Reviews written by registered user
|3 reviews in total|
A decent effort by this first-time director who well deserved the FIPRESCI (international critics) prize that the film won at the Cottbus (Germany) festival in October 2013. This is a full-frontal presentation of the difficulties involved in growing up in one of the poorest countries in Europe, but one which avoids falling into the trap of misérabilisme. Cobileanski achieves a fine balance between hope and despair despite the film's downbeat ending, and the film's characters are depicted with a degree of sympathy that precludes caricature. The Unsaved does not seem to have had much of a commercial career to date (June 2014) but it deserves a wider audience, at least at festivals.
I saw this in the Cannes market two weeks ago and it has lingered in my mind as one of the better offerings at the festival as a whole. It appears at first to be a gritty piece of social realism in the manner of Ken Loach but gradually evolves, adding touches of humour and wistful fantasy as the protagonists break out of their urban environment and settle into a road-movie routine. A late plot development introduces a blast of harsh reality and paves the way to a bitter-sweet conclusion. Polina Pushkaruk is excellent as Anya, the young woman determined to put her past behind her, and Vika Lobacheva utterly charming as the 13-year-old who plays on her heart-strings. This is accomplished filmmaking, and Ilmar Raag is clearly not a newcomer on the scene. He does not appear to have established himself as a name in the West, but hopefully I Won't Come Back is a first step towards changing that.
Samuel Beckett fans will get off on this. Georges Corraface and Jean-Jérôme Esposito do a great job as a pair of down and outs who seem unsure of what they're waiting for and have an unhealthy interest in small children. Director Milesi, better known as Robert Guédiguian's regular writer, also produced and edited and wrote the music, and as is usually the case with one-man-shows the movie is over-long and lacks a firm sense of direction. But it's strong on mood and style (the Paris suburbs by night have rarely featured this strongly in a movie) and has a great sound-track (some of it capably sung by Milesi). As of the time of writing, this low-budget movie has still to find a distributor in its own country and may not spread much further than a small circle of friends. But if it shows up in your neighbourhood, it's worth the trip.