Ten days of films – nothing but films. Mostly without one second to spare I rushed off to catch the next performance. I made my notes during the screenings and didn’t review them since. On “the morning after” (the Filmfest), my head full of impressions, I wanted to see which films I could recall instantly.
What did I remember them by?
THE SAPPHIRES: inspired by a true story about four young Australian Aboriginal women who in the 1960s – with determination, the perseverance of their manager and against all odds – become noticed as soul singers and perform for American Marines in Vietnam. Memorable because it’s a perfectly put together film with a great sound track, wonderfully sassy actresses and Chris O’Dowd giving a charming performance as their agent.
SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN: a documentary about an obscure American folk singer – Sixto Rodriguez – who couldn’t get any recognition in the U.S. Unbeknownst to him, a bootleg copy of his album made his music famous in South Africa where his ‘Anti-Establishment Blues’ hit a nerve with the Anti-Apartheid movement of the ‘70s & ‘80s. The man himself remained a mystery - until this documentary. Memorable for the fantastic music – especially two songs, ‘Sugar Man’ and ‘I wonder’ are still playing in my mind. I will get that soundtrack!
BROKEN: a false accusation and resulting attack on a mentally disabled young man in a suburban British neighborhood sets a spiral of violence and destruction in motion; observed from the viewpoint of a courageous 11-year-old girl, whose sense of safety will be shattered. Memorable because of newcomer Eloise Laurence in the role of the young girl. An unforgettable performance!
LORE: about a 15-year-old girl who after the end of WWII is in charge of getting her younger siblings from the Black Forest to their grandmother’s in the North of Germany, - on foot and across Allied borders. Reluctantly - still almost a child herself - she assumes this responsibility, all the while being confronted with and starting to question the beliefs her parents -committed Nazis- had instilled in her. Memorable because it’s the first film I’ve seen that has brought this subject to screen and, because of the performances by Ursina Lardi (Lore’s mother), Saskia Rosendahl (Lore) and Kai Malina (Thomas).
YOU’VE BEEN TRUMPED: a documentary about the latest misdeed of New York entrepreneur Donald Trump (well… actually there have been more since then), forcing the development of a luxury golf course on a protected area at the coastline of Aberdeenshire/Scotland. Memorable because I had heard about this controversial project of my fellow New Yorker, but now know the outrageous details. Trump: his self-importance, his ostentatiousness and his hair are hard to forget anyway and he likes it that way.
BEYOND THE HILLS:
Memorable because of the performances and unforgettable faces of Cosmina Stratan (Voichita) and Cristina Flutur (Alina), the direction & script by Cristian Mungiu and especially the mesmerizing cinematography by Oleg Mutu.
DEATH OF A MAN IN THE BALKANS:
Memorable because of the very original script and camera. The audience becomes the ‘candid camera’, looking out from this one set angle and only that angle, observing whatever moves into their field of vision.