In the film we have Arthur (Raphaël Personnaz) , a young speech writer for foreign minister Alexandre de Worms (played with relish by Thierry Lhermitte) who suffers from the minister's continuous barrage of shallow slogans instead of helpful directives. Tavernier has portrayed de Worms as a pretentious, shallow person with few redeeming features who appears to spend all his working hours highlighting quotations by his favorite authors with yellow highlighters. The film itself is a fast moving and reasonably funny farce focusing on the minister's helplessness in encounters at the UN, lunch with a Nobel Laurette, managing crisis at home (where he is ever reliant on the old hand Claude (played by the veteran actor Niels Arestrup) ad so on.
Quai d'Orsay passes the time quite pleasingly mainly thanks to fine acting and brisk direction but is not a high point in Bertrand Tavernier's body of work.
Mehrjui has done a similar film in the past where he made arguably the best segment in Tales of Kish, a similar project composed of multi segments made for Kish Island's Municipality.
In Tehran Tehran Mehrjui has skillfully inserted a narrative in a Tehran travelogue. A relatively poor family are sitting at home awaiting the Iranian New Year when their roof collapses and they are temporarily homeless. Help arrives in the shape of a party of old age pensioners who are going on a tour of Tehran and offer ride and shelter to this family. There are echoes of Mehrjui's The Tennants and Mum's Guest and his use of veteran actors such as Katayoun, adds to the nostalgic theme of his story.
Karampour on the other hand has treated his film as a short film with only a nod towards showing Tehran locations. His segment, which is reminiscent of Ghobadi's No one Knows About Persian Cats, follows members of an underground rock band in Tehran after their planned concert has been canceled at the last minute by the authorities. Lack of communication between the generations and ideologies appears to be the main theme here.
Older viewers are more likely to enjoy Mehrjui's segment whilst the younger generation may find Karampour's more interesting.
Zehra and Olgun are waiters at a café in a service station. They live monotonous lives and are going nowhere. Olgun loves Zehra but is not able to express himself. Zehra is feeling suffocated in her house under her strict parents and is looking for a way out. To her it seems that Mahur, a truck driver offers the best chance of escape to a better life.
There is a scene inside a ladies toilet involving Zehra which is reminiscent of Mungiu's 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days and in my view director Yesim Ustaoglu goes a step too far. Overall though Araf offers assured direction and very good performances. It is yet another impressive film from the Turkish cinema.
The film is shot documentary style with hand held camera and the performances, specially that of Nermina Lukac, are very natural and totally believable. Eat, Sleep, Die is a welcome change from the glitzy soap dramas made in Holloywood and is worth catching.
Based on a graphic novel, the story concerns a family who run a shop selling all the means to commit suicide: poisons, ropes, razor blades, etc. Their sales pitch is to project a grim view of the world and encourage potential clients to top themselves. However when the the mother in the family gives birth to a new child, who has an ever optimistic view of life, things get complicated.
The animation and the use of 3D are very creative though I did not find the songs (in French) that catchy.
A small landowner has punished some people living beyond a hill whose goats were grazing in his land by taking one of their goats and killing it to make a feast for his son and grand sons who are visiting him. Will those people now take revenge and what form would that be? From the moment the landowner's family arrive Alper builds up the tension expertly and manages to maintain this tension throughout the film.
In the Q&A after the screening Alper confirmed that his film is a political allegory about Turkey and its neighbors. In parts it is reminiscent of Once Upon a Time in Anatolia and clearly Emin Alper is a name to watch out for.
The approach No takes is to focus on the NO supporters' advertising campaign and in particular the creative force behind it, played convincingly by Gael García Bernal. If you can imagine an episode of Mad Men set in Chile, during the late 80's, you will get a feel of NO. It has been shot in what looks like low definition video to match the historical footage. NO makes for an entertaining, and at the same time educational, movie.
Atiq Rahimi has directed from his own novel. He wrote the script with the renowned veteran screen writer Jean-Claude Carrierre. It is, I feel, a story best suited to theatre with its long monologues. The film however, belongs to and is carried by Golshifteh Farahani's magnificent performance. This is a very tough role where she has to, for most part, talk to a body lying motionless and unresponsive on the ground, unable to engage in any dialogue. A poetic film which is not for all tastes but which will richly reward those who appreciate its form and messages.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is Robert Zemeckis's decision to do what is basically a character study. However, as shown in his previous films what he brings to the table here is to ensure that as well as studying this flawed character, we have a thoroughly gripping and entertaining movie. In addition to Denzel's standout performance, all the other performances are great. John Goodman balances the drama with the right dose of humour. Go and see it, but not on board a flight!
Somehow, it is reminiscent of Mamma Mia!, specially with Pierce Brosnan's presence in both movies. Here, he plays a successful businessman whose son is marrying the daughter of a Swedish hairdresser with an unfaithful husband. The wedding is set in romantic Sorrento and unexpected events happen which keep the film continuously interesting. Brosnan is particularly good and this film has the potential to become a big hit.
The politics and the history, though ever present, are kept firmly in the background and the film focuses on the boy's story. The fact that the film is based partly on the director's own childhood, and specially knowing (as he told the audience after a screening) that his mother was one of the "disappeared" during that era, makes the film very poignant. An added bonus is the great music in the film.
A young professor based in Europe visits Iran, his homeland, after an absence of 22 years. From the moment he arrives we can feel the menace in the air. The books that he issues to his students are instantly confiscated by authorities as being "unsuitable". His father is laying in a coma and his mother refuses to see her husband as she feels that his enormous wealth was gained by corrupt means. The professor also meets his half brothers & sisters (from a second wife that his father took secretly). Nothing is what it seems at first sight. In parallel with the main story we see flashbacks to the past to slowly unravel the mysteries surrounding the professor's family.
A Respectable Family is a masterful film noir and a hot political potato. Bakhshi does not pull any punches and his film hits hard at some of the Iranian authorities. Politics aside, this is a gripping, multi-layered and brilliantly made film with great acting to complement it. It is very much in the vein of some of the well known 60"s and 70's political thrillers such as Z, State of Siege, Missing, etc. Not to be missed.