26 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
Loveless (2017)
5/10
Loveless
20 August 2017
Andrei Zvyagintsev's film "Loveless" is about a middle class couple getting divorced because they understand that their marriage is loveless. The beginning of the film is promising — the son overhears his parents talking that they want to give him up to the orphanage after their divorce because he is an obstacle for their further happy life.

However after the child disappears, the film becomes completely pointless and uninspiring. It contains a lot of meaningless conversations, not very exciting sex with plain looking people, and all this occurs against the boring background of drab and colorless Moscow apartments.

Towards his characters director is clearly loveless; they are entirely uninteresting to him, but unfortunately they become uninteresting not only to the author, but also to the viewer. The director obviously skimped on the actors because he thought that for the depiction of such humdrum personalities good actors were not needed. The result is flat, lifeless, paper-thin characters. The course of events is mundane and very predictable. The sole protagonist — the son — vanishes so quickly that we do not have time to get to know or love him. It is especially important to note the mediocre camera-work. The centric composition is ordinary and inexpressive. Lighting is poorly thought out. The only beautiful shots are of the frozen lake and the rest of the footage is very banal. This is quite surprising, because cinematographer Mikhail Krichman is the same one who worked on Zvyagintsev's previous, much more visually expressive films. At the end of the film we see a television broadcast of events in Ukraine. Russia and Ukraine — loveless and divorced. However, this association looks contrived. The heroine wearing a tracksuit with Russia imprinted upon it, is a prototype of Russia, tired and not loving its children. But this metaphor by Zvyagintsev seems calculated, inorganic and senseless. The film looks very inexpensive and as if done in a hurry. Andrei Zvyagintsev, who previously proved himself to be a high level master with the film "Leviathan", is disappointing in this picture. In "Leviathan" there were brilliant acting performances, amazing locations and profound thoughts. "Loveless" unfortunately only manages to arouse epithets with a suffix LESS.

Read more at: http://indie-cinema.com/
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10/10
Train Driver's Diary
15 August 2017
Train Driver's Diary (Dnevnik mašinovođe) was produced by Serbian film star Lazar Ristovski and directed by Milos Radovic. Ristovski plays the main part of Ilija in the film. It is a very funny black comedy which is also full of profound thoughts.

The picture is about people who are accidental killers; according to statistics, the average train driver kills approximately 20 people during his lifetime. The subject of the comedy is very original and also the approach to this topic is compelling.

Ristovski created a memorable character of a middle-aged train driver who spends most of his life in a cabin with his small dog. His girlfriend also died on the railroad. One day on the tracks he sees a 10 year old boy, Sima, who wants to commit suicide because he is not loved by anyone. He becomes the adopted son of Ilija.

The acting of Petar Korac as grown up Sima is also worth mentioning, he is not a professional actor and later decided to choose another career, but he was able to create a convincing and charismatic character on the screen.

Director Milos Radovic said that he was inspired by Aki Kaurismäki when making the film. Radovic was able to create his own unique style and was not afraid to make fun of anything – love, death or destiny. It is also a film about growing up, maturing and making important decisions.Train Driver's Diary has a certain quality of fatalism and yet despite all the horrible experiences of the heroes the film is optimistic and full of humanism.

Read more at: http://indie-cinema.com/2017/08/train-drivers-diary-piff-2017/
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Maya Dardel (2017)
10/10
Maya Dardel (A Critically Endangered Species)
15 August 2017
Maya Dardel (A Critically Endangered Species) is directed and written by Zachary Cotler and Magdalena Zyzak. The film's protagonist is played by Lena Olin. Lena Olin, film veteran who was discovered by Ingmar Bergman, proved that she is still capable of captivating the audience with a brilliant lead performance. She plays the protagonist who is an aging poetess and the film's success owes her a great deal. Patrick Scola's lens exquisitely depicts her living in California's mountains among beautiful misty landscapes, in a house surrounded by half-withered plants. All this creates a special atmosphere in the film.

Maya Dardel is a rather original picture because it explores another side of sexual relationships – usually men are described as dominant and the role of prostitutes is relegated to women. However in this film, the authors show how young and promising poets can easily become involved in a kind of prostitution hoping to get this woman's inheritance. Their intentions are more clear than Maya's; we can only guess whether she is going through a crisis, is really desperate because she is lonely or maybe is just testing how low young men can fall in their pursuit of money. We see how corrupt are these people who are supposed to be be spiritual and above simple earthly pursuits. In this sense Maya Dardel perfectly reflects the soullessness of our materialistic society.

Interestingly enough, that one of the directors, Zachary Cotler, is an award winning poet himself and has also composed the minimalistic piano driven musical score of the film. Maya Dardel combines elements of drama, comedy, satire and even romantic comedy. The film is not for every taste as it's contemplative pace may put some viewers off who are used to more conventional movies. However, it is a bold, inventive film featuring a great performance of Lena Olin and is among the finest American independent pictures of today.

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Platonow (2015 TV Movie)
10/10
Platonov
19 July 2017
The film Platonov was made in 2015 by a German director Andreas Morell and is based on an early play by Anton Chekhov which was found only after his death and did not even have a name. This play is less known than Chekhov's other plays and was staged not so often and rarely has been adapted for cinema.

Events in Morell's Platonov take place not in nineteen century Russia, but in contemporary Germany.

Morell's task of adapting this play into a film was not an easy one, especially when taking into account the limited budget he had. It could have been just another play on a screen, but thanks to the director and cinematographer Felix Cramer it became a brilliant cinematographic piece.

Andreas Morell showed that this play is still current.

There was an apocalyptic feeling before the revolution in Russia when society was demoralized and we see similarities with contemporary reality.

The director should be praised for his choice of actors. The role of Platonov was especially important, he was portrayed by the rising star Robert Besta who has all the qualities for this role; charisma, intellect and irony. The role was challenging as the character is complex: a disillusioned school master who is sometimes cynical and self-critical. He finds refuge in heavy drinking as finally he is not able to deal with reality.

Sonja is played by Franziska Petri. She is tender, feminine, romantic and at the same time she is cruel, violent and obsessive. It is interesting that this play was written specifically for Maria Yermolova, a famous Russian actress, but she rejected the role and so for a long time this play was left undiscovered. The film is more than just a love-triangle story; it is a critical analysis of the contemporary society with some elements of nostalgia for the beautiful but lost time. The role of the fiancé was played by the well-known actor Stefan Grossman. His character is also memorable and probably very close to what Chekhov wanted to see on the stage. He might look naive, but he is calculating and deceiving. He wants to build his marriage on sand and is afraid to face reality.

This is the best version of Platonov on film and is without a doubt among the top Chekhov adaptations.

Read more at: http://indie-cinema.com/2017/07/platonov-viff-2017/
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Bodyguard (2016)
10/10
Bodyguard
19 July 2017
With the film Bodyguard, Ebrahim Hatamikia managed to create a true masterpiece of cinematography.

It tells the story of a bodyguard, and although there were films on this topic before, but this picture stands apart. The film is perfect from the standpoint of cinematography, actors, and ideas.

The story begins with the main hero Hajji Heidar Zabihi, played by Parviz Parastoui, getting assigned to protect vice-president Dr. Solati. But during an assassination attempt by a suicide bomber the vice-president becomes injured and subsequently dies. After this Heidar receives another important mission to protect nuclear scientist Meisam Zarrin (portrayed by Babak Hamidian who received the Best Supporting Actor award at VIFF). The main character is constantly haunted by the images of his past and he questions his mission and his future. After some time he begins to doubt that he did everything he could to protect Dr. Solati.

The film depicts well the modern Iranian society and although this film is very realistic it is also highly expressive. The film was highly successful in Iran where it grossed $1.85 million in the box-office but it is less known in the West. Nevertheless it deserves attention of audience and critics worldwide because it is not only a popular film, but is also a powerful and spiritual art house picture.

Read more at: http://indie-cinema.com/2017/07/bodyguard-2016-viff-2017/
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10/10
Million Loves in Me
14 July 2017
Million Loves in Me by director Sampson Yuen is based on real events and tells the story of a mother and daughter, their complex relationship and how they kept dozens of animals in cages in their apartment. The revelations of their actions led to their trial which is also depicted in this film.

It is interesting that the lawyer John Yiu who defended the protagonist (the daughter) in court is actually the producer and the actor who plays her in the movie. It is one of the very rare cases where a male actor brilliantly played a female role. His acting is very convincing and truthful although it was his first role in cinema. The role of Katy was quite complicated, it was funny and tragic at the same time. The mother, Mrs. Fong, was played by experienced stage and film actress Koon-Lan Law.

The film is a story about alienation of people in a consumerist society. The animals in cages are no more lonely than people. The mother and daughter spend all their time buying bags, clothes and animals whom the mother is afraid to touch, because of her fear of bacteria. It is a story of ultimate loneliness and false illusions. The man who the daughter thinks is interested in her is only after her money. It is a story about people creating their own cages, living in them and being afraid of breaking them.

There is a dramatic contrast of bright advertisement-like images of restaurants and shops with dark settings of the cages where the animals are kept. The film is quite original and provokes empathy towards the protagonist and poses many questions about life and love.

The protagonist is very lonely and her heart is full of unrealized love, rejected by her mother and cheated by her romantic interest. She is consoled only by the animals which she takes care of. There is a lot of childishness in her and only in the end she finds the strength to oppose her oppressive mother.

Read more at: http://indie-cinema.com/2017/07/million-loves-viff-2017/
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The Student (2016)
8/10
The Student
16 March 2017
"The Student" – "(M)uchenik" directed by Kirill Serebrennikov is an attempt to reconsider religious fanaticism in the modern world. The picture is based on the play "Martyr" by German author Marius von Mayenburg and it was adapted to the reality of modern Russia.

In a way the problems touched upon in the film are universal and not connected to one particular religion. An interesting aspect of the film is the constant quoting of the Bible which shows that any religion can become an instrument of aggression. The picture is a sharp and humorous satire. The teachers in the film are very well depicted, they whose heads are full of self contradictory ideas combining Stalinism, Putinism, Communism, Liberalism and religion. The school administration cannot confront a religious fanatic because they themselves do not have any ideas or principles.

When the biology teacher tries to confront Veniamin, she also looks into the Bible, which she interprets in a vulgar and primitive way. The relations between Veniamin and Grigori are interesting; he becomes very close to Veniamin but we see later that Grigori is gay which is the real reason why he becomes his disciple.

The film is shot in a minimalistic way in this low-budget production, but the actors play well and the dialogues are very funny. The ideas of the picture are important, the film has an open end just as our society has an uncertain future with growing extremism and radicalism.
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Logan (2017)
8/10
Logan
11 March 2017
Logan is high quality entertainment and is the best movie of the X-Men series. This picture has a vibrant style characterized by a dark creepy atmosphere, expressive lighting, interesting locations and good camera work. The film's plot has original ideas and grips the viewer throughout the film.

The main gripe which the critics had was excessive brutality, but this film is R-rated, and the violence is not vulgar or disturbing like in many films of today. The casting was excellent, all the main actors played very well, especially Hugh Jackman and Dafne Keen.

It is obvious when watching Logan that the director together with the crew watched many classic films and created a film influenced by the best of cinematography.

Many pictures are made purely on a green screen with excessive quantity of SFX which makes these films unrealistic, unimpressive and claustrophobic. In this respect Logan avoids this cinematographic dead end. The film was shot in many fascinating locations and the landscapes were chosen very well. The details were chosen with good taste and attention. The special effects are present, but are reserved and not intrusive like in many other pictures. The film serves as a good example on how to make a superhero picture without sacrificing artistic integrity.

Read more at: http://indie-cinema.com/2017/03/logan-review/
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La La Land (I) (2016)
1/10
La-La Land
10 March 2017
La-La Land is a very important film. It received so many Oscars, but we have seen weak films awarded before that. It is important as a proclamation of incompetence. This film invaded the musical genre which traditionally belonged to artists who can sing and dance.

The film is about a young woman who wants to become an actor and a young musician. Ryan Gosling who plays main protagonist is a good actor but this role is not for him; he is extremely clumsy and when he dances around a streetlight it resembles a parody on Gene Kelly in Singing in the Rain. His voice reminds one of a whining mosquito. Concerning Emma Stone, she also cannot sing or dance. At least she is not as clumsy as Ryan.

The film's choreography was made with the imagination of a kindergarten teacher. The plot is a collection of trivialities and the camera work is made by a person who does not known anything about composition except for the central position in the frame, which makes this banal film even more boring and trivial than it could be. Only positive aspect is the light feeling of nostalgia is left by the film.

Read more at: http://indie-cinema.com/2017/02/la-la-land-review/
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5/10
The Young Karl Marx
1 March 2017
The Young Karl Marx chronicles the period when young Karl Marx meets his future long-term friend and co-author Friedrich Engels and the several following years. During the Berlinale press conference dedicated to the film Raoul Peck was asked if he read Karl Marx. He answered that he attended seminars dedicated to Marx's Capital. His film is reminiscent of such a seminar; interminable and tedious.

There are many dialogues, questions, answers however the film completely lacks artistic vision. There is no interesting music, camera-work or a gripping plot.

Raoul Peck tried to underline the more materialistic side of his relationship with Jenny, showing his sex life and child birth. To deprive Marx of certain romanticism is also not fair, the young philosopher was a romantic of his own kind; he was engaged for seven years to Jenny and dedicated many poems to her.

The discussions depicted in the film are too primitive for such great thinkers such as Marx, Engels, Proudhon and Bakunin. The proletariat, on the other hand, is shown as a group of people with abject faces and feeble children, which makes the ideas of Marx about the proletariat too idealistic and not connected to reality.

One of the positive sides of the picture is that Peck did not try to distort facts about the people in the film, however after the film finishes one feels relieved that the drawn-out seminar on Karl Marx is finally over.

Read more at: http://indie-cinema.com/2017/02/young-karl-marx/
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10/10
God of Happiness
24 February 2017
God of Happiness is a tragi-comedy set in modern Germany and tells the story of a former film director Georgi originally from Georgia who plays minor parts in crowd-scenes and also earns money on the side as a pimp of his black friend Ngudu.

The main theme of the film is alienation of people and their loneliness in a modern city. There is also a film within a film – a German film about Nazism, where Georgi plays. This picture reflects the feeling of the protagonist that he is a second rate citizen in modern Germany. The culmination of the film is a 'hanging' of Georgi on the gallows installed on the film set.

Also the film where Georgi works is a reflection of a primitivization of the real World War II events in modern cinematography. Georgi is trying to hide his miserable situation from his daughter pretending to be rich and his African friend Ngudu takes resort in his magical powers and tries to communicate with his estranged mother. Somehow this is a movie about broken hopes and dreams, like the dream of Georgi's daughter of becoming a ballet dancer.

The film has superb cinematography – the urban landscape creates a unique background for the scenes and the film is definitively one of the most important German films of the last 10 years.
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10/10
Despite the Falling Snow
24 February 2017
Despite the Falling Snow is a romantic drama with elements of an espionage thriller which intersects events from post-Stalinist Russia with the United States in the 1990s.

Rebecca Ferguson has created an unforgettable image of a young Russian woman trapped between two men. Enchanting faces and majestic landscapes with falling snow and an expressive score – all of this creates a passionate and mysterious atmosphere. The film is full of tension, drama and emotion.

Some critics objected to the supposedly unrealistic costumes and details of the lifestyle of Russians. However, I can not agree with that. The style of life of Russian people has always been dependent on the social status of people, even at that time and the elite which was depicted in the film certainly were not ordinary folk. To the director's credit, she has avoided the thoroughly traded road of vulgarization of the Russian people on the silver screen.

The actors have created characters which are true to life and difficult to forget. There are no doubts that the film will become one of the classics of its genre.

Sarif has definitively made a great casting, the role of older Misha was played by Anthony Head who brilliantly accomplished the difficult task of creating highly emotionally charged scenes at the end of the movie.

Read more at: http://indie-cinema.com/2016/08/despite-the-falling-snow/
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Wilde Maus (2017)
4/10
Wild Mouse
24 February 2017
"Wild Mouse" (Wilde Maus) is the film debut of Hader who is well-known in Austria as a cabaret performer. The movie is about Georg, a music critic who is dismissed from his work at a Viennese newspaper and who becomes vindictive towards his former boss Waller.

It is a comedy made in Viennese (Wienerisch) dialect which makes it hard to understand even for German people unless they read subtitles.

The plot of the film is predictable, the humor only touches upon small problems and the motivation of the characters is not always clear. The actress Pia Hierzegger who played Johanna in the film is not charismatic nor a great actress either. Hader himself plays Georg well, but his character is superficial and not compelling enough.

The positive aspects of the film are good choices in music, several cinematically appealing shots featuring rain and snow. Also the Prater amusement park was a good choice of surroundings, it also served as a film location for the 1949 Orson Welles classic "The Third Man".

However in the end we can only say that the film "Wild Mouse" about a "small person" is a small film for a small audience. Nevertheless, the picture is Hader's first film, and taking this into account that he was the director, screenwriter and actor, we can expect more interesting films from him in the future if he understands the flaws of his directorial debut.

Read more at: http://indie-cinema.com/2017/02/wild-mouse-review-berlinale-2017/
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Kollektor (2016)
10/10
Collector
23 February 2017
The film "Collector" is the directorial debut of Alexey Krasovsky starring Konstantin Khabensky. The director has achieved the quite complicated task of creating a film with only one actor and using a single set.

The actor who plays the role of a debt collector created an impressive character whose different aspects of personality unfold and transform during the film. In the beginning he is depicted as a heartless manipulator and by the end we see another person, one longing for love and understanding. This transformation is convincing due to the work of Khabensky who was not afraid to tackle a role in a film which can be described as experimental.

This film is more than just one-man show due to the successful work of the a director and cinematographer who were able to create a mysterious atmosphere and a dynamic evolution of the plot. The movie is ambiguous, focuses on the personality of the protagonist and leaves room for thought.

An unexpected problem changes the collector's life and he is losing his so-called successful position and important friends. When he faces the trouble and suddenly becomes an outsider, he starts to feel human emotions; guilt, compassion and longing for true love and another life. But it is too late. His past haunts him and he is not capable of escaping it. The tragic end makes us feel sympathy towards the collector, no matter what he is punished for.

Read more at: http://indie-cinema.com/2016/12/collector/
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Elle (I) (2016)
6/10
Elle
23 February 2017
If Verhoeven's most famous film Basic Instinct was made under Hitchcock's influence then the film Elle is strongly reminiscent of Haneke's work, who also filmed in France and even cast Isabelle Huppert, the lead actress of Elle, in his film The Piano Teacher, which investigates similar problems. When Basic Instinct was created it was on the level of Hitchcock's cinematic classics, and was excellent in the visual and musical sense. Strong visual side characterizes Verhoeven's films, unlike Haneke's cinematic output which is typically gray, bleak and drab. It is very sad that in the film Elle, Verhoeven did not display himself as the artist he is.

But the main flaw of the film is the miscasting of the main actress who should not be too young or too old. She should be in her forties, and not sixty like Huppert. The film is focused on one woman which is why it is important to have had an actress who is able to hold the viewers interest with her acting and her looks.

The plot of the picture is also questionable and not convincing enough. The director could not decide if he wanted to do a comedy or a drama, and combining the genre elements did not prove entirely successful. The male characters are also not impressive either and the main villain when unmasked is not scary in the slightest.

Read more at: http://indie-cinema.com/2017/01/elle/
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2/10
Knight of Cups
23 February 2017
The film "Knight of Cups" is a big disappointment for cinema lovers. Even fans of the famous art-house director Terrence Malick were not satisfied with his new production.

It is obvious that Malick wanted to create a film à la Dolce Vita about the meaningless life of the artistic elite. However given that Fellini's film is a masterpiece of cinematography, this pale copy created by Malick lacks its depth, its humor and its ideas.

Malick has made this film without a script like Fellini, relying on improvisation and post-production. If in La Dolce Vita Fellini took full advantage of the charisma of Marcello Mastroianni, the fans of Christian Bale will also be disappointed because his best qualities were not shown in the film. The camera glides over him but does not speak with him. The dialogues and the voice-over are completely uninteresting.

Shame on you Mr. Malick! Do not steal from Fellini! This crime will cost you your reputation.

While making a film about a meaningless life Malick has made a thoroughly meaningless film.

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Youth (I) (2015)
4/10
Youth
23 February 2017
The film "Youth" (La giovinezza) by the Italian director Paolo Sorrentino is a reflection of the deep crisis in Italian cinema. After the golden age of Italian cinema in the 1960s the crisis started and became inescapable.

Director Sorrentino tells the story of two close friends vacationing in a sanatorium in the Swiss Alps. One is a composer played by Michael Caine another is a filmmaker played by Harvey Keitel. Michael Caine plays his role well as usual and is the only reason why the film is remotely watchable.

Otherwise the film is dull, pretentious and lacks any new or interesting ideas. The cinematography was bland and unoriginal. The music was surprisingly awful considering this is a film about a famous and beloved composer.

The product placement for Microsoft Kinect was shameless, annoying and resembled a parody. The film had a positive critical response, however it is not a masterpiece, just utterly forgettable.

The film is just another imitation of Fellini in the same way as "The Great Beauty" (La grande bellezza) but "The Great Beauty" at least was not so flat out boring and monotonous.

It is time for the directors to stop stealing from the great masters and to their find own unique style and to produce new ideas and the film jurors should not encourage plagiarism either.

"Youth" can only be recommended as a sleeping aid.

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4/10
The Danish Girl
23 February 2017
The Danish Girl" is yet another politically correct movie by Tom Hooper. No doubt that the topic – the story of the first transgender patient was chosen by him not by accident.

To criticize the film is a hard task when critics can be interpreted as intolerant and so on. However the director was not able to reflect the complexity and dramatism of the real story of Lili Elbe, born as Einar Wegener who died as a result of an unsuccessful sex reassignment operation.

The film is too superficial, too shallow and it seems that the director does not know what the story is about. The film Glen or Glenda by Ed Wood was more convincing. The depiction of Gerda Wegener – the wife of Lili is not believable either.

In the end of the film we see the text praising Lili Elbe as an inspiration to the transgenders to come. This politically correct remark leaves a sort of bewilderment. The unhealthy fixation with own sexuality is not really the most important thing in this complex world full of much more significant problems. This text is a classical example of imposing a questionable and politically motivated point of view to the audience instead of leaving space for thought. Perhaps the story of Lili can not only be an inspiration but also a warning for those people who want to solve their psychological problems with a surgeons knife.

The film is shot in a pleasant color scheme which makes it possible to watch the film, albeit not without severe boredom.

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Deadpool (2016)
1/10
Deadpool
23 February 2017
"Deadpool" can symbolize the beginning of a new age in cinema – a global dumbing down of the moviegoers with violence and vulgarism of this so-called satire on superhero films.

The film received positive reviews both from the critics and the audiences alike what can raise doubts about authenticity of these reviews and about the intellectual level of these so-called critics.

One thing I agree with is that the director is an "overpaid tool" as this is how he was credited in the titles.

This film was supposed to be a parody of the superhero film, however the jokes are not funny and needlessly vulgar, and is targeted towards the most primitive audience.

The plot is stupid and full of pointless violent scenes. There is no aesthetic value of cinematography, nothing emotionally gripping and the whole film is reminiscent of a bad joke played at the stupid audience who bought the ticket to such a trashy film.

Somehow this film is a classic example of brainwashing of people, manipulating the most primitive instincts, appealing to the dark subconscious of the young and immature people. The film is too juvenile, however it has a R-rating so it is not really clear what audience it was made for.

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The Revenant (2015)
8/10
The Revenant
23 February 2017
Film "The Revenant" by Alejandro González Iñárritu is highly acclaimed for its realism combined with almost fantastical landscapes. The film is incredibly beautiful and was shot using natural light and with minimal special effects.

There is a conflict in the film between the beauty of nature and the ugliness of human relationships. Cruelty and intrigues set against the background of majestic mountains and forests. The talent of the cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki without a doubt deserved the most prestigious film awards.

The director was obviously influenced by Andrei Tarkovsky and Terrence Malick, who also took a lot from the great Russian director. Some scenes from the latest movie with Leonardo DiCaprio have copied from the works of the Soviet director. The similarity is evident: people are composed similarly and matching cinematographic techniques are used. The scenes for example where the protagonist is dreaming about ruins of a castle or sees his levitating wife are taken directly from the films of the Russian director.

The acting of Leonardo Di Caprio is one of the strongest sides of the film and combined together with the unique cinematography of Emmanuel Lubezki made the film "The Revenant" a masterpiece of modern cinematography.

Read more at: http://indie-cinema.com/2016/02/the-revenant-review/
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2/10
Bridge of Spies
23 February 2017
The film "Bridge of Spies" set during the cold war is a collection of banalities including a predictable plot, mediocre acting and dull music. The screenplay could have been much more thrilling if the writers would have followed the main events in a more historically accurate way.

The real life of James B. Donovan was much more exciting than the one depicted in the film. He was a lawyer at the Nuremberg trials and was already a well-known lawyer when he took the Rudolf Abel case. Donovan did not see Berlin wall escapees being shot; the shootings, which were the most similar to the ones depicted were those associated with the killing of Peter Fechter that happened the summer after the Powers/Abel exchange on the Glienicke Bridge.

The real life stories of the spies of that period offer rich material for a writer, however the Coen brothers took the most uninteresting segment of the espionage story. The characters are bland and forgettable. This is an example of a politically correct propaganda film showing the good work of the intelligence services.

The film "Bridge of Spies" is boring and disappointing – a naïve film made for a naïve audience. It is clear that Spielberg is a populist and the master of banality.

Read more at: http://indie-cinema.com/2016/09/bridge-of-spies-review/
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4/10
Other Side of Hope
23 February 2017
The Other Side of Hope tells the story of a Syrian refugee and the challenges he meets in Finland. The film features his typical cinematographic style but the picture itself is disappointing.

It is clear that Kaurismäki is much more at ease describing Finnish people. His Finnish characters are very funny and colorful, however when it comes to the refugee characters, he becomes shy and unimaginative.

The main character Khaled is probably a very good person but he is a very boring character. More than that he does not look like a refugee; he looks neither tired, hungry or frustrated. He reminds one of a successful salesman or a post-doctorate student.

His story is not compelling and his acting is not convincing. Kaurismäki received a specific commission and when making this politically correct movie he was afraid of making fun of foreigners or their religion. He even made the character an atheist which is highly unlikely for people from this country.

Occasionally the film was funny, but only in the segments featuring Finns, The plot is not very interesting and does not have any twists or surprises. When undertaking this theme, Kaurismäki has shown that he does not know the topic or want to know it. Perhaps the biggest motivating factor was the funding he received to make this extremely politically correct picture.

Read more at: http://indie-cinema.com/2017/02/the-other-side-of-hope/
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Hostages (I) (2017)
6/10
Hostages
21 February 2017
The film Hostages (Mdzevlebi) directed by the young Georgian director Rezo Gigineishvili was shown at the Berlinale in the Panorama section. It is based on the true events of a plane hijacking in 1983 by a group of youngsters belonging to the artistic elite of Georgia. The hijacking resulted in multiple casualties and all hijackers, except the woman, were executed. After the USSR dissolved, the participants of these events were sometimes romanticized and represented as heroic martyrs.

The film leaves a strong impression and leaves room for thought. The closing sentence of the film – " In 1991 the freedom of movement was finally granted" – is something completely unnecessary; first of all this is common knowledge and secondly the lack of freedom of movement cannot be an excuse or explanation for the atrocities depicted in the film.

The film does not offer answers and does not explain motivation of horrific actions of hijackers, however it poses some profound questions, which is also important, especially as this event is still shrouded in mystery. The picture filmed in minimalistic style and is made in an almost documentary fashion, it is tense and grips the viewer all the way through.

Read more at: http://indie-cinema.com/2017/02/hostages/
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The Party (I) (2017)
8/10
The Party
21 February 2017
Warning: Spoilers
The Party, a black comedy directed by Sally Potter was screened in competition at the Berlinale. Great acting by the all-star cast and Potter's smart and funny screenplay made the film one of the highlights of the Berlin film festival.

The picture was made on a lower budget and is set in one house with seven actors. At the press conference Potter described the film as an antidote to Hollywood big budget blockbusters.

Although The Party is set only in house, it does not feel too stagey because of Alexei Rodionov's creative cinematography; black and white and full of unusual angles. The director said about the style of her longtime cinematographer Rodionov, with whom she worked on the 1992 film Orlando that he works in the best Russian traditions.

The film starts with politician Janet (Kristin Scott Thomas) inviting friends over for a dinner party to celebrate her promotion, hence the film's dual meaning, both the soiree and Janet's occupation. Her husband Bill (Timothy Spall) is visibly perturbed by something which is later revealed to be his terminal illness. Every character is highly eccentric in this very British comedy and Murphy's performance as Tom, the cocaine-snorting banker on the verge of a nervous breakdown is especially memorable.
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Sage femme (2017)
1/10
The Midwife
21 February 2017
The Midwife (Sage Femme) was shown at the 2017 Berlinale out of competition. The film provokes many questions and the most important one is why this trashy opus of Martin Provost was selected for the program of the festival. Perhaps the answer is the participation of the great French cinema legend Catherine Deneuve.

Catherine Frot plays the main part in the film, the boring midwife Claire Breton, Deneuve plays her friend Béatrice Sobolevski. We can only feel sorry for Deneuve who agreed for a role in such a forgettable picture which has mediocre camera-work, terrible lighting, uninteresting dialogue and a complete lack of an artistic vision. What is even sadder is that many critics are calling this her best role in years! The film is itself a symbol of banality which dominates cinematography today.

Although the picture pretends to be a dramatic-comedy, the audience at the press screening never laughed. The jokes were not funny, the characters paper thin. Provost has a reputation of being a director who is an expert on women's psychology but this film proves that his esteem is hugely overrated. The film which is about a midwife features multiple childbirth scenes filmed in a real hospital however these scenes only show the superficial side of the process and leave a disgusting aftertaste.

Read more at: http://indie-cinema.com/2017/02/the-midwife/
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