Subversive, sardonic and ultimately penetrating look into the sex tourism industry, cast with a cynical eye from a director of blunt yet bold talent. Chances are, you won’t have much fun watching Paradise: Love – it’s not a holiday film but rather a caustic commentary on racial prejudice and human ageing that will leave a dark, bitter aftertaste.
You may actively condemn Compliance for its unpleasantness, but there’s no denying the kick it sends to the guts. It’s a merciless piece of cinema that’s uncomfortable, appalling and provocative all at once, a film that compels us to take a hard look at a disquieting spectacle of ignorance – the human tragedy to blindly follow, obey and concede to authority without asking ‘why’.
With a nice concept and rich social and thematic pool in which to swim, Ginger and Rosa should shine an original light on a Hollywood staple with a unique coming of age story. Initially sweet and engaging and lifted by a tour de force cast, it lacks direction and soon disappears into a rectum of dull middle class pretentiousness more cloying than the most emotional of teenage poetry.
So that was the Order of the Day. In what seemed to be the most packed, challenging and personally rewarding day of the festival so far. I went out to check out the Audiards, Mungius and Kiarostamis steam-rolling in cinemas all day.
A pair of powerful performances from Cotillard and Schoenaerts lend Rust and Bone some muscular, dramatic gravitas, only to be hampered by a preposterously conceived final hour that completely betrays the audience’s emotional investment in the first half. Audiard hasn’t put a foot wrong so far, until now.
Part-social indictment, part-cautionary tale – The Hunt is a searing, finely judged portrayal of one man’s staunch battle against collective condemnation, directed with supreme skill by Vinterberg and performed with impressive strength by Mikkelsen – a career-best performance that will leave emotional bruises.
Day Three of the festival started with a promise – a double-whammy of arthouse darlings Laurence Anyways and Beasts of the Southern Wild – a promise that somehow, irrevocably, metamorphose into a recurring nightmare.
You’ll hardly see a more life-affirming film this year than this barnstorming magical-realist coming-of-age fable. Beasts of the Southern Wild deserves to be seen and treasured – a soulful, soaring, poignant childhood parable, with equal parts joy and melancholy. This is cinema at its most dazzlingly, beautifully alive anchored by one of the greatest child performances of all-time.
Let me clarify the above headline – I’m not miffed about Amour the Film. I haven’t seen it. I’m miffed because I cannot go and watch it. Which exacerbates my trivial resentment against the large majority of the over-privileged BFI members, who all bought tickets en masse, sending us all destitute mortals into cinematic oblivion. Film festivals are so bourgeois!
Unless you live in an underground bunker and clearly couldn’t give a fuck about the myriad delights this world have to offer – chances are, you’ll gather that the 56th BFI London Film Festival has officially began.
It’s that groovy time of the year again (no, I’m not talking about Christmas just yet). For all of us in London who couldn’t afford to sail to Cannes or go back-packing en-route to Venice, October is a super special time for self-confessed cineastes with a shoestring budget like me so I could go film-whoring along both sides of the Southbank in the 56th London Film Festival.
For the record, this is the first time The Moviejerk goes film-whoring. For 6 glorious years (that’s over half a decade, folks!), I’ve ranted, opined, rambled anything about cinema and served up irreverent film reviews. The maxim “Passionate. No bullshit. Just mad about film.” has come a long way from mere obsession to enduring, lifelong passion – leashing away from the seductions of advertising and mainstream commercial money-making ventures. True to the spirit of independent film criticism, I’ve launched a campaign over at Indiegogo (where all creatively rich yet economically poor people go beg for financial and moral support) to gain coverage at this year’s 56th London Film Festival happening next month in October.