Friday, April 24, 2009

62nd Festival de Cannes - Un Certain Regard Lineup

This one of the sections of the fest where I always find excellent movies and this year seems that it will also screen great films. Here are the twenty films in competition.

A Deriva (Adrift), Heitor Dhalia, Brazil, 2009 (with Vincent Cassel!!!) IMDb
Spending summer vacation with her family in Buzios, Filipa, a fourteen-year old girl, suffers through the rite of passage into adulthood while discovering love for the first time. A rite filled with anguish when she learns that her father, a famous author, is betraying her mother with a foreign woman who lives in the small seaside town. But, this secret is to be only the first in a series of others, both enchanting and painful, which she discovers about her family and herself as well.

Amintiri Din Epoca de Aur (Tales From The Golden Age), Hanno Höfer, Rãzvan Mãrculescu, Cristian Mungiu, Constantin Popescu and Ioana Uricaru, Romania, 2009 (as I imagined these are the urban legends from the last years of communism in Romania, great and of course, a must be seen for me.) allocine Mobra Films
An unconventional personal history of the late communist period in Romania, told through its urban myths from the perspective of ordinary people. Comic, bizarre, surprising, these myths drew on the often surreal events of everyday life under the communist regime. Humor is what kept Romanians alive, and "Tales from the Golden Age" aims to re-capture that mood, portraying the survival of a nation having to face every day the twisted logic of a dictatorship. The film is composed of five short stories - connected by mood, narrative pattern and the details of the historical period: the only car you can see on the streets is the locally produced Dacia, everybody survives by stealing from the state, party orders must be obeyed no matter how illogical or absurd. The people appear grim yet deep inside they are alive, they desire to love and to beloved.

Demain des l’Aube, Denis Dercourt, France, 2009 (with Vincent Perez) allocine
The relationship between two brothers, the younger of whom is so enthralled by historical battles that he has lost touch with reality. At his mother’s request, Mathieu, the older brother, tries to free his kid brother Paul from his addiction...

Einaym Pkuhot) (Eyes Wide Open), Haim Tabakman, Israel, Germany and France, 2009 (1st film) (gay interest) Movie Info
A gay love story in the heart of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Jerusalem. Aaron (38), a respectable butcher in Jerusalem's ultra-Orthodox community, is married to Rivka (28) and a dedicated father to four children. After his father's death, Aaron is looking for assistance in his business when a handsome and homeless Yeshiva (religious school) student, Ezri (19), comes upon the butcher shop by chance. Aaron decides to be Ezri's patron: he hires him, teaches him the craft of slaughtering, and houses Ezri in the shop's back room. Aaron invites Ezri to meals in his home and introduces him to the community. When they go together to a remote "Mikve" (a sacred ritual bath), an intimate moment occurs between them. From this moment onwards, Aaron knows no peace. Spending more and more time with Ezri, Aaron starts neglecting his family and community life until he is completely swept away in a whirlpool of love and lust for Ezri. While Rivka suspects that something is wrong with Aaron, Rabbi Vaisben, (56) a family friend and the head of the community, tries to warn Aaron of the future to come if he won't expel Ezri. But Aaron refuses. Unwilling to tolerate Ezri's presence, the "Modesty Guards", a radical authority in the Ultra-Orthodox community, threaten Aaron. Under enormous pressure that Rivka and the community operate on him, Aaron comes to a decision to commit an irreversible act…

Independencia (Independence), Raya Martin, Philippines, France, Netherlands, and Germany, 2009 (Interesting) IMDb Movie Info
Early 20th century Philippines. The sounds of war signal the arrival of the Americans. A mother and son flee to the mountains, hoping for a quiet life. One day, the son discovers a wounded woman in the middle of the forest, and decides to bring her home. Years pass. Man, woman and child live in isolation from the growing chaos all over the country. But a coming storm soon threatens their existence, and American troops draw nearer.

Irène, Alain Cavalier, France, 2009 allocine Movie Info
Irène and the filmmaker. A powerful relationship but full of gray areas. Irène disappears. A private journal left behind resurfaces years later. A freshness. An attraction. A danger. How to make a film?

Kasi Az Gorbehaye Irani Khabar Nadareh (No One Knows About the Persian Cats), Bahman Ghobadi, Iran (he’s the director of Turtles Can Fly) IMDb allocine
A leur sortie de prison, une jeune femme et un jeune homme musiciens décident de monter un groupe. Ils parcourent Téhéran à la rencontre d'autres musiciens underground et tentent de les convaincre de quitter l'Iran. N'ayant aucune chance de se produire à Téhéran, il rêvent de sortir de la clandestinité et de jouer en Europe. Mais que faire sans argent et sans passeport ...

Kûki Ningyô (Air Doll), Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan, 2009 (yes is the one about the inflatable sex doll that develops a soul) IMDb
Hideo, who lives alone, owns a life-size “air doll”, which suddenly finds herself with a heart. Everything is new to her in the world outside Hideo's house. She meets all kinds of people. The world is filled with so many beautiful things, but everyone seems to have some kind of hollowness, just as she has. In the morning, she pumps herself up, and takes a walk. One afternoon, she meets Junichi who works at a rental video store, and instantly falls in love with him. A first date. New words she learns from him. She starts working with him at the store, enjoys talking and being with him. Everything seems to be going perfect, until something unexpected happens to the doll. A sad yet happy fantasy. This is a story about a new form of love.

Kynodontas (Dogtooth), Yorgos Lanthimos, Greece, 2009 IMDb
The father, the mother and their three kids live in a house at the outskirts of a city. There is a tall fence surrounding the house. The kids have never left the house. They are being educated, entertained, bored and exercised in the manner that their parents deem appropriate, without any influence from the outside world. They believe that the airplanes flying over are toys and that zombies are small yellow flowers. The only person allowed to enter the house is Christina. She works as a security guard at the father’s business. The father arranges her visits to the house in order to appease the sexual urges of the son. The whole family is fond of her, especially the eldest daughter. One day Christina gives her as a present a headband that has stones that glow in the dark and asks for something in return.

Le Père de mes Enfants, Mia Hansen-Love, France and Germany, 2009 (nice casting and great director) IMDb allocine Movie Info
Grégoire Canvel has everything a man could want. A wife he loves, three delightful children and a stimulating job. He's a film producer. Discovering talented filmmakers and developing films that fit his conception of the cinema—free and true to life—is precisely his reason for living. His vocation. It fulfills him and Grégoire devotes almost all his time and energy to his work. He's hyperactive, he never stops. Except on weekends, which he spends in the country with his family—gentle interludes, as precious as they are fragile. With his bearing and exceptional charisma, Grégoire commands admiration. He seems invincible. Yet his prestigious production company, Moon Films, is on its last legs. Too many productions, too many risks, too many debts. Storm clouds are gathering. But Grégoire plows on at all costs. Where will his blind obstinacy lead him? One day, he is obliged to face the facts. In one word: failure. He is overwhelmed by fatigue. Which soon, secretly, turns into despair.

Los Viajes del Viento (The Wind Journeys), Ciro Guerra, Colombia, Argentina, Germany, and Netherlands, 2009 allocine
Movie Site Trailer
Ignacio Carrillo travelled all his life throughout the villages and regions of northern Colombia, carrying music and traditional songs on his accordion, a legendary instrument that is said to be cursed, because it once belonged to the devil. As he became older, he got married and settled with his wife in a small town, leaving his nomadic life behind. When she suddenly dies, he decides to make one last journey to the Northern edge of the country, to return the accordion to the man who gave it to him, his teacher and mentor, so he will never play it again. On the way, he is joined by Fermín, a teenager who dreams of becoming a “juglar” like Ignacio, and to travel all around playing the accordion like he did. Tired of his loneliness, Ignacio accepts to be accompanied, and together they start the journey from Majagual, Sucre, to Taroa, beyond the Guajira desert, finding on the way the enormous diversity of the Caribbean culture and surviving all kinds of adventures. Ignacio will try to convince Fermín to take a different path in his life, having learned that his only led to solitude and sadness, but he will have to face the fact that destiny has different plans for him and his pupil.

Morrer como un Homem (To Die Like a Man), João Pedro Rodrigues, Portugal, 2008 (wow this must be something, is a gay interest film) allocine Movie info Movie Site
Once upon a time there was a war… In the darkness of the night, a young soldier goes AWOL. Tonia, a veteran transsexual in Lisbon’s drag shows, watches the world around her crumble. The competition from younger artists threatens her star status. Under pressure from her young boyfriend Rosário to assume her female identity, the sex change operation that will transform her into a woman, Tonia struggles against her deeply-held religious convictions. If, on the one hand, she wants to be the woman that Rosário so desires, on the other, she knows that before God she can never be that woman. And her son, whom she abandoned when he was a child, now a deserter, comes looking for her. Tonia discovers that she’s ill. To get away from all her troubles she travels to the countryside with Rosário, on the excuse of visiting his brother. Rosário takes the road of his childhood but will never find the right way. Lost, they find themselves in an enchanted forest, a magical world where they come across the enigmatic Maria Bakker and her friend Paula. And that meeting will turn their whole world on its head…

Mother, Bong Joon-ho, South Korea, 2009 IMDb
Widowed for a long time, a mother lives alone with her only son, Do-joon. He is 28 years old, a shy and quiet young man. In the aftermath of a terrible murder, the woman’s hopeless, helpless son becomes the prime suspect. There is no real evidence against him, but the police throw groundless suspicion at him simply because there is no way he can prove his innocence. Eager to close the case, the police are happy with their cursory investigation and arrest the boy. His defense attorney turns out to be incompetent and unreliable, making a conviction seem inevitable. Faced with no other choice, his mother gets involved, determined to prove her son’s innocence.

Nang Mai (Nymph), Pen-ek Ratanaruang, Thailand, 2009 (is horror) allocine
A LONG TIME AGO IN AN UNNAMED FOREST a beautiful young woman was wandering alone when she fell prey to two men. Shortly thereafter, the lifeless bodies of the two attackers were found floating down the nearby stream. No one knew what happened to the men or where the woman was, or who or what might have saved her life. Flash forward to today. May is a city woman who has everything she could ask for. Things are looking stellar: her career is on the rise, and her long-time husband, Nop, a professional photographer, showers her with love and attention. But fate or desire play tricks on the couple who watches as their lives drift by without much thought or reflection, and soon May starts an affair with Korn, another married man.One day Nop is assigned to take a trip into the forest to film the wildlife. He decides to bring May along. But the journey slowly reveals how the invisible weight of their urban lifestyle haunts them like a spectre, since May insists on behaving as if she were still in the city. Her sole concerns are her laptop and her phone, and instead of working from the office she now works from the tent in the middle of the jungle. Meanwhile, Nop treks into the forest to take pictures of wild deer and forgotten cobwebs, and along the way he stumbles onto a sad-looking tree – a lonely, mysterious specimen deep in the heart of the woods. The tree, it seems, is calling out to him, pulling him closer to it, and Nop finds himself spellbound and can’t resist its attraction. When her husband fails to return to the tent, May sets out to look for him but only finds his phone and a sandal. Only then does she realize how precious their marriage is, and how desperately she needs Nop’s warmth and companionship. Yet when May returns home believing she’s lost her husband, Nop returns. But the forest has changed him into someone else, perhaps forever…

Politist, Adjectiv (Police, Adjective), Corneliu Porumboiu, Romania, 2009 (obviously a must be seen for me even whe is about a police man that loses faith in the law…) allocine Movie Info
Cristi is a policeman who refuses to arrest a young man who offers hashish to two of his schoolmates. “Offering” is punished by the law. Cristi believes that the law will change, he does not want the life of a young man he considers irresponsible to be a burden on his conscience. For his superior the word conscience has a different meaning…

Precious, Lee Daniels, USA, 2009 (this is the one formerly known as Push, the one that won Sundance and is the ONLY lesbian interest film up to this moment that I have found) IMDb Trailer
When Precious, who is sixteen, learns to read and write at an Alternative School,
she discovers a new world. A world where she can at last express herself in a way she never could before. A world where each girl can become beautiful, strong, independent. Just like Precious…

Samson & Delilah, Warwick Thornton, Australia, 2009 (1st film) IMDb Movie Site with Trailer
Samson, a cheeky 15-year-old boy, and Delilah live in an isolated Aboriginal community in the Central Australian desert. In amongst a tiny collection of houses, everything here happens in a cycle. Day in and day out – nothing changes, everything stays the same and no one seems to care. The two teenagers soon discover that life outside the community can be cruel. Though hungry and rejected Samson and Delilah fall in love. It is all they have. It is real. And when tragedy strikes they turn their backs on home and embark on a journey of survival. Lost, unwanted and alone they discover that life isn’t always fair, but love never judges.

Сказка про темноту - Skazka pro Temnotu (Tale in the Darkness), Nikolay Khomeriki, Russia, 2009 allocine and I think is this one IMDb Movie Info Koktebel
Angelina lives in a big city on the sea cost, where handsome men and beautiful women are strolling the streets with only one purpose: to have fun, flirt and love. But Angelina, being pretty, intelligent, and nice, finds herself lonely. She is police officer and her job is helping abandoned kids, orphans, and troubled youngsters. One day one of her charges, a little boy, explains Angelina how lonely, dull and useless she is. Those words have been bothering her ever since, and she decides to change herself… Angelina starts her way through the darkness…

Wit Litcht (The Silent Army), Jean van de Velde, Netherlands, 2008 (Could it be the also known as White Light or Wit Licht?? - yes it is!!!) cineuropa IMDb Movie Scenes
Life as a restaurant owner in an eastern African country is not easy for the 40 year old, African born and bred Eduard Zuiderwijk after the sudden death of his wife. He now stands for the task of raising his 9-year-old son Thomas all by himself. The young Thomas seeks and gains support from his friend Abu, son of Mafillu, one of the female black staff members in the restaurant. One day Abu disappears suddenly together with at least ten other children, after a nightly and violent raid of his village by the rebel army. Abu’s father and many other villagers were killed and the missing children are nowhere to be found. Young Thomas cannot be consoled. He wants Abu back, and Eduard, who feels he is failing as a father, decides to try to find Abu and save him from the hands of the rebel leader.

Tzar, Pavel Lounguine, Russia and France, 2009 (the director is also known as Pavel Lungin, another story of Ivan The Terrible… great!!!) allocine Movie info
The year of 1565.Russia is ravaged by famine and war. Ivan Grosny, the first tsar of Russia, invites his childhood friend Abbot Philip to become a Metropolitan of Russia. Despite of their friendship the new Metropolitan rebels against the cruelty and tortures of the tsar's policy. He asks the tsar to stop the blood. But the tsar doesn't want to take advice, not even from God. The opposition of these two Shakespearian characters ends by the murder of Philip.

Un Certain Regard Jury

Paolo Sorrentino (director/screenwriter), Italy – President
Juliet Gayet (actress), France
Piers Handling (TIFF director), Canada
Uma Da Cunha (journalist, festival programmer), India
Marit Kapla (journalist, Goteborg Festival), Sweden

Another interesting jury that in my opinion totally fits the type of films in this section. To read more about each movie please go here.

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