29 Dec 2016

NGboo Presents: Top 80 Films 2016

The last months of 2016 have been quite busy for me, particularly in Taste of Cinema list-compiling department, with my latest article focusing on more or less obscure titles from the 90s

As for the annual list, I'm accustomed to including older films I haven't seen prior to the current year, but this time I shall not go back as far as 2014 (seven entries). The advantage is given to weird, exotic, eccentric, whimsical, atmospheric, experimental, visually stimulating and "Oh, what a surprise!" works, although there are some exceptions to this "rule". So, without further ado, I present my pick of top 80 cinematic treats of 2016.

(Letter "E" signifies that the linked review is written in English.)


Guy Maddin & Evan Johnson / Canada
André Turpin / Canada
3. The Survivalist (2015)
Stephen Fingleton / UK
4. Grüße aus Fukushima / Greetings from Fukushima (2016)
Doris Dörrie / Germany
5. Elle (2016)
Paul Verhoeven / France | Germany | Belgium
6. La distancia / The Distance (2014) (E)
Sergio Caballero / Spain
7. Nōnai Poizun Berii / Poison Berry in My Brain (2015) 
Yūichi Satō / Japan
8. Kurīpī: Itsuwari no rinjin / Creepy (2016)
Kiyoshi Kurosawa / Japan
9. Love & Peace (2015)
Pietro Marcello / Italy | France


11. Risttuules / In the Crosswind (2014)
Ismail Basbeth / Indonesia
13. Zoom (2015) (E)
Pedro Morelli / Brazil | Canada
14. Knight of Cups (2015)
Chan-wook Park / South Korea
16. Cosmos (2015)
Andrzej Zulawski / France | Portugal
17. The VVitch: A New-England Folktale / The Witch (2015)
Robert Eggers / USA | UK | Canada | Brazil
Nicolas Winding Refn / USA | Denmark | France
19. Evolution (2015)
Lucile Hadžihalilović / France | Belgium | Spain
20. Zeit der Kannibalen / Age of Cannibals (2015)
Johannes Naber / Germany


Miguel Llansó / Spain | Ethiopia | Finland
22. Umimachi Diary / Our Little Sister (2015)
Hirokazu Koreeda / Japan
23. True Love Ways (2015) (E)
Mathieu Seiler / Germany 
Kiyoshi Kurosawa / Japan | France
25. The Sky Trembles and the Earth Is Afraid
Takashi Miike / Japan | France | China
27. Girl Asleep (2015)
Rosemary Myers / Australia
28. John From (2015)
João Nicolau / Portugal | France (E)
29. The Childhood of a Leader (2015) (E)
Brady Corbet / UK | France | Hungary
Marcin Wrona / Poland | Israel


31. The Nice Guys (2016)
Shane Black / USA
32. Hrútar / Rams (2015)
Grímur Hákonarson / Iceland | Denmark | Norway | Poland
33. Dol-yeon-byeon-i / Collective Invention (2015)
Kwon Oh-kwang / South Korea
34. Notias / Mythopathy (2016)
Tassos Boulmetis / Greece
35. Collective: Unconscious (2016) (E)
Daniel Patrick Carbone, Lauren Wolkstein, Lily Baldwin,
Frances Bodomo & Josephine Decker / USA
36. Córki dancingu / The Lure (2015)
Agnieszka Smoczynska / Poland
Nikias Chryssos / Germany 
38. Disorder (2015)
Alice Winocour / France | Belgium
39. Simindis kundzuli / Corn Island (2014)
George Ovashvili / Georgia | Germany | France |
Czech Republic | Kazakhstan | Hungary
40. Já, Olga Hepnarová / I, Olga (2016)
Petr Kazda & Tomás Weinreb / Czech Republic |
Poland | Slovakia | France


41. Boi neon / Neon Bull (2015)
Gabriel Mascaro / Brazil | Uruguay | Netherlands
42. A Bigger Splash (2015)
Luca Guadagnino / Italy | France
43. Hide and Seek / Amorous (2014)
Jae-hyun Jang / South Korea (E)
45. Gesu no ai / Lowlife Love (2015)
Aleksey German Jr, 2015 / Russia | Ukraine | Poland 
47. Die dunkle Seite des Mondes / The Dark Side of the Moon (2015)
Stephan Rick / Germany | Luxembourg
48. Goksung / The Wailing (2016)
Hong-Jin Na / South Korea
49. Busanhaeng / Train to Busan (2016)
Sang-ho Yeon / South Korea
50. Scare Campaign (2016)
Cameron Cairnes & Colin Cairnes / Australia


Nicolas Pesce / USA
Jeppe Rønde / Denmark
53. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (2016)
Tim Burton / UK | Belgium | USA
54. Deo Pon / The Phone (2015)
Kim Bong-Joo / South Korea
55. Heart of a Dog (2015)
Laurie Anderson / USA | France
56. Zir-e Sayeh / Under the Shadow (2016)
Babak Anvari / UK | Qatar | Jordan | Iran
57. Saul fia / Son of Saul (2015)
László Nemes / Hungary
58. He Never Died (2015)
Jason Krawczyk / USA | Canada
59. 4 Könige / 4 Kings (2015)
Theresa von Eltz / Germany
60. The Invitation (2015)
Karyn Kusama / USA


61. El abrazo de la serpiente / Embrace of the Serpent (2015)
 Ciro Guerra / Colombia | Venezuela | Argentina
62. Southbound (2015)
 Roxanne Benjamin, David Bruckner,
Patrick Horvath & Radio Silence / USA
63. Demolition (2015)
Jean-Marc Vallée / USA
64. Aloys (2016)
Tobias Nölle / Switzerland | France
65. High-Rise (2015)
Ben Wheatley / UK | Belgium
66. Identicals (2015)
Simon Pummell / UK
67. Ham-jeong / Exchange (2015)
Hyeong-jin Kwon / South Korea
68. Polednice / The Noonday Witch (2016)
Jiří Sádek / Czech Republic
69. Tu dors Nicole / You're Sleeping Nicole (2014)
Stéphane Lafleur / Canada
70. Wild (2016) (E)
Nicolette Krebitz / Germany


71. Mi gran noche / My Big Night (2015)
Álex de la Iglesia / Spain
72. Deadpool (2016)
Tim Miller / USA
73. Swiss Army Man (2016)
Dan Kwan & Daniel Scheinert / USA
74. Der Nachtmahr / The Nightmare (2015)
Akiz / Germany
75. Nachthelle / Bright Night (2015)
Florian Gottschik / Germany
76. El vigilante / Night Guard (2016)
Elena Hazanov / Germany | Russia | Switzerland
78. Mot naturen / Out of Nature (2014)
Ole Giæver & Marte Vold / Norway
79. Shelley (2016)
Ali Abassi / Denmark | Sweden
80. Before I Wake (2016)
Mike Flanagan / USA

28 Dec 2016

10 najboljih animiranih filmova za 2016.

... prema NGboo Art-u, podrazumeva se. Pre naslova koji su mi prijali na ovaj ili onaj način, kao najveće razočaranje, a uprkos odličnom prijemu kod glavnotokovske publike i kritike, izdvajam anime Kimi no Na wa. kojim, prema nekim izvorima, ni sam autor Makoto Šinkai nije sasvim zadovoljan. A sudeći po mom izboru, ove godine su francuski animatori bili najmarljiviji i najubedljiviji.


Japan
Japan
Japan
8. Zootopia (Byron Howard, Rich Moore & Jared Bush)
USA
France | Denmark

Honorable mentions:


Kubo and the Two Strings (Travis Knight)
USA
Seoul Station (Sang-ho Yeon)
South Korea
Phantom Boy (Jean-Loup Felicioli & Alain Gagnol)
Lithuania | Denmark | Latvia | Luxembourg
Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV (Takeshi Nozue)
Japan | USA

27 Dec 2016

Da Yu Hai Tang (Xuan Liang & Chun Zhang, 2016)


Inspirisan drevnim tekstovima iz Zbirke planina i mora (Shan Hai Jing), antologije legendi U potrazi za natprirodnim (Soushen Ji) i taoističkog klasika Čuang Ce (Zhuangzi), nezavisni film Da Yu Hai Tang (Krupna riba i begonija) predstavlja prekretnicu u kineskoj "industriji crtaća", jer je toliko moćan da ostavlja snažan utisak čak i onda kada se gleda bez titlova. Nakon prolaska kroz dvanaestogodišnji produkcijski pakao i sa budžetom koji je višestruko manji od onog za blokbastere kao što su Zootopia ili Kubo and the Two Strings, dospeva u top 3 dugometražne animacije za 2016-u, bar što se autora ovih redova tiče.

Smeštena u magični svet čije nebo je ispod dna zemaljskih okeana, a koji nastanjuju mitska bića odgovorna za ljudske emocije, godišnja doba i protok vremena, ova duhovno-ekološka fantazija (sa filozofskom notom?) deluje kao Mala sirena koja "sedi" na folklornoj gromadi Kine. Egzotična i mijazakijevski gorkoslatka, usredsređuje se na neobičnu (i zabranjenu) romansu između devojčice Čan, koja ima moć da kontroliše floru, i duše dečaka, koji se utapa pri pokušaju da je, preobraženu u delfina, oslobodi iz ribarske mreže.

Baveći se temama kao što su požrtvovanje, iskupljenje, ljubav i smrt, Krupna riba i begonija (inače, prvenac rediteljskog dueta Liang i Žang) ostavlja bez daha već u prvim minutima tokom kojih, uz umirujuć glas naratorke, uranjamo u predivno oslikano okruženje i susrećemo se sa izvrsno dizajniranim likovima. Vizuelno nadahnute scene raskošnih boja i neretko simetrične kompozicije kadrova nižu se jedna za drugom, odišući prefinjenošću i elegancijom, bilo da izgledaju kao da su istkane od najfinijih niti snova (let jata delfina) ili da evociraju apokaliptične košmare (provala oblaka). A ubedljiva glasovna gluma i atmosferični skor sa tradicionalnim prizvukom čine da užitak u opčinjavajućim slikama bude još prijatniji.

22 Dec 2016

Girl Asleep (Rosemary Myers, 2015)


Greta je naizgled slatka, "pomalo" nesigurna i lako razdražljiva (tipična?) četrnaestogodišnjakinja, u briljantnom tumačenju Betani Vitmor (mini Teri Gar sreće Sirše Ronan). To što je, nakon selidbe, nova devojka u školi baš joj i ne ide na ruku, dok je kod kuće čekaju otac u kratkom šorcu (Metju Vitet), majka koja se oblači u skladu sa obrokom (Amber Makmahon) i zlovoljna sestra (Imodžen Arčer) sa momkom (Imon Faren) koji flertuje 24 časa dnevno, 7 dana u nedelji.


U prvom (dugom i statičnom) kadru na času fizičkog, prilazi joj riđokosi štreber (Harison Feldman) sa frizurom Pomoćnika Boba iz Simpsonovih, nudeći joj prijateljstvo. Međutim, Greta privlači i pažnju trija dežurnih harpija (Maja Stjuardson + bliznakinje Fiona i Grejs Doson) čija su imena boje žada, safira i ćilibara. A bliži se i petnaesti rođendan, koji donosi žur, poniženje, san i prosvetljenje...


Usnula devojka je odgovor na pitanje: "Šta dobijate kada u blender stavite Hensonov Lavirint ili Makinovu Masku u ogledalu, nasumičnu epizodu Veselih sedamdesetih, zalijete sa par decilitara anderesnovske simetrije i začinite prstohvatom linčovsko-ženeovske ekscentričnosti i šakom začudnosti koja izbija iz pesama sa albuma My Head Is an Animal islandskog benda Of Monsters and Man?" 


Drugim rečima, kuvari iz australijske sinematske kuhinje isprobavaju recept koji na papiru zvuči 'smuti i prospi', ali kad probate gotov kolač, nije vam dovoljan samo jedan zalogaj. Iako fil o incijaciji u svet odraslih (uprkos jarkoj želji da se ostane dete) ima dobro poznat slatko-kiselkast ukus, iz nekog razloga ne možete da mu odolite. A koloritna glazura i dekoracija su priča za sebe - dizajner kostima i setova Džonatan Okslejd zaslužuje sve komplimente.


Svežina koja izbija iz ove simpatične, iščašene, frojdovske disko-bajke verovatno se može pripisati činjenici da dobar deo ekipe čine debitanti spremni na igru i eksperimentisanje, počev od rediteljke i Okslejda koji dolaze it sveta teatra, preko Viteta koji se oprobava kao scenarist, Feldmana koji je prirodan talenat, Makmahonove koja ume da ukrade scenu iako se tek probija na veliko platno, pa sve do kompozitora Herija Kovila. Sa nekoliko kratkih, dokumentarnih i igranih ostvarenja iza sebe, najiskusniji član družine je DP Endrju Komins koji okom svoje kamere uspeva da uhvati svaki ćef, meta-iskorak i sitnu (origami) idiosinkraziju.

14 Dec 2016

Taste of 100 Films from the 21st Century

My latest four lists for Taste of Cinema bring 100 great, yet less talked about films from all around the world. The selection is so diverse that even the most picky cine-gourmands should find something to nibble on. There are a number of relatively fresh features that might come to the fore in the future, yet the concept of these articles was to include at least one film per year for the period 2001-2016.


Ascension (Karim Hussain, 2002)

True Love Ways (Mathieu Seiler, 2015)

Borrowing its title from Buddy Holly's mushy song of the same name, True Love Ways marries artsploitation to rape & revenge subgenre, as it explores the darkest parts of psychosexual area. What at first seems like a slowburning romantic drama (of the cynical kind) evolves into a suspense thriller triggered by a Faustian bargain.


The film recounts the story of Séverine (Anna Hausburg) who - enticed by a recurring dream of a handsome stranger - decides to take a break from her current relationship. Her lovelorn boyfriend Tom (Kai Michael Müller), refuses to let her go, so he makes a bizarre deal with a silver-tongued man (David C. Bunners) he meets at a bar. She will be "fake" kidnapped and he will come to the rescue as a knight in shining armor (or Tarzan, in the words of a mysterious offeror). However, Tom doesn't know the true intentions of his "new friend" and Séverine gets pulled into a snuff-nightmare she will wake up from utterly transformed.


Subtly suggesting that something is weirdly off right from the start, the Swiss-born German director Mathieu Seiler gradually deciphers most of the riddles thrown in the midst of the young couple's love crisis, only to end the feverishly oneiric and tightly controlled narrative on an obscure (Stockholm syndrome?) note. Dealing with the themes of mind-clouding infatuation, fatal coincidences, human depravity and, above all, easily corrupted innocence, he relies on implicitness rather than explicitness, which doesn't mean he shies away from depicting the violence. In one particular scene, blood and vomit are mixed up in a darkly humorous, gorgeously disgusting way.


Heavily influenced by Hitchcock, Polanski, Lynch and, probably, Buñuel (given the protagonist's name), Seiler delivers something that looks like a twisted Nouvelle Vague film directed by Géla Babluani (13 Tzameti). But still, there's enough originality, peculiarity and reinventing here to keep you interested - not to mention the stark B&W cinematography, fittingly haunting score, meticulous set design and Hausburg's magnetic portrayal of a belle de jour in distress... and later, wielding axe.

10 Dec 2016

Tuvalu (Veit Helmer, 1999)

(Neznatno dorađen tekst postavljen 31. marta 2012. na forumu fijmovi.)
 
 
Slično deset godina mlađem Kelin, prvenac Vajta Helmera može se nazvati "nemuštim filmom", s obzirom na to da se komunikacija između protagonista uglavnom svodi na gestikulaciju. Za razliku od spomenutog kazahtanskog bisera, može se čuti i poneka prepoznatljiva reč ili nečije ime, ali je uprkos tome dijalog odsutan. 
 
Tuvalu donosi bizaran spoj socijalne drame i romantične komedije, koja počiva na neretko apsurdnom humoru sa slapstick predznakom, a smešten je u gotovo nadrealno okruženje koje neodoljivo podseća na svet iz Ženeove i Karoove Delikatesne radnje.

Ćaknuta priča odvija se usred nedođije, u i oko trošnog javnog kupatila u vlasništvu neobične porodice - (bukvalno) naduvenog slepog spasioca, njegove punačke supruge (čiji hobi je skupljanje i lepljenje dugmadi žvakom za plastičnu patku!) i njihovog naizgled priglupog sina Antona. 

Usamljeni mladić (Deni Lavan) zaljubljuje se u Evu (preslatka Čulpan Hamatova) koja sa ocem (bivšim pomorskim oficirom?) jednog ružnog dana dolazi na kupanje. Kada ovo potonje dvoje ostane bez krova nad glavom, a sve zahvaljujući mahinacijama podlog Gustava (sa frizurom Lajla Loveta, a u tumačenju Đoka Rosića), Anton im pruža utočište. 

Nakon nezgode u kojoj starac gubi život (još jedno Gustavljevo maslo), curica optužuje Antona i rešena je da mu se osveti tako što će učiniti da ostane bez ionako bednih prihoda, te krade ključni deo mašinerije koja održava njegov objekat i postavlja ga na svoj brod, spreman da otplovi ka ostrvu Tuvalu...

Prljav, opuštajuć, gorkosladak i simpatično-groteskan u svojoj vrcavoj ekcentričnosti, Tuvalu se prevashodno ističe izvanrednom fotografijom - oronuli enterijeri su u sepijastim i zelenkastim tonovima, podjednako ruinirani eksterijeri su modro-sivi, a sekvence snova su u negativu. Film je zanimljiv po tome što je snimljen sa nemačkim novcem u Bugarskoj, a okuplja glumce koji u većini vode poreklo iz istočnoevropskih zemalja. Od gledaoca zahteva izvesnu dozu suspenzije neverice i prihvatanje likova kao igranih ekvivalenata karikatura iz kakve animacije namenjene nešto  starijoj publici.

4 Dec 2016

The Eyes of My Mother (Nicolas Pesce, 2016)

 
Gorgeously shot in digital B&W and veiled in deep silence and unnerving drones, The Eyes of My Mother is, technically speaking, an impressive calling card for the 26-year-old newcomer Nicolas Pesce. However, it is a difficult film to recommend, whether you are a horror fan or belong to the most patient amongst the arthouse crowd.

The evil, slow beating heart of this brooding psychological drama with suppressed slasher & torture porn undercurrents is Francisca - a pretty sociopath raised on a remote, Portuguese immigrants' farm which could be situated somewhere on the outskirts of Neo Twin Peaks. (There's a place called Donna's Bar in the nearest neighborhood.)

As a little girl (gracefully portrayed by the first-timer Olivia Bond), she learns the basics of human and animal anatomy from her elderly, former eye surgeon mother (Diana Agostini) who gets killed in front of her not quite innocent eyes. When a reticent daddy (Paul Nazak) returns home, the body of the dead woman is buried in the forest and the perpetrator (named Charlie and played by Will Brill) becomes Francisca's chained pet.


Years later, the (anti)heroine (the conspicuous low key performance by Kika Magalhaes, ominously ethereal) indulges in daughterly necrophilia tendencies (possibly cannibalism as well) and believes that murder feels amazing as Charlie told her before she took his eyes and tongue. Her lonely existence and deranged mind make for a deadly combination, especially for those wretched, unsuspecting souls lured by Francisca's misleading naiveté.

Frighteningly methodical, just like his protagonist, Pesce splits the spare, cryptic and lethargic narrative into three acts which pervert the very idea of 'mother', 'father' and 'family'. Considering the story is told from the fucked-up individual's POV, he manages to set the right (or rather, awkward) tone to it and yet, sporadically, it seems like the film's short running time should be even shorter. Why? Well, it is hard to pinpoint - maybe it is not interesting enough as a characters study, in spite of Magalhaes being committed, or maybe it's the minimalist plot stretched almost to the breaking point.

On the other hand, DP Zach Kuperstein's meticulous framing make the young aspiring auteur's stylistic exercises in subtle indications, precise cuts, overcoming the location limits and letting the viewer to connect the dots (with plenty of missing ones) a real pleasure to watch. The gloomy, hauntingly enthralling imagery evokes a funereal atmosphere, while fado interludes inject a healthy dose of melancholy and elevate The Eyes... to poetic levels.

If there's a moral to Pesce's debut feature, it must be: "Thou shalt not raise thy child in the middle of nowhere, with no friends and a chained murderer in a barn."

27 Nov 2016

La tortue rouge (Michaël Dudok de Wit, 2016)


Dugometražni prvenac višestruko nagrađivanog holandskog animatora Mišela Dudoka de Vita vizuelni je trijumf, a kako trenutno stoje stvari, i najbolji animirani film 2016. Veličanstvena u svojoj jednostavnosti, ova belgijsko-francusko-japanska koprodukcija rezultat je devetogodišnje posvećenosti koja se ogleda u svakom brižljivo skrojenom frejmu.

Odbacujući dijaloge, de Vit sigurnim i laganim potezima slika arhetipsku priču o ciklusu života i smrti koja deluje kao da postoji od praiskona, a koja se može posmatrati iz najmanje dva ugla. U isti mah, ona je oda ljudskoj istrajnosti i alegorija o turbulentnom odnosu ništavnog čoveka prema ćudljivoj Majci Prirodi ili šire posmatrano, misterioznoj Vasioni.


Usredsređuje se na brodolomnika koga prvi put susrećemo u nezavidnoj situaciji, među divljim i teškim talasima koji prete da zdrobe svaku kost u njegovom telu. Na njegovu sreću, dospeva na obalu pustog ostrva gde započinje (sizifovsku) borbu za goli opstanak sa kojom svako može da se poistoveti. Dok ga pratimo u potrazi za izlazom, uviđamo da su njegovi snovi bliski našim i osećamo gnev prema misterioznoj sili (kako kasnije saznajemo, džinovskoj crvenoj kornjači) koja mu lomi splavove. Nakon osvete junaka, film dobija bajkovitu/mitološku dimenziju koja sa sobom donosi niz novih univerzalnih tema prožetih simbolima čija značenja autor ne nameće, već prepušta gledaocu da ih otkrije. 

Kontrastom između znalački iskorišćenog negativnog prostora i likova (protagoniste, 'Venere' koja se rađa iz oklopa mrtvog gmizavca, kao i njihovog sina) čiji dizajn je oslobađen suvišnih detalja, de Vit naglašava monumentalnost okruženja koje, kako u zatišju, tako i tokom bure, oduzima dah. Zelenilo bujne vegetacije, plavetnilo nedoglednog mora, toplina zalaska sunca i srebrom optočene noći stvaraju čistu poeziju u slikama koje, u potpunoj harmoniji sa eteričnom muzičkom pratnjom, pružaju nezaboravan gledalački doživljaj. A neodoljiv retro šarm Crvena kornjača duguje zrnastoj teksturi minimalističkih kompozicija i samoj animaciji koja najčešće odaje utisak da je izvedena kakvom tehnikom majstora starog kova.

Obavijena prozirnim velom melanholije, ova "nema", ali iskrena fantazija je poput moćne tihe vode iz čuvene sprske izreke, a savršen je par podjednako divnoj podvodnoj avanturi De profundis.

23 Nov 2016

Muzički predah uz öOoOoOoOoOo


Kako ne voleti bend (zapravo, duet) koji svoje ime Chenille (Gusenica) opisuje duhovito-slikovito, bešavno spajajući obilje različitih, najčešće nesrodnih žanrova na svom debiju Samen? (A da ne spominjemo to što je i sam naziv albuma eklektičan, budući da znači 'seme', 'zajedno' i 'isto' u prevodu sa nemačkog, holandskog, odnosno škotskog.)

Iza jednostavnog omota skriveno je dvanaest kompleksnih avangardnih numera u kojima se sudaraju, prepliću i nezaboravni "eargasm" izazivaju pop, rock, disco, hardcore, neo-classic, electronica, R&B, death, black & sympho/gothic metal, uspostavljajući krajnje neobičnu (apstraktnu?) atmosferu. Već i sami naslovi pojedinih pesama (Meow Meow Frrru, Purple Tastes Like White, Chairleg Thesis) nagoveštavaju "sređeni haos" koji pevačica Asphodel i multiinstrumentista Baptiste Bertrand stvaraju sa neverovatnom lakoćom u snažnom naletu kreativnog ludila, a uz pomoć studijskog bubnjara Aymerica Thomasa.

Samen koji će vas voziti od Nežnosti, preko Gneva, do Bezobrazluka i nazad možete preslušati preko zvaničnog stream-a Apathia Records-a.


18 Nov 2016

Taste of Old-School Anime and Mamoru Oshii's Works

In case you like retro animation, check out my list of twenty old-school anime that you might have missed, and if you are into (or haven't been introduced to) Mamoru Oshii's oeuvre, then click for the twelve of his best works that are not Ghost in the Shell (at Taste of Cinema). 
 
(Patlabor movies are not included, because I find them uninvolving on many levels. And Urusei Yatsura 'dyptich' is also omitted, since I'm not very fond of the original author Rumiko Takahashi's style.)

Avalon (2001)

13 Nov 2016

M (Part II)

"M" as madness, moonlight, multi-dream...



 (click to enlarge)

Danijel Kiš as Blu / Sanja Kokanov as She / Branko Radaković as Mr. M

M (Part I)

"M" as maiden, malice, mystery, Mephisto, monstrosity, mind-trip...

The first half of a fantasy comic M which is based on a low-budget short film Lice istine (The Face of Truth) by Branko Radaković.



(click to enlarge)

To be continued...

9 Nov 2016

Crumbs (Miguel Llansó, 2015)


Prior to high-fiving the Universe, both literally and metaphorically, the Spanish-born director Miguel Llansó takes us on a surreal adventure across the post-apocalyptic landscapes of Ethiopia. As his unlikely hero Candy (Daniel Tadesse) attempts to find a way to board a mysterious hovering spaceship, we are treated to one of the most deliciously absurd cinematic experiences.

In the world where human race has significantly decreased and mass production, globalism and consumerism have taken their toll, Candy lives with his pregnant darling Birdy (Selam Tesfayie) in an abandoned bowling alley. They worship and pray to Michael Jordan in a small shrine decorated with artificial flowers and keep a low profile from Nazi (who probably doesn't even know the meaning of the word) and other human scavengers. After Candy sees something (actually, someone, as we later find out) through the hole of a ball machine, he decides to visit the Witch (Shitaye Abraha) and ask her for advice... or rather, divination. Armed with a toy sword (a replacement for the previously lost Ninja Turtle talisman), the protagonist starts his bizarre journey. 


Only sixty-something minutes long, Crumbs compensates its simple plot and archetypal characters with idiosyncrasies which seem like emerging from the Afrofuturistic dreams of Alejandro Jodorovsky, Terry Gilliam, David Lynch and Llansó's compatriot Sergio Caballero. A prominent use of pop-cultural artifacts as the objects of great spiritual and historical value plays a big part in this sardonic, mythopoeic and self-ironic satire on idolatry and human stupidity. The ultimate stage in the downfall of ill-informed mankind is portrayed as a low key sci-fi film - simultaneously sad, funny, bold, weird, even philosophical in its irreverence.

The author's twisted sense of humor is complemented by the naïve, yet committed performance of the non-professional cast who contribute a lot to the feature's unique charm. Their "playground" is reminiscent of the Zone from Tarkovsky's Stalker with dilapidated objects scattered around sulphurous wastelands and lush, dense greenery that points at the Earth's recovery from its sparse inhabitants. Also memorable are the beautiful wide-screen cinematography (kudos to Israel Seoane) and the brooding ambient score by Atomizador, in an almost seamless synthesis.

8 Nov 2016

Attila Marcel (Sylvain Chomet, 2013)


Delightfully odd and subtly whimsical, Attila Marcel marks a live-action debut for the acclaimed French animator Sylvain Chomet who brought us The Triplets of Belleville and The Illusionist. It is a story of a brilliant and traumatized man-child pianist, Paul (Guillaume Gouix, charmingly weird), who hasn't spoken a single word since the age of two, when he witnessed both of his parents' deaths. 

Raised and overprotected by his late mother's spinster sisters (Hélène Vincent and Bernadette Lafont, both having a whale of a time), Paul is tortured by nightmares which hold the key to his most horrid childhood memory. With a little help from his shrewish hippy spiritualist neighbor Madame Proust (Anne Le Ny in a heartfelt performance) and her special herbal tea, he will finally be able to open the door to his troubled past.


As his green-and-sad-eyed protagonist walks or rather, "trips" the road of self-discovery, Chomet spins a bittersweet coming of (belated) age tale and touches upon the themes of loss, love, family, illness, death, imposed wishes, domestic violence and the healing power of art. With a quirky blend of gentle, melancholic farce and hallucinogenic, candy-colored musical numbers he evokes the pleasant feeling of nostalgia and takes a considerable risk by sugar-coating some serious issues.

A major part of his eccentric dramedy's strength lies in the matching costume and production design, both decidedly retro-chic and imbued with meanings. (The contrast between the stifling orderliness of Paul and his aunts' apartment and the liberating chaos of Madame Proust's indoor garden is emphasized for good reason.) But, also powerful is the impact of magic-realist touches, such as the frog orchestra and the unforgettable amalgam of professional wrestling and tango.

Even though Chomet is better at directing the illustrated "frolics", his venture outside the comfort zone doesn't fall flat. Attila Marcel will probably strike a chord or two with the fans of Jeunet and/or Gondry.

4 Nov 2016

Mezame no Hakobune (Mamoru Oshii, 2005)


Nastao povodom Svetske izložbe 2005, a prikazan u paviljonu "Planina snova", Mezame no Hakobune (u bukvalnom prevodu, Barka buđenja, prema međunarodnom naslovu Otvori svoj um) enigmatična je "muzička drama" u tri čina - amalgam naučnofantastičnih elemenata, mitoloških i religijskih referenci.

S obzirom na upečatljivost digitalne verzije, da se pretpostaviti da je sam događaj od pre jedanaest godina pružao nezaboravan doživljaj. Na početku, vidimo zupčanike u vidu mandala koje verovatno predstavljaju unutrašnjost kakvog kosmičkog sata (ili nečeg sličnog), a potom i šest svetlosnih kugli koje velikom brzinom stižu na tečnu planetu. U "igranom" delu prologa susrećemo se sa tri božanske figure (sa glavama životinja) koje neme stoje u šumi obavijenoj maglom - po svoj prilici, reč je o generalima boginje Pan.

Poglavlja koja slede nazvana su po njihovim imenima, (ribolikom) Šo-Ho, (pticolikom) Hjakin i (psolikom) Ku-Nu, a odvijaju se u kraljevstvu vode, vazduha i zemlje. Dok plutamo među morskim stvorenjima, lebdimo iznad serafim-golubice ili šetamo u društvu pasjeg kentaura, lagano nas obuzima osećaj iskonskog spokoja i oslobođenosti od gravitacije.

Umirujućoj atmosferi značajno doprinose opuštajuće nijanse plave boje i Kavaijev eterični skor kojim dominiraju opojni napevi sa snažnom etno-nabojem u izvođenju hora od sedam članica. (Ako volite saundtrek za Ghost in the Shell, velika je verovatnoća da ćete obožavati ovaj za Mezame no Hakobune.) A epilog, prožet zvukom cevastih zvona, otkriva Pan koja podseća na japansku boginju Benzaiten.

Teme koje se tiču ekologije, napredne tehnologije, kontroverznih genetičkih modifikacija (šifra: štenad i novorođenčad) i porekla života isprepletene su u moćnu, nenarativnu i nešablonsku fantaziju koja deluje kao san apsulutnog entiteta.


27 Oct 2016

The Taste of Obscure Cinema

Fourty lesser-known live-action & twenty animated films from all around the world, just one click away at Taste of Cinema. (Well, actually, it's nine clicks or three pages per list, but we're not splitting hairs...)


Devičanska svirka / A Maiden's Music (Đorđe Kadijević, 1973)

25 Oct 2016

Silkevejen / Silk Road (Jytte Rex, 2004)

"A lifetime is like a flash of lightning in the sky,
rushing by like a torrent down a steep mountain."
(Buddha)


What follows Buddha's quote is a mesmerizing portrait of a terminally ill paintings restorer, Christine (Ellen Hillingsø), whose harrowing reality, lucid dreams and memories of a lover long gone are intertwined into a cinematic equivalent of a bleakly delicate hypnagogic hallucination - the art of dying is taken to a poetic extreme.

As Christine's inner world merges with the outer world, transforming its very fabric, her consciousness migrates into the ocean of the universe. The past, the present and the future become both eternal and fleeting One. By moving far, far away from the narrative conventions, Jytte Rex (Planetens spejle) creates a melancholic ode to life illuminated through the prism death. Via double and triple superimpositions she establishes a disorienting atmosphere.


In order to depict her protagonist's state of mind crumbling under the burden of her malady, she even incorporates architectural elements and performance art. One such example is a tracking shot past the ladies of the night, a neon-tube swallower and a violinst gathered at a dimly lit waterfront, with some modern trapezoid buildings in the background. Its meaning(s) is (are) vague - actually, many scenes are quite puzzling and perplexing - yet it is beautiful in its mysteriousness!

Rex's film is, in the words of Christian Braad Thomsen, "a journey through our history of culture from Mevlana Rumis dancing dervishes in the 12th century Konya to modern ballet, from Leonardo da Vinci to Italo Calvino, from Handel to Arvo Pärt, and from the renaissance artist Sofonisba Anguissola to an astrophysicist who imagines that through a worm hole in the Andromeda galaxy we may watch the building of the Egyptian pyramids".

Thomsen's comparison with Tarkovsky is a little bit far-fetched, even though Silkevejen does have some similarities with The Mirror, but it wouldn't be wrong to say that it seems like a more fragile predecessor to Majewski's Onirica.