19 January 2018.
Do not miss the 19th edition of the BLACK MOVIE FESTIVAL (Festival international de films indépendants – Genève) -19-28 January 2018.
With 121 innovative films from 30 countries and 4 continents, it offers an incredible view of today’s world, with all its diversities. Centered around the GRUTLI CINEMAS, the CINELUX and the SPOUTNIK, it also offers late night entertainment for cinephiles at the XANADU, located in the Quartier des Bains. Check out their full program at www.blackmovie.ch.
THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI ****
It’s a strange phenomenon that foreign directors often manage to capture the feel of Americana to perfection, sometimes with more subtlety than the homemade product.
Take the Scot David Mackenzie’s thrilling and moving Western “Hell or High Water” with Jeff Bridges, or the Englishwoman Andrea Arnold who concocted an exact portrait of down-and-out American youth in “American Honey”. Both from 2016, and lauded in Cannes. Or the “The Leisure Seeker”, a road movie which goes from New England to Key West in search of Hemingway and is a touching, final salute to an enduring marital love, done by the Italian director Paolo Virzi.
Now we have the excellent “Three Billboards…” from Martin McDonagh, an Irish Briton who has concocted a portrait of middle America that blows the mind in its exact attention to detail, mood and genre. Remember his small gem “In Bruges”, about two killers waiting out an assignment in Belgium? A must-see, if you haven’t already.
But back to “Three Billboards…” which was first shown at the Venice film fest last September, and took the Best Screenplay prize for McDonagh. His tragic/comic tale of a mother’s crusade to find her daughter’s killers is an intricate web of vengeance, perseverance, violence and redemption.
With quite a few threads of tender complicity mixed into the rough language and local mores of the small town of Ebbing, Missouri. McDonagh’s words pour like fire and honey from the lips of his various characters played by the ever-fierce Frances McDormand, a gentle Woody Harrelson and a bigoted Sam Rockwell. The momentary liaison between McDormand’s character and a gentlemanly dwarf played by Peter Dinklage is both a poignant and amusing interlude, and the final ride in McDormand’s car has the feel of a blessing. Here is universal humanity in small town America.
“Billboards” was the big winner at the Golden Globes – Best Dramatic Film, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Screenplay. I believe it deserves them all at the Oscars. Run to it!
RADIANCE – Hikari (Vers la lumière) *** (vo Japanese)
The filmmaking of Japanese director Naomi Kawase has a tenderness that needs to be seen rather than described. One could say it is visual poetry about the simple people and gentle things in life, such as “Still the Water” or “Sweet Bean”, both shown and awarded at Cannes, where she has been a regular favorite since she won the Golden Camera in 1997 for her first film, “Suzaku”.
This one, about the developing relationship between a young woman who does audio descriptions for the visually-impaired film audience in Japan, and a photographer who is slowly losing his sight, is the ideal vehicle for Kawase’s luminous notion of film. There is love, the glimmer of light and approaching shadows balanced with the strength of words and sound. She uses the camera like a paint brush, with a great deal of melancholy and nuance. It doesn’t hurt that the musical soundtrack is provided by the French jazz pianist Ibrahim Maalouf.
The phrase “Nothing is more beautiful than that which disappears before our eyes” which seems to be a refrain in the scenario, is an apt description of her film.
And about her work, she has said, “I believe that at the depth of the personal there is something universal.”
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.