Wednesday, July 30, 2014

2014 Cinema Biennale Check #1 - The Poet

I know that lately I have been absent minded with too many things in my head but that is no excuse to complete scramble the movies and everything about the movies in La Mostra current edition! Yes, that happened a few days ago in a conversation with a friend. Sigh. So the best thing to do is to go in a bit depth check of what the 71st Venice Film Festival is screening.

Have to start by talking about whom has been called the Poet of Sadness and the Poet of the Everyday; the poet that perhaps is the most famous German of Turkish descent in Contemporary Cinema: Fatih Akin.

Fatih Akin

Akin was born in 1973 in Hamburg, studied visual communications at Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg and graduated in 2000. His short films and feature length films have won him several awards but is the 2007 Cannes award winner Auf der anderen Seite (The Edge of Heaven) that propels him to the stratosphere of great master filmmakers.

Is in 2004 with Berlinale Golden Bear winner Gegen die Wand (Head On) that he begins his trilogy on "Love, Death and the Devil" with absolutely awesome Auf der anderen Seite (The Edge of Heaven) being the second installment and the Venezia71 In Competition The Cut being the third and last installment. While Head On was about a young German-Turkish woman's strong desire to live and -supposedly- is about love, The Edge of Heaven told the stories of people in Germany and Turkey and -allegedly- is about death, The Cut -apparently- is about the devil as tells about a dark historic episode, the Ottoman government systematic extermination of its minority Armenian subjects.

Is the second time that Fatih Akin is in Venice film festival, the first was in 2009 with his film Soul Kitchen, a comedy that I did NOT enjoyed at all, which won the Special Jury Prize that year. I am truly dying to see his latest film that I know (hope) will return to his magnificent and particular cinematic style shown in his trilogy acclaimed first and second installments. Besides the film lead is none other than an actor that I have-to-watch all his films, Tahar Rahim.

IF you have not seen Fatih Akin's Head On and/or The Edge of Heaven I strongly suggest you do as definitively this is one director that anyone that loves great cinema should know and be familiar with his particular storytelling style.

Basic info about The Cut
Director: Fatih Akin
Scriptwriter: Fatih Akin and Mardik Martin
Cinematography: Rainer Klausmann
Original Language: English, Arabic, Turkish, Kurdish and Spanish.
Length: 138 min
Production countries: Germany, France, Italy, Russia, Poland, Canada and Turkey
Production companies: Bombero International, Pandora Filmproduktion, Corazón International, Pyramide Productions, Filmförderung HSH, Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, Nordmedia, Medienboard BB, FFA, BKM, DFFF, Eurimages, Dorje Film, Jordan Films, Mars Media Entertainment, International Traders
Starring: Tahar Rahim, Simon Abkarian, Arsinée Khanjian and more.

About the film story
The story takes place in the Turkish village of Mardin in 1915: one night, as the Turkish Gendarmerie is rounding up all the Armenian men, the young blacksmith Nazaret Manoogian (Tahar Rahim) is separated from his family. After he succeeds in surviving the horror of the genocide, years later he receives the news that his twin daughters are also alive. Obsessed by the thought of finding them, he follows the trail that he hopes will lead him to them. This takes him from the deserts of Mesopotamia, through Havana, to the desert prairies of North Dakota. During this odyssey he meets a whole range of different people, including very gracious characters but also the devil in human form.

The Cut is not only an epic drama, but also an adventure film and a western. Although the film takes place 100 years ago, it is also relevant to more modern times because it recounts tales of war and forced migration. “The Cut has become a very personal film,” stated Akin, “which grapples content-wise with my conscience and formally with my love of cinema.”

Official Synopsis
Mardin, 1915: one night, the Turkish police round up all the Armenian men in the city, including the young blacksmith, Nazaret Manoogian, who is separated from his family. Years later, after managing to survive the horrors of the genocide, he hears that his two daughters are also still alive. He becomes fixated on the idea of finding them and sets off to track them down. His search takes him from the Mesopotamian deserts and Havana to the barren and desolate prairies of North Dakota. On this odyssey, he encounters a range of very different people: angelic and kind-hearted characters, but also the devil incarnate.

Some stills from The Cut plus the trailer.

The Trailer (Original Languages with English subtitles)

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