7 items from 2013
Following his lyrical “Shun Li and the Poet,” distinctive Italo helmer Andrea Segre returns to the theme of immigration with a beautifully lensed drama whose structural imbalance is partly offset by an expressive use of late autumnal nature. “First Snowfall” won’t get the same degree of fest play as Segre’s previous pic, but his focus on the refugee experience in Italy, here via a man from Togo whose personal tragedy finds a parallel of sorts in the family of his employer, marks a refreshing change from the peninsula’s usual fare and should play well at showcases.
The Alpine area northeast of the city of Trento seems an unlikely place for a group of African refugees, but Italy’s influx of immigrants, many undergoing perilous sea crossings from Libya, has dispersed these men and women throughout the country. It’s here that Dani (Jean-Christoph Folly, “Sleeping Sickness”) lives »
- Jay Weissberg
★★★★☆ Italian documentarian Andrea Segre's debut feature about the exploitation of immigrant workers in his native country, Shun Li and the Poet (2011), packs an undeniably powerful punch. A young, unmarried Chinese woman, Shun Li (Tao Zhao), is in debt to the men who arranged and paid for her travel to Rome. Li is effectively enslaved; she works for free, lives in cramped quarters and endures long hours in a textile factory while waiting for the news that will reunite her with her eight-year-old son. Things begin to look up for Li when she is sent to work in a bar on Chioggia, a small island situated in the Veneto lagoon.
Li is quickly befriended by one of the bar regulars, Bepi (Rade Serbedzija), a Yugoslavian fisherman nicknamed 'The Poet' because of his love of rhyme. Bepi has recently lost his wife and is about to retire. Yet, despite having lived »
- CineVue UK
Valeria Golino’s Un Certain Regard selected Miele, Felix Van Groeningen’s Berlin Film Fest entry The Broken Circle Breakdown and Clio Barnard’s Directors’ Fortnight selected The Selfish Giant are the remaining three selections for the 2013 edition of the Lux Prize (the top ten was once again announced at Karlovy Vary this year). Promoting break-thru Euro cinema with film narratives that “illustrate the diversity of European traditions, shed light on the process of European integration and provide insights into the building of Europe“, the annual Lux Prize Official Selection which nominates ten films (the 17 member selection panel which includes Karlovy Vary’s Karel Och and former Directors’ Fortnight head-honcho Olivier Père) and then dwindles down the process to a vulnerable three, before crowning one winner in the final month of the calender year, has been awarding the prize since 2007 with winners that include the originally titled: Io sono Li »
- Eric Lavallee
Keeping the walking dead off the top spot and dominating the box office for a second week? That looks like a job for Superman
Topping the chart for a second week in a row, Man of Steel is only the second film this year to reach £20m after just two weekends of play. Les Miserables, the top-grosser for the year with £40.65m, stood at £17.36 at this stage of its run. Iron Man 3 reached £24.57m after two weekends, an 11-day figure. Man of Steel is behind the pace of the summer's top earner, with £21.33m so far. That's already nearly £5m ahead of the lifetime total for Superman Returns, which maxed out here with £16.4m. It's a similar amount ahead of Man of Steel producer Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins, which reached £16.6m in total.
Man of Steel suffered a second-weekend drop of 55%, which compares unfavorably with the »
- Charles Gant
World War Z | Before Midnight | Spike Island | Fire In The Night | Like Someone In Love | Snitch | I Am Nasrine | The Seasoning House | Shun Li and The Poet | Black Rock | I Am Breathing | A Haunted House
World War Z (15)
In the end, the much-reported delays, reshoots and overspend have at least resulted in a watchable disaster epic, even if this brings little to the zombie apocalypse party save for a huge guest list. Forster's film finds Pitt pitted against insect-like hordes of the sprinting dead, as his Un agent trots round the globe trying to trace the source of the epidemic, save his family and avoid getting chomped. Mild spoiler alert: blame Wales.
Before Midnight (15)
A satisfying return for the comfortable screen couple, now together but burdened by history, »
- Steve Rose
★★★★☆ Averting his gaze from the picturesque yet familiar refinement of Venice, Italian director Andrea Segre has discovered a more subtle beauty in the neighbouring fishing village of Chioggia. After several years spent as a documentary filmmaker, the Italian has now turned his hand to narrative features with serenely paced debut Shun Li and the Poet (Io sono Li, 2011). With the ever-present lagoon serving as a tonal touchstone, themes of immigration, prejudice and loneliness are deftly navigated by Segre and his impressive cast, whilst great care is also taken to steer clear of the grittier course a film such as this might typically follow.
Rather than tackling broader social issues head on, Segre's atmospheric tale focuses on the minutiae of a burgeoning relationship between two outsiders, Li (Tao Zhao) and Bepi (Rade Serbedzija). Li arrives in Chioggia at the behest of her employers to whom she is effectively indentured. That is »
- CineVue UK
In merely a coincidental set of circumstances, Andrea Segre’s Shun Li and the Poet arrives in UK cinemas on the very same day as Like Someone in Love – as two completely separate films that both focus in on the tale of an oriental woman, building the unlikeliest of platonic relationships with a man twice her age. However unlike the Abbas Kiarostami production, Shun Li and the Poet is a somewhat blander, more conventional depiction of such a story – though matches the aforementioned title in sincerity and sentiment.
Set on a small island in the Veneto lagoon, we follow Shun Li (Tao Zhao), a thirty something immigrant from China who takes a job at a local bar to raise enough funds to ensure her 8-year-old son can soon join her. Feeling isolated in this foreign land, she befriends the ageing fisherman Bepi (Rade Serbedzija), who, although having lived in Italy for 30 years, »
- Stefan Pape
7 items from 2013
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