Jacob Reviews the New Zealand International Film Festival 2008

Kia ora film types,

I was asked about my reviews at work so I thought I should get the list together in case people were interested. I mean, hey, the festival may be finished but there’s always the cinematic run and DVD…

Be aware of typos and the like. This is mostly speedy late night work,

JP.

Reviews for
The Lumière Reader

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Boy A English drama: a jailed child killer is released back into society as a young man. Will society accept him? Can he accept himself?
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Homegrown (Programme 1) A selection of NZ short films from the past two years covering such themes as subverting cultural stereotyping, the evocation of memory and loss, survival and the loss of innocence, and breaking cultural and social isolation.
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In Search of a Midnight Kiss Lo-fi indie romance set over a day on the not so sparkling streets of LA
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To Each His own Cinema Over 36 three minute short films made by many of the world’s greatest living auteurs expressing their passion for experience of movie-going at the behest of the Cannes film festival panel.
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Let the Right One In Haunting Swedish vampire thriller cum adolescent romance
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Rubbings From a Live Man Florian Habicht’s docu-theatrical exposition of the life of flamboyant NZ thespian Warrick Broadhead
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The Escapist and Timecrimes (double capsule review)Gritty, tightly constructed prison escape thriller and a trippy surrealist Spanish time travel headspin.
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Dear Zachary Emotionally wrenching and unpredictable cinematic ‘letter’ to the son of the documentary’s dead subject, as well as a memorial from the director who was his childhood friend. Be ready to shed some tears…

Still in the queue to be posted:
- Frontier(s)Ultra-gorefest Gallic splatter horror replete with psychotic rural inbred neo-nazi family, and more torture and maiming than you could shake a stick at. Funnier than it is scary if you have a strong constitution.
- Waltz with BashirSublimely animated docu-drama of an Israeli filmmaker’s journey to find his lost memories of his life during Israel’s ill-fated war with Lebanon in the early 80s. Harrowing.


Reviews For
FilmGuide

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In Bruges Broadly appealing Irish crime dramedy in the vein of Lock, Stock, & Two Smoking Barrels. Clever dialogue, great unexpected plot twists and some truly reinvigorated performances by some recently tired looking A-Listers. Does trade on a lot of inappropriately un-PC jokes as has some graphically violent moments.
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Somers Town Beautifully observed veritè story of an unlikely pair of wayward young lads in London (a teen from the Midlands and a Polish immigrant who lives with his father). Director Shane Meadows is adept at capturing the realities of the English working class and also the fleeting innocence & emotional instability of male adolescence. This is his most optimistic film to date.
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Note by Note: the making of Steinway L1037 Documentary tracing the fascinating production process of a handmade Steinway concert grand, juxtaposing the worlds of those who make them and those who use them and finding connection in both music and the meditative beauty of age old process.
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Donkey in Lahore An Australian filmmaker films several years of the trials and tribulations of his 28 year old friend who, after an 8 day trip to Pakistan to attend a puppeteer festival, proposes to a 17 year old Pakistani girl. Wistful romanticism is slowly crushed beneath looming weight of the bureaucratic process, cultural/age differences, and the simple reality that they do not actually know each other.
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A Gentle Breeze in the Village A Japanese film that is not dark and disturbing! Director Yamashita Nobuhiro subverts the idealised romance of a popular schoolgirl manga by producing an acutely observed drama about a Tokyo boy moving to a small rural village and the effects that this has on the small group of children who live there. Some of the best cinematography in this year’s festival without overtaking the film – outstanding.
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Silent Light Slow-burn existential musing about the nature of love played out in a Dutch/German Mennonite family in rural Mexico. Well shot and quite well constructed if a little over long and pretentious at times.
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Standard Operating Procedure Errol Morris documentary about the notorious Abu Ghraib prison photos from the USA-Iraq war. Morris does not so much focus on the overarching war on terror but on the specific details of the photos – the context in which they were taken, what was going on outside the frames and the like. Very compelling viewing that does not exonerate the perpetrators but makes clear that they have been scapegoated by people up the chain of command. As one of the soldiers say, if the photos had never been taken – or gotten out into the wild – then they probably wouldn’t have been investigated by the army…shocker.

Comments

Rachel said…
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