An irreverent comedy in the style of the original M.A.S.H., this wartime romp takes an entertaining look at 24 hours in the life of a group of humanitarian workers in the Balkans in 1995. The film is funny, tense and packed with layers of drama, as Spanish filmmaker Fernando Leon de Aranoa cleverly recreates the setting with striking detail. Since it feels so realistic and is populated with lively characters, the film is thoroughly entertaining, even if it only barely seems to crack the surface.
It opens as aid worker Mambru (Benicio Del Toro) and his local translator Damir (Fedja Stukan) are trying to remove a body from a well so they can clean up the water supply for an isolated village. But their only rope is too frayed to work. Then jaded American colleague B (Tim Robbins) arrives with French rookie Sophie (Melanie Thierry), and as they try to find a rope they are joined by sexy Russian worker Katya (Olga Kurylenko), who has a past with Mambru. But there are constant roadblocks, literally and figuratively, as they try to solve this relatively simple problem. Along the way, they pick up a young orphan (Eldar Residovic) and try to reunite him with his family.
Every situation these people encounter is fraught with chaos, from the absurdities of military regulations to the complexities of local politics to the constant possibility of injury or even death. The filmmaker creates a terrific blackly comical tone that stresses the gallows humour these workers require to survive in an environment where children run around carrying big guns and rules are more important than innocent people's lives. This offbeat tone is engaging, especially with the snappy performances from Del Toro and Robbins as experienced men who know the ropes but insist on playing the game by their own rules. Thierry and Kurylenko are also good in less developed roles as the naive newbie and the steely ex, respectively. And Stukan and Residovic, plus a strong supporting cast, add lots of local colour.
Continue reading: A Perfect Day Review
Sergi Lopez - 10th Rome Film Festival - 'Les Rois du Monde' - Photocall at Auditorium Parco della Musica - Rome, Italy - Monday 19th October 2015
Michael Kohlhaas is a horse dealer living a simple but idyllic life with his beautiful wife, children and their quaint home. He buys some carefully selected horses to take home from a nearby town but on the way he is stopped by a greedy local baron who removes several of his horses apparently unlawfully. When Kohlhaas protests his rights, he discovers that his beloved wife has been ruthlessly killed and so he decides, with his whole world crashing down around him, to embark on a fearless voyage of vengeance. While attempting to gather an army to destroy the monsters who ruined his life, he is confronted by his own religious beliefs which tell him he must forgive his enemies. However, is seems Kohlhaas is willing to face the fiery depths of hell for what those enemies have taken from him.
When he was a baby, Ambrosio was raised by Capucin monks in a Spanish monastery. He becomes a devout monk and, as an adult, his sermons are among the most popular in the country, if not the most popular. However, most of his fellow monks are jealous of Ambrosio's success.
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The Pujol family make umbrellas, in the town of Sainte-Gudule. Robert is the head of the family and he rules his business and household in a very similar fashion. His wife, Suzanne, is a very bright and beautiful woman who's mothered their children and allowed Robert to get on with running the family business. Remember, in 1977, a womans place was in the home and the fairer sex wasn't respected in industry.
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In southern France, Suzanne (Scott Thomas) is a wife and mother who, bored with her bourgeois life, decides to go back to work. But when beefy builder Ivan (Lopez) arrives to work on her home office, she starts flirting with him. This eventually turns into a lusty affair, and she decides to leave her husband Samuel (Attal) and teen children (Vidal and Broom). But exchanging financial stability for passion isn't easy; when money runs short Samuel tries to exploit her need for security. And things get very messy indeed.
Continue reading: Leaving [Partir] Review
In 1944, Ofelia (Ivana Baquero), a bookish 12-year-old arrives with her pregnant mother Carmen (Ariadna Gil) at an isolated farmhouse in northern Spain. Here, amidst the dark woods and quietly subservient peasants, her new stepfather Vidal (Sergi López), an army captain, has set up base to harass leftover anti-Fascist rebels from the Civil War. The carefully sadistic Vidal has no squeamishness about the humanity of his anti-insurgent campaign, coolly ordering that all food and medical supplies for the nearby villagers be locked up in the farmhouse and only doled out under guard -- an attempt to starve out the rebels hiding up in the mountains. While the adults (including the excellent Maribel Verdú from Y Tu Mamá También as a woman with rebel ties) are fully enmeshed in their pungent dramas, Ofelia has her own problems of a different sort.
Continue reading: Pan's Labyrinth Review
Okwe (newcomer Chiwetel Ejiofor) works as a cab driver by day and a hotel desk clerk by night, regularly chewing addictive plant leaves to keep himself from dozing off. An illegal immigrant and former doctor who's arrived in London to flee political forces who sought his arrest in Nigeria, Okwe now resides on the couch of fellow hotel employee Senay (Amelie's Audrey Tautou), a Turkish maid whose legal immigrant status, in a puzzling twist that's never fully explained, prohibits her from being employed. The two social outcasts keep their friendship hidden from their fellow coworkers, each interested in blending into the environment like a chameleon changing spots to elude predators. In a city that eagerly makes use of immigrant labor, Okwe and Senay are the tattered fringe of society, forced to endure humiliation and unable to fight back for fear that their presence might be detected by the immigration police who constantly scour the city's underbelly. What's not mentioned, however, is that since Okwe is an illegal immigrant, he doesn't have any right being in London, and this near-sighted portrayal of his situation - one can assume that his life in London, no matter how difficult and unpleasant, is better than the life in Nigeria that he fled, although the film glosses over this fact - saps some of our sympathy for him.
Continue reading: Dirty Pretty Things Review
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An irreverent comedy in the style of the original M.A.S.H., this wartime romp takes an...
Michael Kohlhaas is a horse dealer living a simple but idyllic life with his beautiful...
When he was a baby, Ambrosio was raised by Capucin monks in a Spanish monastery....
The Pujol family make umbrellas, in the town of Sainte-Gudule. Robert is the head of...
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