Mr. Turner *** Character-actor Timothy Spall won the best acting trophy at Cannes and at the European Film awards for his portrayal of the English painter William Turner. It is well known that the esteemed British director Mike Leigh has an unorthodox method of making films – there is no script, just an idea of the theme and a great deal of discussing and rehearsing with the actors. So the work evolves into what Leigh would consider appropriate for his vision of the subject.
Maybe that is why this one feels overdone and even over-acted for the first hour, but it finally turns into a stunning and engrossing work of art, just like the many dramatic and innovative canvases of Turner. See it for the beauty of its scenery and the often destructive power of artistic creation.
(photos – Pathé Films)
Coming Home ***1/2 (vo Chinese) We are fortunate this season to have the latest works of two outstanding directors, Mike Leigh of England and Zhang Yimou, China’s greatest director. Yimou created the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, and such masterful films as Raise the Red Lantern, The Story of Qiu Ju, To Live and The House of Flying Daggers.
His latest is about how the Cultural Revolution destroyed countless lives, illustrated with great delicacy and poignancy in this story of one small family. The father is sent off to prison for years, his daughter becomes passionate about a ballet career and the mother tries to exist between the longing for her husband, the needs of her daughter and the restrictions of the state. When the husband comes back, he has to learn to live with the tragic results of his years away. With the superb actress Gong Li once again in the main role – as the bewildered wife and mother – this is a film not to miss.
(photos – Frénetic)
Neptune Ravar Ingwersen reviews film extensively for publications in Germany and Switzerland. She views 4 to 8 films a week and her aim is to sort the wheat from the chaff for readers.