The Broken Circle Breakdown

thebrokencirclebreakdowUS release date: November 1

The love story between a Belgian bluegrass musician, yes Europe-Belgium, yes American bluegrass-country music, and the girl with many tattoos, Didier and Elise, presented in colorful but gritty non-chronological order akin to Derek Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine. Ranch, pickup truck, caravan, horses, cowboy hats, cowboy boots, banjo and all, they sing so well in perfect Yankee-English for a moment you’ll forget this isn’t Nashville. Seven years after their steamy first night together, their only daughter Maybelle is diagnosed with cancer and undergoes her chemotherapy. Grueling for the kid, grueling for her parents. The next step is stem cell transplantation, and then it’s all downhill for Didier and Elise from there. Obviously everybody hates W. Bush, including this particular country music loving Belgian.
A well-acted drama, melancholic without pushing too hard (or maybe, ineffectively trying) to spill tears , but at times also a bit naive in portraying its main characters’ personal grief. And by the way, is Mega Mindy, Maybelle’s favorite TV show, a real TV show? Well, apparently, yes.

My Rating: 6/10

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Last Love

last loveUS release date: November 1

Old Mr. Morgan is a widower. He lives in a posh Parisian apartment, somehow almost similar to Georges and Anne’s apartment in Amour, doesn’t speak French–ridiculed by some assholic Parisienne because of it, and missing her deceased wife so much (His dead wife also “haunts” him, and the similarities don’t stop there). Until one day he met a nice young dance teacher who actually care enough to help him on the bus, and met her again on another bus the next day. Her name is Pauline. And a day after that he attend some random dance class downtown, and, wham, there she is again, the cha-cha instructor.
Is this going to be one of those geezer-falls-in-love-with-ridiculously-young-woman story? Well, apparently it is. Until Morgan’s American-based bitter son and ignorant daughter crash their dad’s small party and make things even much more complicated.

My Rating: 6/10

The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology

pervertsUS release date: November 1

They Live is a forgotten masterpiece? How could we forget masterpieces like They Live, The Sound of Music, A Clockwork Orange, Taxi Driver, Jaws, Brazil, Full Metal Jacket, The Last Temptation of Christ, Titanic, or The Dark Knight, once we’ve seen them? The only problem is: some of us have never seen them. Some will never see them. And when we are talking about ideology, it’s exactly the same thing. Some of us will never knew that our ideologies are actually imprison us. And when we do know, we will never forget the fact that freedom is just an illusion that we love so much. Because real freedom is just too painful.
Yes, we can learn great things from great movies. The only problem is: learning might be too painful for us. In The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema we learn how movies literally teach us hidden truths about ourselves. Now …Guide to Ideology shows us how cinemas can also reveal the hidden truth of our past and present society. Yes, we can learn many things from Slavoj Žižek, but maybe some of us just don’t want to learn anything from him.

My Rating: 9/10

Aftermath

aftermathUS release date: November 1

After twenty years in America, Franciszek ‘Franek’ Kalina is coming back home to Poland to check out his younger brother Józef ‘Józek’ who now lives alone in their old countryside family farmhouse–abandoned by his wife and kids that have fled to America.
Józek is in a bad situation. Some of the villagers are out to get him because he allegedly vandalized some road near the woods. Why did Józek do that? The explanation is quite bizzare: because the road is paved by some old gravestones, and now Józek is collecting them. Dug them from nearby areas, bought them from his neighbors if necessary. And the gravestones are turned out to be old Jewish gravestones. People say some things are better left buried. Maybe Józek, and later also Franek himself, should know better before ignoring those seemingly wise words. But should they just let bad things be buried and forgotten forever, and act like nothing ever happened?

My Rating: 7/10

2014 Oscar Foreign Language Films: More Than Honey

morethanhoney2013 Bavarian Film Awards – Winner Best Documentary.
2013 German Film Awards – Winner Best Documentary.
2013 Guild of German Art House Cinemas – Winner Best Documentary.
2013 Romy Gala Austria – Winners, Best Documentary, Best Producer Documentary.
2013 Swiss Film Prize – Winners, Best Documentary, Best Music.
2013 Viennale – Winner Best Sound Design.

Bees are creepy, fascinating, and so clever. In this documentary, we can see very clearly how creepy, fascinating and clever they really are in crisp and detailed cinematography. But of course, we human are far more clever. We manipulate them. Deceive them. We sell off their honey. Sell off their queens. Sell off their colonies to pollinate crops. And exterminate them when we don’t need them anymore. Of course, to make money. To make a lot of money.
But don’t worry, life is fair. When we commoditize and industrialize bees, we also spread and multiply their diseases and parasites. The bees are dying. And without pollination by bees, yes, there won’t be any crops. So, yes, we have to pollinate the trees ourselves. Flower by flower. Yes. Who’s so clever now?

My Rating: 7/10

2014 Oscar Foreign Language Films: La Grande Bellezza (The Great Beauty)

La grande bellezza2013 Golden Globes Italy – Winner Best Cinematography.
2013 Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists – Winners, Special Silver Ribbon, Silver Ribbon Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Sound, Best Cinematography.

Can you see the sea on the ceiling?
The movie opens with swooning camera movements, a Japanese tourist drops (probably) dead, and then jump cuts to a crazy night party where all the beautiful, the not so beautiful, and the grotesque people of Rome dancing in ecstasy, until some of them are dead drunk. In the center of this circus is the birthday boy Jep Gambardella, an old dandy man claimed to be a writer.
What kind of writer? What does he write? The movie is a very long visual journey with torrent of mouthful monologues and dialogues. To answer the questions, to know who is who in the party, who exactly is Jep–what exactly is Rome, you have to open your eyes, and open your ears. Reheated rice is always tastier than fresh-cooked rice? The best people in Rome are the tourists? Is that true, Jep? Is that really true?

My Rating: 8/10

2014 Oscar Foreign Language Films: Jagten (The Hunt)

the hunt2013 Zulu Awards – Winner Best Actor.
2012 Cannes Film Festival – Winners, Best Actor, Prize of the Ecumenical Jury, Vulcain Prize for the Technical Artist.
2012 European Film Awards – Winner Best Screenwriter.
2012 British Independent Film Awards – Winner Best International Independent Film.
2012 Ghent International Film Awards – Winner Audience Award Best Film.
2012 Vancouver International Film Festival – Winner Roger’s People’s Choice Award.

It’s the boys club and the girls club. Sweet, confused, noisy girls with their mind games. Noisy, equally confused, boys with their brawls. Maybe it has been like that since the beginning of time.
The movie is called The Hunt but it’s not an action movie. It’s a very intelligent drama that brushes on with complicated subjects such as bitter divorce, sexual harassment, and very troublesome misunderstandings. One slip of the tongue, a single unintentionally wrong gesture, and it destroys all its tragic victims. Friends. Best friends. Families. Not only children, adults too. Everybody. Everything.

My Rating: 9/10