29 July 2016.
THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS (Comme des bêtes) ***1/2
Have you ever wondered what your pet does when you go off to work? Well, frisky terrier Max will tell you all about it: his relentless love for his mistress, his crazy buddies, his misadventures – they’re all here in this jubilant tale that is one of the best animated films since the “Toy Story” trilogy.
For each of these adorable dogs and cats perfectly embody the quirky characteristics of their race – the terrier, the pug, the fat cat, the dainty Pomeranian – to our absolute delight. These are not merely animated characters but feel like real beings – adorable, typical, trouble-making pets.
For all animal lovers and the young-at-heart – simply perfect for a family outing.
ANGRY INDIAN GODDESSES ***
One angry Goddess is intimidating, but seven of them?! With all the rapes and injustices going on in India against women, how could these young, liberated women not be angry? Indian director Pan Nalin of the sublime “Samsara” is back with this joyous, colorful yet socially pertinent and necessary film.
With his charming tale of these seven friends coming together in Goa to celebrate the mysterious wedding of their hostess, Nalin gives us a view of different layers of Indian society: active, modern women with viable careers, and the old traditions that weigh down their aspirations.
There is the beautiful holiday home of the bride to-be, the fun interactions of old friends, the loyal housemaid and her ancient mother with the unforgettable face, and then the tragedy that hits them…
RACE (La Couleur de la victoire) ***
Here’s Jesse Owens (a fine Stephan James), the multi-gold-medal winner at the controversial Berlin Olympics in1936, amid rising Nazi power, difficult racial situations, and with a steadfast coach that guided and believed in him.
There are glimpses of Hitler at the Games, the severe and cunning propaganda minister Goebbels, the infamous, spunky film director Leni Riefenstahl, and the American Olympic committee discussing boycotting the Games.
This biopic by Stephen Hopkins is an inspiring, tender film about an exceptional athlete who was also a very decent man, caught between his love of running and the politics of the day.
It should not be missed, especially due to the ongoing racial tensions in the U.S. today.
LE PROFESSEUR DE VIOLON (Acorda Brasil) *** (vo Portuguese)
If this Brazilian film by Sergio Machado is a bit clichéd and at times too good to be true – well why not? For it tells the story of an accidental do-gooder – a black violin teacher elevating poor kids in a favela through classical music.
We’ve seen such films before, but their worth is that time and again they are heart-warming and offer hope for better possibilities in life: in this one there’s the frustrated musician, a difficult job opportunity that appears out-of-the-blue and a bunch of reluctant youngsters who try to rise above their miseries with beautiful music.
By the way, I was impressed here by one of the most imposing auditoriums I’ve ever seen – Sao Paolo’s grandiose philharmonic hall – quite amazing.
Superb **** Very Good *** Good ** Mediocre * Miserable – no stars
Neptune Ravar Ingwersen reviews film extensively for publications in Switzerland. She views 4 to 8 films a week and her aim is to sort the wheat from the chaff for readers.