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.
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.