24 August 2018.
Spike Lee has been on the warpath against discrimination and the continued lack of true equality for his black brothers and sisters since the beginning of his career back in 1979. Rightfully so. His determination and talent have kept him on the radar all these years, with multi-awarded films such as, “Do the Right Thing”, “Mo’ Better Blues”, “Malcolm X” or “Get on the Bus”.
He has now come out with this true story of a black police officer who actually infiltrated a chapter of the Ku Klux Klan in Colorado in the 1970s. It took the Grand Jury prize at this year’s Cannes film festival.
In his ferociously amusing telling of this seemingly tall tale of the real-life Ron Stallworth, he spews out the awful truths of the feelings of many Americans then, and today. Some of the characters and situations are too clichéd, and the film certainly flies in the face of ‘political correctness’. But it correctly depicts the dangers and hatreds still simmering in present-day ‘America’.
The whole cast, including John David Washington (son of Denzel) as Stallworth, and Adam Driver as his white ‘double’, is spot-on, as is Lee’s multi-faceted direction.
This is both an entertaining and important vision of realities which many people do not dare tread or admit. Spike Lee does, with courage and righteous venom.
THE WILD PEAR TREE (Le Poirier Sauvage) *** (vo Turkish)
A favorite son of the Cannes film festival and one of Turkey’s greatest directors, Nuri Bilge Ceylan
makes meticulous films about families, often in three-hour stretches. (His last lengthy one, “Winter Sleep” won the Palme d’Or in 2014). Not easy going if you’re looking for some light entertainment, but his films are about the deeper things in life – relationships, long conversations, fleeting romances, brought to us in luminous cinematography. It has been chosen as Turkey’s entry to the coming Oscars.
The story is about a young man who comes home to his town and family after graduating from university. He has written a book about an old pear tree and is looking to get it published. The family is a dysfunctional one – his father is a charming fellow who regularly gambles his teacher’s salary away, his mother is a dissatisfied housewife, his sister seems to have little ambition. We get to know them slowly as is Ceylan’s way. I was thinking of leaving at a certain point, but it was so mesmerizing that I just stayed the whole three hours. I came away with a sigh of satisfaction at the circle of life that the director is a master at creating.
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.