31 Jan 2017

Preporuke za 45. FEST

Objavljen je program 45. FEST-a koji će biti održan krajem marta i početkom februara, pa ne bi bilo zgoreg prekinuti ovu dvanaestodnevnu blog-pauzu (za koju je glavni razlog repriziranje 20+ filmova i pisanje o istim za Taste of Cinema) i dati nekoliko preporuka koje će u narednim danima verovatno biti dopunjene. Za sada, stvari stoje ovako:

Elle (Paul Verhoeven)

1. Crvena kornjača / La tortue rouge - najbolja animacija u 2016.
2. Ona / Elle - komična, provokativna, zasluženo hvaljena triler-drama + studija lika naizgled neuništive žene koju briljantno tumači Izabel Iper.
3. Jezivi / Kurīpī: Itsuwari no rinjin - moćna i hipnotišća atmosfera koja se zgušnjava sa svakim prodornim pogledom i uznemirujućim osmehom enigmatičnog antagoniste (bravura Terujukija Kagave).
4. Sluškinja / Ah-ga-ssi - delikatno perverzna i vizuelno nadahnuta kostimirana drama-triler "starog momka" Čan-vuk Parka pleni otmenošću.
5. Zavođenje / Córki dancingu - zavodljiv žanrovski hibrid sa krvoločnim sirenama u Poljskoj iz alternativnih 80-ih.
6. Mi smo meso / Tenemos la carne - za strpljive sa jakim stomakom i visokom tolerancijom na divlje sinematske eksperimente.
7. Jecaji / Goksung - uprkos iritantnom protagonisti i višku od bar pola sata zbog kojih me ovaj izvikani južnokorejski horor nije impresionirao onoliko koliko sam očekivao, vredan je posvećene mu pažnje iz više razloga, a iznad svega, "thought-provoking" faktora.
8. Voz za Pusan / Busanghaeng - zombi-satira koja ne donosi ništa novo, ali sve vreme drži pažnju.
9. Mesečina / Moonlight - lepo uslikana, fino odglumljena i pedantno režirana, ali van svake pameti precenjena "mamac za Oskara" drama.
10. U senkama / Zir-e Sayeh - solidna iranska horor-drama (ili je bolje reći - drama koja se polagano preobražava u horor) čija egzotičnost se gubi u žanrovskim klišeima.
11. Čovek-švajcarski nož / Swiss Army Man - blentava, ali zanimljiva hipsterska komedija.

Dishonorable mention: Američka draga / American Honey - prekinuo sam gledanje nakon četrdesetak minuta.

Aneks br. 1:

Lov na divljake / Hunt for the Wilderpeople - nakon šašavog kvazi-dokumentarca o vampirima Šta radimo sakriveni (What We Do in the Shadows), Taika Vaititi igra na sigurnu kartu, kombinuje prepoznatljive elemente i isporučuje farsičnu (i donekle dirljivu) avanturu koja bi se mogla okarakterisati kao dečji film za odrasle. Na zelenim, prelepo uslikanim novozelandskim lokacijama, okuplja odličnu glumačku ekipu, predvođenu veteranom Semom Nilom i mlađanim Džulijanom Denisonom koji u ulozi pogrešno shvaćenog delinkventa Rikija s neverovatnom lakoćom osvaja gledaočeve simpatije. Početak priče pripada izvrsnoj komičarki Rimi Te Vijati (Housebound).

Toplotni udar / Suntan - bljutava drama o patetičnom sredovečnom doktoru i njegovim antipatičnim, duplo mlađim "prijateljima" nije uspela da mi drži pažnju uprkos golotinji i čarima grčkog ostrva na kojem je smeštena repetitivna radnja. Jedino što je reditelj A. Papadimitropulos postigao jeste da se osećam neprijatno.

Mančester na moru / Manchester by the Sea - obična drama o običnom životarenju običnih ljudi, odnosno treće ostvarenje, pored prethodno navedenog i American Honey, koje nisam uspeo da odgledam do kraja, ma koliko se trudio da probudim mazohistu u sebi. Banalno, bezrazložno sporo, pa samim tim dosadno, i potpuno beznačajno "sočinjenije" koje ni onih 6 nominacija za Oskara ne može da spasi od osrednjosti.

Aneks br. 2:

Hell or High Water (David Mackenzie)

Po cenu života / Hell or High Water 
Ovaj zabavan, estetski prefinjen, vešto režiran i uverljivo odglumljen amalgam drame, neo-vesterna i krimi-akcije začinjen jetkim humorom deluje relativno sveže, iako je krcat stereotipima. Odlično ga sumira Nikola Grozdanović u recenziji za The Playlist (iako škotskog filmadžiju Dejvida Mekenzija u uvodu naziva Englezom): 

"Hell or High Water might walk over familiar ground with second-hand boots in terms of character development and structural beats, but it does so with great personality and zero pretension of wanting to be anything more."
 
To je samo kraj sveta / Juste le fin du monde 
Nakon dvanaestogodišnjeg odsustva, pisac Luj (Gaspar Ulije) vraća se kući kako bi svojima saopštio vest da je smrtno bolestan. Međutim, umesto bujice iskrenih emocija, u kući ga dočekuje nezaustavljivi vrtlog rasprava. I dok svi oni sikću jedni na druge, on tužnu istinu skriva iza zagonetnih osmejaka i jedva da dolazi do reči...

Snaga ove neoriginalne, ali dirljive kamerne drame o disfunkcionalnoj porodici i (ne)komunikaciji leži u sjajnoj kombinaciji talenata glumačke ekipe koju upotpunjuju Natali Baj kao ekscentrična mater familias, Vensan Kasel kao razdražljivi stariji brat Antoan, Marion Kotijar kao smetena snaja Katrin i Lea Sejdu kao buntovna mlađa sestra Suzan. Dolan se neretko usredsređuje na njihova lica, a insistiranjem na krupnom planu stavlja ih pred izazov da svoje umeće demonstriraju mikroekspresijama, intenzivirajući tako i klaustrofobičnost teške letnje atmosfere. Predah od svađa koje obično počinju prijatnim ćaskanjem pruža u kratkim, snenim i poetičnim, skoro "malikovskim" flešbekovima koji opisuju neka lepša vremena, da bi epilog blago izmestio u domen magičnog realizma.

S obzirom na moje dosadašnje iskustvo sa Dolanovima radovima, a uprkos ne baš najpozitivnijim reakcijama kritike, To je samo kraj sveta predstavlja prijatno iznenađenje / izuzetak od pravila.

Paterson / Paterson
Paterson je ne naročito zanimljiv vozač autobusa u simpatičnom gradiću Patersonu (kojem je dodeljen status lika) i bavi se pisanjem poezije po ugledu na Viljema Karlosa Viljemsa (1883-1963) čija najpoznatija poema nosi naziv, gle čuda, Paterson. Svi njegovi dani liče jedan na drugi, a ispunjeni su praznim (i pseudo-intelektualnim) razgovorima, crno-belim dezenima njegove ekscentrične, ali praktične žene i čestim susretima sa parovima blizanaca. Mali ljudi, veliki snovi, ponedeljak, utorak, sreda, četvrtak, petak, subota, nedelja, pa opet ponedeljak, život je pesma, a pse ne treba ostavljati same kod kuće... Pretpostavljam da će najverniji obožavaoci Džarmušovog opusa pohrliti da vide i Paterson, a verujem da će oni koji to nisu često gledati na sat.

19 Jan 2017

Tenemos la carne / We Are the Flesh (Emiliano Rocha Minter, 2016)


Emiliano Rocha Minter - a 26-yo first-time helmer from Mexico - revises Hansel and Gretel as an odd, ballsy blend of psycho(patho)logical drama, arthouse horror/mystery and straight-out hardcore porn set in what seems like a decrepit residential building, after a cataclysmic event. However, his "witch" is more like a sleazy and sadistic Messianic figure.

Initially, we see a crazy, middle-aged, Charles Manson-like hermit (Noé Hernández) making some sort of highly inflammable booze, drawing eggs from a crack in a wall and viciously beating his drum, before falling to sleep. But soon, his "ivory tower" is invaded by two starving siblings, Fauna (María Evoli) and Lucio (Diego Gamaliel), who have been aimlessly wandering a town for days. They are offered food and refuge under one condition - to follow their host's rules.

So, they start building a cavernous structure inside a large room where all three of them will be reborn in the most uninhibited way possible, through a poisoning attempt, severe parting with vegetarian lifestyle, incestuous sex, lethal ejaculation, more incestuous sex, consumption of menstrual fluids, necrophilia and, eventually, cannibalism.


Maniacally poetic, delightfully atrocious and painfully enlightening, We Are the Flesh subverts the idea of family, freedom and humanity, while it explores the darkest recesses of our minds. By showing one of the ugliest post-apocalyptic scenarios and then, pulling the rug under our feet with a twist ending, Minter reminds us that the underbelly of the civilization is quite slimy and rife with despair behind its shiny facade.

Following in the footsteps of the world cinema's les enfants terribles, he delivers a biting, irreverent, transgressive, iconoclastic and, to a certain extent, esoteric existential satire which is memorable not only for its shocking contents, but central performances as well. Evoli's and Gamaliel's debuts are daring, but Hernández is the star of the demented show - his "antagonistic" character is simultaneously funny, creepy, wicked, imposing, lost in his own world and enigmatic to the point of (our) questioning his true origins.

Also praiseworthy are Manuela García's top-notch art direction, Yollótl Alvarado's sultry cinematography and Esteban Aldrete's suitably quirky score, especially considering their careers has just begun. And even the chaotic screenplay (written by the director himself) has some merits, when viewed through the prism of the film's disturbing nature, touchy subjects and unrestrained, almost demonic energy.

12 Jan 2017

Taste of the Obscure 80s

My latest list for Taste of Cinema brings together 25 less talked about films from the 80s - nine animated and sixteen live-action features, to be precise. It's quite an eclectic (and bizarre) selection, considering it includes a Tunisian fantasy, campy anime, Yugoslavian TV drama and experimental stop-motion animation, inter alia.

Chronopolis (Piotr Kamler, 1983)

Pentimento (Frans Zwartjes, 1979)

"Once Frans Zwartjes has caressed your eyeballs, you will never be able to see cinema in the same way again." (Maximilian Le Cain)


I wouldn't wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Le Cain's claim, especially not with the 'caressing' part, considering my first encounter with Zwartjes's oeuvre felt more like a punch in the stomach. Pentimento is a moody, disquieting, viscerally poetic and highly experimental mystery-drama (for the lack of a better term) probably conceived and brought to life in a fit of creative madness.


Set in a ramshackle spa situated in the middle of nowhere, it chronicles weird experiments coordinated by a Japanese doctor on a group of randomly picked women. Treated as nothing more (or even worse) than lab rats, they are stripped naked (with only their high-heel shoes on, until they die) and subjected to a torture from a sicko's sexual fantasy. The staff consisting of creepy nurses and men in black suits engages in strange activites, while their boss plays golf with his victims' stilettos as balls. At one point, these sadists enter Sweet Movie mode.


As you've already assumed, Pentimento is a total opposite of an easy watch. Raw, dirty, perverse, extremely unerotic and mostly shot at twilight or in dimly lit spaces, it is infused with a grim atmosphere of claustrophobia and human depravity. The unnerving soundtrack which marries ambient noises to alien electronica complements the gritty and grainy imagery, as well as the obscure, dialogue-free experience.


Think Arrabal meets Makavejev, Terayama, Pasolini and Cronenberg (?) and sprinkle Shozin Fukui obsessions (minus all the screaming) on top and you might get the idea of what to expect from Zwartjes. Beware, though, as the feminist inside you will be shocked by his provocative, nightmarish and, at first sight, mysoginic puzzle.

7 Jan 2017

Shōjo tsubaki (Torico, 2016)

 
The campiest J-film in (my) recent memory, Shōjo tsubaki is the second adaptation of Suehiro Maruo's ero guro manga of the same name (the first one is a notorious anime from 1992). Literally translated as The Camellia Girl, it tells the story of a 14-yo orphan, Midori (played by a 27-yo model, Risa Nakamura, and with a good reason), who is forced to join a freak show where she is humiliated and molested by everyone. The arrival of an enigmatic illusionist, Masamitsu (Shunsuke Kazama), reverses the situation in her favor, but there's something devilish about him and it's not only his horned haircut.
 
Torico's live-action rendition of Midori's disturbing misadventures seems to be inspired mostly by the works of Mika Ninagawa (Sakuran, Helter Skelter), considering its palette of dazzling colors (and not to mention that both directors share the background in fashion). Even though she (obviously) has less resources than her more prominent colleague, she demonstrates great creativity, particularly in the costume department, which is to be expected from a clothes designer (for Meewee Dinkee brand). Her exuberant, baroquely extravagant visuals are peppered with Carroll-esque surrealism and a few animated sequences which honor the aforementioned anime (painstakingly produced by Hiroshi Harada).

Actually, Torico quotes her predecessor in many scenes, albeit toning down the shock factor and transposing the narrative from Shōwa period to (alternative) present day, while commenting on misogyny in Japan. (Note: This is just an assumption, since I watched the film without the subtitles.) From the pop-art intro credits, through origami camellia and all the way to Midori's dreams coming true, she deliberately emphasizes the artificiality of her perverse, delightfully kitschy fantasy and lets the cast overact their hearts out.

In spite of my not understanding the dialogue and the inconsistency of digital cinematography, I thoroughly enjoyed this eccentric B-movie, so I'll be looking forward to seeing another Torico's cinematic offering.