22 April 2022.
I was happily writing a very positive review of the excellent English film, THE DUKE, until I learned its released had been postponed to June 1st. Now we must patiently wait for another 2 months for this delightful film starring Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren. Pity, it would have lightened our troubled world a bit…
NACHBARN (Voisins) ***1/2 (vo Arab, Kurdish, English)
In a border village in Syria in the early 1980s little Sero is starting his first year of school. This moving, painful and delicate film by Kurdish director Mano Khalil is about his own childhood, seen through the big, dark eyes of Sero. Speaking only Kurdish, the boy doesn’t quite understand this grownup world where their new teacher, sent from the capital, insists they must all learn Arabic, idolize their leader Assad and learn to hate the Jews who are persecuting the Palestinians. He wonders why, as their neighbors, who are good friends, are Jews.
His little mind is troubled and perplexed as he observes the forced hatred, while his heroic uncle, who is a Kurdish militant, falls in love with the sweet Jewish neighbor. He refuses to bend to his tyrant teacher, and he is crushed when his mother is killed by some soldiers. There is much tragedy and injustice that the scattered Kurds have endured, for they are a good people without a nation. But the film also shows the tender and funny childhood memories.
Director Khalil, who has been living in Switzerland for the past 20 years, starts the film in a refugee camp, where a picture he drew as a child brings back all the events we see in the film. This is an homage to neighbors of different faiths in a beautiful circle of life, based on deeds of love and loyalty. A film to see and keep in your heart.
THE LOST CITY (Le secret de la cite perdue) *1/2
Why does the lovely and talented Sandra Bullock keep making useless, inane comedies? Why is the dialogue so frustratingly brainless? Can’t she find more films like “Gravity” or “Blind Side”, which won her an Oscar? And, no, this is not nearly as much fun as the super “Romancing the Stone” and “Jewel of the Nile” films from the 1980s, similar in genre.
Anyway, just forget this one, but then you’ll miss the shiny moments when Brad Pitt shows up in all his glorious blondness, all too briefly.
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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.