15 September 2023.
Neptune will be back in full force next week. In the meantime see last weeks review below:
SUBTRACTION ***1/2 (vo Farsi)
A woman sees her husband getting on a bus in Tehran, though he has told her he is away on a business trip. She follows him to an apartment building that he enters. At first we don’t know who she is or how the man is related to her.
So starts this film by Iranian director Mani Haghighi who excels at making works that are intricate, puzzling stories of individuals who are in situations that are often surrealistic. But then he believes Iranians today have multiple characters and have to live beyond reality to survive emotionally.
Do not miss this intriguing, psychologically-themed tale of two couples who become connected in the most astonishing ways. The twists and turns are for you to discover. Taraneh Alidoosti (“The Salesman”, “Leila’s Brothers”) and Navid Mohammadzadeh are exceptional in their multiple roles in this taut, mysterious film reflecting a corner of modern Iran.
(showing at the Grütli cinemas.)
BECOMING GIULIA ** (Italian, German, English)
This documentary about a principal dancer in the Zürich Opera never reaches the heights of the dance that one would expect. But then Laura Kaehr, the Swiss director, means to concentrate more on the passage of the accomplished soloist from new motherhood back to her first love, ballet.
Unfortunately, Giulia feels like a humdrum character as she attempts to get back to dancing after months away due to pregnancy and the birth of her baby. Trying to balance the importance of Giulia’s two passions, the director belabours the transition – too much distracted home time and too little verve for the dancing.
We get the message and understand the difficulty of this balancing act, but the badly paced editing, dull rehearsal sequences, Giulia’s glum outlook, and so little shown of the glorious performances drags down the whole endeavour. Strangely, there is little light shed on the poor husband and father who is bearing much of the responsibility for the care of the child, whereas we see quite a bit of her parents. It’s all quite frustrating compared with such joyous, fully encompassing documentaries as “L’Opéra de Paris” by Jean-Stéphane Bron, or “Pina” by Wim Wenders.
ROTER HIMMEL (Le ciel rouge/ Afire) ** (vo German)
The talented German director Christian Petzold, with such excellent films as “Barbara” and “Undine”, falls flat with this latest one. And yet he won the Silver Bear in Berlin for it – only the gods know why.
It’s about four young people – one of them a shy, troubled writer – on a sort of holiday near both the sea and some forests. And there is one girl (the delicate Paula Beer) to the three men, which creates certain tensions. Slow, meandering moments, it’s summer after all, and the living should be easy, but it’s not. And then there’s a fire in the woods…
SPARTA * (vo German)
It’s up to you, but I’d rather miss a film by the Austrian director, Ulrich Seidl. Dull, grey, ugly surroundings and people. And always sex, often demeaning, without any emotions.
Like the Swedish director Roy Andersson, the other creator of dull, grey films, Seidl is the darling of many critics. At your own peril.
(Showing only at the Cine17)
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.