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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Six Films from Cine Europa 2008

Shangri-la Cineplexes does it again! Aside from the fact they hosted the event, the annoying procedure was still there. You can only queue for a film two hours before the screening. If you’re into film marathon, that means you’re still inside the cinema. The sick part, of course, is when a cinema crew suggests that you can just get out of the cinema to queue and just go back to continue the film. I wish they knew what they were saying. I have two suggestions here: (1) release the tickets when there’s no ongoing film screening and (2) limit the films that are being shown so that movie buffs (especially those who have 8-to-5 jobs) can enjoy the whole set.

Vitus - Switzerland

I made an effort to catch this film because a friend mentioned that there are only two films that he is going to watch in this year’s Cine Europa: “Vitus” and Denmark’s “After the Wedding”. The film tells a story of a child prodigy and how his parents (and a grandfather played by Bruno Ganz) raise him up. Nothing memorable or fresh about the plot but the script is well written and very visual.

And when was the Last Time you Saw your Father – United Kingdom

The film stars British actors Jim Broadbent and Collin Firth. It’s a true-to-life memoir of Blake Morrison, particularly about how he grew up with his father. As a memoir, it’s very effective. Thanks to the film’s fine editing and melodramatic approach. A tearjerker.

Children of the Moon - Germany

This well-made film tackles the relationship between two children. One is a teenager and an elder sister to her ailing brother who is suffering from “moon disease”, a rare condition wherein sunlight should be strictly avoided. I did not catch the first 15 minutes of the film, as I needed to queue for the next film that is “After the Wedding”.

After the Wedding - Denmark

This is probably the festival’s “star” film because it garnered an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film last year (lost to Germany’s “Lives of Others”). It’s a plot-driven film, something that a lot of moviegoers would say with “it has a story”. Come to think of it, the film doesn’t have much social relevance. It’s more of an honest-to-goodness novel-like material, complete with crying scenes and twists. But it’s effective. It got me glued to root for the next turn of events. Others might find the plot (specifically with regard to one of the lead character’s over “generosity”) too good to be true but that’s acceptable for me. It’s also well acted (Mads Mikkelsen of “Casino Royale” fame essays one of the lead characters).

One Franc, 14 Pesetas - Spain

Perhaps, this is the closest to our OFW films (sans the romantic angle, of course). Two friends from Spain, circa 1950’s, tried their luck in Switzerland and succeeded. The price of it all is the challenge to keep their family in tact. The film is too mainstream and too glossy except for the last five minutes when the family decides whether to go back to Switzerland or not.

Chemical Hunger - Italy

This is my second favorite after “After the Wedding”. The devise used in this film is the “a day in the life of”-type of storytelling, similar to our very own award-winning films like “Kubrador”, “Foster Child” and just recently, “Serbis”. Subject in focus is a small community in rural Milan, nested by drug addicts, prostitutes and what-have-yous. A rapper will just pop out of the scene, delivering a phrase or two. A bit dragging but I love the style used.

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