Archive for Cinema

Quien dice que es facil

On Thursday – on my third attempt – I managed to get to see this new film. It’s not a terribly complicated story: modern, liberated, pregnant-by-unknown-father woman falls in love with straight-laced suburban landlord; but it’s well paced and well acted and obviously very popular. I was pleased to keep up with the story and appreciate quite a few of the jokes, even though I couldn’t follow some of the faster arguments.

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Arizona Sur

I’ve just been to the cinema to see Arizona Sur. I enjoyed it but it was a film of two halfs, or really two-thirds and another third. It started really well, great cinematography of Patagonian land- and skyscapes, a really off-beat storyline and a lingering, mesmerising pace. In the last third it turned into more of a conventional comedy and really lost its edge, with the exception of the young lead, Nazareno Casero, who gave an excellent performance.

My Spanish coped with the storyline but not with some of the dialogue!

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El Laberinto del Fauno

Last night I went to a nearby cinema – at 22:40 so I’m starting to get into local time habits – to see El Laberinto del Fauno directed by Guillermo del Toro. The cinema was very good: comfortable high-backed seats, clean and comfortable.

The film was excellent but disturbing, a blend of childhood fantasy and real-life drama, with the real horror being in real life fascist Spain immediately post-cilvil-war. Although I didn’t get everything, I could comfortably follow the film which was quite encouraging.

Recommend to anyone with the rider that there are some strong scenes of violence and torture. I think the English title is Pan’s Labyrinth.

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This alarming film affected me too much to write about it straight away, and in the same vein I wanted to digest it internally afterwards and couldn’t face staying for the Q&A with Terry Gilliam. My considered verdict: thought provoking and haunting and worth seeing, although I doubt I’ll watch it again. The lead performance from 11 year old Jodelle Ferland as Jeliza-Rose was stunning, and the cinematography excellent. A film that will make an impression.

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A Scanner Darkly

Saturday’s festival film for us was A Scanner Darkly, based on work by Philip K. Dick. Animated on top of live action and featuring a star cast, the film has a great look and suitably paranoid atmosphere, but my attention wandered in the middle and the developments at the climax seemed compressed.

Later we went to Parker’s Piece to catch the end of The Big Day Out, especially the acrobatic theatre piece by exponential, The House of Sleeping Souls. It started too slowly for some of the audience – some of whom seemed to have been drinking all afternoon – but developed into a very exciting combination of video, movement, live and recorded song, and excellent acrobatics.

The fireworks followed as soon as the performance had ended, to finish the evening and the lovely sunny day.

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La Science des Rêves

Another night, another film: this time The Science of Sleep directed by Michel Gondry and starring the wonderful pairing of Gael García Bernal and Charlotte Gainsbourg.

Bernal plays a character caught up in his own dreams, realised in the film as a mixture of cardboard props and lovely large-stitch soft toy renditions of typewriters and telephones. He falls in love with his neighbour, played by Gainsbourg.

Very inventive, very funny, and super performances. My favourite so far.

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Un jour d’été

Our weekend film festival marathon started yesterday with A Summer’s Day, which is summarised fairly accurately in the Festival Programme. Baptiste Bertin was very convincing as the central teenager, but the film was full of strands and points of view. all presented in a restrained and highly effective manner. I thought it was tres bon.

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Strákarnir okkar

Our second Film Festival Film: Eleven Men Out from Iceland. Fairly lightweight but very enjoyable, with a dour sense of humour and a great back story of family dynamics and teenage angst.

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The Lottery of the Sea

To the opening night of the Cambridge Film Festival to see The Lottery of the Sea by Allan Sekula.  At three hours rather long, and slightly oversold in the Festival programme, but full of interest and great filming. Especially memorable are the segments at the Panama Canal, in Galicia following the oil spill, and with the stevedores of Barcelona.

Graham didn’t enjoy it so much and left after an hour. Brownie points were awarded to me for lasting the full three.

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I’ve just finished reading – and not long before time given that it was a 2004 Christmas present from my mother – Dirk Bogarde, The Authorised Biography, by John Coldstream. It is a superb biography, and I enjoyed almost every page. It even made me cry at one point. Bogarde was a complex man of many contrasts. It’s very sad that he never felt able to fully acknowledge the core relationship in his life.

I’m enthused now to search out his films, especially the ones he made after moving on from Rank. Maybe I should set up an Amazon wishlist for Christmas? I’d also like to read (re-read in some cases) his autobiographical and fictional writing.

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