Documentary: ANTHROPOCENE – The Human Epoch

A masterful collaboration by documentarians Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier.

A world class documentary that is equally stunning and disturbing. Surreal and sobering. The mind boggling cinematography by legendary photographer Edward Burtynsky was the stunning part.  The disturbing part was everything else. It showcases to great effect our unprecedented impact on planet Earth to date.

And there was a lot to be captured.  And there is a lot to be fearful for.  And there is a lot to change…if we still can.

Concentric Circles Forming In Still Water

A short synopsis: scenes of almost inconceivable scale such as monolithic machines hell-bent on terraforming their surroundings, land-fill sites staffed by thousands, heaps of elephant tusks piled high and set aflame, concrete seawalls lining China’s coastline, on and on.  Only some of the things humans are responsible for that endanger and change the structure of the planet.

I knew it wouldn’t be a feel-good film.  But it was a necessary one.  Which brings me to this famous quote:

Seeing is Believing

More films until the 12th at:  https://viff.org/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

For the Love of Film

It’s that time again…Following TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival).  Leafing through the booklet (shown above) there are too many films that I’m anxious to see.  A Sampling:

ANTHROPOCENE: The Human Epoch

Okay; not feel-good but necessary knowledge:
The latest masterful collaboration between Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier and Edward Burtynsky isn’t so much eye-opening as mind-blowing as it essays our unprecedented impact on the Earth to stunning effect. The staggering tableaux captured here are at once surreal and sobering, including monolithic machines hell-bent on terraforming their surroundings and potash mines that evoke a bad drug trip. This is filmmaking of the highest order that unfolds on a dizzying, almost inconceivable scale.

Bathtubs Over Broadway

MAD | Music/Art/Design     (Because I LOVE Broadway Musicals)
Where did Chita Rivera, Martin Short and the late Florence Henderson (all present here) get their starts? In “industrial” musicals–musicals commissioned by corporate America from the 50s through the 80s to entertain employees and celebrate, say, bathroom fixtures or Fords… Dava Whisenant’s supremely entertaining film follows industrial musical obsessive Steve Young (a writer for David Letterman, who also appears) as he uncovers a hidden world. “Get ready to laugh, sing, cheer, and be dazzled.”—POV

In My Room (Israel)

Impact | VIFF Impact
Deeply intimate, unexpectedly moving and entirely of its moment, Ayelet Albenda’s documentary unfolds through footage culled from six teenagers’ self-produced YouTube videos. Make no mistake: these aren’t social media stars or influencers. They’re just average kids documenting their trials (including pregnancy and eating disorders) and trying to make some sense of them. The remarkably honest moments they share quickly coalesce into an involving study of the myriad iterations of adolescence.
I’ll be focusing on reviewing a bunch of diverse cinema during the festival.
Source: taken from VIFF website.
Have a great weekend!

Film: Seduction/Secrets – The Handmaiden

The Handmaiden was my chosen last film to see from VIFF.  It was an intriguing change from all the other selections.handmaiden5It’s an erotic thriller with many a twist and turn.  I can only imagine what the men in the audience must have been thinking in a few of the scenes….given what I believe men like to envision.  But it was much more than that.  Beautifully directed from acclaimed writer-director Park Chan-Wook who is considered the King of Korean cinema.  His first English language film was Stoker starring Nicole Kidman.handmaiden3

Synopsis: with help from an orphaned pickpocket (Kim Tae-ri), a Korean con man (Ha Jung-woo) devises an intricate plot to seduce and bamboozle a wealthy, innocuous young Japanese woman (Kim Min-hee) out of her inheritance.  The woman lives on a large secluded estate and the Korean pickpocket is hired to serve as her new handmaiden.  But who is really fooling who here?

This movie was inspired by Welsh author Sarah Waters’ novel Fingersmith; with the setting changed from Victorian era to Korea under Japanese colonial rule.handmaiden2

It was a captivating piece of work.

Trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkvHtfRAKNk

The film festival has formally ended but extra screenings of some of the more popular films will play in select theatres over the next several days.  To find out more please visit: https://www.viff.org/

Culture/Film: Julieta and Elle

We’re still pleasantly engrossed at the Vancouver International Film Festival and I can hardly keep up with the reviews.julieta3 Today I saw two films back to back and I’m a bit mentally worn out.  So much to discover and contemplate but I can tell you a little about the last two films with strong leading women.

I have a lot of appreciation for foreign films.  Many times they have a lot more depth than North American cinema.  I’m a big fan of Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar since having seen Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown1988. It was nominated for an Academy Award for best foreign language film.  And of course All About My Mother (which I loved even more) won an Academy Award for best foreign language film.  The list goes on.  So as soon as I heard that Julieta (the latest Almodóvar , sure to become another classic) was partaking at VIFF I had to schedule time to see it.

Told in flashback over 30 years of guilt and grief, this melodrama is based on three Alice Munro short storiesCritics are saying it is his best film in a decade.

What I love the most about any Almodóvar movie is the character study in itself – all about relationships, it never disappoints and you can guarantee the actors are the best of the best.

Emma Suárez is fabulous as Julieta.  A beautiful woman who is leaving Madrid to start a new life in Portugal.  But before she moves, and by chance, she bumps into a childhood friend of her estranged daughter Antía.  She decides to stay in Madrid and returns to the apartment block where she and her daughter once lived.  Then we’re transported back to the 80’s to find out the story about fate, love and separation.

I enjoyed the film very much but without giving too much away, I unfortunately didn’t completely understand the decision made by Antía (the daughter) and in my opinion it was a very undeserving situation.

Moving on…

elle2

Elle, on the other hand was pretty disturbing in a sick and twisted confrontational sense.  I would classify it as a mystery/thriller with a wink and a twist.

I chose it because it’s a French film which stars Isabelle Huppert and is directed by Dutch filmmaker (and former Hollywood bad boy) Paul Verhoeven (Basic Instinct, Starship Troopers).

I liked the strong, seductive unemotional character of business woman (a CEO of a video game company) Michelle (Isabelle Huppert) with her dry sense of humour.  She is superb in the role.  I was disturbed and intrigued. This movie will most definitely spark a debate.

Julieta Trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YH5_4osOZK8

Elle Trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVBEV1w7too

There are four more days of filmgoing left. For more movie information please visit: https://www.viff.org