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Berlinale 2009: Critics Film Reviews
by the KinoCritics

At Stake **1/2
Iwan Setiawan/ Muhammad Ichsan/ Lucky Kuswandi/ Ucu Agustin/ Ani Ema Susanti, Indonesia
This eye-opening film is a composition of four documentaries showing the difficulties which women face in Indonesia. The first documentary probes into the lives of women who are forced to work as immigrant domestic workers in Hong Kong due to the lack of employment in Indonesia. The second documentary reveals the religious beliefs as well as the contradictions of the practice of female circumcision. It’s a perfect educational film that could show the dangers of this practice and help end it. The third shows a younger generation of women with access to a modern lifestyle but without permission to visit a gynecologist unless they are married. The film uses a hidden camera to question the ridiculous logic that dictates why a doctor cannot attend to an unmarried women.  The fourth film was the most poignant and dives into the life of a woman who leads a double life to feed her children: by day she breaks stone and by night she is a prostitute working on an ancient Chinese hilltop cemetery. I was surprised when one of the directors explained that they had to switch films to get the approval of the censorship board in order to travel outside the country with this controversial documentary. (ss)

Chéri ****
Stephan Frears, Great Britain
Frears (The Queen) teams up again with screenwriter Christopher Hampton and actress Michelle Pfeiffer (Dangerours Liason) for Chéri, based on the romantic novel by French writer Colette.

“Chéri” is the nickname of Fred Peloux (Rupert Friend), the vain and beautifully groomed son of a former courtesan, the wealthy Madame Peloux (a perfectly cast Kathy Bates). He is 19 years old and his casual attitude and hedonism make it difficult to marry him off. The elegant Lea de Lonval (Michelle Pfeiffer), a contemporary and retired colleague of his mother is invited for tea and help in leading him into the right direction. Little does she know that - despite the age difference - the two of them will both experience true love for the first time in their unsteady lives. The six-year affair is forced apart when Madame Preloux arranges a marriage between Chéri and the rich but innocent 20-year old Edmee (Felicity Jones). Both lovers suffer emotionally and struggle in accepting their essential differences. Under great pain and fruitless diversions they finally come to terms with the new situation.

This evocation of belle époque Paris, where a circle of courtesans have come to riches, reflects the atmosphere with elaborate costumes and tasteful sets. A wonderfully witty Kathy Bates and ironic Michelle Pfeiffer entertain us with a frisk and amusing exchange of words (see page….) in the tranquil setting of the lush winter garden. Their talk ranges from the elasticity of skin to the value of their shares on the stock market, with Rupert Friend, as Chéri, adding his aloof and bitchy comments. Michelle Pfeiffer brings a wide range of emotions to her character; touching vulnerability is masked by outward strength as the relationship between the lovers develops into a strong dependency on each other. This movie is not only an entertaining but satisfying portrait of an era but also suggests reminiscence with a touch of nostalgia for times gone by. (bs)

Darbareye Elly (About Elly) ***
Director: Asghar Farhadi, Iran,
Farhadi submerges us into an Iranian weekend at the sea where Sepideh (Golshifteh Farahani) lures Elly (Taraneh Alidousti), her daughter’s nursery teacher, to join her family and friends. Sepideh has matchmaking ideas for her freshly divorced brother, which has devastating results on this seemingly innocent weekend. One moment Elly is a free spirit flying a kite by the sea and the next she has vanished. At the press conference Farhadi described his film idea as “just look out at the sea and imagining losing someone.” This close-knit family slowly falls apart in this space that he has created around the characters. Much of this movie is told in the gaps rather then in the untold storyline, which lies deep within the Iranian culture’s invisible rules of moral conduct. The most decisive fact that influences this film is that they have invited someone they didn’t really know and with that invitation comes a certain responsibility.  From the beginning, Elly’s character is uncomfortable; she knows she has broken one of these unspoken rules of responsibly and honor.  This film was controversial in Iran and had received bad press from a gossip magazine. It’s hard to believe that the yellow press had such influence over this film that it was not going to be allowed out of the country when there wasn’t even a kissing scene in it. The censorship commission has a strong hold over the film industry in Iran which makes people turn to the black market with their films. Despite all these obstacles that confronted the director and crew, they successfully brought their film here and plan next to go to the Tribecca film festival.  They were determined not to let bad press interfere with their glory and were very reluctant to speak about the incident at the press conference. Farhadi won the Silver Bear for best director. (ss)

Effi Briest ***
Hermine Huntgeburth,Germany
This work depicting 19th century German society has frequently been filmed before; the last version was by Rainer Werner Fassbinder 34 years ago. The film is based on Theodor Fontane’s masterpiece Effi Briest (script by Volker Einrauch). This epic romantic novel dates back to 1894, and it is one of the standard classical works read in German high schools.
Award-winning actress Julia Jentsch (Sophie Scholl, 2005) stars as the free-spirited daughter Effi Briest. Born into an aristocratic family in Northern Germany, the 17-year old girl is pushed by her parents to marry Baron von Instetten (Sebastian Koch) and to live a lonely life in a small town on the Baltic Sea. To make matters worse, her husband, nearly 20 years her senior, is a former admirer of her mother (Juliane Köhler). He often leaves his young wife alone, pursuing his business career in Berlin. It is no small wonder that the bored and inexperienced young woman falls for the charming and good looking Major Crampas (Misel Maticévic). For the first time, she learns what love is. When her husband is promoted to Berlin she leaves the small village - and Major Crampas. At last, Effi comes to terms with her marriage and enjoys her new surroundings. But brutally, the past catches up with her.
Hermine Huntgeburt, the first female director of this remake, offers a fresh and modern look at the historical source, changing the ending of the novel and approaching it with a contemporary perspective. The heroine Effi Briest is not beaten by life - powerfully performed by Julia Jentsch - but deals with the consequences and bravely faces a new beginning towards emancipation. (bs)

Forever Enthralled ****
Chen Kaige, China
Kaige (Farewell My Concubine, 1993) based his newest film on the life of legendary Chinese opera star Mei Lanfang.

In Imperial China women were not allowed on stage; therefore, young men were trained to play female roles. The thirteen-year-old Mei Lanfang (Yu Shoaqun) wants to become an opera singer, following in the footsteps of his grandfather. He does not listen to his uncle opposing his choice, who predicts problems for a man when acting as a woman on stage. The young Yu, portraying Mei in his early years and himself a trained Peking opera performer, is a fascinating actor. He maintains a delicate equilibrium between the female persona onstage and his courageous straight-male image offstage.

Qiu Rubai (Sun Honglei) becomes Mei’s mentor and friend. With his support he modernises Peking opera performance, triumphing over Master Shishan. The Hongkong actor Leon Lai, in his role as the middle-aged Mei, seems at first very reserved but comes alive opposite the lovely Zhan Ziyi. She portrays Meng Xiaodong, a female opera singer for male characters. They become lovers. She adds a lively sparkle by changing her moods from being flirtatious and coy to cool and professional. Melodrama is never far away. The jealous Qiu Rubai succeeds in breaking up the pair just before taking the show to America. The unexpected, overwhelming success on Broadway helps Mei Lanfang to overcome his private disappointments and to regain his self-esteem.

Under the Japanese occupation Mei refuses to perform. When the authorities force him, he finds a desperate way out by getting an overdose of typhoid vaccination to make him critically ill. Thus, ends his career as “the man who is more feminine than a woman.”

This sumptuous film shows stunning historical costumes, bringing alive the vibrant scene of the Peking opera in the 1930s. It may be difficult for western ears to endure the unfamiliar sounds and deliberate movements of the Peking opera. To appreciate this story fully, it is helpful to have a certain interest in Chinese history, culture and art. (bs)

Für Miriam ***
Lars Gunnar Lotz, Germany
The untouched subject of an older woman together with a younger man has finally become a major topic at this year’s Berlinale.  Along with The Reader and Cheri this film dives into the forbidden subject matter of a math teacher who sleeps with her student. It is not a typical love story in the yellow press but one of misplaced emotions and distress when the teacher in a car accident accidentally kills the student’s sister. Franciscan Petri won Best Actress in the category Perspective Deutsches Kino. (ss)

Katalin Varga ***1/2
Peter Strickland, Romania
The idea for this film began many years ago when director Peter Strickland and a friend went into the Carpathian Mountains, Romania. This area of Transavia is magical but eerie and these combined qualities set Strickland into motion. Katalin (Hilda Peter) lives for eleven years with a secret and makes the mistake of telling someone in her small village. Before she knows it, she and her son Antal Borland (Tibor Palffy) are banished by the father who sets her off in a slow-moving horse and cart over the horizon. She seeks justice for the crime that has ruined her life. Revenge becomes the only solution that can calm her soul. Strickland’s theme of revenge with a fatal and shocking twist managed to mortify and even offend the audience.

 At the press conference several journalists kept insisting that there was no justice for this rape crime. Strickland explained that he could not show Katalin any mercy because in reality she was also guilty, but of a different crime: murder.  In one of strongest scenes Katalin describes to the wife and the rapist what happened to her eleven years ago.  All three are in a boat and the camera is moving from face to face whilst the audience hears this intensely eerie sound of nature behind them.  The director wanted to portray a strong emotional reality, which is often absent from this genre.  Everyone is caught in this web of crime and he wanted to dispel this notation of bad guy to good guy story. The fallen heroine is also flawed by being unaware of the wider consequences for her quest for justice. Producers Tudor and Oana Giurgui were excited that a film was being made in Romania and that actors and actresses from the two ethnic groups, which are often in conflict, worked together. This film won the Silver Bear for an outstanding artistic contribution, which must be attributed to the sound track.  The music and sounds were intense and original and at the same time captured the feeling of this remote environment. (ss)

La Teta Asustada (The Milk Of Sorrow) ****
Claudia Llosa, Spain, Peru
Fausta (Magaly Solier) suffers from a rare sickness, which, according to director Claudia Llosa actually exists in Peru, although many doctors say it is a psychological problem not a medical one. This illness has been transmitted by Fausta’s mother milk, which had been altered when she was raped when rebels were terrorizing the mountain villages.  As her mother dies, Fausta sings the tale of her mother explaining that she has seen this act of violence from inside her mother’s womb.  This illness has made Fausta’s life stressful since she is unable to move through the town on her own. With the death of her mother, Fausta carries a burden of responsibility. She must pay for the burial of her mother and wishes to take her back to her mountain village. The movie is enriched with cultural scenes of mass wedding ceremonies, the colorful catering services and the reality of the medical services in the rural regions. Llosa researched this area extensively and wanted to capture this cultural history there.  Even the actress speaks a language, which is dying out in this area. We see the division of rich and poor as well as the exploitation of the poor. The story is poetic and has the illusion of walking into a Frida Kahlo painting put into motion.  Llosa uses the potato as a symbol in association with Fausta’s sickness which illustrates how common but resilient the potato can be. This was the beginning of a success story for the World Cinema Fund since they contributed fifty thousand euros for the screen writing of this film.  It won The Golden Bear for the Best Film as well as The FIPRESCI Prize. (ss)

London River
Richid Bouchareb, Algeria/France/Great Britain

Lukas Moodysson, U.S.A., Thailand
Here is a film with a great cast, perfect locations and a message that should bring a worldwide awareness of how people spend their money while others do without it. But this is the first time that I have ever heard a Berlinale audience boo a competition film. There were three children in this movie and all of them had something in common: their parents were chasing the buck but not raising the kids. I realized that the biggest problem was that I did not feel sympathy or compassion for any of these characters.  I truly blame the director and the screenwriter for giving us this apathetic feeling.  There were several moments in this film where the characters could move closer to the audience.  Why did the father who supposedly was so different, have to sleep with the Thai prostitute? Why did the wife have to continue to work at this hospital when she herself was barely handling her emotional pain? How many times did the audience have to look into this over-sized refrigerator full of food? (Only about six or seven times!) The biggest flaw was that we were drawn into a melodramatic scene where the little boy is raped while his mother, who is a nanny in the US, leaves the other little girl in the middle of the night to fly to the Philippines to be with her son.  The scene was so ridiculously outrageous and out of character that the audience could not even relate to the severity of the situation.  The final and worst scene was the ending where the father comes home, rough housing with his wife and daughter as though nothing has happened.  Horrible movie! (ss)

My One and Only ***
Richard Loncraine, USA
In the press conference Loncraine said it was amazing that this film was made since literally no one wanted to invest money in it, possibly because it does not fit any particular category.  One check made this movie happen and he is thankful to the actors who made it come alive.  This film was entered quite late into the Berlinale program and Loncraine described with a sense of humor the escapades that he had to go through in order to get this film to Berlin. He was taken completely by surprise that it was actually accepted into the competition category.

A story loosely based on the life of George Hamilton as a young man, many of the scenes come from Hamilton’s life depicted in his book Don’t Mind if I Do. What makes this film fantastic are the stylized characters of the fifties that perform in a very cartoon way at the beginning of the film but develop into sophisticated and complicated characters by the end.  Anne Devpould (Renee Zellweger) leaves her husband, a famous bandleader with the hit song “My One and Only.” She travels with her two sons from New York City across America.  She originally has no self-value and but in the end realizes that she is perfectly capable of taking care of herself, at the same time bonding with her two sons.  The film’s dialogue is witty and has a fantastic music score which makes this film a must see.  At the press conference reporters asked Zellweger about being an older actress and referred to her private love life. She, using her Brigit Jones’ charm, managed to slide pass these personal questions without giving away any real information at all. This film received Special Mention from the Ecumenical Jury. (ss)

Ne Me Liberez Pas, Je m’en Charge (My Greatest Escape) ***
Fabienne Godet, France, ***

Michel Vaujour spent 27 years in a French prison and 17 of them in solitary confinement.  In Godet’s documentary Vaujour describes what he learned by explaining all his escapades as well as his education inside the prison. “Seventeen years in a concrete box and it took me sixteen years to get used to it.  I learned about things by not having them. “He constantly speaks through his senses and how they develop around this emptiness and space. You could really imagine what a caged tiger might think while pacing inside the cell. Vaujour believes the word “prison” means escape and he became notorious for his creative and effective plans of escape.  In one of his first attempts he made a gun out of soap, which looked so real that the guards did not even try to stop him. The most famous escape was when he escaped from the Paris prison, which is located in the middle of the city; his wife flew and landed the helicopter on the rooftop.  Every second was planed perfectly which was his signature in all these escapes.  He said that in prison you have a lot of time to think and a lot of time to watch every single movement of the guards. When finally he had a chance for release, he had to fight this automatic impulse of wanting to escape.  It was the fine-tuning of the brain to change that impulse. For him, prison was like a university and he learned an amazing amount about being a criminal. He went from small town theft to organized crime.  He said it was exhilarating to be a criminal.  Only now that he is free does he realize the time he lost in life. I was quite surprised that he was married twice despite the fact he seemed always to be in prison. (ss)

Rage ** (as Art Installation ****)
Sally Potter, USA
These words “financial crisis” haunted the Berlinale this year and were reflected upon at almost every press conference. The money crunch has affected actors, directors and producers in many different ways. There are fewer films made, fewer roles available and some films forced to stop shooting for the moment. But amidst all these concerns, there is one director who sees this as an opportunity: Sally Potter. Her idea was like a cake recipe: write script, look for best cast, use minimal amount of equipment that could travel to the actors if need be and still tell a story that would be interesting to the audience. The producer said, “Part of the process of this film had to do with filmmakers trying to break the code and work on their own terms, to set up the structure so that the financing doesn’t get in the way of the art form.”

It is interesting to know that Sally Potter has never had funding for any of her films and it always works out in the end.  She used each of the actors for exactly two days and paid everyone the same amount no matter who they were, e.g., Jude Law, Judi Dench, and Steve Buscemi. The actors and actresses never met each other during the shooting but came together at the Berlinale to see the finished product. It is “recession” film making at its best. The film is a series of interviews from different characters separated by a few sentences written on the screen by an unseen cameraman named Michelangelo who is actually Sally Potter. She used only a blue screen behind the characters so that she could emphasize their faces.  Personally, I thought that this film felt like an art performance piece and should be shown at a contemporary art museum, but Potter is thinking ahead again, and might put it on the internet.  She definitely had the most original film idea in the competition category. (ss)

Shortcut to Hollywood
Marcus Mittermeier/ Jan Henrik Stahlberg, Germany
This film is so outrageous it deserves to be discussed. Inspired by reality TV series such as Hilfe, Holt Mich Raus (originally from Great Britain as I’m a Celebrity, Get Me out of Here) and Deutschland sucht den Superstar (Pop Idol or American Idol in Great Britain and the US respectively), directors Mittermeier and Stahlberg, along with actor Christoph Kottenkamp, travel to the US to compete in the American Idol competition. It’s irrelevant that they are over the hill age wise, have little talent except being extravagantly silly and know nothing about the US or English. In Germany they already caused a stir by cutting off human limbs on TV, a habit they set forth in the US. They also perform as a rock band called the Baghdad Street Boys. Their final coup is to die on screen in Hollywood. This is supposed to be funny. It’s definitely very black comedy and often amusing, although I felt the film was a means to an end, the end being an excuse for Mittermeier, Stalberg and Kottenkamp to hang out and party. The group almost admitted to this during the press conference at the Berlinale. They made the film in ten weeks on a limited budget. Fifteen people travelled through the US in two trailers, in which they also camped out. They often filmed without permission, Borat-style, e.g., in Las Vegas. Some critics felt that the ending was an inappropriate let down but if the guys are spoofing typical American TV news which concentrates on trivialities and sensationalism, then it was right on target. Or consider the publicity about former British Big Brother member, Jade Goody, who died, literally on screen, of cancer. They appreciated the good graces of the average American and said that in one scene where they audition before a mayor of a small US town, the real mayor volunteered to play himself. Mittermeier and Stahlberg had already made one small hit called Muxmäuschenstill. Stahlberg made Bye Bye Berlusconi. They are definitely worth watching in the future. (bt)

Storm ***
Hans-Christian Schmid, England, Germany, Bosnia, Serbia
This challenging political thriller tackles the complexities of the interior workings of the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague. Prosecutor Hannah Maynard (Kerry Fox) pursues the trail of an ex Bosnian witness who committed suicide. This eventually leads her to the witness’ sister (Anamaria Marinca) whom she then persuades to take the stand.  If it weren’t for dirty politics the trial looks cut and dry.  Director Schmid said it was necessary to make this film in this time frame since the actual trial of Goran Duric will be ending soon.  He asked,” Should there be a set time limit to a war crimes tribunal? Who can say how long a witness needs to come out and tell his story?”  These war crime tribunals are not only about catching war criminals but allowing victims to tell their stories so they can heal, an aspect Schmid captures perfectly.  In preparing her role, Anamaria Marinca had to learn German and Kerry Fox observed human rights lawyers such as Carla DiPonti to find her character.  She said that these lawyers are passionate about their work but usually are met with failure since “justice” is a hard thing to achieve. The film was completely done by hand-held camera, making the scenes close up and personal. This film won both the Amnesty International Film Prize and the Berliner Morgenpost Reader’s Prize. (ss)

Terra Madre (Mother Earth) ***  
Ermanno Olmi, Italy
The meeting of thousands of farmers from all over the world, organized by the Slow Food Movement, was the impulse for the Italian director Ermanno Olmi to make the documentary Terra Madre (Mother Earth) which had its world premiere in the Berlinale Special programme. The film is loosely structured around the two gigantic events called “Terra Madre” of 2006 and 2008. More than 7,000 cooks, farmers, shepherds, fishermen and others from 153 countries gathered to celebrate a worldwide movement away from globalization and destructive corporate farming.

A 15-year old high school student from Massachusetts takes to the podium talking about the idea of establishing a student-run organic vegetable garden that he had initiated on school grounds. Now they are supplying lettuce, cherry tomatoes, carrots and beans to complement the lunches served in the school cafeteria. The attending crowd cheers enthusiastically when he promises that his generation will “reunite mankind with the earth.”

The documentary is interspersed with clips of various local ethnic performances given during the two events. It’s like watching a huge bazaar. One gets overwhelmed by the hodgepodge of information, images, mixture of languages, music and food displays. Olmi’s crew filmed around locations, e.g., Italy, India and the United States. At Dehradun, in the north of India, a small group of women is busy with the rice harvest. Their aim is preserving the local seeds that have been used from generation to generation, rescuing them from gene manipulation.

Scenes from the newly inaugurated Svalbard Global Seed Vault were made available from a video by the Global Crop Diversity Trust. The International Seed Bank has been established on an island north of Norway. Deep inside the frozen earth more than four million seed samples, collected by dedicated scientists worldwide, are stored and protected for future generations.

The crew’s last trip was to Quarto d’Altino in the Veneto region, Italy, to watch an elderly peasant working (lasting nearly 15 minutes). He meticulously tends his orchard throughout the year until he contently holds the ripe fruit in his hands.

This poetic account is in stark contrast to the first part of the documentary. It made me shift restlessly in my seat. The first part of the documentary will be of interest to Slow Food organizations and for educational screenings at high schools but may have little appeal for the general movie goer outside this field. (bs)

The Countess (Die Gräfin) ***
Julie Delpy, Germany/France
Countess Erzebet Bathory’s (Julie Delpy) husband dies and she inherits servants, land, castles, money, and power. The men around her are unaccustomed to a head-strong woman who makes her own decisions and they plot her downfall. She falls in love with the much younger Istvan (Daniel Brühl), whose father Count Thurzo (William Hurt) is very much against the relationship. Erzebet sees her young lover slip away and blames herself. In order to preserve her own youth and beauty, she decides to rub her skin with the blood of young virgin girls. People in the countryside notice the disappearance of supposedly 150 young girls and find bodies. In the end Countess Bathory is condemned to be locked up in a castle until her death.

In reality Erzebet married a Hungarian count at a young age and had five children; the rest of supposedly true. In 1610 she was declared guilty and died in total isolation four years later. Even as late as 1980, her ancestors doubted the veracity of the legend because her servants’ confessions were forced through torture; three servants were burned at the stake. It could very well have been a plot of powerful men who wished to get rid of her, a strong woman.

The medieval setting and the costumes are well-made and believable. Whether one should both direct and star in one’s own film is debatable. Julie Delpy, well-known actress since the 1980s, e.g., Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, directed her first film in 2005: 2 Days Paris.  She shows young Erzebet to be a total brat, possibly a hint to her damnable future, possibly as an example of childhood in the 17th century. The story rolls along from rides in a horse-drawn coach to parties to blood-letting in the dungeon of the castle. Writing letters is a whole category in itself: writing, thinking, dispatching, worrying about delivery, receiving, and reading. Today’s cell phones can never replace the drama of letter-writing in the last centuries.  Delpy portrays the adult Erzebet as fearful and emancipated, as well as self-assured and doubtful, but she never really comes alive. I am happy to see German actor Daniel Brühl’s career take off to an international level, although he always just seems to play himself, which is perfectly adequate for this role. (bt)

The International ***
Tom Tykwer, Germany / Great Britain
This British-German co-production by German director Tom Tykwer (Perfume, Run Lola Run) was chosen to open the 2009 Berlinale Film Festival. The production was filmed at Studio Babelsberg and on location in Berlin, New York, Istanbul and Milan. The star-studded international cast includes Clive Owen (Inside Man) and Naomi Watts (21 Grams) in the leading roles, Armin Mueller-Stahl (The Buddenbrooks), Brian F. O’Bryrne (Million Dollar Baby), Ulrich Thomsen (Festen) and Jack McGee (L.A.Crash).

This action thriller traces criminal business transactions of a powerful world bank financing wars and stirring up unrest for financial gains. A thriller with this “hot” subject is particularly chilling as we slide into a banking crisis of unknown dimensions. The festival chief, Dieter Kosslick said, “When we decided to open the festival with Tom Tykwer’s financial thriller we did not know that his fiction would soon be overtaken by reality.”

Interpol agent Louis Salinger (Owen) teams up with Manhattan district attorney Eleanor Whitman (Watts) after witnessing the mysterious and sudden collapse of his colleague, suspecting a cold-blooded murder. They get caught up in far-reaching criminal doings of high-finance, leading them to the (fictional) IBBC bank. They soon find out that this sleek organisation functions as an assassination agency. The cool assassin (Brian F. O’Bryrne) is spine-chilling. People get shot, others get tortured. Illegal weapons deals involve Third-World countries and Salinger is obsessively driven to bring these highly sophisticated villains to fall.

The hectic action hop-scotches across continents with stunning views of, e.g., Milan, great modern architecture and glimpses of historical Turkey, thanks to Frank Griebe’s excellent cinematography. The action dramatically accelerates with the breathtaking – if somewhat illogical – shoot-out at the Guggenheim museum. The chase ends in Istanbul with an exhilarating view over the ancient roof tops of Istanbul. Salinger has just survived, but who is the winner? (bs)

The Shock Doctrine *
Michael Winterbottom/ Mat Whitecross, England
This is based on Naomi Klein’s very striking book of the same name, in which she explains the radical theories of Milton Friedman (former professor at the University of Chicago). His theories were implemented in many regimes and showed the rise of disaster capitalism. This unfinished documentary film seemed timely as we look for answers during this worldwide recession. The book covers events in Chile 1973 and continues to Iraq 2003. Winterbottom and Whitecross took on the challenge of searching through archival material and compiling it interspersed with interviews of various people including Naomi Klein lecturing on her philosophy which is the basis of her book.  Although the subject matter is compelling and could stand on its own, the documentary is cumbersome and straightforward.  The directors must have too much on their plates because this could be a really great film but it lacks something new and inventive.  Naomi Klein writes for the Nation and the Guardian that is syndicated internationally by the NYTimes.  She has won awards for her reporting in Iraq and she also help co-produce a film called The Take a documentary about Argentina’s occupied factories. (ss)