This Swedish Palme d’Or-winning film is a sprawling satire of the contemporary art world and is a bit like a modern art installation itself: you’re not always sure about the artist’s intent, it may feel baffling, confronting or tedious, but at its best it can leave you with some indelible imagery and food for thought.
A mind-bending Spanish psychological thriller with Penelope Cruz, which later was remade as Vanilla Sky, an ill-received American version with Tom Cruise and, bizarrely, Penelope Cruz again. I’ve watched this in a rather groggy state of mind after a poor night’s sleep, and the movie’s twists and turns definitely perked up my brain by the end of it all.
Every still from this Polish black-and-white movie deserves to be put in a frame and hung on the wall – filmed with a photographer’s eye for composition and juxtapositions of light and dark, it’s one of the most striking films I’ve seen. It’s perhaps too restrained and minimalist for me to find it truly affecting, despite its emotional revelations, but the photography and the two compelling central performances make it a worthwhile watching.
Excellent Swedish adaptation of John Ajvide Lindqvist‘s macabre novel, which is one of the more original takes on the well-trodden vampire genre and is as far from the romantic and glamorous depictions of vampires in popular culture as you can imagine. It’s also a movie about children that is in no way meant for children.
Another movie I missed out on in the cinemas despite the best intentions, Lady Chatterley is a French adaptation of an earlier version of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, a once-notorious novel by D. H. Lawrence. Pretty tame by today’s standards (you’ll find much more explicit content in your Jackie Collins novel), at the time the book was banned for its frank descriptions of sex, use of unprintable words and a central romance between a high society woman and a working class man. Though I really wanted to see the film, I raised my eyebrows at the running time, which clocks at almost three hours, but if anything this movie is a proof that a good movie can never be too long.
Charming, moving and funny German film set in East Berlin around the time of Germany’s re-unification in 1989. Even if it wasn’t any good, you’d still have to admire the original premise.
Alex (Daniel Brühl, totally adorable here) is an average young guy from the socialist part of Berlin, living in an apartment with his sister and mother, Christiane (Kathrin Sass). His father, we’re told, abandoned the family to live in West Germany with some capitalist home wrecker, and since then Alex’ mother has become a hardcore activist who lives for the socialist cause. But the winds of change are blowing, and one night Christiane collapses into a coma when she sees her son march in an anti-communist rally. In the months she spends unconscious, the Berlin Wall comes down, the old money becomes obsolete, and the capitalism moves in. When Christiane wakes up, Alex is told that another big shock could potentially be lethal, so he decides to conceal the truth about the reunited Germany from his mother and re-create East Berlin in her old bedroom where she recuperates.
A delightfully zany French movie about love, dystopia… and cannibalism. It’s directed by Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet, who later made Amélie, so I kinda knew what to expect – beautifully textured and whimsical visuals, quirky and imaginative little details, eccentric characters – but even so this movie is quite out there. It’s set in some sort of post-apocalyptic future where money is obsolete and food is scarce, and centres on the apartment block with a butcher shop on the ground floor, whose owner, also the landlord, is always in need of a new superintendent. That’s because every new applicant inevitably gets chopped up and served to the other tenants, who are on to the scheme and start complaining when the meat supply stops. The latest would-be-victim is Louison, a former clown, who catches the eye of Julie, the butcher’s daughter. Determined to save him, she turns for help to the bunch of underground vegetarian freedom fighters called the Troglodytes.