Archive for the ‘3 – Country Of Production’ Category

Camille – **

Posted: February 22, 2020 in 2019, Drama, France, War, XX

Camille is a young journalist who made it her ambition to be a war photographer. She is not that successful until she arrives in the Central African Republic, where a civil war is about the erupt between Muslims and Christians.

With little experience and strange looks from more established journalists she gets attached to some local students who allow her into their world.

When the violence erupts she has her first pictures published, which helps the French intervene in the country’s mess. The muslim Séléka, who – according to this movie – are raiding villages, murdering and raping christians, are stopped by the international presence. But this leads to christian Anti-Balaka gangs who take revenge at the muslim population. It’s confusing if you don’t know much about the civil war and this movie doesn’t do anything to help you understand it better. 

No. The focus is on this young woman. A girl really. But rather than giving some kind of insight on why she chose this path, we just get to observe her as she kinda takes sides with he Anti-Balaka. Just because she got connected to one of their new leaders, who she met as a student on her initial journey. 

The movie reminds you of Ghosts of Cité Soleil, where we also get to see how young European women feel the need to be part of some ‘exotic’ nation’s internal problems. We never get to learn why Camille prefers life in danger than staying at home with her family and friends. The town of Angers must be really boring for someone to want to risk getting killed almost every moment of the day. The movie ends with her saying she feels happier in the war zone. Maybe that’s true. We don’t know. She got killed. So we can only guess. 

It’s an interesting movie. It’s based on true fact, but fictionalized a bit as a lot needs to be assumed. The acting by the main actress is good. Not so much by the many extras. And as mentioned before, we don’t get to learn that much about Central African Republic at all. 

Tu viens, tu prends et tu parts. You come, you take and you leave.

This one line in the movie is quite powerful, because it is the truth. It’s said to Camille as a comparison to the French colonizers from not that long ago. It’s amazing how the woman can get the trust of these young people who are her age and live in a total different world. They may be as ambitious and as intelligent and also dream of leaving the place to look for happiness and recognition abroad. But they definitely don’t have the same opportunities. 

Somehow this movie could have been much more. 

www.imdb.com/title/tt9678892

 

 

The northern French city of Roubaix has a great art museum in a former Art Deco swimming pool and there’s a shopping outlet on former textile factory grounds. But apart from that, it’s a hellhole. To use Trump vocabulary.

So, it’s a surprise that a movie gets released set in this unappreciated part of France.

Not watching the trailer, not reading the synopsis and just going for the positive movie title will leave you horrified.

This is not a delightful movie. It’s dark. And depressing. And makes you never want to go to Roubaix at all. The city’s tourism office will not have approved.

No.

The great Roschdy Zem is a police officer in this marginalized town and leads a team that has to go out at night dealing with marginalized town acts of crime and despair. The first half of the movie just shows a series of things that can go wrong at night. Cars being set on fire, girls being raped, thefts, burglaries and arson. The second half of the movie focuses on two women being accused of having murdered their old age neighbor.

It’s a weird movie and the second half would have worked better as a stage play. The dialogues are well written and the acting is okay, but as a movie it totally falls flat.

Roschdy Zem cannot save his movie. But he is impressive. As always.

www.imdb.com/title/tt8359840

Minha Vida Em Marte – (*)

Posted: February 19, 2020 in 1/2, 2018, Brasil, Comedy

Brazilian comedies. Sigh.

Fernanda has a midlife crises when she doesn’t feel attracted to her husband anymore. First she tries to get back her sexual apetite, but when she learns that her husband cheats on her, a divorce is waiting to happen and she needs to get back on track with her life.

She is not alone to go through all these stages. No… she has a gay best friend who ‘supports’ her.

And we see her with the gay best friend in almost every single scene, traveling to all sorts of places and talking nonsense all the time. 

It is terrible….

The gay best friend in Brazilian comedies is always extravagant, single and very effeminate. It is annoying….

But the main problem is that nothing happens. It is a series of very superficial and unfunny conversations between two loud Brazilians.

Brazilian comedies. Sigh.

www.imdb.com/title/tt8619812

Simonal – *

Posted: February 10, 2020 in 2018, biopic, Brasil, Musical, X

Halfway in this musical biopic of the notorious Brazilian singer Simonal, you start wondering if it is worth watching until the end.

The acting of the main lead is bad. Annoyingly bad. The storytelling is unoriginal, superficial, boring. The music doesn’t particularly sound great either. And the lip-sincing is done terribly. But the setting is interesting (sixties Brazil), the camerawork is fine and the opening scene (set in 1975) promises an interesting reveal.

Then, it turns out there is an interesting story to tell about this ‘Harry Belafonte of Brazil’. He was accused of having had his accountant be kidnapped and tortured. He somehow also worked as a snitch for the dictatorship.

Now this is a different story. An intriguing one.

But alas… again, this part of the story is told so fast and so superficially, it would only make some kind of sense if you have lived through these events.

Sure, it is made for Brazilian audiences who know more about this singer and who know more about the military dictatorship. For any viewer not familiar with the singer and unaware of his importance/deceit it is quite a lame movie.

So this guy sings about how cheerful Brazilians are during a time of dictatorship and gets scolded at for doing so. Then also falls victim to his own success and any financial predator around him. Gets connected to the military investigators who make him lie on record. All material for a good movie.

Unfortunately this one isn’t.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6145054

Quite disappointing, this second season. Whereas the first series was refreshing, this pretty much feels like it is too calculated.

Gillian Anderson’s sex therapist character is still great though. When there is an outbreak of chlamydia she is asked to come and be a sex counsellor in school. But that is interfering with the business of her son, who has been given sex advice for money on the school premises as well.

It is an interesting premise and episode 1 totally gets you in the same mood as the previous episodes. But soon something is lacking. Is it the acting? Is it the total absence of humor? Not sure, but the show stops being engaging soon. Not worthy of binge watching at all.

There are a few new characters and we get to learn more about some of the characters that weren’t in the spotlight of series one. But the main ones seem to have lost their charm. Which is sad.

The cliffhanger end doesn’t really make you look forward to what is coming next either. And that is too bad, because, on a positive note, it does prove that you can have a good show with an inclusive cast without constantly referring to the sexual and racial differences between kids. Anyone can be anything. This is one thing in which this show excells.

www.imdb.com/title/tt7767422

 

 

Yuli – **(*)

Posted: February 9, 2020 in 2018, biopic, Cuba, Drama, Spain, UK, XX1/2

Carlos Acosta was the first black dancer ever to perform as Romeo at the Royal Ballet of London.

This shouldn’t be remarkable, but it unfortunately still is. Of course this success has to do with opportunities and luck and fate, but talent is needed nevertheless.

This movie starts with the now older Acosta directing a ballet performance based on his life story… and as he has his dancers rehearse the sequences he reminisces and the movie goes in flashback mode to some pivotal moments in his life.

It is a tricky approach, to shift from modern ballet scenes to storytelling flashbacks. And it is also interesting to see a biopic in which the actual main character is playing himself. But it works really well.

More than a biopic and a ballet movie, the story focuses on the troubled father-son relationship. And it is very honest. The young Cuban boy has no desire to become a ‘faggot’ dancer, but his father pushes him into the ballet school. A reverse Billy Elliott so to speak. Not only his father, but also his Cuban dance teacher constantly have to motivate or command him to continue dancing. Especially after an accident halts his successful career for a bit, he needs their tough encouragement to continue. It is clear that this movie is an hommage to them.

The acting by the father, the teacher and the young Acosta is excellent. The story touches on several Cuban issues as well without being too detailed. It is well filmed. At least the flashback scenes are.

Worth checking out !!!

www.imdb.com/title/tt7666250

Almost the entire cast of The Crown changed for season 3. It takes a while before that kicks in. Olivia Coleman is a great actress, sure, but she isn’t Claire Foy, who excelled as Queen Elisabeth in the first series. Only by the final episode, you have to acknowledge that she does do a fine job. But it’s difficult to be charmed by her from the start. That’s because this season, the focus isn’t on her that much.

The acting is still great though. Helen Bonham Carter is quite exquisite as Princess Margaret and both Josh O’Connor and Erin Doherty do a great job as Prince Charles and Princess Anne.

The storytelling remains admirable. How each episode is scripted is very clever. However, the fiction takes over from the facts. And even though it’s great dramatic storytelling, it loses its credibility because a lot of it just isn’t true.

Even more than in the first twenty episodes, you want to google what is true and what is fictionalized. It’s distracting from watching the show. Did that really happen? Is this historically correct? These constant questions often get answered by a ‘no’.

It’ll be interesting to see season 4 which will have Margaret Tatcher and Princes Diana as main characters. This seventies show was okay, but not that fascinating. Apart from two episodes, which are set in Wales. Those are perfect television hours. Well written, well directed, well acted, well researched. More of that please.

www.imdb.com/title/tt4786824