Jo (Diop) lives with her widowed train-driver dad Lionel (Descas) in a Paris flat. Also in the building are Lionel's ex Gabrielle (Dogue) and Noe (Colin), a neighbour Jo has her eye on. Together, they're a sort of family, watching out for each other even as circumstances change around them. When a friend (Toussaint) retires, Lionel becomes terrified of his own old age, which opens him up to potential romance with a local cafe owner (Ado). And besides Noe, Jo is also drawn to a cute shop clerk (Folly).
Continue reading: 35 Shots Of Rum [35 Rhums] Review
Working in his native country of Malaysia for the first time rather than in Taipei, where most of his movies are set, Tsai takes us into the seedy underbelly of hot and dangerously smoggy Kuala Lumpur, where we tag along with a merry band of impoverished immigrant Bangladeshi construction workers who are lugging an old and stained futon to their hovel. To them, it's a treasure. Along the way they run into a homeless guy (Tsai's main man, Lee Kang-shen), who's been brutally beaten while trying to out-con a con artist. One of the workers, Rawang (Nathan Atun), takes responsibility for gently nursing the poor guy back to health and enjoys sleeping next to him with a not-quite-platonic vibe.
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It all starts with Thierry (the great André Dussollier), a realtor trying to find an apartment for Nicole (Laura Morante) and her contemptible husband Dan (Lambert Wilson). Thierry is harboring yearnings for his secretary Charlotte (Sabine Azéma), whose scattershot persona lends itself both to the religious and the carnal. Charlotte's night-job finds her taking care of the curmudgeonly father of bartender Lionel (Pierre Arditi) while he is serving drinks to Dan and Thierry's sister Gaelle (Isabelle Carre) at a classy hotel bar. All of this is connected by Charlotte's bible, a mysterious videotape of a woman go-go dancing and the search for a perfect apartment.
Continue reading: Private Fears In Public Places Review
Following What Time is it There? and the short The Skywalk is Gone, The Wayward Cloud catches up with the watch-salesman-turned-porn-star and the unaffected object of his obsession. The opening scene (one for the books) shows Hsiao-Kang (Ming-liang standby Lee Kang-sheng) sexually violating a watermelon placed between the thighs of a female porn star. While he is tending to his craft, Shiang-chyi (Chen Shiang-chyi) sits in her apartment, all zombied up by her television set. Their chance meeting occurs in a small outdoor booth in a sunny park, where a small spark is relit that sets off the beautiful mess that follows.
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In What Time is it There?, like his previous work with The Hole and Vive L'Amour, Ming-Liang utilizes long, ponderous, closely-framed shots of characters amidst detailed backgrounds that reveal more about their lives than anything that could come out of their mouths. It's not whether the character is clean or dirty so much as the items in their lives that make up these traits. There is virtually no dialogue. Together, these elements create the thrill of unpredictability. There seems no reason for the camera to linger on a specific moment, and there are no recognizable clues as to what will happen next. It's a fascinating, but irritating, way to keep your attention focused on screen. You never know if a character is going to speak or what reaction they will have to a given situation, if any at all.
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You better damn well like plates if you're going to suffer through the three hours of Les Destinées, an exhausting family drama about a porcelain empire and just as hard a flick as its subject matter.
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That Laure won't throw away her sexy red dress (saying, "I'll keep you," in one of her affectionate throwaway lines to household objects, clothing, and her beaten-up but friendly car) says she has some vitality in her yet, and hasn't quite finished exploring life's spontaneous opportunities. Going out for the night wearing a trés chic black dress, Laure gets stuck in a massive traffic jam, allowing regular Denis cinematographer Agnes Godard to rove between vehicles picking up details of Parisian life through rain-speckled car windows illuminated and obscured by neon, headlights, and shadows.
Continue reading: Friday Night Review
While the title, Pola X, certainly has a nice ring to it, it stands representative of everything Carax's movie is: all flash, pointless trickery, grating snobbery and, ultimately, no more substance than a private joke only one person finds amusing.
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