15 September 2017.
INSYRIATED (UNE FAMILLE SYRIENNE) **** (vo Arab, English, French)
A large, comfortable, well-decorated bourgeois apartment. A decent, obviously well-educated family with a mother, a younger woman with her husband and their baby, a few teenagers, a grandfather, and a young maid. But they seem tense and on edge. Terrible things are happening outside.
If you’re wondering why, just look at the daily headlines and news reports about the many continuous wars brought upon countries that were once peaceful and safe, however despotic.
For this family is in Syria, in the middle of the tragic conflict that has been forced upon innocent citizens. This film – a gripping huis-clos – places you fully and intimately in the middle of the tragedy ordinary people have been enduring through years of this terrible civil war, further complicated by the intrusion of various foreign powers.
This work by Belgian director Philippe Van Leeuw has nothing to do with politics. It simply shows how we – in our peaceful cocoons as spectators of the nightly news – could be living if we were Syrians experiencing this prolonged conflict and appalling injustice. And it pulls us into the myriad dangerous possibilities over there – snipers, outlaws, constant bomb raids, rape, and the different facets of people – their cowardice, as well as their bravery and sacrifice.
This is not an easy film, but it is a vital, brilliantly written and acted (with the great Hiam Abbass as the mother) antiwar story that gives one a rare firsthand view of the everyday consequences of war. Right in the sanctuary of one’s home, where it hurts the most.
It won the Audience Award at the Berlinale this year.
LE REDOUTABLE ***1/2 (vo French)
This film was a breath of fresh air among all the heavy realism at this year’s Cannes festival. It was both an amusing and a biting homage to one of the Nouvelle Vague’s founders, Jean-Luc Godard.
Directed by Michel Hazanavicius of the multi award-winning “The Artist’, it stars Louis Garrel as Godard, who was really more a political figure than a great filmmaker. For me, Godard is a bit of the Emperor’s New Clothes with his many empty, repetitive experimentations after his first innovative film “A bout de souffle ».
REDOUTABLE zeroes in on his love affair and marriage to Anne Wiazemsky, and the events surrounding the 1968 riots in France. Garrel, the usually sultry-eyed, tousled-haired romantic hero has been transformed into the slightly balding, eccentric young Godard and he is quite perfect, copying the man’s mannerisms, comportment and slight lisp. Here is a bit of cinematic history and intellectual satire, wonderfully (and courageously) filmed. An insider’s delight.
Two films to miss!
You will NOT have a good time watching this film, unless you’re into useless stupidity and a lot of reckless violence – a hopeless film about a dark night of two errant brothers by the brothers Ben and Joshua Safdie. Save your money.
Here’s absolute garbage pretentiously parading as a philosophical view of the state of the world, wrapped in a horrific film about the power of fame and a supposedly loving couple being invaded by nasty intruders.
Self-aggrandizing director Darren Aronofsky (he put on quite a show at a press conference in Venice…) has gathered a profusion of top actors – Javier Bardem, Jennifer Lawrence, Michelle Pfeiffer and Ed Harris – giving them stilted dialogue and molding them into rigid, unreal characters. The script is heavy-handed and the mood is relentless horror. Save your time and money!
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.