PSIFF 2013

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Barbara (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A doctor working in 1980s East Germany finds herself banished to a small country hospital. (105 mins.)
“ In 1980 East Germany, Barbara, a doctor, is reassigned to a small rural hospital as punishment for trying to find work in the West. Biding time until her lover can help her defect, Barbara begins to suspect that her new boss knows of her plans.

Christian Petzhold of Germany has created another masterful film. Messages galone, storytelling at its best with minimal predictability and happily without a hollywoodized saccharinized ending that left much to your own imagination. The leading actress Nina Hoss is a tremendous talent worthy of oscar consideration for this performance, and she has collaborated successfully before with Petzhold. I was very impressed with her talent in WOMAN OF BERLIN which should be on your BUCKET cinema list if not already seen. Why she has not yet been seen in English language productions is a mystery to me.
I hate saying this, but the Stasi East German repressive government leads me to ask is our own country moving more in that direction with the Christian coalition and the Tea party lobbying our legislators to ignore human rights. ” - sharmatt
White Elephant (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
While working alongside his long-time friend and colleague in building a hospital for the residents of a Buenos Aries shantytown, a troubled priest finds solace in a young, atheist social worker. (105 mins.)
Director: Pablo Trapero
“ aka WHITE ELEPHANT, a powerful well made film with a strong secular fundamentalist message.
Two Catholic priests must contend with drug lords, corrupt cops and their own demons as they seek to care for the residents of a Buenos Aires slum in this gripping drama from acclaimed Argentinian director Pablo Trapero (Carancho). ” - sharmatt
Dormant Beauty (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
A mosaic of several intertwined stories questioning the meaning of life, love and hope, set during the last six days in the life of Eluana Englaro, a young woman who spent 17 years in a vegetative state. (115 mins.)
“ Italian master Marco Bellocchio (Fists in the Pocket, Good Morning, Night, Vincere) offers a multi-faceted exploration of the thorny issue of euthanasia in this response to Italy's famous Eluana Englaro controversy. ” - sharmatt
The Hunt (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A teacher lives a lonely life, all the while struggling over his son's custody. His life slowly gets better as he finds love and receives good news from his son, but his new luck is about to be brutally shattered by an innocent little lie. (115 mins.)
“ Mads Mikkelsen won the Best Actor prize at Cannes for his performance as an innocent man accused of child molestation in this ferociously powerful new film by Thomas Vinterberg (The Celebration). Steve Gordon's all time favorite film. I think Mads' performance deserves Oscar consideration. Certain to be one of the year's defining and most controversial films, The Hunt is an intelligent and disturbing dissection of Danish society
Thomas Vinterberg was born in Copenhagen. He made his feature debut with The Biggest Heroes (96). His second feature, The Celebration (98), won numerous awards worldwide, including the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. His other features are It's All About Love (03), Dear Wendy (05), When a Man Comes Home (07), Submarino (10) and The Hunt (12). Strongly associated with Dogme 95 film construction. ” - sharmatt
Love Is All You Need (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
A hairdresser who has lost her hair to cancer finds out her husband is having an affair, travels to Italy for her daughter's wedding and meets a widower who still blames the world for the loss of his wife. (116 mins.)
Director: Susanne Bier
“ Danish director Susanne Bier made her international reputation with a series of stirring, powerful dramas, from Open Hearts to Brothers to the Academy Award®–winning In a Better World. But this remarkably accomplished filmmaker has always had a lighter side as well, as evidenced by her breakthrough film The One and Only, which initiated Bier's long collaboration with her frequent star Paprika Steen. Steen returns alongside Trine Dyrholm and Pierce Brosnan in Love Is All You Need, a sparkling romantic comedy that revives the spirit of Bier's earlier work. ” - sharmatt
Caught in the Web (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
The story begins on a bus, when white-collar worker Ye refuses to give up her seat to a senior citizen... (117 mins.)
Director: Kaige Chen
“ Chen Kaige, from China, another elegant production on a very relevant contemporary subject, the misuse of the internet. Insignificant innocent behaviour transmitted to millions can create negative unwanted reactions. His work is masterful in every sense of the word. An example of cyber bulling and online voyeurism.

Chen Kaige was born in Beijing. His feature films Together (02) and To Each His Own Cinema (07). His other features include Yellow Earth (84), Farewell My Concubine (93), which earned him the FIPRESCI Prize and Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, Temptress Moon (96), Killing Me Softly (02), The Promise (05), Forever Enthralled (08), Sacrifice (10 ” - sharmatt
Beyond the Hills (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
The friendship between two young women who grew up in the same orphanage; one has found refuge at a convent in Romania and refuses to leave with her friend, who now lives in Germany. (150 mins.)
Director: Cristian Mungiu
“ Winner of the most prestigious film award is slow, but brilliant. Another insightful study of women on the verge of a nervous breakdown from Romanian director Cristian Mungiu, Beyond the Hills exhibits the same remarkable formal control as his Palme d’Or–winning 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days. Like that film, Beyond the Hills is a story about women living under an authoritarian regime: a remote Orthodox monastery in the Moldavian wilderness, where archaic beliefs still regulate the life of the community. ” - sharmatt
Amour (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Georges and Anne are an octogenarian couple. They are cultivated, retired music teachers. Their daughter, also a musician, lives in Britain with her family. One day, Anne has a stroke, and the couple's bond of love is severely tested. (127 mins.)
Director: Michael Haneke
“ Bring at least 1 box of Kleenex to this not to be missed film, especially if you are over 50. Both protagonists deserve the best of Oscar.

Precision, calculation, and refinement are the words that spring to mind when describing the work of Michael Haneke. But if his past work has been described by his critics as cool and clinical, Amour, which won Haneke his second Palme d’Or at Cannes, will surely put those feelings to rest. Never has this modern master been in such superb control as in this examination of a couple struggling with mortality — a subject that, in the hands of another filmmaker, could have veered toward sentimentality, cliché and bathos. ” - sharmatt
Pieta (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A loan shark is forced to reconsider his violent lifestyle after the arrival of a mysterious woman claiming to be his long-lost mother. (104 mins.)
Director: Ki-duk Kim
“ In the new film by controversial Korean auteur Kim Ki-duk, a brutal man in the employ of a loan shark is forced to reconsider his violent lifestyle when a mysterious woman appears claiming to be his long-lost mother. But, as his attachment to her grows, he begins to discover the gruesome and tragic secret that made her seek him out. He is far and away the best Korean filmmaker, as his The Isle (00), Address Unknown (01), Bad Guy (02), Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring 03, are all outstanding films.
"Kim’s intense, violent images — eels sliding down a staircase in the throes of imminent death, trails of blood on an empty street at dawn — hold primal significance, searing the retinas and generating a disturbing awe. The frightening beauty of Kim’s extreme storytelling colours each impeccably composed frame." ” - sharmatt
4Some (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  
Two middle-aged couples are linked by more than just a lifelong friendship. While relaxing on a Caribbean island, they get an unconventional idea to enrich and, as a result, complicate their sexual lives. (78 mins.)
Director: Jan Hrebejk
“ aka 4SOME a stupid rename for PSIFF???? Czech Jan Hrebejk, who brought us the amazing DIVIDED WE FALL now brings us a light hearted couples comedy. it is fun, and most of you will be entertained, some will find the themes perhaps a little unnerving.

Marital fidelity can wear you down, and Ondra (Hynek Čermák) and Vitek (Jiří Langmajer) are certainly suffering from a case of serious fatigue. Working side by side and living next door to each other, it doesn’t take long before these two long-married middle-aged pals start comparing sex notes, and it’s plain to see their latest scores have fallen far below what they would have hoped. ” - sharmatt
A Royal Affair (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A young queen, who is married to an insane king, falls secretly in love with her physician - and together they start a revolution that changes a nation forever. (137 mins.)
Director: Nikolaj Arcel
“ This sumptuous historical drama from writer-director Nikolaj Arcel (screenwriter of the original version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) chronicles the scandalous love triangle between a queen (Alicia Vikander), her German doctor (Mads Mikkelsen), and the mad King of Denmark (Mikkel Følsgaard). Mikkelsen and Vikander are electrifying as the ill-starred lovers, and their palpable chemistry, combined with Arcel’s assured direction and the film’s fine art direction and costume design, create both a sweepingly romantic and subtly nuanced portrait of this infamous episode in Denmark’s history. At once intimate and epic, A Royal Affair is one of the finest, most well-crafted period dramas in recent memory. A grand period drama with a lusty, beating heart, A Royal Affair displays all the talents and charms of its star, Mads Mikkelsen. ” - sharmatt
Fill the Void (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
A young Hasidic Jewish woman is pressured into an arranged levirate marriage to an older widower. (90 mins.)
Director: Rama Burshtein
“ An excelllent human drama. The youngest daughter of an Orthodox Hassidic family living in Tel Aviv, eighteen-year-old Shira (Hadas Yaron) is thrilled about her upcoming arranged marriage to a promising young man from a good family. But, on the verge of realizing her dream, Shira has her world shattered: her twenty-eight-year-old sister, Esther (Renana Raz), dies on the Jewish holiday of Purim while giving birth to her first child. Deep in mourning, the family postpones Shira’s wedding and struggles to deal with their crushing grief. However, circumstances arising from this tragic event force them to make painful decisions. Even though he feels it is far too early, Esther’s husband Yochay (Yiftach Klein) bows to pressure from his family to remarry. A potential match is arranged with a widow from Belgium, who refuses to move to Israel — which means that Yochay would have to move, taking his infant son with him. Desperate to keep her grandchild, the only thing that remains of her beloved daughter, in the country, the girls’ mother makes a startling proposition — one that will force Shira to choose between her obedience to her family and her heart’s desire. ” - sharmatt
The Third Half (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Determined to build the best football club in the country, Dimitry hires the German coach, Rudolph Spitz, to galvanize his rag tag team but - when the first Nazi tanks roll through the city and Rebecca, the beautiful daughter of a local banker, elopes with his star player, all Dimitry's plans must change. (113 mins.)
Director: Darko Mitrevski
“ This wonderful film of Jewish interest was created from the Spielberg Shoah foundation. The filmaking is probably worth an 8/10 in production value, but the story is worth a 10/10. Be sure and go to the film's website to see the Shoah interview of Neta Koen. ” - sharmatt
The Last Sentence (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
A story based on the life of journalist Torgny Segerstedt, who alerted the Swedish public to the threat of Fascism in the 1930s. (126 mins.)
Director: Jan Troell
“ Looking at this film, one thinks that Ingmar Bergman has been reincarnated. why? I do believe Jan Troell began his career as an assistant to 1 of the greatest film makers of all time, Ingmar B. Every frame in this exquisite achievement is meticulously created. In each visual, the lighting, shadows, say nothing of the psychological depth of the characters. The acting was nothing short of what Ingmar would have wanted. An excellent companion film to this would be LIV AND INGMAR, also here at the 2013 PSIFF. ” - sharmatt
Marie Krøyer (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
The story of the marriage between the painters Marie and P.S. Krøyer. (102 mins.)
Director: Bille August
“ Thank God, Mr August is back in Denmark where he belongs. Less money for him, but much higher quality cinema.
This exquisite-looking period romance is the first Danish feature film in two decades by the Oscar-winning director Bille August (Pelle the Conqueror; The Best Intentions). Regarded as the most beautiful woman in Denmark in the early 20th century, Marie was a muse for her husband, the renowned (but mentally ill) painter P.S. Kroyer. They lived in remote Skagen where numerous artists gathered, attracted by the exceptional light and natural scenery. ” - sharmatt
Liv & Ingmar (2012 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
The 42 year long relationship between legendary actress Liv Ullmann and master filmmaker Ingmar Bergman. (89 mins.)
Director: Dheeraj Akolkar
“ I have been smitten with Liv for many decades, so no surprise that this film receives such a high rating. Another huge plus was that Ingmar Bergman was to me one of the the greatest film makers ever. To a true cinemphile this film is an absolute gem in that it explores not only their relationship but many clips from his excellent filmography. This is a very intelligent film that is a must for the film lover. ” - sharmatt
Purge (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A tormented young woman is given a hiding place by an elderly lady and soon they are reminded of their mutual horrendous past. (125 mins.)
“ Puhdistus (aka Purge) is a well executed drama based on a book by Sofi Oksanen. It pictures the torments of the people of Estonia in the soviet era without being a historical drama. It tells a story of two sisters, of their love to a same man which leads to a deception and ultimate disappointment. A young woman who is brought back by a coincidence is also connected to their past in the beginning. ” - sharmatt
In the Shadow (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
In the former Czechoslovakia, 1950s, police captain Hakl investigates a jewelery robbery. An opened safe deposit leads to a known burglar... (106 mins.)
Director: David Ondrícek
“ CZECH, film noir genre. Set in Prague in 1953, this suspenseful crime drama follows honest police captain Hakl (Trojan) and his investigation of a seemingly mundane robbery at a goldsmith’s shop. In a fraught political climate, this incident is seized on by the Communist authorities, who require a smokescreen for their own, far grander, deception. ” - sharmatt
80 Millions (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
Solidarity activists prepare a bravura heist, taking out 80 mln from a union bank account just before it is blocked by communist authorities. (102 mins.)
“ A major swindle in Russian controlled Poland where the good guys win and the commies take it on the chin. Enternaining. ” - sharmatt
After Lucia (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Alejandra and her dad Roberto have just moved to town. She is new at school, he has a new job. Starting over is sometimes complicated when you have left so much behind. (103 mins.)
Director: Michel Franco
“ Showing in the Un Certain Regard section at the 65th Cannes Film Festival, Michel Franco's After Lucia (Después de Lucía, 2012) is a devastating and harrowing look into high school bullying. Following the death of her mother in a car accident, teenager Alejandra (Tessa Ia) and her father Roberto (Hermàn Mendoza), a successful high-end chef, move to a new town. Her father, however, is in a deep depression and oscillates between complete disengagement with the world and impatient anger, though never directed at his daughter.
Roberto's relationship with his daughter is one of adoration and she seeks to protect him as much as possible. At first, she seems to have settled into her new school with remarkable ease. She befriends some rich kids and soon finds herself invited to parties as part of the group. However, things take a turn for the worse when Alejandra has sex with Juan. He films it on his phone and soon the video has gone round the school. Labelled a slut, she is soon considered fair game and all her friendships either vanish or her ostensible friends turn against her. ” - sharmatt
The Deep (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Based on actual events, a fisherman tries to survive in the freezing ocean after his boat capsizes off the south coast of Iceland. (95 mins.)
“ A minimalist true human drama that was magnificently shot and directed. One of the most anticipated Nordic films of the year, Baltasar Kormákur’s The Deep recounts a modern myth that just happens to be true. In 1984, a fishing boat goes down miles off the coast of Iceland’s Westman Islands in some of the most forbidding seas on the planet, leaving the fishermen at the mercy of frigid and turbulent waters. Miraculously, one of the crew, Gulli (played with quotidian charm by Festival favourite Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, best known as Egill Elvis in Country Wedding and the rabble-rousing best man in Kormákur’s marvellous Chekhovian update White Night Wedding), manages to survive, despite being exposed to temperatures in which most people wouldn’t have lasted a few minutes. ” - sharmatt
Kon-Tiki (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Legendary explorer Thor Heyerdal's epic 4,300-mile crossing of the Pacific on a balsawood raft in 1947, in an effort to prove that it was possible for South Americans to settle in Polynesia in pre-Columbian times. (118 mins.)
“ Norway, Slowly drifting across the Atlantic ocean on a raft and finally getting to Polynesia can be grueling, but has its moments. A bold and inspiring epic, Kon-Tiki features extraordinary photography by Geir Hartly Andreassen (who also shot Max Manus). The visuals are suffused with a palpable sense of awe at the beauty of the natural world; seldom has a film made the night sky look so full of possibility or the ocean surface seem so teeming with life. The episodes when the crew must deal with sudden thunderstorms, a shark attack, and an encounter with a playful whale that escalates into a near catastrophe, are breathtakingly executed. Kon-Tiki is one of those rare movies that restores our sense of wonder. ” - sharmatt
Sister (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A drama set at a Swiss ski resort and centered on a boy who supports his sister by stealing from wealthy guests. (97 mins.)
Director: Ursula Meier
“ Although it will aggravate you through most of the film, it finally reveals a telling love strory between mother and son. Twelve-year-old Simon has hit on a grand scam. For the price of a season’s lift pass, he has access to some of the best alpine skiing in Switzerland – and to other people’s skis, gloves and goggles too, anything he can pick up quick and easy while the rightful owner is taking a break. The small stuff he stashes in his backpack. The skis he humps back down the mountain when he can. ” - sharmatt
The Hypnotist (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  
A detective pairs himself with a famous psychologist on a case involving a traumatized young witness to a crime. (122 mins.)
“ TOO EXCITING from beginning to end, a wonderful Swedish film noir crime drama, similar to THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATOO. Lasse Hallström succeed with the hypnotist an exciting film adaptation in the style of Scandinavian thriller culture. The story is framed by a total cessation of the wintry Christmas Stockholm and embedded therein. She also serves as the establishment of the place of action, and action-final adjustment. ” - sharmatt
Ginger & Rosa (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
A look at the lives of two teenage girls - inseparable friends Ginger and Rosa -- growing up in 1960s London as the Cuban Missile Crisis looms, and the pivotal event that comes to redefine their relationship. (90 mins.)
Director: Sally Potter
“ From the beginning of her prolific, multidisciplinary career, writer-director Sally Potter has been an avowed provocateur. Iconoclastic and sensual, her films straddle the divide between narrative cinema and the avant-garde. Ginger and Rosa can be seen as Potter's return to the era during which her politics and aesthetics took shape. Like her heroines, both born on the day that the atom bomb fell on Hiroshima and coming of age during the first stirrings of the sexual revolution in early 1960s London, Potter was of the postwar generation that welcomed radical social upheaval. Ginger and Rosa plunges us into that heady moment when change seemed just around the corner — but also offers a sobering look at the toll that this radical age took on the lives of its young idealists. ” - sharmatt
Goltzius and the Pelican Company (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Hendrik Goltzius, a late sixteenth-century Dutch printer and engraver of erotic prints, seduces the Margrave of Alsace into paying for a printing press to make and publish illustrated books. (128 mins.)
Director: Peter Greenaway
“ A terrible film from one of my favorite auteur directors. Now 70, iconoclast Peter Greenaway has lost none of his contrarian spirit. “Whether you’re Godard or Almodovar or Scorsese, it’s text, text, text,” he recently lamented to the Guardian. “Everything begins with the text and this is a source of great anguish to me. So please let cinema get on with doing what it does best, which is expressing ideas in visual terms.” No surprise then that his latest work is profoundly, stunningly visual. Awash in sexually provocative imagery, this 16th-century tale of duplicity focuses on Goltzius (Ramsey Nasr), a Dutch engraver who runs afoul of the authorities when his reenactments of lustful scenes from the Old Testament—staged under the auspices of F. Murray Abraham’s local nobleman—are deemed to have gone beyond the pale in their carnality. ” - sharmatt
Hannah Arendt (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A look at the life of philosopher and political theorist Hannah Arendt, who reported for The New Yorker on the war crimes trial of the Nazi Adolf Eichmann. (113 mins.)
“ BARBARA SUKOWA's performance to me was far and away the best female performance of the year, but alas, this German film will not even be seen by the Academy voters. Margarethe von Trotta's impressive oeuvre attests to her fascination with great women of all kinds, from twelfth-century Christian mystic Hildegard von Bingen to Marxist firebrand Rosa Luxemburg. With her new film about the German-Jewish philosopher and political theorist Hannah Arendt (1906–75), von Trotta undertook a particularly difficult challenge. While Arendt's life was hardly lacking in drama — a harrowing escape from Nazi Germany, friendships and affairs with giants of the intellectual world, and involvement in some of the great political controversies of the day — her renown rested less on actions than on her influential body of thought, perhaps not the most innately cinematic of subjects. But beyond its historical and human drama, Hannah Arendt is an attempt, in von Trotta's words, to transform "thought into a film." The great Barbara Sukowa stars in Margarethe von Trotta's fascinating biography of the influential philosopher and political theorist, whose reporting on the 1961 trial of ex-Nazi Adolf Eichmann led to her famous concept of the "banality of evil." ” - sharmatt
Allez, Eddy! (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
The eleven year old cycling talent Freddy is the son of a butcher in an idyllic village in no man's land... (100 mins.)
Director: Gert Embrechts
“ Belgium production. Prepare to walk out of this film with a smile from ear to ear. The eleven year old cycling talent Freddy is the son of a butcher in an idyllic village in no man's land. His isolated life is turned upside down completely in 1975 when the first supermarket in the village opens its doors. To mark the opening the supermarket organizes a cycling race and the winner of that match will meet Eddy Merckx. Freddy's father is a fervent opponent of the supermarket and the competition, but Freddy subscribes behind his back. By participating in the race a new world opens, not only for Freddy, but also for all those around him. ” - sharmatt
A Fierce Green Fire (2012 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
An exploration of the environmental movement - grassroots and global activism spanning fifty years from conservation to climate change. (101 mins.)
Director: Mark Kitchell
“ A very well done and powerful environmental documentary that should be seen by EVERYONE WHO LIVES ON THIS PLANET. If I were king, it would be mandatory. Narrated by Meryl Streep, Robert Redford and Ashley Judd, this forceful and comprehensive documentary charts the advent of modern environmentalism and its increasingly urgent evolution. Academy Award-nominated director Mark Kitchell (Berkeley in the Sixties) carries us from the early conservation causes of John Muir to the formation of landmark organizations like the Sierra Club and Greenpeace. Kitchell's wide net captures the growing threats of pollution, climate change, overfishing, and mass deforestation and their effects on both ecology and society. ” - sharmatt
More Than Honey (2012 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
An in-depth look at honeybee colonies in California, Switzerland, China and Australia. (95 mins.)
Director: Markus Imhoof
“ A fascinatin docu. More Than Honey has all the hallmarks of a great nature documentary. It employs the latest in filmmaking technology to observe phenomena undetectable by normal eyesight; and leaves us with a sense of wonder and awe mixed with alarm and urgency over the fate of the world's bees. In recent years, several documentaries have taken on the crisis of the declining bee population (including Colony, which screened at the Festival in 2009), so it takes an extraordinary film to stand out and More Than Honey fits that bill. Academy Award–nominated filmmaker Markus Imhoof narrates with a personal perspective as the grandson of a professional beekeeper in Switzerland. He travels the world from Europe and the United States to Australia and China, photographing epic agricultural landscapes where bees do their work, and the microscopic honeycombs where they live. ” - sharmatt
Nuala: A Life and Death (2011 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
In her late 50s Nuala O'Faolain wrote a memoir that sold a million copies and shocked the Irish public... (90 mins.)
“ In her late 50s Nuala O'Faolain wrote a memoir that sold a million copies and shocked the Irish public with its revelations of her sexual history and the bizarre manner of upbringing. She was a woman of many, contradictory parts: the enthusiastic heterosexual whose most lasting relationship was with a radical lesbian activist; the feminist who adored a father who openly betrayed her mother and neglected his family. In 2008 she transfixed Ireland again when, ravaged by cancer, she turned to her friend and radio host Marian Finucane to talk frankly about her impending death. 'Nuala' is Finucane's journey of discovery into her friend's life as well as a raw and vivid testimony to the enduring power of friendship ” - sharmatt
La cinquième saison (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
In a scenic Belgian village, nature is turning its back on man. How will the locals cope with this new reality? (93 mins.)
“ aka THE FIFTH SEASON, FLEMISH BELGIUM, I give it a 10 for its incredible visual poetry. Humour, tragedy, beauty and horror are all present here, sometimes mixed together in the same scene. During a festival in which the word 'poetic' has been used too often to cover a paucity of ideas, The Fifth Season has the power of the best poetry in that it presents powerful resonant images whilst having something genuine to say. Part-fable, part-stark warning, this is a haunting work of exceptional cinema. ” - sharmatt
The Angels' Share (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Narrowly avoiding jail, new dad Robbie vows to turn over a new leaf. A visit to a whisky distillery inspires him and his mates to seek a way out of their hopeless lives. (101 mins.)
Director: Ken Loach
“ not up to Loach's usual excellence. Fate seems unwilling to afford Robbie a second chance but when Harry introduces him to the joys of fine malt whisky, he discovers a talent for spotting the subtle nuances of the drink and subsequently embarks on a caper that could allow him to escape the shackles of the past. The Angels’ Share is almost a film of two halves with the first half unsparing in its depiction of Robbie and his temper. A scene in which he is confronted by the victim of his crime is amongst the most powerful and moving in the film. ” - sharmatt
A Caretaker's Tale (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  
Harsh and bitter, apartment caretaker Per despises everyone and everything around him until he comes... (88 mins.)
“ This provocative parable centers on the bitter custodian of a grim housing complex and the mute, naked woman with healing sexual powers he discovers in an empty apartment. Playing far better than it describes – and not without humor – this is a controversial drama with exceptional performances that won’t be to all tastes but which is certain to generate conversation. You will not love it, but you may hate it. ” - sharmatt
Snow White (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A twist on the Snow White fairy tale that is set in 1920s Seville and centered on a female bullfighter. (104 mins.)
Director: Pablo Berger
“ Started before and to me even better than THE ARTIST which recently enjoyed a huge success. If The Artist is a love letter to the heyday of Hollywood silent cinema, then Pablo Berger’s Blancanieves (the Spanish name for "Snow White") is an homage to the sumptuous European silent melodrama. Relocating the Grimm fairy tale to a romantic vision of 1920s Spain and working in atmospheric black and white, Berger takes full advantage of the silent film’s expressive potential to depict the golden age of toreros with gory, Goyaesque violence. Young Carmen (played as a child by Sofía Oria, and later by Macarena García) is our Snow White, daughter of once-renowned matador Antonio Villalta (Daniel Giménez Cacho), crippled in the ring and grieving for his wife, who died during childbirth ” - sharmatt
The Intouchables (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
After he becomes a quadriplegic from a paragliding accident, an aristocrat hires a young man from the projects to be his caregiver. (112 mins.)
“ A gloriously entertaining and unusual human drama, finding the best in what we have. A VERY HAPPY FILM from a trying condition. ” - sharmatt
Dormant Beauty (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
A mosaic of several intertwined stories questioning the meaning of life, love and hope, set during the last six days in the life of Eluana Englaro, a young woman who spent 17 years in a vegetative state. (115 mins.)
“ The Eluana Englaro case became a cause célèbre in Italy, sparking a national debate about the thorny issue of euthanasia. Injured in a car accident, Englaro lived in a vegetative state for seventeen years while her father fought a series of court battles to have her feeding tube removed. No stranger to controversy — his brilliantly offbeat films about the Aldo Moro kidnapping (Good Morning, Night) and the rise of Mussolini (Vincere) have both played at the Festival — Marco Bellocchio uses the Englaro case as a point of departure for this compelling drama. A multi-faceted examination of a divisive and endlessly controversial subject, Dormant Beauty offers a fictional exploration of the case’s effects and implications across a broad spectrum of social thought, action and belief. ” - sharmatt
Call Girl (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
A young girl is recruited from the bottom rung of society into a ruthless world where power can get you anything. (140 mins.)
“ Mikael Marcimain’s debut feature is a fascinating policier inspired by the prostitution scandal that threatened to bring down Sweden’s Social Democratic government in the 1970s. Not surprisingly, the real world is a lot more disturbing than anything a pulp novelist can dream up. ” - sharmatt
Nosilatiaj. La Belleza (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Set in the north of Argentina. Yolanda, a young girl of Wichi origin, tells in her native language (Wichi Lhämtes)... (83 mins.)
“ aka BEAUTY, The fate of an adolescent servant's lovely long hair becomes a potent metaphor for Argentina's treatment of its native population in "Nosilatiaj -- Beauty." Scribe-helmer Daniela Seggiaro's deceptively simple debut feature poses as a small-scale domestic drama but contains a subtle yet harsh critique of Argentineans' ignorance and dismissal of the marginalized Wichi people. Like Peruvian helmer Claudia Llosa, whose "The Milk of Sorrow" copped Berlin's Golden Bear, Seggiaro reps a strong new female voice from South America. ” - sharmatt
Sadourni's Butterflies (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
(87 mins.)
Director: Darío Nardi
“ aka Las Mariposas de Sadourní, My number 1 film of this year's PSIFF, even with its fractured narrative, it was so visually impressive, every frame a masterpiece. This film maker is definitely someone to watch. This was to me, the most impressive cinematic discovery of 2012. First-time feature director Dario Nardi’s Sadourni’s Butterflies is a labour of love that he started as far back as 1998. It took some time to find a producer willing to risk financing a stylized, surrealistic melodrama about a circus dwarf jailed for a crime of passion; released early for good behavior, he finds work dubbing fetish films and quickly becomes besotted with a beautiful fellow voice-over ariste and dreams of the operation that would make her attainable. (The right fairy godfather did come along eventually: Don Ranvaud, the man behind City of God, Central Station and Farewell My Concubine.) ” - sharmatt
Curling King (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
Curling skip Truls Pålsen's team has to make a come back after suffering from psychic problems with oversizing details. (90 mins.)
Director: Ole Endresen
“ aka KING CURLING, worth 10 for humour, 8 overall, When asked why he loved curling so much, a Canadian friend deadpanned, “It’s the only sport where you can keep your beer cold just by putting it down.” The country’s different but the underlying sense of the absurd is the same in Norwegian Ole Endresen’s hilarious debut, a comedy about sweeping and throwing rocks that knowingly turns the tropes of the “sports comeback” movie on their collective heads. Some critics have even mentioned The Big Lebowski and the films of Wes Anderson as points of comparison ” - sharmatt
7 Boxes (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Víctor receives an unusual proposal, to carry 7 boxes of unknown content through the Market Number 4 but things get complicated along the way. (105 mins.)
“ Making atmospheric use of the squalid, massively overcrowded labyrinth of Asunción’s outdoor bazaars, this auspicious first feature by Juan Carlos Maneglia and Tana Schémbori is a brilliantly down-market homage to the Hollywood suspense-action genre, where racing cars and squealing tires are replaced by wooden wheelbarrows executing harrowing chase scenes. As Victor and his adversaries clash in a frantic tug-of-war over his dangerous payload, the dizzying cinematography and hammering electronic score drive us toward an explosive, nail-biting finale ” - sharmatt
A Place at the Table (2012 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
A documentary that investigates incidents of hunger experienced by millions of Americans, and proposed solutions to the problem. (84 mins.)
“ the 49 million Americans who often don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Their stories are interwoven with insights from experts including sociologist Janet Poppendieck, author Raj Patel and nutrition policy leader Marion Nestle; ordinary citizens, teachers and activists, all coming together to present a rock-solid case that this social blight is something that must be addressed, and indeed, is quite easily solvable. Presented by Participant Media, the company responsible for Waiting For Superman, An Inconvenient Truth and Food, Inc. ” - sharmatt
This Life (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
The true story of the Fiil's a family of innkeepers who during Nazi-Germany's occupation of Denmark took up arms against the German occupiers. But in the fight for freedom, some must die so that others may live. (122 mins.)
“ Germany occupies Denmark on April 9, 1940. Although the Danish government decides to cooperate with the occupying forces, some citizens actively resist. Based on fact, This Life tells the story of the Hvidsten group, comprised of ordinary men and women from a village in eastern Jutland who received and hid agents and supplies dropped by British aircrafts ” - sharmatt
The End (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.9/10 X  
A group of old friends gets together for a weekend in a mountain cabin. Years have gone by and yet nothing seems to have changed between them... (88 mins.)
“ aka FIN, As the film begins, a group of friends who have not seen each other for twenty years meet up for a weekend at a remote cabin. Fond reminiscences soon turn to bitter recriminations, however, as the former friends volley blame at each other for an incident long past that none has been able to forget. The tense atmosphere becomes more ominous when they discover that this impromptu reunion has been engineered by the one member of the group who has not shown up: a friend they once referred to as "The Prophet," whom most of the group abandoned when he went into treatment for psychiatric problems. ” - sharmatt
Salvo (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
Salvo is a body guard and hit man for a mafioso. After foiling an attack on his employer, Salvo hunts down the man who organised it and encounters the man's blind sister. She causes Salvo to question himself and his existence. (110 mins.)
“ THIS FILM WAS A 10 IN EVERY WAY IN ITS CONSTRUCTION AND BEING LOYAL TO THE DOGME 95 TECHNIQUE. THE CAMERA WORK, PERFS, NARRATIVE WERE AMAZING. REMINDS ME OF AUDREY HEPBURN IN WAIT UNTIL DARK. WE WILL HERE MORE FROM THE TWO PROTAGONISTS IN COMING YEARS, PLUS THE DIRECTOR. FOR ME THE DISCOVERY OF NEW TALENT IS A GREAT JOY AT FILM FESTIVALS....PSIFF 2014.. HOLLYWOOD REPORTER REVIEW...Practically wordless and entirely devoted to capturing the stoical point-of-view of its gun slinging protagonist, the film kicks off with a brief scene of the titular killer (Palestinian actor Saleh Bakri, The Time That Remains) lying in wait before the day breaks, enveloped in the wheezing sounds of his broken air conditioner. But the merda quickly hits the fan when Salvo and his mob boss, Randisi (Mario Pupella), are ambushed by a pack of double-crossing gangsters, who the former easily disposes of before heading off to take out the man behind the whack. When he arrives at the cluttered seaside apartment of his next victim, Salvo finds himself drawn to a beautiful blind girl, Rita (Sara Serraiocco), who he discovers in the basement, counting money and humming along to an Italian pop tune. After an excruciatingly protracted wait, the girl’s brother comes home and Salvo manages to do the deed, but winds up getting cold feet when it comes to doing away with Rita, who he kidnaps and locks in an abandoned mine somewhere outside Palermo. VARIETY: A Sicilian hit man sets out to kill a man and then claps eyes on his target’s blind young sister in “Salvo,” the moody and extremely sensorial debut of scribe-helmers Fabio Grassadonia and Antonio Piazza. Palestinian actor Saleh Bakri (“The Band’s Visit”) is aces as the supposedly steely mafia assassin who can’t quite bring himself to bump off the non-seeing witness, and camerawork and sound are fully immersive ” - sharmatt
Harmony Lessons (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Lonely Kazakh teenager Aslan is bullied at his new school. He prepares himself for a bloody revenge on the school bully Bolat. (120 mins.)
Director: Emir Baigazin
“ EASTERN EUROPEAN CINEMA RATES VERY HIGH ON MY LIST BECAUSE OF ITS ROMA GYPSY LIKE MYSTICAL THEMES. THIS ONE FROM KAZAKHSTAN DID NOT DISAPPOINT. EMIR KUSTURICA FILMS REFLECTS WELL ON THIS GENRE. ALMOST EVERYONE WHO SAW THIS AT PSIFF 2014 DID NOT LIKE IT. FRIENDS GALE AND NORM WALKED OUT BEFORE THE END. MINIMAL REALISM, EXCELLENT PRODUCTION VALUES AND PERFS. ALL PRESENT. NARRATIVE WAS CONVOLUTED AS EXPECTED. TRIBECA REVIEW There are three clear-cut dream sequences in “Harmony Lessons.” However, when our lead character Aslan (Timur Aidarbekov) snaps out of his reverie, his reality is still strange enough for this film to feel as if it is being beamed down from some distant planet. It isn’t a distant planet, but it is the seldom represented rural landscape of Kazakhstan, alternating between hot sands and endless snow. Once you make your way past the veneer of weirdness you’ll find that “Harmony Lessons” can boil down to the fairly traditional plot of an intelligent though timid boy confronting a brutal bully with a violent conclusion. It is to writer director Emir Baigazin’s credit that it’ll take you some time to realize this is the direction in which the film is headed – and along the way you will be wowed by the artful framing of the situational peculiarities. ” - sharmatt
The Keeper of Lost Causes (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Police inspector Carl Mørck is put in charge of a department of cold cases, joined only by his assistant, Assad. They dig into a case about a disappeared woman. (96 mins.)
“ WOW! SCANDINAVIA IS NOW THE MASTER OF FILM NOIR MYSTERIES STARTING WITH THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATOO. THIS TITLE FROM DENMARK CONTINUES THIS CONDITION OF DARK INTENSITY. KEEPER CAN BE CONSIDERED THE USA TRADITION OF SEASON OPENER FOR TV, YET THESE WILL ALL BE FEATURE LENGTH FILMS LIKE TATOO WITH IT'S 3 FILMS. THE FILM TECHNIQUES WERE INCREDIBLE....EVERYTHING CAMERA WORK, EDITING, ACTING.....JAY WEISSBERG OF VARIETY: Denmark continues to milk its newly earned reputation for twisted behavior with an adaptation of the international bestselling crime thriller “The Keeper of Lost Causes.” Whether life in lower Scandinavia is as full of brutality and murder as recent novels and pics suggest, there’s no debating the global appetite for a well-crafted suspenser, and director Mikkel Norgaard delivers a slickly made though utterly predictable entry in the genre that plays like a pilot for an inevitable series about a melancholy detective investigating cold cases. Yeah, there’s already “Cold Case,” but that hasn’t stopped this one from generating brisk sales in all territories. ” - sharmatt
Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me (2013 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
The uncompromising Tony and Emmy Award-winner is showcased both on and off stage via rare archival footage and intimate cinema vérité. (81 mins.)
Director: Chiemi Karasawa
“ NORM SLOMANN TOLD ME THIS WAS THE MOST ENJOYABLE 90 MINUTES OF THE YEAR. UK GUARDIAN: There is no doubt that Chiemi Karasawa has captured a five-star talent in her debut documentary. Broadway mainstay Elaine Stritch, who became a household name in the UK during the 70s thanks to long-running comedy Two's Company, has lost none of her magnetism down the years. Now 88 - 87 when the documentary was shot - she suffers from hard-to-control brittle diabetes but it hasn't persuaded her to let the grass grow under her feet. As she puts it herself, "Everybody's got a sack of rocks." ” - sharmatt