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Keren Ben Rafael
"The Charmer" is an intense psychological drama about Esmail, a young Iranian man who is desperately looking to meet women who can secure his stay in Denmark. As time is running out he falls in love and his past catches up with him.
A Young record collector and his bombastic Russian friend try to steal a one-of-a-kind Vinyl record.
In 1992, Ollie (Rory Culkin) and his Russian friend Nikolai (Robert Sheehan) travel to Sway Lake and stay at the Ollie's family state where they hope to find a long lost Vinyl record of great value. Ollie is somewhat of a loser while Nikolai is a live-wire. The search for the long lost record is complicated by the arrival of Ollie's grandmother Charlie (Mary Beth Peil) who has fallen on hard times and hopes to sell the state. But she too wants to find the record that was specifically made by a swing vocalist for her wedding day back in post-WW2 times.
THE SONG OF SWAY LAKE is directed by Ari Gold as a coming of age story for our two young pals in search of a unique vinyl record. It's also about legacy and what it means to leave something behind to be remembered. Ollie's grandfather was a war hero, and the Lake is name after him (Sway being the family name) as well as that record being specifically recorder for his grandfather on his wedding day, this record was going to have value someday and it was left at the state for future generations of the Sway family to find. However, the value given to it will depend of those who find it; it can either be monetary or it can be deeper than that. Ollie believes the record is rightfully his, while his friend Nikolai may have his own plans for the record, as he seduces (perhaps honestly) Charlie, despite being thrice his senior.
THE SONG OF SWAY LAKE is hard to label, and therefore its value is that it's an unconventional story that avoids a formula, it tells its story like a recount of someone's memories, an anecdote rather than a by the numbers script, which makes it and its characters feel real as we witness the story of two generations of the Sway family. It's a drama and a comedy, sometimes even a tragedy. In many ways this is closer to real life, where there are moments of levity followed by moments of anguish.
Review by Enrrico Wood Lagonigro –Senior Curator Oaxaca FilmFest
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