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Downsizing (2017)
Alexander Payne back to his best: social satire
22 October 2017
I use to love Alexander Payne's movies (maybe except by About Schmidt), mainly because they are acid in their critics or because they are touching, but what is common to all of them is the great sense of humor. In this movie, Payne goes back to to the social satire that worked so well on his earlier movies (mainly in Election), but here, he expands the scope of his criticism from the American way of life to environment, passing through immigration, consumerism, among other themes.

Trying to solve the overpopulation issue, a group of Norwegian scientists creates a way to shrink people to 13 centimeters in order to reduce the consume and the environmental impact that mankind is generating on Earth. ​In front of promise of better life, Paul Safranek (Matt Damon) and his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig), an average couple, decide to leave behind their stressful life in Omaha and to be shrunk in order to live in miniature community and at the same time being able to have the glamorous life they could never afford in "real size world". I must confess that this plot hasn't attracted me at first and if this story was conducted by a less experienced or talented director this might have been a huge disaster.

The environmental matter that was supposed to be the main goal of shrink process is soon misrepresented and begins to be used as by average people, whom not having great expectations in real life see in this process a way to achieve their consumerism goals and finally being able to obtain all the material goods they couldn't before (this is due to the fact that their money is multiplied thousands times at the miniature communities). The movie provokes rich debates on where we are heading to as society and if there would be still hope on human being, since it appears that no matter how, we are still trying to take advantage on others.
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The Party (I) (2017)
Surprisingly fun
22 October 2017
Janet (Kristen Scott Thomas) has just been nominated as Parallel Cabinet's Minister (a group of veterans which makes opposition to the Westminster Government). This achievement is the highest level of her politic career and she intends to celebrate it with a small party with her husband Bill (Timothy Spall), and her closest friends: the acid April (Patricia Clarkson with an excellent comedy timing) and her crazy husband Gottfried (Bruno Ganz); her assistant's husband (Cillian Murphy), and the lesbian couple (Emily Mortimer and Cherry Jones). The party which was supposed to be a celebration suffers a turnaround when Bill reveals a secret and all the tension among those polite and educated people blows into a sequence of offenses, tension and a marvelous dark comedy. The movie is anarchic, unpretentious, with hysterical characters, sharp dialogues, and that's why it's surprisingly funny. I can't recall the last time I saw the whole audience laughing out loud with a movie. Highly recommended!
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12 jours (2017)
Deeply sad and touching
20 October 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Since a new law came into force in France, in 2013, any patient who check in a psychiatric hospital, against own will, must have an audience with a judge within 12 days for the judge to determine if the patient must continue at the institution or must be released. If it is decided to keep the patient at the hospital every and each 6 months a new court hearing takes place. This powerful documentary shows a coupe of hearings of patients and their attorneys and the judges. Between them remains the query of the true meaning of freedom and what those patients expect for their future.

The filming was authorized having as condition changing the names and location of the patients and institutions to preserve their anonymity, even tough patients' faces are showed. This fact also raises a controversy point, if the patients are not considered sane enough to be released from the hospital and continue the treatment outside, why should they be considered capable of authorizing the filming? Despite this moral inconsistency, this is a beautiful and touching documentary that shows the sadness of losing their minds to the point of hurting themselves or other people around.

It's painful and uncomfortable seeing an human being to loose one of our greatest gifts - the consciousness. The original music by Alexander Desplat add tenderness and emotion to this movie and at some points it sounds impossible to hold the tears, mainly when a female patient conscious of the need of her to stay at the hospital and keep the treatment, asks to see her daughter, even as assisted visit, since she is aware of her condition and that she is not able to take care of her daughter on her own.
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