 7.5
A Febre / Fever (Brazil) - 7
Land of Ashes (Costa Rica) - 7.5
Ema (Chile) - 6.5
Identifying Features (Mexico) - 7.5
Êxtase (Brazil) - 8
Mariner of the Mountains (Brazil) - 7.5

Mariner of the Mountains might have the most chance of getting support, and it is also a follow up on one of "our" directors... I did watch it at IDFA with the director attending and his stories behind the movie really gave a lot of valuable context... but even without that it is still a very stylish look at Algeria, with lots of interesting and unexpected asides...

Have you seen Chico ventana también quisiera tener un submarino (2020)? That is another 7.5 for me, but it is really intriguing (not only the title ;)) I think it might be another cool option for LatAm.... it turns out I got a lot of these 7.5 kinda viewings stacked up :)... not material I would have thought to nominate, but I might need to point more people towards these movies as my personal taste can be a bit too far of the beaten tracks (for me to nominate them) and some very good festival candidates might be hidden among them
Thanks Beavis (and Fergen). Good to know Fever has moderate support from 2 programmers in case of emergency, though if I end up loving it that also means it will be quite difficult getting two other 3s, so let's see.

I'll move Êxtase up on my priority list seeing the 8.

Not seen Window Boy Would Also Like to Have a Submarine. Will add it to my extended watchlist.

I did see Kill It and Leave This Town in preparation for last year's festival, and I think I wrote a few lines back then. Would give it moderate support if nominated.
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#258

Post by St. Gloede »

beavis wrote: June 20th, 2022, 7:24 pm Taking another look at my watch- and watched lists for the ICMFFF, I have to make a correction on this mornings remark of mine first. Nuevo Orden is already nominated, of course!
So even less watched on offer than I thought ;)

Looking at the watch lists:

- Kiro Russo and El Gran Movimiento are still at the very top of the must see, I expect another heavy art house discovery here, looking at all the praise this one got... might watch it tomorrow already... that would be one for Bolivia, which I think is also special

- A Matéria Noturna has gone up the ladder, because main actor Welket Bungué also had a prominent role in the new Cronenberg movie. Brazil

- Um Animal Amarelo. More Brazil, I expect a lot of creativity and weirdness from this one

- Errante corazón. Argentina. Noche from this director was an absolute masterpiece, even if it flew under everyone's rader, just like this new one seems to do... but I spotted it, and can't wait to watch it!

for animation I haven't searched hard, because we seem(ed) to have a lot of options and I thought Onderhond would maybe dig up a few. But I still got "The Old Man Movie" and "My Favorite War" lined up. Of course I will also watch La Traversee.
With the exception of El Gran Movimiento these LatAm films were not on my watchlist. Added all.

I was already planning on watching My Favourite War this week or next. I'm a bit more sceptical of The Old Man Movie but will jump on it if you nominate it.

Also happy to hear you are planning to watch The Crossing.

If anyone's struggling to find any of my noms I'm only happy to help btw.
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#259

Post by zzzorf »

It is still amazing looking at you guys talk about the same movies I've never heard of since you are all connected to the indy circuit and the general buzz. I've really only got 1 of the LatAm movies mentioned in the last few posts on my radar. Basically for me it is what comes accross my path as I search around.

Here is what I have as possible LatAm nominations.
El despertar de las hormigas [The Awakening of the Ants] (2019) - Costa Rica - Ferg's nom from last year and one I'm close to nominating if he doesn't re-nominate (3)
Diablada (2020) - Chile - A Drama/Thriller about missing girls in a community and how the families are not helped at all by the powers that be (2)
Selva trágica [Tragic Jungle] (2020) - Mexico - A slow moving mystery/adventure on Netflix (2)
A Ultima Floresta [The Last Forest] (2021) - Brazil - A documentary about an indigenous community (2)
Nūhū Yãg Mū Yõg Hãm: This Land Is Our Land! (2020) - Brazil - Another documentary about an indigenous community (2)

On my Watchlist:
Que Sea Ley [Let It Be Law] (2019) - Argentina
Luchadoras (2021) - Mexico
A Vida Invisível [Invisible Life] (2019) - Brazil
Sin señas particulares [Identifying Features] (2020) - Mexico
A Crime Amongst Us (2020) - Brazil
Diablo Rojo PTY (2019) - Panama
Nuestras madres [Our Mothers] (2019) - Guatemala
Karem, la posesión (2021) - Mexico


Tomorrow I will be nominating a Dominican Republic movie for the slate so it will at least get one more nomination soon.
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#260

Post by beavis »

from those I have only seen Selva trágica (7) and the before mentioned Sin señas particulares
and A Vida Invisível of course, but that is a previous festival movie, winner even, so would not be a possible nomination

from the Dominican Republic I saw La fiera y la fiesta recently. Had huge expectations, but only could give it a 7.5 (again!) and don't think it would do well in our festival
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#261

Post by zzzorf »

beavis wrote: June 21st, 2022, 4:43 am from those I have only seen Selva trágica (7) and the before mentioned Sin señas particulares
and A Vida Invisível of course, but that is a previous festival movie, winner even, so would not be a possible nomination

from the Dominican Republic I saw La fiera y la fiesta recently. Had huge expectations, but only could give it a 7.5 (again!) and don't think it would do well in our festival
Ah, previous festivals, I keep forgetting to look there since I have of course only been involved last year and this. Well anyway I can still watch it at some point since it was a big hit.
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#262

Post by zzzorf »

beavis wrote: June 20th, 2022, 7:24 pm
For Africa I will watch Notre-Dame du Nil for sure (the director is Afghan btw? does it matter?)
Just caught this comment when rereading the last few posts. The director being Afghan isn't the problem I have with it being African, I'm more worried that in the end it has mostly French (if I remember correctly) money behind it, with only part Rwandan even though most other important stuff is.
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#263

Post by beavis »

French financing of African movies is not unusual, but in combination with the director it might just become something too removed from any locality... we'll see...
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#264

Post by St. Gloede »

Nomination #14

Até o Fim / To the End (2020)

Image

Preferred Slate: LatAm

Alternate Slate: LGBT

Directors: Glenda Nicácio & Ary Rosa


Links: :ICM: :imdb: :letbxd:


Image

A tour-de-force family reunion, placing 2, then 3, then 4 women face to face after years apart - to drink, talk, and clash. It is all set in one singular location - the oldest sister's restaurant - mainly on the beach outside - and with heated, and frankly genuinely inspired photography (especially in the beginning) this is a film that stands out. I do wish the film would keep playing visual tricks, and it does at times feel a little like a play. The ghost of (the excellent) Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean came into my head - but the context is different - and the conversations are different.

The dramatic and involving dialogue is both its greatest strength and its greatest weakness. On one hand, it never gives up and keeps the tension as the women clash over their differences, in particular related to their ailing father, and disturbing secrets are revealed. On the other it can feel a little like wish-fulfilment, with one of the women being the first Brazilian woman to win an Oscar - and the constant bragging seems to not quite be portrayed as bragging or negative in the same way everyone else's one-upmanship and condescending remarks/attacks are - but mostly the conversations flow with life - if not a little overstated - and it proves once again how simple the tools required to make a really good film can be.
Spoiler
The reason it fts in the LGBT category is that one of the women comes out as trans, which also plays a decent part in the plot.
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#265

Post by St. Gloede »

Nomination #15

Capitu e o Capítulo / Capitu and the Chapter (2021)

Image

Preferred Slate: LatAm

Alternate Slate: Arthouse

Director: Júlio Bressane


Links: :ICM: :imdb: :letbxd:


Image

One of the best-known masters of Brazil's Cinema Marginal movement has not gotten any less visually creative or playful as he has grown older. The blunt, visceral ugliness that haunted his early films - not to mention the unashamedly low-budget aesthetics, has however disappeared. Capitu e o Capítulo is emotionally sparse but visually rich, spinning together theatrical performances and readings, with playful aesthetics that would feel very much at home in a Raoul Ruiz film. Dreamlike, hypnotic and enigmatic Capitu e o Capítulo feels like an example of an ageing filmmaking still finding so much joy in his craft.
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#266

Post by St. Gloede »

I realized that Azor has a better case for it being Swiss, with a Swiss director and funding, so will leave it out.

I will aim to do write-ups for Futura and Nasir and nominate them as well this week.
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#267

Post by zzzorf »

Nomination #24

Hotel Coppelia (2021)

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Preferred Slate: Latin

Alternate Slate: N/A

Director: José María Cabral

Links: :ICM: :imdb: :letbxd: :Crtiticker:






IMDb Plot Summary: The lives of prostitutes at a brothel in the Dominican Republic take a dramatic turn when the U.S troops invade during the 1965 war.

Wikipedia Information: N/A

My Two Cents: While not fully being historically correct (US soldiers were not killed in the way depicted but only by sniper fire) this is still a great period piece looking back at an important part of the Dominican Republics history. All I can say is I have only seen two movies from this country, both this year, and I am finding that I am overly surprised at the output from this smaller country, especially looking back at their own history.


Image

Image

Image
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#268

Post by St. Gloede »

Caught two of my most anticipated, neither will be nominated by me, but both are in the 1-2 support camp if they were to be nominated by other.

Malpaso (2019, Héctor Valdez - Dominican Republic)

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Malpaso tells the tale of two twin brothers, one of which is born albino, and hidden from society by their grandfather. They live in poverty in a small wooden shack, and barely get by. Meanwhile, the nearby shanty town, Malpaso, is filled with seedy characters, violence and child gangs. The main drive here is the visuals, which are simply breathtaking when set in the countryside, or darkly lit rooms, where the b/w photography grabs onto contrasts and light bouncing through doors, cracks in the walls, windows, etc. However, the city photography and more modern settings feel far flatter and reveal the likely shoestring budget. The acting is decent, especially from the more "worldly" brother, who also takes the centre-stage, but the connection and chemistry between the brothers do not feel as strong as it would need to be to fully gain emotional power, leaving it to far too often lean on the visuals and a more gritty and violent last act - though its melancholy touches and some soft twists and turns to leave us with some emotional baggage all the same. 6.5/10


My Favorite War (2020, Ilze Burkovska Jacobsen)

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My Favourite War is a deeply personal look at life behind the iron curtain, and growing up in a society where you have to measure your every word, even as a child. The patrolled beachline, ensuring that no Estonian can reach the sea and escape is the perfect starting point, as we follow our lead from her early childhood in the 70s to the fall of the Soviet Union.

The animation style is instantly intriguing and conveys a lot of sorrow. The black eyes in particular stand out. There is an ethereal, dreamlike, almost nightmarish at times energy packed with sorrow and memory that fits the film very well - while occasional live-action scenes and photographs sneak in. These ground the film, shows the real people and surroundings and allows us to see the adult version of our lead character, firmly driving home that these are her recollections. More so, it also adds in a real/documentary element, rather than being autobiographical, meaning there are more layers to explore.

The "Favourite War" in question is not actually the Cold War but WW2, a war our protagonist has not experienced but is intrigued by due to TV shows, films and stories from her family. Occasionally, we disappear into some of these retellings of live during WW2 - often grizzly anecdotes and the idea of "The Great Patriotic War" serves as a consistent motif, as a point of pride, confusion and dark realization, as more is revealed.

I have mixed feelings about choosing to do the film with semi-broken and flat English narration from the director. On one hand, it feels more personal, on the other it feels jarring and a little too unpolished. I actually thought it was a poorly done English version before I realized it was intended to be in English. The animation also has some rougher elements, but the fact that the film feels so personal make these imperfections easy to overlook. The film has the feeling of one woman creating close to everything we witness, and perhaps that is also the case.
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#269

Post by St. Gloede »

Nomination #16

Nasir (2020)

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Preferred Slate: Asia

Alternate Slate: Arthouse

Director: Arun Karthick


Links: :ICM: :imdb: :letbxd:


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Nasir is a seemingly cheerful middle-aged cloth salesman, always with a smile, joke or even poem for his boss, co-workers and customers. Always willing to please. Set in colourful surroundings, especially the cloth store, with all its beauty on display, the tale of Nasir is anything but. It is a tale of class, subtle racial prejudice and quiet subjugation. It is a societal study as much as a character study. Nasir is part of a Muslim minority in India, and the fact that he is an outsider and an "other" is ever-present. Shot in the now unusual 4:3, the film shows just how boxed in our protagonist is, all the way to its unforgettable ending.
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#270

Post by beavis »

nice second IFFR selection, and this one I haven't seen yet :)
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#271

Post by Onderhond »

Turns out somebody is finally streaming Daughters in the US, might as well nominate it then.

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10. Daughters by Hajime Tsuda [Asia]
Source: Rent Online
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt11974766/ (169 votes)

Tsuda's Daughters is evolution, not revolution. It doesn't turn the genre upside down, nor is it distinctive enough to kick-start a whole new movement. But that's not a knock on the film. Daughters breathes new life into a genre that's become pretty stale of late, by updating its stylistic vocabulary while making sure all its dramatic beats hit the mark. It's one hell of a debut, hopefully Tsuda's film won't be buried in distribution limbo like so many other great Japanese films.
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#272

Post by St. Gloede »

Nomination #17

La nuit des rois / Night of the Kings (2020)

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Preferred Slate: Africa

Alternate Slate: NA

Directors: Philippe Lacôte


Links: :ICM: :imdb: :letbxd:


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Night of Kings is a visceral ode to the storytelling traditions of the Ivory Coast and much of Africa, created with love and bringing magic into the bleak and violent of an inmate-run prison. 

It is a tale of two doomed men. The ruler of the prison, known as Blackbeard, ailing to the extent he can no longer lead and is expected, by inmates' rules to commit suicide, and the latest inmate which he assigns the title/name of "Roman", also tied to a tradition where, on a red moon, a storyteller will tell a tale, and then, as the night end, blood will be spilt. 
As the insecure "Roman" is circled by the inmates, red moon above, he spins a tale that is part inspired by events he may have witnessed, and part fairytale, as he desperately tried to extend the hour of his faith. The atmosphere is electric, with the inmates joining in and acting out his stories, with pantomime, dance and songs. It would, frankly, have done just as well if the visualisation of the story was not included, but this dual story arc does at layers and Fantasy to the film. 

There is a lot of similarities to the cinema of Claire Denis, with undercutting of masculine stereotypes, a degree of gentleness and vulnerability, along with a viscerally lyrical atmosphere in a hypermasculine environment. Blackbeard is large and imposing, yet frail and filled with sadness and fear. "Roman" is horrified and grabbing at straws. The usurpers of Blackbeard's power schemes, but not quite as you might expect, with the main opposition, Lass, declaring "it is time for the inmates to stop being our slaves and become our customers".

It is a morally grey film, with each inmate seemingly guilty and deserving to be there, though even the prison guards, looking in from the walls, seem to just allow the processions and accept prison morality - at least to a point. The world within a world, with its rituals and traditions make the entire world come together as one of, even in its dark setting, feels like a grandiose world of legends. 
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#273

Post by St. Gloede »

Nomination #18

Futura (2021)

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Preferred Slate: Documentary

Alternate Slate: NA

Directors: Pietro Marcello, Francesco Munzi, Alice Rohrwacher


Links: :ICM: :imdb: :letbxd:


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Futura is a project that should immediately induce excitement. Three of the greatest contemporary Italian directors, who could be described as the future of Italian cinema, Rohrwacher, Marcello and Munzi travel across Italy and captures glimpses into the lives, thoughts and dreams of teenagers and students. They interview youths in groups and alone, from gathered classes to groups of friends enjoying some leisure time - and in the midst of it all, the Covid pandemic hits at its hardest. Futura has been compared to Pasolini's Love Meetings in its style and approach, and while it does not hit as strongly or has as many people lay out bigoted and awful opinions, the film still showcases the occasionally unnerving honesty and paints a picture of a youth generation with mixed views and beliefs. It could have gone deeper, but it still feels alive - especially as the very existence of the pandemic changes the fabric of the film, and makes it feel very immediate.

Minor note: Still not seen anything else by Munzi, but Rohrwacher and Marcello are both amongst the greatest current talents.
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#274

Post by St. Gloede »

Very happy I ended up disagreeing with Beavis on Night of the Kings, and hope others will as well. ;)

Also happy one of my big watchlist films managed to win me completely over, after the previous two did not live up to my hopes. In a bit of a double whammy, I did also see Pema Tseden's Balloon today, which I recall was being discussed as a nominee last year, only held back due to Tseden already having Jinpa nominated. Not quite Jinpa, but also far more human than "cool", while also retaining Buddhist motifs, this time with more of a critical angle. I will consider nominating it.
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#275

Post by Onderhond »

I gave A Ghost Waits a whirl, not really my kind of thing I'm afraid.

DIY cinema. Shooting your film in black and white doesn't make it automatically more stylish, though I guess you have to cut these no-budget efforts at least some slack. There are some interesting ideas on display here, which is something, they just needed a better director and more capable crew to bring them to fruition. The cinematography feels cheap, the performances are poor and none of the genre elements really work. The premise is fun though, and there are some novel elements to the haunted house lore you won't find elsewhere. If you can look past the poor finish it's a decent enough film, but it's not quite enough for me.
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#276

Post by filmbantha »

Onderhond wrote: June 24th, 2022, 6:56 am I gave A Ghost Waits a whirl, not really my kind of thing I'm afraid.

DIY cinema. Shooting your film in black and white doesn't make it automatically more stylish, though I guess you have to cut these no-budget efforts at least some slack. There are some interesting ideas on display here, which is something, they just needed a better director and more capable crew to bring them to fruition. The cinematography feels cheap, the performances are poor and none of the genre elements really work. The premise is fun though, and there are some novel elements to the haunted house lore you won't find elsewhere. If you can look past the poor finish it's a decent enough film, but it's not quite enough for me.
Thanks for giving it a shot Onderhond. Totally agree that the cinematography and visual style are not the film's strong points, though I was happy to overlook this due to the film's charming story and the amount of passion on display from a small creative team. I don't think I would have recommended it to you specifically due to this but appreciate you taking a punt on another of my nominations.

Having a quick glance at my nominations that you haven't seen, I think Dogs Don't Wear Pants, Ultrasound and Sweetie You Won't Believe It are likely to be the films you would enjoy the most 😉

I'm still working through everyone else's nominees and will hopefully have the time to post an update on those I have watched recently during the coming week. I'm also aiming to put together another batch of nominees.
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#277

Post by zzzorf »

Nomination #25

Eiga daisuki Pompo-san [Pompo: The Cinephile] (2021)

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Preferred Slate: Animation

Alternate Slate: Asia

Director: Takayuki Hirao

Links: :ICM: :imdb: :letbxd: :Crtiticker:






IMDb Plot Summary: A famous movie producer gives her young production assistant a chance to direct his first film.

Wikipedia Information: Pompo: The Cinéphile (映画大好きポンポさん, Eiga Daisuki Ponpo-san) is a Japanese manga series by Shogo Sugitani (also known as Ningen Plamo), serialized online via pixiv Comic website since April 2017. It has been collected in six tankōbon volumes by Media Factory. A spin-off manga by Sugitani titled Fran: The Cinéphile (映画大好きフランちゃん, Eiga Daisuki Fran-chan) has also been serialized online via pixiv Comic since July 2018. It has been collected in a single tankōbon volume by Media Factory. An anime film adaptation by CLAP premiered in Japan on June 4, 2021. The film was nominated for Best Animated Feature – Independent at the 49th Annie Awards.

My Two Cents: I have been able to find another animation nomination. This movie is a fun look at a cinephile's wet dream, the ability to make your own movie. It was a fun ride with a lot of Anime fun, especially the editing the film stages. Probably not my strongest animation nomination but would still be a great inclusion in the slate.


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#278

Post by filmbantha »

I've added 8 new films to the spreadsheet, predominantly for the dawn and indie slates as that seems to be where my taste takes me the most:

12 Hour Shift (renomination from last year) - JBD/Indie - We have all had horrific shifts at work but none quite as traumatic as the experience endured by a drug-addicted nurse who harvests organs from patients on her ward in this razor sharp black comedy from Writer/Director Brea Grant. When a kidney reserved for a gang member goes missing, bodies begin to pile up in the hospital and the the situation escalates for all involved in a myriad of shocking and hilarious encounters. An original score brings the film to life with an unusual but perfectly matched accompaniment that emphasises the quirkiness of this inventive and wildly unique film.

The impressive screenplay juggles a host of amusing subplots, weaving the threads of its comedic characters in a non-stop flurry of sick humour and twisted violence. In this regard, 12 Hour Shift feels like an unmissable amalgamation of classic screwball comedy with all the depravity of a gruesome modern horror. This unlikely combination makes it a sure-fire crowd pleaser with a hilarious and disturbing depiction of a night shift straight out of hell and I cannot wait to see where Brea Grant takes us with her next project.

Ballad Of A White Cow - Asia - This poignant examination of the patriarchal society in Iran casts a bleak shadow over the viewer with its haunting depiction of a widow who learns her husband was innocent of the crime that led to his execution. Maryam Moghadam wrote, co-directed and stars in this superb drama, delivering a powerhouse performance as Mina; a woman in mourning who longs for justice but finds that her voice is silenced or falls on deaf ears all too often. The arrival of one of her late husband's friends marks a turning point in Mina's life as she finds solace and support in his presence, as to does her deaf daughter, who begins to teach him sign language. The relationship between Mina and this mysterious stranger begins to blossom until interference from her late husband's family places a huge strain on their friendship.

Ballad of a White Cow is a brooding melodrama which steadily grows in intensity. Viewers are made aware of vital information long before the protagonist, and this makes Mina's plight even tougher to digest as we are forewarned of that which can only have devastating implications for all involved. Mina's story is used as a tool to highlight the failings of the judiciary system in Iran and it does so with a universality that speaks volumes to anyone with a conscience. I imagine that we will see great things from Moghadam in the future and I hope that she continues to hone her craft behind the camera, without compromising her incredible talent as an actress, as Ballad of a White Cow proves her to be an invaluable asset in either capacity.

Come True (renomination from last year) - JBD - An unsettling horror/sci-fi with a striking eighties visual and aural aesthetic that delves into the study of dreams and builds upon the fear of sleep paralysis. The dream/nightmare sequences in this film are truly stunning and I feel like this is destined to become a cult classic.

Happy Times - JBD - Imagine if Shiva Baby ventured into horror territory and you would not be too far removed from the twisted black comedy of Happy Times, a crazy film about a dinner party that descends into violence.

Help - Indie One of my favourite films of 2021, Help is a hard-hitting drama about the challenges faced by those on the front line of the pandemic when coronavirus first landed in the UK. It features an incredible long take part way through and utilises sci-fi/horror genre tropes to create an unforgettable experience. Jodie Comer and Stephen Graham are both excellent in the lead roles.

No Mataras (Cross The Line) - JBD/Euro An anxiety-inducing thriller set during the course of one horrific night where things spiral badly out of control for an unassuming young man. A stressful, edge of your seat experience, No Mataras left me floored, with my heart racing in my chest throughout.

No Man Of God - Indie/JBD - Elijah Wood and Luke Kirby shine in this film about Ted Bundy and his relationship with an FBI agent that delves into the psychology behind Bundy and other serial killers. It's a riveting character study that deserves to be seen by a wider audience.

On The Count Of Three - Indie - This superb black comedy explores the friendship between two suicidal men as they decide to go out with a bang on their last day alive. This is a lot of fun and surprisingly poignant with an awesome soundtrack.
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#279

Post by Onderhond »

I'll give a 2 to Pompo (watched it earlier this year). Fun film, not really a stand-out for me though.

A rather strange anime about loving and making films. It's not necessarily a niche I like (certainly not like most other cinephiles seem to do), but director Hirao made it quite light, without trying to mystify the profession too much. The result is a fun and rather easily digestible film. Gene is the young assistant of Pomponette, the granddaughter of a famous film studio owner. She produces shlocky B-films, but her ambition is to produce more classy work. One day she writes a script and hires Gene to direct. Besides his love for film, Gene has no directing experience, but he has the will to learn and to make something great for Pomponette. The film offers some reflections on cinema, some I agreed with, others quite removed from my personal experiences. The film in the film looked absolutely crap, so there's certainly that, but the characters are fun, the animation is solid, and the overall vibe is pretty easy-going. A very charming film.
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#280

Post by zzzorf »

I watched another two nominees over the last few days.

Friends and Strangers - This was a weird little movie, I enjoyed parts and not others, my major problem was that the conversations never felt natural which took me out of the movie a little bit. I gave it a 1.

New Order - Quite enjoyed this one. Looking at the consensus for this movie it seems to be very divisive but not between us programmers, I just gave it it's 4th 3.
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