11 March 2022.
GOLIATH *** (vo French)
This French film is a more austere version of “Erin Brockovich” and other such films about the little man, or woman, fighting conglomerate giants in the courts, too often in vain, sometimes in victory.
There are three sides to this story – one, an honest environmental lawyer (played by Gilles Lellouche) representing the rights of a young woman who died from the effects of pesticides; two, a hard-working, militant woman (Emmanuelle Bercot) fighting the same cause; and three, the smooth-talking, charming lobbyist (Pierre Niney) who works for the huge pesticide company.
Obviously a bit of a David and Goliath comparison, but always good to be reminded of those who care enough to put their lives on the line for decent, important causes.
CLARA SOLA *** (vo Spanish)
South Americans often use something called magical realism in their films and literature. It is a mystical, romantic and somewhat surrealistic way of looking at life. Maybe it was created to put a lighter vision into their often harsh existence due to religious, societal and political pressures.
This gentle film about Clara Sola, a woman in a remote village in Costa Rica is a mesmerizing journey through her sensual awakening after years of sexual control by her grandmother. Clara was also known as a healer and one who had seen visions of the Virgin Mary.
Directed by Natalie Alvarez Mesen, with mostly amateur actors, it is both earthy and philosophical in its magical study of a naive woman breaking the chains of a repressive society. At times worrying, but hypnotic.
(Showing at the Grutli cinemas.)
WHALER BOY ** (vo Russian)
This first feature film by Russian director Philippe Yuryev is a coming-of-age tale set in an isolated north-eastern part of Russia called Chukotka, not too far from Alaska.
In the cold, grey and barren life up there, a young Inuit boy and his friend discover the warmth and beauty of women through ‘camgirls’ on the Internet, and our simple 15-year-old falls for a sweet girl based in Detroit, Michigan. He even thinks she can see and hear him.
She becomes his obsession, and the goal that he wants to reach, no matter what. That becomes his quest, jeopardizing his friendships and his actual life, however drab.
Once again we have surrealism here, in his adventure as he tries to get to Detroit, a place of which he has no idea, and without the slightest inkling of the English language.
This strange juxtaposition of lives and cultures makes for both an interesting and an uneven tale of illusions and disillusions.
(Showing at the Grutli cinemas.) Let’s hope art is not sacrificed to sanctions.
For those who appreciate the French/English actor, Lambert Wilson – he will be performing the songs of Kurt Weill at the Victoria Hall this Sunday, 13/3, for their ‘Concerts du Dimanche’, at 17h.
And the exceptional contemporary Hofesh Schechter Dance company will be performing from 17-20 March at the BFM. They will be featured in Cedric Klapisch’s excellent film on ballet, “En Corps”, coming out on March 30th.
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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.