At a Montréal public grade school, an Algerian immigrant is hired to replace a popular teacher who committed suicide in her classroom. While helping his students deal with their grief, his own recent loss is revealed.
A married couple are faced with a difficult decision - to improve the life of their child by moving to another country or to stay in Iran and look after a deteriorating parent who has Alzheimer's disease.
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.
Thomas Bo Larsen,
A brilliant plastic surgeon, haunted by past tragedies, creates a type of synthetic skin that withstands any kind of damage. His guinea pig: a mysterious and volatile woman who holds the key to his obsession.
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.
An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African-American maids' point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.
At a French shipyard, a trade unionist named Michel deliberately arranges to have himself on the dockworkers' randomly chosen downsizing list to spare another of his fellow workers. While he has his severance package and his friends and family's generosity to ease this sacrifice, this also gets his home invaded and robbed along with his wife and friends. Through pure luck, Michel finds out the identity of one of his assailants, a young worker who was on the same downsizing list himself, and gets him arrested. However, both Michel and his wife find that their vindictive satisfaction is soured by their realization of their assailant's motives and the larger consequences of their revenge. Struggling with their conscience, the couple finds themselves independently trying to live up to their ideals for a greater sense of justice. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Art and Life: Thoughts on "The Snows of Kilimanjaro"
The question is simple but is far from being rhetorical: Should Art be an imitation of life, or should it be the other way around? The advocates of realism will surely make the first choice. In their view, life is full of ugliness that Art must faithfully portray, with absolutely no recourse to artificial embellishments. Often, the artist cannot even see the difference between realism and pessimism. In the case of cinema, in particular, the audience must leave the theater filled with dark thoughts and feelings of vanity. Happy ending is a taboo, and the positive message is hard to find (since life itself doesn't support it).
On the opposite side of realism, idealism reserves a more noble and ambitious role for Art; namely, to create high standards of thinking and behavior, thus offering psychological, ideological and aesthetic motivation for man to overcome the inherent weaknesses of his/her nature and reach these standards.
Robert Guédiguian's wonderful movie "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" (France, 2011) masterfully balances between these two opposite philosophical trends. On the one hand, there are the hard realities of our time: the economic recession and consequent unemployment, the growing youth resorting to crime, the refutation of the visions of the Left, and the (non-glorious) compromise of the latter with modern neoliberalism where there is no social care for the weak.
On the other hand and these are the elements progressively dominating the film up to the final catharsis- scenes of incredible beauty parade through the eyes of the viewer, exhibiting a triumph of friendship, humanity, forgiveness, solidarity (a worthy substitute for absent state care)... And, above all, love and togetherness that keep a marriage alive over time and against the difficult challenges of life!
We left the theater full of positive thoughts and feelings. Finally leaving behind the painful memories of sickening movies by Michael Haneke or the Coen brothers...
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