27 December 2019.
ECHO **** (vo Icelandic)
What is it that makes Icelandic films so unique and exceptional? Is it their simplicity about human traits and foibles? Is it their attention to the lesser of us, those who are lonely? Is it their deadpan humor and minute observation of the banalities of life?
In film after award-winning films, such as “Of Horses and Men” (2013), “Rams” (2015), and the recent, unforgettable “Woman at War”, their cinema astounds with its quality and originality.
And now there is Runar Runarsson’s “Echo”, presenting in short, gentle vignettes of life around Christmastime up in the cold, dark north. Over fifty varying scenes of family, work, strange relationships, love and loneliness. It is a tender yet acute look at life in the most sensitive time of the year, when expectations are at their height, not always satisfied.
Run to this outstanding film that will somehow seep into your soul, and remain with you. (Showing at the Grutli cinemas, next to Victoria Hall)
By the way, also at the GRUTLI – do NOT MISS the Retrospective of VITTORIO DE SICA’s films, as actor and director, from the 1930s to 1970 – a superb collection of the best years of Italian cinema. (Vo Italian). Films such as the neo-realistic, touching BICYCLE THIEF or UMBERTO D, to the hilarious DOMMAGE QUE TU SOIS UNE CANAILLE with the luminous Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni, and the delightful YESTERDAY, TODAY AND TOMORROW, also with the mythic duo. 20 classic films to enchant you until 16th of January. RUN TO THEM!
LA VÉRITÉ **1/2 (vo French and English)
An impressive collection of four great talents: the multi award-winning Japanese director, Hirokazu Kore-eda of such sublime films as “After the Storm” and “Shoplifters”; Catherine Deneuve; Juliette Binoche; Ethan Hawke.
Unfortunately all these masters of their art cannot make this film of Kore-eda into one of his great ones. I would venture to say it is the usual syndrome of a supreme artist coming out of his own milieu and losing his genius touch. It has happened before with the likes of directors as the Iranian Kiarostami and Farhadi, for they seem to lose their soul when they venture abroad, and especially in another language.
This film done in French and English is about a narcissistic, ageing actress (Deneuve), whose daughter and husband (Binoche and Hawke) have come from the States for the publication of the actress’s memoirs. As families go, there are complications and resentments which bubble up, due to the various versions of the truth…
Much ado about not much, especially as far as feelings go. To see just for the stars, though the acting feels staged.
I remember being completely enthralled by the London musical of CATS when it first came out. The actors and dancers moved with the feline grace of actual cats, and sang those marvelous verses from T.S. Eliot to the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber. It was innovative yet so nostalgic, the story of a tribe of alley cats vying to be chosen the one to go up to heaven and come back anew.
This film by Tom Hooper is sadly missing all that magic and tenderness. The music seems all muddled, the movements have become ballet-like rather than evoking the sinuous movement of cats. The tunes all seem identical, and somehow put you into a slumber. Even the show-stopper of a song, Memories, is overdone by Jennifer Hudson, who belts it out like a southern lament, with a snotty nose to boot.
Only the truly great Judy Dench and Ian McKellen make it come alive in spurts. But it’s simply not enough. Pity.
THE LIGHTHOUSE *1/2
Oh dear…here’s a black-and-white rendition of a slow hell. And the critics have decided it’s an art work.
If you want to see grubby, miserable Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattison enduring and hating each other on a grey, dismal island and lighthouse in the 1800s, while the tale goes into horror mode, this is your film. To tell the truth, I walked out half way through.
CHARLIE’S ANGELS *
A bunch of ravishing women, with constantly renewed hairdos and outfits, kicking the daylights out of men.
Is this a metaphor for the feminist movement, and the future of womenkind?!? Just save your time and money for the worthy ones…
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.