Two very different brothers get together for a temporary stay in a Japanese zen monastry. The trip from Germany to Japan brings up some unexpected quests they have to manage. Soon both ... See full summary »
In the Yorkshire countryside, working-class tomboy Mona meets the exotic, pampered Tamsin. Over the summer season, the two young women discover they have much to teach one another, and much to explore together.
When an 11-year-old girl is brutally raped and murdered in a quiet French village, a police detective who has forgotten how to feel emotions--because of the death of his own family in some kind of accident--investigates the crime, which turns out to ask more questions than it answers.
FAMILY JEWELS, which showed at Filmfest Kansas City on September 6, is an uproarious black comedy based on director and writer Robert Schwentke's bout with testicular cancer. With a M.A.S.H.-like irreverence for the medical profession, Schwentke attacks the taboos of death, balls, and cancer, with a deft absurdist touch. The Clash-inspired original soundtrack sets the tone. The film takes place almost entirely in a Berlin hospital, and is stylishly shot in bluish tones. It focuses on the main character's attempt to retrieve his post-op cancerous testicle. The heist is carried out by three twenty-something bald men attached to their rolling chemo-dispensers. The director uses auxiliary sound to great effect, from the snap of the doctor's latex gloves, the drip of the chemo drugs, or the screams of the horror videos preferred by the protagonists' roommates.
Schwentke is able to draw out amazing performances from his actors, particularly the main character, whose face registers dismay, fear, disgust and will-sometimes in a single shot.
Perhaps because it is autobiographical, the film shows great wisdom in how family members react to news of a life-threatening illness. The film finds humanity in the hero's refusal to let disease define him, and in the connections he forms with a waif-like female cancer victim and his two hospital roommates.
Not for the squeamish, the film is graphic but tasteful. And while the medical treatment seems-thank goodness-quite dated, the humor and characters are not.
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