Michael Katz

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Kuma: The Second Wife Review


Excellent

A sensitive drama about a hidden subculture, this film is sometimes difficult to watch as its naturalistic approach reveals chilling details about a Turkish family living in Austria. The melodramatic script sometimes feels like it's tackling too many issues at once, but by taking such a personal approach the filmmakers help us experience the events ourselves.

The story begins in a dusty Turkish village, where a lively wedding feels eerily strained. The bride is 19-year-old Ayse (Akkaya), who is calmed by her new mother-in-law Fatma (Koldas) before her marriage to handsome young Hasan (Muslu). Then she travels back home with them to Vienna, where the truth comes out: she is actually a second wife for Fatma's middle-aged husband Mustafa (Erincin), chosen by Fatma to replace her because she is dying of cancer and needs someone to care for their young children. But older daughter Kezban (Imak) feels insulted that her mother brought in an outsider. Especially when Ayse gets pregnant.

Like Ayse, we have some trouble making sense of the extended family she encounters in Austria, including aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbours and Fatma and Mustafa's adult children, who have children of their own. But this bustling atmosphere creates a vivid sense of community in shops and homes, hidden from view. And the key cast members are terrific at creating rounded characters who register strongly. Koldas is especially vivid, as we watch the engagingly unpredictable Fatma shift from warm compassion to ruthless discipline. And Muslu gives Hasan an engaging emotional life all his own, especially as we start to understand why he agreed to this fake marriage long before the script reveals the reason.

Continue reading: Kuma: The Second Wife Review

Michael Katz - Michael Katz, KT Sullivan, Robert R. Blume and guest New York City, USA - Musicals in Mufti: 'Oh, Coward!' after party held at the York Theatre Company Friday 15th July 2011

Michael Katz
Michael Katz

Caché Review


OK
A low-rent setup for two penthouse-level thespians, Michael Haneke's Caché is somehow rigorous yet formless, absolutely exacting in its procedure, yet seemingly bereft of intent and meaning, scrupulously acted for not much reason at all. Derived from the same nervous Parisian bourgeois milieu as writer/director Haneke's Code Unknown but quite a bit more tightly-packed, it's a thriller wrapped inside a moral lesson and presented with the glassy omnipotence of the true voyeur.

The story owes a debt on some level to that greatest of cinematic voyeurs, Hitchcock, whose corpulent presence seems constantly in the filmmaker's mind. Juliette Binoche and Daniel Auteuil plays Anne and Georges Laurent, a perfectly respectable married example of the modern Paris intelligentsia. She works for a publisher where she can set her own hours, while he hosts a literary TV talk show. They have a nice little flat and a nice son, Pierrot (Lester Makedonsky). This is all filled in later, however, as the first thing we see is a static shot of the Laurent household which turns out to be a videotape Anne and Georges are watching which had been left on their doorstep with no explanation. Someone simply set up a videocamera across from their flat and filmed it for hours on end. Things escalate, of course, with tapes mysteriously appearing, soon with childlike drawings attached, of a face spitting blood, a chicken getting its head cut off. Someone starts calling for Georges, sending the tapes to his work, sending the notes to Pierrot at school. And there is no demand, no message, no anything but the constant surveillance and the feeling (soon proven) that the watcher knows more than the Laurents would like about themselves and their past, especially Georges'.

Continue reading: Caché Review

Caché Review


OK
A low-rent setup for two penthouse-level thespians, Michael Haneke's Caché is somehow rigorous yet formless, absolutely exacting in its procedure, yet seemingly bereft of intent and meaning, scrupulously acted for not much reason at all. Derived from the same nervous Parisian bourgeois milieu as writer/director Haneke's Code Unknown but quite a bit more tightly-packed, it's a thriller wrapped inside a moral lesson and presented with the glassy omnipotence of the true voyeur.

The story owes a debt on some level to that greatest of cinematic voyeurs, Hitchcock, whose corpulent presence seems constantly in the filmmaker's mind. Juliette Binoche and Daniel Auteuil plays Anne and Georges Laurent, a perfectly respectable married example of the modern Paris intelligentsia. She works for a publisher where she can set her own hours, while he hosts a literary TV talk show. They have a nice little flat and a nice son, Pierrot (Lester Makedonsky). This is all filled in later, however, as the first thing we see is a static shot of the Laurent household which turns out to be a videotape Anne and Georges are watching which had been left on their doorstep with no explanation. Someone simply set up a videocamera across from their flat and filmed it for hours on end. Things escalate, of course, with tapes mysteriously appearing, soon with childlike drawings attached, of a face spitting blood, a chicken getting its head cut off. Someone starts calling for Georges, sending the tapes to his work, sending the notes to Pierrot at school. And there is no demand, no message, no anything but the constant surveillance and the feeling (soon proven) that the watcher knows more than the Laurents would like about themselves and their past, especially Georges'.

Continue reading: Caché Review

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Kuma: The Second Wife Movie Review

Kuma: The Second Wife Movie Review

A sensitive drama about a hidden subculture, this film is sometimes difficult to watch as...

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