We’re in luck in this brand new year of 2015 – fine films coming out in droves, with the three below a taste of some of the best. One gentle, the second electrifying and the third a Zen experience. Get to the movies and enjoy great cinema!
Still Life (Une belle fin) **** This is what might be called “a sleeper” – a small work that grows in dimension the more you hear or think about it. The story is simple, that of a loner dedicated to his job of finding the nearest-of-kin of deceased people who appear to have no ties. It might seem morbid, but it is actually a beautifully crafted tale of lives not fully realized nor appreciated. This moving and intimate film by the Italian producer-turned-director Uberto Pasolini (Palookaville, Full Monty), actually a count and a nephew of Luchino Visconti, has amassed a multitude of prizes at various international festivals. As has character actor Eddie Marsan, who beautifully embodies the tender soul of his earnest and determined personage. You may recognize his late-blooming love interest, portrayed by Joanne Froggat of Downton Abbey. The delicate music of Rachel Portman (Pasolini’s wife) adds further to this little jewel of a film that should not be missed.
(photos – Filmcoopi)
Whiplash **** The subject is drums, an ambitious young man, and a brilliant but sadistic teacher who turns hot and cold on him in a prestigious music school in NY. It’s also about a father/son relationship, dedication to a craft overshadowing a boy’s life, and great jazz. A young director to watch, Damien Chazelle creates just the right atmosphere of rehearsals, intimate moments and the Manhattan scene. And then he gets our hearts beating as fast as the drums at which the kid is so intent on excelling. Both J.K. Simmons as the ferocious instructor and Miles Teller as the mesmerized student are excellent enough for murmurings of Oscar nominations. This intense, exhilarating film, which has garnered awards wherever it’s been shown, will have you riveted by the trajectory of this driven young man. Unforgettable!
(photo – Ascot Elite)
Yalom’s Cure (La thérapie du bonheur) **** An hour and 17 minutes of this documentary will leave you feeling as though you’ve been cleansed, rehabilitated and instructed by a healing guru. For free – or just the price of the movie ticket! The Swiss filmmaker Sabine Gisiger went over to California to interview Irvin Yalom, the renowned 83 year-old psychotherapist and professor at Stanford University. She had been greatly moved and influenced by his books on group therapy and existential questions (Love’s Executioner, When Nietzsche Wept, The Spinoza Problem). She has come away with a superb portrait of the life of a scholar who connects with his audience with simplicity, humor and humility. This is yet another film not to miss – one for the well-being of your soul.
(photos – Filmcoopi)
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.