16 September 2022.
Let’s concentrate on the GRÜTLI Cinemas this week – lots going on there. Check out their program and schedules on their site.
Two key films – one to run to, the other to avoid!
HOLY SPIDER (Les nuits de Mashhad) **** (vo Farsi)
A man is on a rampage to kill the prostitutes in his holy city of Mashhad in Iran. A decent, religious family man, he lures them in as a client, never touches them except when he chokes them to death in an unaware moment. To him it is an act of faith and a moral duty.
This incredibly gripping film, based on a true story, follows the trajectory of his crimes from the point of view of a progressive female journalist who has come from Tehran to cover the ongoing search for this modern-day Jack-the-Ripper.
Director Ali Abbasi, who is an Iranian/Swede (of “Borders”, which won top honors in a side section at Cannes 2018), has created a tight, dark atmosphere that never lets go until the last moment of the film. It is both outrageous and convincing in its intensity of mission about this driven killer of 16 prostitutes in 2001 while depicting the dedicated journalist, and showing the impact of a traditionalist culture and religion.
Though filmed in Jordan, it feels completely local and authentic, with an unrelenting plot, brilliant editing and soundtrack, along with the outstanding acting of the whole cast which culminated with the Best Actress award this year at Cannes for the main actress, Zar Amir Ebrahimi, who portrays the journalist.
It’s a film that will shake you, but is also important in its implications of contagious, unbridled fanaticism.
FOGO-FATUO (Will-o’-the Wisp) – (vo Portuguese)
For me this is probably the worst film of the year. And yet this Portuguese catastrophe has been touted as audacious and delightful by a coterie of trendy critics who have managed to snowball it into cult status. I will not even mention the director’s name – YOU could have made a better film.
It has cheap, amateurish camerawork, locations and costumes; stilted and pretentious acting; awful music and dancing which turns it into a homosexual fantasy musical. But wait – it’s supposed to have a deeper, political side to it – an aristocratic family losing its favorite son (what a wimp!) to the local firemen who show him a thing or two about the common folk and the joys of male sexuality. Oh Lord – those acts are so fake and cringeworthy.
It was an excruciating 70 minutes for me…and to think that there is so much real talent in the world.
If you go out of masochistic curiosity, let me know what you think…
For more reviews click here.
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.