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					Anvil! The Story of Anvil
Dir: Sacha Gervasi             USA                    2008            80 mins                      Cert: 15A
Language: English
Available: Oct 09

At 14, Toronto friends Steve "Lips" Kudlow and Robb Reiner made a pact to rock together forever. They formed a
band, Anvil - and recorded an album, "Metal On Metal" that was a seminal milestone in heavy metal. Bands like
Metallica, Slayer, Guns n'Roses all grew on the shoulders of the "demigods of Canadian Metal". But then, unlike many
of the bands they inspired, Anvil slipped into obscurity.

When Sasha Gervasi (screenwriter of Spielberg's The Terminal) was a teenager, he was a huge Anvil fan. In fact, he
ended up touring with them, as a trainee roadie. Two decades later Sasha regained contact with his old heroes, to
document this hilarious and loving account of Anvil's last-ditch quest for elusive fame and fortune.

It's fascinating to see the reality of their day-to-day lives as they struggle to make ends meet, take a misguided
European tour, and engage in antics on the road - which is not always lined with fans. Gervasi even finds a softer
centre to this raucous film, introducing us to band members' ever-supportive, but long-suffering, families. At its core,
Anvil! The Story of Anvil is a timeless tale of survival and the unadulterated passion it takes to follow your dream, year
after year. - Galway Film Fleadh 2008

Winner - Best Documentary, Galway Film Fleadh 2008
Winner - Audience Award, Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2009


Baader Meinhof Complex, The                                              Baader Meinhof Komlex, Der
Dir: Uli Edel        Germany, France, Czech Repiblic         2008        150 mins       Cert: 15A
Starring: Martina Gedeck, Moritz Bleibtreu, Johanna Wokalek, Bruno Ganz, Nadja Uhl, Stipe Erceg
Language: German
Available: Sept /Oct 09

The Baader Meinhof Complex reunites Downfall's producer-screenwriter Bernd Eichinger with his college friend and
Christiane F and Last Exit to Brooklyn director Uli Edel. Looking very much like a further mining of the modern German
political history seam which has compellingly produced both Downfall and The Lives of Others, The Baader Meinhof
Complex is engrossing on many levels.

Deftly relating the events that rocked Germany in the 1970s as the Baader Meinhof Gang – or the Red Army Faction –
wielded its crazed mixture of ultra-left-wing ideology with vicious terrorism, The Baader Meinhof Complex will have an
inbuilt audience of viewers who remember that vivid era.

The RAF was born from the student protest movements of the 1960s when a highly-politicised post-war generation
took to the streets, inspired by events in Vietnam and behind the "Iron curtain". In West Germany, there was
understandably a strong desire not to repeat the mistakes of the recent past and a distrust of the political
establishment which included former Nazi Party members. The Baader Meinhof Gang started out as a loose group of
ultra-left-wing student radicals making a noise: by the end, it was an almost-aimless professional terrorist group allied
to the PLO and involved in cross-border extortion, kidnapping, murder and bombings. It did not officially cease to exist
until 1998.

The Baader Meinhof Complex restricts itself to the events between bloody protests against the Shah in Berlin in 1967
and the "German autumn" a decade later. The production prides itself on being historically accurate, down to using
transcripts of the Gang's Stammheim prison trials and even the number of bullets used in its gruesome
assassinations. This is a controversial subject in Germany, and Edel is at pains to be dispassionate. Dramatically,
though, The Baader Meinhof Complex will hold very little suspense for people who lived through these times: the
resolution of the German autumn was as memorable in its day as the War on Terror is now. For today's younger,
politically-aware demographic (not as high now as it was then), this is a fascinating look at the birth of modern
terrorism. The RAF itself may seem dated with its Marxist, Maoist rants, but as the production is at pains to point out, it
does have resonance with what is happening now.

Technically, this is shot up-close and personal; Edel makes heavy use of handheld, but it's not jarring. Production
values are excellent - this is reportedly Germany's most expensive film ever. Music is minimal, although opening the
film with Janis Joplin (Mercedes Benz) and closing it with Bob Dylan (Blowin' In The Wind) seems at odds with the
spirit of what unfolds onscreen, even if the timing is roughly right. In opting to shoot the film in quasi-documentary style
– moving efficiently but crisply from one event to another – Edel keeps the viewer at a distance from the people
onscreen and emotionally. The Bader Meinhof Complex falters, even as it fascinates.
- Screen International


La Boheme
Dir: Robert Dornhelm              Austria, Germany           2008         114 mins            Cert: G
Starring: Nicole Cabell, Boaz Daniel, Stéphane Degout, Ioan Holender, Anna Netrebko, Rolando Villazón
Language: Italian
Available: Sept 09

This new cinematic version of Giacomo Puccini‘s immortal opera is directed by Academy Award nominee Robert
Dornhelm and stars the opera world‘s dream team, soprano Anna Netrebko and tenor Rolando Villazon.

It is Paris in the 1830s, and four friends share a drafty Parisian garret. It is Christmas eve, and they decide to
celebrate in their favourite bar, the Café Momus. Rodolfo, a writer, stays behind to finish an article. There is a knock at
the door and their neighbour Mimi, whose candle has gone out, asks for help. There is an instant attraction, and the
two quickly fall in love. The light-hearted mood of Rodolfo and Mimi‘s first days together does not last, however, for
Mimi develops a fatal illness. Though they agree to stay together, Mimi leaves her lover. Only when she is desperately
ill and dying does she return to the garret where she was once so happy, and to Rodolfo, the man she still loves with
all her heart….


Boogie
Dir: Radu Muntean Romania              2008               102 mins                                  Cert: Club
Starring: Dragos Bucur, Anamaria Marinca, Mimi Branescu and Adrian Vancica.
Language: Romanian
Available: Sept 09

Like Cristi Puiu's The Death of Mr Lazarescu and Cristian Mungiu's 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days, Radu Muntean's
Boogie is part of a quietly gripping new movement in Romanian film-making.

Like these directors, Muntean demonstrates great simplicity and clarity, capturing potent emotional events which are
allowed to unfold in long, continuous takes with the camera kept prudently back at a distance.

Dragos Bucur plays Bogdan or "Boogie", a hardworking guy who has been prevailed upon to take his partner
Smaranda (Anamaria Marinca) and their child to the seaside. Smaranda is not happy in their relationship, and her
discontent boils over when Boogie bumps into some old drinking buddies from when he was a single guy - and takes
off with them.
Interestingly, Muntean offers no final reassurance that married life is better than the shallow pleasures of
bachelordom. Hard choices and trade-offs must always be made, both for the young and the less young. This is a
tough, shrewd, intelligent movie. - Peter Bradshaw / The Guardian


Bronson
Dir: Nicolas Winding Refn         UK           2008         92 mins             Cert: 18
Starring: Tom Hardy, Matt King, Terry Stone, Amanda Burton, Jonathan Phillips, Hugh Ross, Kelly Adams,
China-Black, Joe Tucker, Edward Bennett-Coles, Katy Barker
Language: English
Available: Nov 09

Winding Refn's portrait of notorious lifer and the UK's 'most violent prisoner', Charles Bronson, is an ambitious and
brave attempt to create a biopic of a man who has spent 34 years of his life in prison, and 28 of those in solitary
confinement. Whilst confronting the extreme brutality which has characterised Bronson's life, Winding Refn
endeavours to get to the heart of such a desperate existence. Born Michael Peterson, Bronson's ambition was simply
to be famous. With a limited sphere of opportunities, the criminal world offered a theatre in which he could cultivate his
stylised persona.

Physically transformed, Tom Hardy gives an extraordinarily visceral and psychological performance as Bronson, his
laconic voice-over serving as the framework for the Bronson cabaret. In showing the repetitiveness of Bronson's
existence punctuated by finely choreographed violent set pieces, Winding Refn continually brings the focus back to
the mundanity of the man and the terror of the myth. - Sarah Lutton / London Film Festival Programme


Buddha Collapsed Out of Shame                                                               Buda as sharm foru rikht
Dir: Hana Makhmalbaf       Iran          2007          81 mins                       Cert: 12A
Starring: Nikbakht Noruz, Abdolali Hoseinali, Abbas Alijome
Language: Persian
Available: Sept 09

Movies about young people and by very young directors are a notable feature of Iranian cinema and the latest striking
picture from that country, Buddha Collapsed out of Shame, centres on a six-year-old Afghan girl searching for an
education and is written and directed by 19-year-old Hana Makhmalbaf. Her father is the leading Iranian director
Mohsen Makhmalbaf, and her sister, Samira Makhmalbaf, had a feature film in competition in Cannes before she was
18.

The movie begins and ends with the shocking 2001 newsreel image of the Taliban blowing up the gigantic statues of
the Buddha in Bamyan and in between presents a day in the life of a girl living in the impoverished village still littered
with the rubble from the explosion.

Baktay, the film's little heroine, sees a boy living in the next-door cave reading a book and becomes determined to go
to school. First, she has to raise the money for a notebook and a pencil by selling the eggs of the family's chicken. She
only gets enough for the notebook, but takes her mother's lipstick as a writing instrument and sets out wearing a
yellow scarf on her head and an ankle-length dress.

On her journey, she's waylaid by a gang of boys playing a game in which they're Taliban fighting Americans. They
terrorise Baktay, rip pages from her book, seize her irreligious lipstick, put a paper bag over her head and pretend to
bury her alive. It's one of the most terrifying sequences of recent years. 'In God's name, let me go to school,' she
pleads.
When she eventually escapes, she's rejected by an open-air boys' school and finally finds the place for girls. But again
she has a nasty experience with the Taliban kids on the way home. Only when she pretends to be killed does she find
peace. This is a deeply affecting but wholly unaffected picture, direct, truthful and unsentimental, and Nikbakht Noruz
makes an indelible impression as the brave Baktay. - Philip French / The Observer


Che: Part 1
Dir: Steven Soderbergh             France, Spain, USA         2008         126 mins     Cert: 12A
Starring: Benicio Del Toro, Santiago Cabrera, Damian Bichir, Kahlil Mendez, Rodrigo Santoro, Catalina
Sandino Moreno, Marisé Alvarez, Carlos Bardem, Franka Potente, Edgar Ramirez, Elvira Minguez, Benjamin
Benitez, Victor Rasuk, Yul Vazquez, Julia Ormond, Lou Diamond Phillips, Joaquim de Almeida, Eduard
Fernandez, Jorge Peruggoria, Rubén Ochandiano, Unax Ugalde, José Julio Park Shin, Armando Riesco,
Benjamin Bratt, Alberto Santana, Mark Umbers and Matt Damon.
Language: English and Spanish
Available: Oct / Nov 09

The first thing to say about this monumental achievement from the American director Steven Soderbergh is that you
should see it. The second is that you should try to see both parts in one go; only then do the true audacity and
intelligence and the sheer formal elegance of the work become apparent.

See just Part One and it may feel like an odd, faintly flat biopic; watch it all and you see Soderbergh isn't even out to
make a biopic in any conventional sense of the term.

For one thing, of course, he didn't need to tread the path of traditional portraiture, as Walter Salles's The Motorcycle
Diaries has already dealt with how an Argentinian medic's encounters with suffering and injustice transformed his
political awareness. Moreover, while Ernesto Guevara (Benicio Del Toro) is undoubtedly at the centre of Soderbergh's
diptych, he's not the main focus of interest, in that this is a film about the process of revolutionary struggle.

Part One - spanning from 1955, when Guevara first met Fidel Castro (Demián Bichir) in Mexico City, to 1964, when he
visited New York to address the United Nations assembly - mainly chronicles the guerilla campaign fought by a tiny,
initially ragged band of rebels against the army supporting the Cuban dictator Batista. Flashing backwards and
forwards in time, it frames the guerrillas' slow but still miraculous progress, from the Sierra Maestra to a finally decisive
victory in Santa Clara, within a discussion (based on Guevara's speeches and writings) of revolutionary strategy, in
terms of both practice and theory. - Geoff Andrew / Time Out London

Winner - Best Actor, Cannes Film Festival 2008


Che: Part 2
Dir: Steven Soderbergh            France, Spain, USA          2008        131 mins      Cert: 15A
Starring: Benicio Del Toro, Franka Potente, Santiago Cabrera, Demián Bichir, Kahlil Mendez, Rodrigo Santoro,
Yamil Adorno, Jorge Alberti, Marisé Alvarez, Ricardo Alvarez and Fernando Arroyo.
Language: English and Spanish
Available: Oct /Nov 09

During this time the pragmatic strategist Che becomes ever more crucial to Castro. But at the same time, he's just one
component in a campaign dependent on the growing support of Cuba's peasant population. If Part One ends on an
unexpectedly cool note, given the rebels' victory, that's not because Soderbergh has failed to provide a feelgood
celebration of heroic triumph, but because it's the midpoint of a careful consideration of Guevara's achievements. Part
Two finds him arriving incognito in Bolivia in 1966, in the hope of taking, with the help of a few Cuban comrades, the
revolution to impoverished, frightened Indian farmers none too happy about foreigners stirring up the authorities
against them. The infighting among the left negotiated by Castro in Cuba is more problematic in Bolivia; the CIA is
sniffing around; Guevara, still plagued by asthma, is older; and where Cuba ended in glory, Bolivia brings failure and
death.

In short, Part Two stands in dramatic contrast to its predecessor, and where Part One boasts a fragmented, garrulous
narrative with different time frames shot in 'Scope in different colours and black and white, the Bolivian episode is
linear, quieter, shot in muted, almost monochrome greens, greys and blues, framed in a less expansive, more
claustrophobic ratio. (Like the performances and the staging of action sequences, the camerawork - Soderbergh
himself shooting with the new, high-def RED camera - is superb throughout.) This formal audacity is matched by an
eschewal of traditional heroics; Soderbergh is interested in what it entails to fight for revolutionary ideals: not just
courage, cunning, expertise, loyalty, but the hardships, sacrifices... and the cost of mistakes. It's not a Hollywood-style
movie - it demands patience and proper attention - but it's a great movie, and rewards magnificently. - Geoff Andrew /
Time Out London

Winner - Best Actor, Cannes Film Festival 2008


Cherry Blossoms                                                                   Kirschblüten – Hanami
Dir: Doris Dörrie       Germany, France       2008                  127 mins             Cert: CLUB
Starring: Hannelore Elsner, Elmar Wepper, Robert Döhlert, Aya Irizuki and Floriane Daniel
Language: German, Japanese
Available: Sept 09

How do we deal with the inevitability of death? There can be few more important subjects for a film to tackle, and yet
this is a subject that is rarely discussed at all in western society. In Japan, things are quite different. Whereas
Germans may sing an old song about a mayfly yet find it increasingly difficult to deal with the mortality of their loved
ones, the Japanese celebrate Hanami each spring - the festival of the cherry blossom, symbol of ephemerality - and
endeavour to maintain contact with the shadows of those who have passed away.

Trudi (the ever-wonderful Hannelore Eisner) has always longed to go to Japan. As the film opens, she is told that her
husband (Elmar Wepper) is terminally ill. It's agonisingly painful for her - they have spent their whole adult lives
together and she can't imagine life without him - yet she chooses not to tell him, to preserve his enjoyment of life. She
takes the burden entirely upon herself, sparing their children too, as she has sought to do throughout her life.

Yet, whilst she acknowledges that the children - with their own lives and families and very different concerns - are
increasingly strangers - there are things she fails to understand about her husband, too. Things that will lead him to
undertake a strange journey and a path to understanding quite outside the bounds of his mundane Bavarian lifestyle.
Through an unlikely friendship with a Japanese teenager (Aya Irizuki) his view of the world will be completely
changed.

Cherry Blossoms is a film about death and a film about grief, yet it is also a film about how easily we can fail to
understand one another, and how love, if it is to prosper, must take that in its stride. The central couple are quietly
rejected by their insecure, self-centered children, yet their daughter's girlfriend (beautifully played by Nadja Uhl) seems
to see qualities in them that they are scarcely ready to see themselves, suggesting that sometimes we have to step
outside the familiar in order to perceive the truth.

Rather than being just another culture clash story, this is a story about how the meeting of different ways of life can
enrich both. As our hero and his young Japanese friend struggle to communicate in English, a language foreign to
both of them, they discover a new language of signs, gestures and dance which transcends national differences.
Exquisitely made, this gentle, intelligent film is full of warm humour. It's a piece of work in which every detail counts,
every shot beautifully framed and lit. A fly clinging to a windowpane, a handkerchief tied to a railing, a pair of slippers
on a mat - all these little things are full of meaning. Cherry Blossoms invites us to slow down and discover the hidden
layers of meaning in our own lives. It requires and solicits a certain generosity of spirit and an openness to experience,
but what it offers in return is something remarkable. - Jennie Kermode / Eye For Film


Christmas Tale, A                                                                     Un conte de Noël
Dir: Arnaud Desplechin           France              2008         153 mins                   Cert: Club
Starring: Catherine Deneuve, Jean-Paul Roussillon, Anne Consigny, Mathieu Amalric, Melvil Poupaud,
Hippolyte Griardot, Emmanuelle Devos, Chiara Mastroianni, Laurent Capelluto and Emile Berling.
Language: French
Available: Sept 09

Holiday films in the hands of Hollywood make me puke. Mom is usually expiring from something terminal while the
family dresses the Christmas tree with brave smiles. This French knockout, tough-minded and all the more affecting
for it, turned my head around. It hits hard - even the laughs are killers. I should say that Mom (Catherine Deneuve, still
an actress and beauty to die for) is slipping away from liver cancer.

So what makes this one magic? Start with director Arnaud Desplechin, who co-wrote the deft script with Emmanuel
Bourdieu. Desplechin (Kings and Queen, How I Got Into an Argument) is a world-class filmmaker, not some studio
hack. He can maintain a light touch even in the face of tragedy. He can layer a film so that it's always springing
surprises. He can reference Shakespeare, drop in a puppet show or a kitsch scene from The Ten Commandments,
and make them fit like pieces in a Byzantine puzzle. He can have actors face the camera and talk right at you. It all
works.

The cast is heaven, starting with Deneuve, Jean-Paul Roussillon as her much older husband, Mathieu Amalric as their
prodigal son and Emmanuelle Devos as the Jewish fiancee the son brings home for Christmas. Dark secrets are
unlocked, words draw more blood than punches, and Desplechin turns one family into a universe that resembles life
as a startling work of art. - Peter Travers / Rolling Stone


Class, The                                                                            Entre les murs
Dir: Laurent Cantet       France              2008                128 mins            Cert: 12A
Starring: François Bégaudeau, Franck Keïta, Esméralda Ouertani, Rachel Regulier and Nassim Amrabt.
Language: French
Available: Oct / Nov 09

There will not be a better film this year than Laurent Cantet's The Class, which focuses on a year in a schoolroom
presided over by a young teacher, Marin (François Bégaudeau). The school is in a rough Parisian neighborhood and
the student body is mixed racially- black, Arab, Asian. Marin's particular challenge is, as with every teacher, trying to
instill a love of learning in these often recalcitrant adolescents, but the particular setting and makeup of his charges
renders his situation extraordinary. Extraordinary, too, are the ways he deals with the students, never pandering to
them and offering a kind of tough love as he tries to give them all a sense of self-worth, as well as proper speech in a
France where traditional language is dying.

The film is based on a book by Bégaudeau, recounting his own teaching experience, and he and Cantet discovered
their students in a Paris school, holding extensive workshops with them to probe their characters. This all gives The
Class a near-documentary feel, making it a unique interweaving of fiction and reality, as when some real-life parents of
the kids are also brought into the story.
Sometimes these encounters are benignly rewarding, as when a Chinese boy (Wei Huang) receives praise for his
efforts, but others are stormier, like that with a stern matron and her son, Souleymane (Franck Keita), the eternal class
troublemaker, whose antics have him facing expulsion, as well as a daunting parental decision to send him back to
Africa. This incident escalates when, in a fit of pique, Marin verbally attacks two girls who exhibited a lack of respect
during their monitoring of a teacher's meeting to decide Souleymane's fate. In a trice, all the bonhomie Marin has
worked so hard to achieve vanishes, and we are again at war, both generationally and culturally.

With febrile intelligence and staggering humanity Cantet makes you truly care about his people in a blessedly
unhistrionic way that harkens back to the greatest work of the Italian neorealists. - David Noh / Film Journal
International

Winner - Palme D’Or, Cannes Film Festival, 2008


Conversations with my Gardener                                      Dialogue avec mon jardinier
Dir: Jean Becker                   France              2007         108 mins         Cert: CLUB
Starring: Daniel Auteuil, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Fanny Cottençon, Alexia Barlier, Hiam Abbass, Élodie
Navarre
Language: French
Available: Sept 09

A successful painter leaves Paris to return to the village in central France where he was born more than 50 years ago.
Since the death of his parents the unoccupied house has been surrounded by gardens that the painter has neither the
will nor the know-how to cultivate. To his great surprise his ad for a gardener is answered by an old friend from
primary school. A mature, friendly bond develops between the two men that is enriched by the different experiences
they have had in life. The gardener‘s directness and the genuine spontaneity of his worldly wisdom, in particular,
captivates the metropolitan, who takes a new view of life, love, and of vegetables and funerals.

The inconspicuously elegant direction of Jean Becker makes room for the meeting of two outstanding French actors,
Daniel Auteuil and Jean-Pierre Darroussin, whose brilliant performances rank the story of the friendship between
painter and gardener among the best French films of the year. – Karlovy Vary Film Festival 2007


Dead. The
Dir: John Huston                 UK                    1987                   83 mins                 Cert: TBC
Starring: Donal McCann, Angelica Huston
Language: English
Available: Late Oct 09

John Huston's 1987 adaptation of James Joyce's short story was a labour of love that fully earns its reappearance. At
the time, it was surrounded by an aura of respect for the director's passion and high-mindedness in making a film
whose title - remaining unchanged - was never going to inspire much ch-ching at the box office.

There was a sense also, however, that it was a great man's self-indulgence, and also a worry that it was too literal an
adaptation. And for the famous final passage to come in voiceover, however beautifully spoken, was an admission of
defeat: Joyce's literary performance could not be successfully converted into cinema.

Over 20 years on, however, I believe this movie stands up. In fact, its literalness is interestingly what gives it its class.
It is almost a real-time transcription of Joyce's slice-of-life tale about an upper-middle class couple, Gretta and Gabriel
Conroy (Anjelica Huston and Donal McCann) attending a fancy musical evening among the leisured professional
classes of Edwardian Dublin.
What looked unimaginative then now appears bold, almost experimental: The Dead sometimes looks a little like an
old-style live television broadcast of a stage-play on a single set, but this unitary effect has rigour, clarity and life.
Huston holds his nerve and just follows, with eagle-eyed attention to detail, the inconsequential chatter and the to-ings
and fro-ings of the dinner-jacketed folk, giving no hint of the final revelation: Gretta's confession, triggered by a singing
of The Lass of Aughrim, that she is still transfixed by the tragic memory of a 17-year-old boy, who died for love of her.

This is the real truth behind her placid married prosperity. Another sort of adaptation would have industriously found
ways of stitching back premonitions and flashbacks into earlier passages of the script, but Huston knows that it would
not have its piquancy if it did not come out of the blue: mysterious, undramatised. Fine performances from everyone,
and a self-effacing, enigmatic star turn from Anjelica Huston herself. - Peter Bradshaw / The Guardian


Divo, Il
Dir: Paolo Sorrentino             France, Italy        2008           110 mins              Cert: 15A
Starring: Toni Servillo, Anna Bonaiuto, Piera Degli Esposti, Paolo Graziosi, Giulio Bosetti and Flavio Bucci.
Language: Italian and English
Available: Mid / Late Oct 09

Paolo Sorrentino's magisterial Il Divo reaches into the tumultuous political history of post-war Italy to craft a dazzling
portrait of one of the period's most complex and ambiguous figures, Giulio Andreotti (Toni Servillo). Arguably the most
important Italian politician of the last fifty years, Andreotti entered politics in 1946 and led seven governments, turning
his Christian Democratic party into a force that ran Italy in what was essentially a one-party system. To do so clearly
required a man of singular abilities - but Andreotti was, and remains, an enigma to his fellow countrymen.

The film eschews the traditional biopic format in favour of a far more claustrophobic, focused look at the man. This
concentration of energy and force pays high dividends, especially as Sorrentino has found a perfect vessel in Servillo,
an actor who loses himself in the role and effectively "becomes" Andreotti before our eyes. From the film's opening
moments when we are confronted with Andreotti - in intense close-up, with acupuncture needles covering his face -
we are unmistakably in the hands of a master.

What is fascinating about Il Divo is the manner by which it hones in on a man who is apparently more interested in
obtaining power than actually wielding it. Andreotti is a tightly coiled, extremely controlled, almost emotionless field of
energy who successfully navigates the backroom corridors of power but appears unconcerned and uninterested in
issues of policy. Sorrentino's conceit is not to skim the surface of Andreotti's political accomplishments, but to stare as
if through a microscope into the more private corridors of his thoughts. This he does with an intense desire to see and
understand, though perhaps only the enigma remains. - Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2009

Winner - Jury Prize, Cannes Film Festival 2008


Encounters at the End of the World__________________________      _______________________
Dir: Werner Herzog                    USA          2007      99 mins      Cert: CLUB
Language: English
Available: Nov / Dec 09

There is a hidden society at the end of the world. One thousand men and women live together in unbelievably close
quarters in Antarctica, risking their lives and sanity in search of cutting-edge science. Now, for the first time, an
outsider has been admitted.
In his first documentary since Grizzly Man, Werner Herzog, accompanied only by his cameraman, traveled to
Antarctica, with rare access to the raw beauty and raw humanity of the ultimate ‗Down Under‘.

The result is Encounters at the End of the World, Herzog‘s latest meditation on nature, which beautifully explores this
land of fire, ice and corrosive solitude. The nature of Antarctica ensures that it provides its own form of natural
selection where professional dreamers are forced to either acclimatize themselves or admit defeat and return home.
Throughout the course of Herzog‘s own narration, he maintains that he made the documentary to satisfy his own
questions about nature, and many discussions are raised concerning technology, the natural world and humanity
-Cork Film Festival Programme 2008


Far North
Dir: Asif Kapadia           UK           France             2007                     89 mins                Cert: 15A
Starring: Michelle Yeoh, Michelle Krusiec, Sean Bean and Gary Pillai
Language: English
Available: Sept 09

In 2001 British director Asif Kapadia's feature debut The Warrior garnered him praise for his storytelling and for
eliciting moving performances from his cast whilst capturing stunning Indian scenery. He followed this up last year in
the States with The Return starring Sarah Michelle Gellar. It couldn't have been more different, or disappointing.
Thankfully, Far North looks and feels like the film we were hoping for last time around.

In fact, it is. It's just taken Kapadia more than four years to realise his vision so I guess he had to do something to pay
the bills in the meantime. He has again teamed with Tim Miller (The Warrior co-writer) to develop a Spartan
screenplay, based on a short story by Sarah Maitland, which charms with its simple folklore inflections and disturbs
with its dark humanity.

Michelle Yeoh is Saiva, a nomadic woman wandering the truly desolate icescapes of the Arctic tundra. Her sole
companion is the younger Anja, played by Michelle Krusiec. Together they have forged a harsh hand-to-mouth
existence, on the move with their huskies, avoiding others, battling the cold, hunting for food. They're close and
comfortable with each other's mostly wordless company; Anja is resilient and perky, Saiva a determined maternal
protector.

One day a figure, a man, played by Sean Bean, staggers over the barren horizon and finally collapses at Saiva's feet.
His name is Loki. With much consternation Saiva takes him back to their animal-skinned camp where his mere
presence instantly and seismically changes the women's closed daily living. His name is deliberately apt, taken from a
god of Norse mythology known for unbalancing the nature of things. Inevitably, tensions mount as their new
relationships see brute human psychology tentatively unfurl from within all three.

Kapadia has described the film as a dark fairy story rather than a straight narrative. Indeed, when the final act comes it
is both shocking and entirely apposite with the three-handed Greek tragedy that he has steadily developed from the
first opening sequences. It is an unsettling, captivating conclusion.

Everyone delivers persuasive performances, considering the environmental conditions and that they're working with
characters that are drawn as intentionally illustrative as they are human. If anything, Bean is the weakest and least
evolved because of this and while Krusiec is consistently reliable Yeoh, frankly, excels. Her portrayal of Saiva as both
seasoned survivor and conflicted victim brings the full tragic portent of her flash-backed past straight into her present
actions and wavering gaze, transfixing throughout.

Equally spellbinding is the epic polar scenery, beautifully rendered by cinematographer Roman Osin. Mountainous,
awesome and utterly punishing, Far North is best seen on the big screen to appreciate in full the world the characters
live in - and Kapadia's sizeable achievement in capturing and so poignantly weaving it to his characters' story. It is a
far more welcome return for the director.

An absorbing, disturbing and exceptionally composed filmic fable. - Paul Griffiths / Eye For Film


Flame and Citron                                                                Flammen & Citronen
Dir: Ole Christian Madsen Denmark, Czech Republic, Germany 2008           120 mins     Cert: 15A
Starring: Thure Lindhardt,Mads Mikkelsen, Stine Stengade,Christian Berkel, Hanns Zischler and Peter
Muggind.
Language: Danish and German
Available: Oct 09

Unlike director Ole Christian Madsen's intimate domestic dramas Kira's Reason and Prague, Flame & Citron is a
sprawling World War II epic about the Danish resistance against Nazi occupation. In terms of sensibility, however, the
film is very much in harmony with Madsen's earlier work, driven by his fine-tuned awareness of uncomfortable truths,
deceit and betrayal.

His heroes are Bent (Thure Lindhart) and Jørgen (Mads Mikkelsen), better known in Denmark by their code names
Flame & Citron. As the key assassins for the Resistance, they were responsible for eliminating dozens of Danish
collaborators and, eventually, Nazi officers. But as Madsen shows, Flame and Citron were not conventional heroic
types, nor were their actions as clear-cut as several generations of Danes believed.

Inspired in part by Jean-Pierre Melville's legendary L'Armée des Ombres, Flame & Citron is based on the premise that
those who defied the Nazis lived on the margins, the kind of people who were looked down upon before the war and
had absolutely nothing to lose. Flame (a reference to his blazing red hair) is at the very least a sociopath. He enjoys -
possibly relishes - killing. Citron is a wounded, morose and completely unemployable alcoholic and addict.
As his wife tells him at a dismal birthday party for their young daughter, he wasn't much of a husband before the war
either.

The other principals are Hoffman (Christian Berkel), a leader in the Gestapo; Aksel Winther (Peter Mygind), the
Resistance leader who gives the duo their marching orders; and Ketty Selmer (Stine Stengade), with whom Flame is
in love even though both he and Citron are suspicious of her. None of these relationships are exactly transparent,
however, and the political situation encourages all manner of treachery and realpolitik.

As we now know, many of the heroic tales about World War II were myths. Shady deals were made and rampant
profiteering was common, frequently at high levels of government. Trenchant and relevant (the film evokes numerous
parallels to the current situation in Iraq), Flame & Citron is courageous, complex and gripping, and has already
become one of the highest-grossing pictures in Danish film history. - Steve Gravestock, Toronto International Film
Festival Programme


Genova
Dir: Michael Winterbottom             UK          2008            94 mins            Cert: 15A
Starring: Colin Firth, Perla Haney-Jardine, Willa Holland, Catherine Keener, Hope Davis
Available: Sept / Oct 09

Michael Winterbottom is the most protean of contemporary directors, turning his hand to political thriller, comedy,
docudrama and the far reaches of the erotic. The stories vary, but what remains consistent is this English filmmaker‘s
search for psychological truth. Genova pushes this pursuit forward, and into new territory.
Joe (Colin Firth) is an Englishman raising his family in the United States. One day as his wife (Hope Davis) is driving
their daughters home, she becomes momentarily distracted. Disaster strikes. Left in a fog of grief, Joe decides to
accept a position teaching in Italy. He hopes the change of setting will help to pull both him and his daughters from the
limbo of their bereavement.

Like many teenagers, Kelly (Willa Holland) is sullen at home. In Europe, however, she is suddenly awakened to new
possibilities, and strikes up a secret romance with an Italian boy. Her younger sister Mary (Perla Haney- Jardine) feels
the death of their mother most acutely; in fact, the tragedy may have followed them to Italy. As he tries to keep a
handle on his daughters, Joe navigates the new demands of an old friendship with a university colleague, played by
the marvellous Catherine Keener. Meanwhile, the family is surrounded by Genova’s gorgeous jumble of medieval,
Renaissance and contemporary influences.

Genova is a mood piece, an exploration of what agonizing loss can provoke in a family. Firth is the ideal choice for the
father, his restraint barely concealing a well of emotion. Holland stands out as a girl on the brink of womanhood,
itching to know more but unaware of what that knowledge may bring.

The film shows shades of Nicolas Roeg‘s Don’t Look Now, but it is Winterbottom‘s own artistic sensibility that defines
Genova. Expert to the point of looking effortless, his approach includes agile camerawork that keeps the atmosphere
constantly unsettled. This is a beautiful, slow burn of a film, made with insight, passion and grace. - Cameron Bailey /
Toronto International Film Festival Programme


Gomorrah                                                                                         Gomorra
Dir: Matteo Garrone               Italy        2008          137 mins                      Cert: 16
Starring: Salvatore Abruzzese, Marco Macor, Ciro Petrone, Gianfelice Imparato, Toni Servillo, Carmine
Paternoster, Salvatore Cantalupo, Simone Sacchettino, Salvatore Ruocco, Vincenzo Fabricino, Vincenzo
Altamura
Language: Italian
Available: Sept 09

Gritty, powerful, harrowing, and charged with documentary- style urgency, Gomorrah was a formidable contender for
2008‘s Palme d'Or at Cannes, where it received the runner-up prize, the Grand Prix du Jury. The film's title doubles as
a Biblical reference to Sodom and Gomorrah and as word play on the Camorra, the notorious Neapolitan equivalent of
the Mafia. The Camorra has been responsible for more murders - over 4,000 - in the past 30 years than any criminal
or terrorist group.

That claim is made in the film and in its basis, Gomorrah: Italy's Other Mafia, a best-seller by Roberto Saviano.
Saviano, a native of Naples, has been under round-the-clock police protection since it was published in 2006.
Collaborating with a team of writers that included Saviano, director Matteo Garrone has constructed a riveting film shot
on forbidding, authentic locations as it unflinchingly illustrates the scale and ruthlessness of the Camorra's activities.

The clans of gangsters that constitute its membership cross all social classes. Their criminal syndicate has turned
Scampia, a suburb north of Naples, into what Saviano describes as "the largest open-air drugs marketplace in the
world". Lookouts patrol the rooftops to warn against the arrival of the caribineri, who evidently are fighting a losing
battle.

Garrone and his co-writers ambitiously and adroitly structure the film as a multi-layered narrative following diverse
characters, some of whose destinies are interlinked. They include a 13-year-old boy who eagerly seeks initiation into
his neighbourhood Camorra clan, after which he is told, "Now you're a man." Two older teens (Marco Macor and Ciro
Petrone), first seen exuberantly acting out scenes from Brian De Palma's Scarface , are so hot-headed and naive that
they foolishly aspire to build a criminal empire of their own.
Meanwhile, a master tailor (Salvatore Cantalupo) risks his life when he trains the employees of rival Chinese
manufacturers in producing fake designer clothing. And at the highly lucrative end of the chain is an unscrupulous
operator (the excellent Toni Servillo), who makes a fortune from dumping toxic waste.

There is, inevitably in such a scenario, dishonour among thieves, and every misstep or disloyalty triggers reprisals.
The movie opens arrestingly on one such cold-blooded execution, when four men are gunned down in the eerie blue
light of a tanning salon. The body count escalates as the drama builds, sometimes with startling consequences.

In that and other respects, Garrone acknowledges the influence of the great Italian neo-realist films of the 1940s,
sharing their social concerns in a contemporary context. In the same tradition, his cast effectively blends experienced
actors and non-professionals. The film is so densely plotted and features so many significant characters that it
demands the viewer's alert attention. - Michael Dwyer / The Irish Times

Winner – Jury Grand Prize, Cannes Film Festival 2008


Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson
Dir: Alex Gibney          USA                 2008                            120 mins                        Cert: 15A
Language; English
Available: Sept 09

Alex Gibney's latest documentary is decadent and depraved. The film-maker has, hitherto, been best known for
serious, brow-furrowing features such as Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (financial meltdown) and the Oscar-
winning Taxi to the Dark Side (chaos in Iraq).

After all that, Gonzo could be seen as a bit of idle, light relief. After all, how hard can it be to make an entertaining film
on the drug-crazed, booze-drenched author of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas? Raised in Kentucky, Thompson came
to fame with a justifiably famous collection of articles on Oakland's Hells Angels and went on to transform American
letters with his invention of the (too often misused) concept of Gonzo Journalism. In the decade leading up to Fear and
Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72, his classic study of American politics, Thompson thrilled counter-culture vultures
with his unique combination of hard reporting and bad behaviour.

Decades in the wilderness then preceded his suicide in 2005. Any idiot could turn that story into an enjoyable romp.
Just round up a respectable collection of talking heads and set them loose.

It's not quite as simple as that, of course. Gibney has ploughed through the records and dug up a wealth of obscure
material on the late Doctor. His appearance on the TV series What's My Line is hilarious, and the numerous clips of an
alert, shiny-headed Thompson make his later decline all the sadder.

It is, however, the contributions from friends, colleagues and enemies that really enliven the film. Jann Wenner, the
smug founder of Rolling Stone, comes across like a combination of Wall Street baron and televangelist. Jimmy Carter
and George McGovern, two presidential candidates who, though enthusiastically supported by Thompson, could not
be less like him in temperament, shake their heads and snigger wryly at the memory of his creative dissolution. More
surprising still, an approving Pat Buchanan, former speechwriter for Richard Nixon, demonstrates that a sense of
humour can unite even the fiercest of political foes.

Featuring faux-beatnik readings by Johnny Depp, the film does inevitably gloss over the past 30 years to focus acutely
on that productive decade, and it says, perhaps, too little about Thomson's somewhat unhappy influence on younger,
lazier pop-culture writers. But Gonzo remains disreputably gripping throughout. How could it not? - Donald Clarke /
The Irish Times
Identities_________________________________________________________________________________
Dir: Vittoria Colonna     Ireland          2008              84 mins           Cert: Club
Language: English
Available: Oct 09

Premiered at the Cork Film Festival, where it was greeted with laughter, tears and warm applause, Identities, Vittoria
Colonna‘s new feature-length documentary, is a sensitive and compelling documentary,which explores the
multicoloured, multicultural transgender community in Ireland. Five personal stories give shape to the different but
parallel worlds of transvestism, transsexualism, drag, sexual identity and gender dysphoria.

Documented in series of revealing black and white interviews, each narrative is preceded by a colour performance art
piece, and more abstract self-representation. At its heart, this is a film about the human spirit and overcoming
stereotype and categorisation. – Irish Film Institute Brochure


In The City of Sylvia                                                                                En la ciudad de Sylvia
Dir: José Luis Guerín              Spain              2007                    84 mins                Cert: G
Starring: Pilar Lopez de Ayala, Xavier Lafitte.
Language: Spanish
Available: Nov /Dec 09

A nameless young man arrives in Strasbourg and spends his days sitting at an outdoor café, sketching the figures of
the women around him, patiently waiting for Sylvia to appear. He finally thinks he sees her and gives chase, but it
turns out to be someone else. He resumes his quest for his lost love and the innocence he longs to regain. Sylvia‘s
presence lingers, but it is impossible to return to the past. Director José Luis Guerín is clearly interested in the artist
and his interminable gaze on his subjects. We become the voyeurs, seeing everything through the eyes of the
handsome young man.

In the City of Sylvia imparts nostalgia for days when it was plausible to search for love, wander streets aimlessly and
immerse oneself in a foreign place: the freedom to do as one pleases. Guerín carefully crafts the pleasures of youth,
art and love in Sylvia‘s hometown. - Diana Sanchez, Toronto International Film Festival Programme


Ireland: The Tear and the Tear and the Smile____________________________________________________
Dir: Willard Van Dyke and Peter Bryan          USA, UK     1961        74 mins     Cert: CLUB
Language: English
Available: Sept 09

The Irish Film Archive of the Irish Film Institute presents in association with access>CINEMA

Ireland : The Tear and The Smile (1961, 2 x 27 mins)

Designed to introduce American television audiences to contemporary Irish society, Ireland The Tear and the Smile
aimed to provide an accurate picture of everyday life in Ireland in 1960. Presented by TV luminary, Walter Cronkite
and written by Irish novelist, Elizabeth Bowen the programme featured contributions from leading political and literary
figures - President, Eamon de Valera, Taoiseach, Seán Lemass, Seán O Faolain, Siobhan McKenna, Brendan Behan,
Nora Connolly O‘Brien, and Sybil Connolly. The interviews were punctuated with images of urban and rural life, Dublin
pub scenes, gambling, hardship in the west of Ireland, and harrowing scenes of emigration.
Upon broadcast in early 1961, the programmes were met with disapproval by Irish diplomats in the US who argued
that they presented Ireland as a ―a poverty- stricken country riddled with backwardness, unemployment and
emigration‖.

A misleading distortion of a modern, progressive nation or a valuable, critical reflection on an economically and
politically challenged society? We invite you to judge.


O Hara’s Holiday (1961, 20 mins)

In this vividly shamrock-tinted Hammer Film Production‘s short, designed to attract American tourists to Ireland,
vacationing New York cop, O‘Hara (Herbert Mulhoun) is delighted to find not only his roots but the beautiful young
Kitty (Antoinette Lawlor) in Ireland. Along with his ―American‖ friends Bill, (Tom Irwin) and Ann (Anna Manahan), they
enjoy the beauty spots of the Irish countryside and the hotspots of Dublin nightlife.


Kisses
Dir: Lance Daly              Ireland                     2008               72 mins                Cert: 15A
Starring: Kelly O'Neill, Shane Curry, Paul Roe, Neili Conroy
Language: English
Available: Sept 09

On the fringes of Dublin, Kylie and Dylan - two pre-teen kids - live in a suburban housing estate devoid of life, colour
and the prospects of escape. Kylie lives with five other sisters, her overworked mother and in constant dread of her
uncle‘s unwelcome visits. Next door, Dylan lives in the shadow of an abusive alcoholic father and the memory of an
elder brother who ran away from home two years previously.

After a violent altercation with his father, Dylan runs away from home and Kylie decides to run away with him.
Together they make their way to the magical night time lights of inner city Dublin, to search for Dylan‘s brother, and in
the hope of finding, through him, the possibility of a new life.
Lance Daly‘s vision of Dublin, as seen through the innocent eyes of our protagonists, is a kaleidoscope of magic,
wonder and mystery. But as the night wears on, and Dublin takes on a darker character, the two kids have to rely on
the kindness of strangers, the advice of Bob Dylan and their trust in each other to survive the night.

With two wonderful performances at the film‘s heart, Lance Daly‘s new feature is a sheer delight. - Galway Film
Fleadh Programme 2008

Winner - Best Irish Feature Film, Galway Film Fleadh 2008


Klass                                                                                                   Klass
Dir: Ilmar Raag              Estonia       2007                 97 mins              Cert: CLUB
Starring: Vallo Kirs, Pärt Uusberg, Lauri Pedaja, Paula Solvak, Mikk Magi, Riin Ries, Joonas Paas, Kadi Metsla,
Triin Tenso, Virgo Ernits and Karl Sakrits
Language: Estonian
Available: Sept 09

Introvert Joosep is the butt of crude jokes from his classmates who are irritated by his taciturn nature. The only
support he has comes from Kaspar, whom he sits next to in class. Anders, the leader of a gang, steps up his
behaviour toward both boys, taking things beyond the limits of human dignity. After a particularly repulsive incident.
Joosep and Kaspar decide it‘s time to take action. Things will never be the same again….
The film is divided into seven chapters and takes place in an anonymous Estonian secondary school. This isn‘t a
sociological probe into the theme of adolescent bullying which might turn violently against the perpetrators, but more a
universal reflection on the darker side of the human soul, often hidden beneath an attractive exterior, ready to provoke
an unexpected reaction under excess pressure. The acting performances of the leads, in particular, give the story – a
linear progression where silly pranks develop into a tragic outcome – a highly credible dimension.
-Karlovy Vary International Film Festival Programme 2007


Lemon Tree                                                                                   Etz Limon
Dir: Eran Riklis           France, Germany, Israel          2008          106 mins    Cert: PG
Starring: Hiam Abbass, Ali Suliman, Rona Lipaz-Michael, Doron Tavory, Tarik Copty, Amos Lavie, Amnon
Wolf, Smadar Yaaron, Liron Baranes, Ayelet Robinson, Danny Leshman, Makram J. Khoury, Loai Nofi, Hili
Yalon, Michael Warshaviak.
Available: Sept 09

The rare ability to make intelligent, entertaining cinema from hot-button current issues is beautifully illustrated by
Lemon Tree, a multifaceted drama straddling the Palestinian-Israeli divide that's full of irony, generosity, anger and
pure crowd-pleasing optimism.

The setting is Zur HaSharon, on the Israel-West Bank border, where handsome 45-year-old widow Salma Zidane
(Abbass), from a Palestinian village, has a lemon grove her father planted half a century ago. When smooth new
Israeli Defense Minister Israel Navon (Doron Tavory) decides to build an upscale new house for him and his wife Mira
(Rona Lipaz-Michael) -- right up against the grove, on the Israeli side of the fence -- Salma's lemon trees are deemed
a defense risk.

Before she realizes what's up, Israeli security forces have erected a military watchtower and the lemon grove is locked
up, prior to being chopped down, so terrorists can't hide there. But Salma, who scrapes a living from her lemons,
decides to challenge the military's unilateral decision in the courts. "I've had my share of grief in life," she says.
The script soon fans out into a multi-character piece for which the central plot -- an obvious metaphor for Israel's much
more substantial defense wall -- is only a trigger. Salma finds a Palestinian lawyer, Ziad Daud (Ali Suliman), who's
willing to take on her seemingly hopeless case, and the gradual love story that develops between the young divorced
man and the lonely older widow provides a strong emotional underpinning.

The slowly developing sense of emotional complicity between Mira and Salma -- as they eye each other silently
across the wire fence -- adds an extra dimension. In a role that grows incrementally, Lipaz-Michael is very fine: Like
Abbass, she always underplays a potentially cliched character.

Ultimately, however, it's Abbass who motors the movie in a glammed-down perfermance that's among her finest work
to date. Her brief but dignified courtroom speech near the end packs an emotional wallop. Derek Elley / Variety

Winner - Audience Award, Berlin International Film Festival 2008
Man from London, The                                                                                 A Londoni férfi
Dir: Bela Tarr              France, Germany, Hungary          2007                   132 mins              Cert: Club
Starring: Miroslav Krobot, Tilda Swinton, Agi Szirtes and Janos Derzsi.
Language: Hungarian
Available: Sept 09

The renowned Hungarian film-maker Béla Tarr, who directed sepulchral masterpieces such as Werckmeister
Harmonies and the colossal Satan's Tango, has now adapted a Georges Simenon thriller. He has done so in a way
that I can only describe as characteristic. No concessions of any sort are made to the thriller genre. Pacy it ain't. Tarr's
authorial signature is everywhere, and this signature does not herald thrills or spills - though chills are here in
abundance. We get distinctively weird and halting dialogue, doomy-eerie organ chords on the soundtrack,
monochrome cinematography in which daylight is only slightly brighter than the night, extreme closeups of stricken,
immobile faces and glacially slow, hypnotic camera movements. There are moments of deadpan black comedy, often
involving strange dancing in bars. The combined effect of all this is unsettling, sometimes absurd, sometimes
stunning, and Fred Kelemen's lighting and camerawork are always impressive.

Tarr has taken a reasonably unassuming Simenon thriller, which was in fact converted into a conventional movie noir
in 1943, and dispenses entirely with thrills. The plot notionally involves a cop, a caseful of stolen cash, an arrest and
two killings, but you'd never know it. Everything is brought right down to a kind of fanatically concentrated, underwater
slowness: it's a little like Douglas Gordon's 24-hour Psycho installation.

There is, however, something intriguingly subversive about Tarr's anti-thriller. As if in some experiment, he has boiled
away the excitement, to leave behind a viscous residue of existential dread. If you read Simenon's book last thing at
night, then this might be the dream you would have after turning out the light. The story concerns a French harbour-
master called Maloin, played by the Czech actor Miroslav Krobot, who lives in near-poverty with his wife, played by
British star Tilda Swinton, and his daughter Henriette (Erika Bók). One night he witnesses a fight on the dark quayside
by the boat-train terminus between two shady types: one, carrying a case, is knocked into the water and disappears;
the other flees. Later, Maloin creeps out in secret to recover the floating bag, to find it contains a king's ransom in
British money. He hangs on to the cash, but a hatchet-faced British police officer, Inspector Morrison - played by 87-
year-old Hungarian actor István Lénárt - shows up, asking questions. The net is closing in.

Then there's the moment of truth itself. Maloin drags the stolen case back to his squalid little hut and opens it up to
reveal - 60 grand in cash! In any normal film, the suitcase-full-of-stolen-cash scene is a pulse-racer, the trigger for
astonishment and excitement and fear. Not here it's not. Maloin looks as if he has opened, not a staggering treasure
trove, but a gas bill for an amount very slightly more than he can afford to pay. His expression of gloomy resentment
never falters.

Yet here again, Tarr's approach has a kind of consistency. The money is British. Maloin is trapped. He can't spend it
without changing it, and this is impossible without drawing attention to himself. The stolen cash is a tantalus of longing.
It is a mountain of unspendable loot. In a spasm of resentment and frustration at his pseudo-riches in sterling, he digs
into his pathetic store of euros to buy a mink stole (of all the grotesque things) for his uncomprehending daughter. His
wife is horrified at this destruction of their savings, and Maloin simply cannot explain what he has done.

It really is very strange, and yet in concentrating on Maloin's misery, Tarr has hit on something very pertinent. So
many of us scamper all our working lives on the hamster's-wheel of work, always striving for more money and some
dimly imagined super payday in the future. Tarr's movie about Maloin and his sudden suitcase of meaningless cash is
a satirical opera on this theme, an opera without music but with compellingly strange images, a film in which dialogue
is not normal speech but rather a stylised sprechgesang. The Man from London is no conventional cop thriller. It's an
arresting nightmare all the same. - Peter Bradshaw / The Guardian
North Face                                                                                                   Nordwand
Dir: Philipp Stölzl Germany, Austria, Switzerland                     2008            127 mins               Cert: 12A
Starring: Benno Fürmann, Florian Lukas, Johanna Wokalek
Language: German, French, Italian
Available: Sept 09

North Face is pitched as a sports movie - a stirring tale of determination in the face of adversity, or a Touching the
Void-style outdoors drama. It's both of these things, but with the story of two German mountaineers struggling to be
the first to conquer the notorious north face of the Eiger in 1936, director Philipp Stölzl has done something really
clever. Sometime around the hour mark, you realise that what you're actually seeing is a brilliantly shot, heart-
wrenching metaphor for Germany's descent into fascism and World War II.

It all starts so innocently. Two fresh-faced young climbers, Toni Kurz (Benno Fürmann) and Andreas Hinterstoisser
(Florian Lukas), have devoted their lives to scaling mountains for the fun of it, and conscription into the German army
is nothing more than an unwelcome distraction from their focus. With international interest in the Eiger and,
specifically, which climbing team will be the first to scale the deadly north face, mounting, pressure is put on the duo
by the government and their old friend Luise (Johanna Wokalek) - now desperate for her first feature at a national
newspaper (and the secret object of Toni's affections) - for a German team to win the race. Eventually they give in to
the excitement, the thirst for achievement and personal pride, and set out to reach the top.

Until the pair arrive at the mountain, North Face is a simple film in familiar territory, with the somewhat corny
machinations of unrequited love and the competitive buzz of a prize waiting to be claimed that are at the heart of many
a sports drama. However, once they reach the Eiger and start their ascent, the film becomes something else entirely.
Instantly we're taken to a much more serious world as the brutality of the mountain punishes the climbers as they
strive ever onwards. The Eiger itself becomes the silent star of the film. It's a beautiful, violent and malevolent bruiser
that relentlessly attacks Toni, Andi and the other climbing teams as they go - cutting off their escape routes and
injuring them every chance it gets. The more time the climbers spend on the Eiger, the darker the film becomes, as
you start to realise that the joyous moment of celebration at the end of the film may never come, that in fact, tragedy
might be just past the next ledge.

This is exactly the point where the real message in North Face is revealed. Grand notions of national pride, a
triumphant victory and showing the world the indomitable spirit of the German volk fall apart in the face of savage
cruelty. Toni and Andi only understand the barbaric reality of the path they have taken when it's too late to turn back.
When the damage is done and grand idealistic talk is revealed to be nothing but empty rhetoric and naïve idealism.
This is an engaging and exquisitely crafted film which has more than one face to be reckoned with. - Jonathan
Williams / Little White Lies magazine


Of Time and The City
Dir: Terence Davies            UK                             2008                           73 mins         Cert: PG
Language: English
Available: Sept 09

While its power and intensity suggest something more exalted, I suppose we must label Terence Davies's newest
work an ―essay film,‖ which is a rather prosaic way of indicating that it's filled with poetry and insight, arresting images
and a polemical spirit of erudite anger and magical nostalgia. Its characters are many but finally only one: the
filmmaker himself.

Of Time and the City was commissioned by the city of Liverpool as part of the celebrations surrounding its designation
as the European Capital of Culture 2008. Davies was the obvious choice; much of his masterful body of work (The
Terence Davies Trilogy; Distant Voices, Still Lives; The Long Day Closes) breathes through Liverpool's damp lungs.
He recalls a time of great poverty and camaraderie, when the cinemas were the only palaces his family and friends
could actually enter. He remembers scandalous priests and corrupt officials who were never punished, while lonely
men in the city's various parks were tossed in jail for a wink and a nod.

He surveys the fatter, less desperate citizens of today, and finds them wanting. Churches have become discotheques,
the promenades have emptied, the architecture of heavy Victorian industry seems tailor-made for modern loft living.

Of Time and the City is also often great fun. Davies's voice-over, which runs throughout the work, is a delight. An
insightful intellectual with a distinctive drawl, he often manages to be incredibly funny in a wry, sometimes cynical and
deliriously romantic way. A precise balance between evocative archival footage and newly shot material completes
this unique and inspiring work. This is the first film Davies has made in eight years. It would be criminal to make us
wait so long for the next one. - Noah Cowan / Toronto International Film Festival Programme 2008


Paris__________________________________________________________________________________
Dir: Cedric Klapisch               France              2008           130 mins     Cert: CLUB
Starring: Romain Duris, Juliette Binoche, Fabrice Luchini, Albert Dupontel, François Cluzet, Karin Viard,
Mélanie Laurent, Gilles Lellouche, Zinedine Soualem, Julie Ferrier, Sabrina Ouazani, Kingsley Kum Abang
Language: French
Available: Sept 09

With a brilliant French cast headed by Juliette Binoche and Romain Duris as siblings menaced by terminal illness, and
the Parisian boulevards and backstreets looking glorious in widescreen, this expansive ensemble drama from Cédric
Klapisch could hardly go wrong-and it doesn‘t.

Duris, who first shone in Klapisch‘s 1996 charmer When the Cat’s Away, is on typically assured form as a cabaret
dancer who‘s just had some chastening news from the doctor, and spends his days peering from his apartment
balcony at the bustling neighbourhood below. Binoche, dressed down for the occasion, also excels as a much hassled
social worker who puts her job on hold to care for him, finds family bonds renewed in these testing circumstances, but
also takes a shine to kindly fruit stallholder Albert dupontel—a man with troubles of his own.

Meanwhile, across the street, history student Mélanie Laurent finds herself pursued by her professor Fabrice Luchini,
a cultural snob enjoying an unlikely lease of life after his father‘s recent passing. As one of Luchini‘s lectures explains,
the survival of a city depends on a continual process of renewal, and that‘s played out on a personal level in the
myriad subplots. If that results in a sort of classy soap opera, then the film‘s none the worse for it, breezily put
together, shifting effortlessly from comedy set-pieces to moments of disarming intimacy.

Klapisch evidently loves his actors (understandably so), ensuring that everyone gets their party-piece, and though
Binoche‘s half-joking striptease is surprisingly sweet, Luchini‘s faux-60s dance moves to Wilson Pickett might just be
the funniest thing you‘ll see on screen this year.—Trevor Johnston / Irish Film Institute Programme


Quiet Chaos                                                                                     Caos calmo
Dir: Antonio Luigi Grimaldi        UK,Italy               2008              105 mins     Cert: 16
Starring: Nanni Moretti, Valeria Golino, Isabella Ferrari, Alessandro Gassman, Blu Yoshimi, Hippolyte Girardot
Language: Italian
Available: Sept 09

This tale of a recent widower learning to integrate grief into life as a single parent will inevitably be compared to The
Son’s Room, not least thanks to Nanni Moretti‘s presence here as lead, but the current offering is a gentler,
deceptively simple drama looking at life as much as death.
The screenplay co-authored by Moretti -- and the Sandro Veronesi novel it‘s based on -- are welcome reminders of a
thoughtful yet emotional maturity existing in Italo literature all too often absent from movie screens. Film exec Pietro
(Moretti) has an eventful morning at the beach with brother Carlo (Alessandro Gassman) when he rushes into the
water to save a woman, Eleonora (Isabella Ferrari), from drowning. On returning to his summer home, he finds his
wife Lara has been killed in a freak falling accident.

Back in Rome, Pietro discovers all the small, necessary steps required of a now-single parent to bring up 10-year-old
daughter Claudia (Blu Yoshimi). When classes begin again, he takes her to school and, in a spur-of-the-moment
thought, decides to wait in the park across the street until she comes out again. So begins Pietro‘s new routine: he
drops Claudia off, reads the newspaper and slyly exchanges glances with nubile dog-walker Jolanda (Kasia
Smutniak).

Moretti‘s performance is refreshingly understated, even warm, yet his eyes reflect a palpable sense of emptiness until
the moment he comes to terms with his loss. Other roles are equally well cast though ultimately minor, from Valeria
Golino‘s animalistic breeziness as Pietro‘s sister-in-law to Gassman‘s sexy-while-sympathetic uncle routine. Dialogue
flows easily, and Grimaldi interpolates the right amount of humor.

Lensing is crisp and unself-conscious, Angelo Nicolini‘s editing beautifully restrained. Grimaldi displays his most
sophisticated feel for music yet, organically inserting songs by Rufus Wainwright, Radiohead and Ivano Fossati to
highlight emotion. Especially memorable is a sequence with Pietro waiting by a bench as scores of parents arrive in
groups to pick up their children from school. His loneliness stands out, but so, too, does a sense of commonality.
- Jay Weissberg / Variety


Rachel Getting Married
Dir: Jonathan Demme            USA           2008                   112 mins                  Cert: 15A
Starring: Anne Hathaway, Rosemarie DeWitt, Mather Zickel, Bill Irwin, Anna Deavere Smith, Anisa George,
Tunde Adebimpe and Debra Winger.
Language: English
Available: Nov 09

Jonathan Demme skillfully navigates the audience through a rollercoaster of emotions in his bittersweet serious
comedy, Rachel Getting Married. The future spouses are an inter-racial couple, and it's refreshing that this is never
mentioned as an issue, showing how far the world and the movies have come since the liberal hand- wringing of
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner in the mid-1960s.

Rosemarie DeWitt (from Mad Men) is radiant as Rachel, the bride-to-be whose precision-planned wedding at the
family home in Connecticut is just days away. Enter the black sheep of the family, Rachel's volatile sister Kym (Anne
Hathaway), who has been let out of rehab for the weekend.

Still riddled with guilt over a fatal accident when she was 16 and stoned at the wheel of a car, Kym seems permanently
on edge, even though she's "nine months clean", and she puts everyone else on edge.

The tense atmosphere is heightened in Declan Quinn's restlessly prowling handheld camerawork, closely observing
facial expressions and body language to reveal anxieties and insecurities. That spontaneity is mirrored in the
improvisation Demme encourages from his talented cast as they navigate the complications strewn through a
perceptive screenplay. Jenny Lumet's artful scenario nimbly bypasses the cliches, contrivances and compromises of
the wedding movie, and is rooted in honesty and compassion.
Hathaway, having comfortably settled into grown-up roles in The Devil Wears Prada and Brokeback Mountain , plays
Kym in a revelatory performance that produces an intense and affecting study in human frailty. The unease in her
relationship with Rachel is palpable throughout, and sparks fly when long-festering bitterness surfaces between Kym
and her estranged mother. In her first significant screen role in more than a decade, Debra Winger makes a welcome
comeback as the mother, reminding us what a versatile and fearless actress she is.

The music in its own right would have made this wedding too good to miss, whatever reservations one might have
about sharing the same space as the dysfunctional family at its centre. - Michael Dwyer / The Irish Times


Religulous
Dir: Larry Charles              USA           2008                   101 mins               Cert: 15A
Language: English, Arabic, Hebrew, Spanish, Persian
Available: Nov / Dec 09

A blunt satiric object applied to delicate subject matter, Religulous is a consistently funny if one-sided putdown of
society's blind devotion to its many religious faiths. In the hands of Borat director Larry Charles and American political
comedian Bill Maher, the documentary occasionally scores easy laughs by catering to its audience's liberal prejudices,
but there's no disputing that this irreverent survey of weak-minded followers and manipulative spiritual leaders raises
upsetting questions about the influence that faith has in shaping the future of the planet.

Maher, best known for hosting the US cable roundtable show Real Time With Bill Maher, will attract the Michael Moore
crowd, while director Larry Charles's connection to the outlandish Borat could rope in adult audiences hoping for
similarly edgy humour.

Maher, who grew up with a Jewish mother and Catholic father, long ago renounced any belief in a higher power, a
subject he tackled in his standup comedy during the 1980s. Followed by director Larry Charles and a camera crew,
Maher travels across the globe, including stops in Amsterdam, the Vatican and Jerusalem, interviewing different
religious figures to question their belief systems.

Arguably, audiences going to Religulous don't want to learn more about the interconnection between different faiths
but rather want to validate their own suspicions about organized religion. And Maher and Charles, to the
documentary's detriment, sometimes are too happy to oblige, resorting to comedic cheap shots with their
interviewees. The film-makers wield two of the most overused staples of modern-day comic documentaries: cutting
away to random gags that mock their subjects' serious words and holding on their subjects' faces long after they've
stopped speaking, making them look foolish.

Granted, some of these talking heads are hypocrites deserving of scorn, but while Maher insists at the film's outset
that he's just looking for answers, what comes across pretty quickly is that Maher already knows how he feels about
this subject.

Religulous is best when it allows some gray into its black-and-white debate, showing how some believers struggle with
the discrepancies in their faith. A retired priest and a Vatican astronomer are two of the film's best interviewees, as the
men eloquently discuss how the Bible isn't a historical document but rather a guide to a moral life - a reasonable
notion that has been ignored by organized religion in order to discourage scientific discovery and promote destructive
agendas, such as the vilification of homosexuals.

While part of the fun of Maher's approach is to watch him take out targets like an evangelical US senator, Religulous is
a lot more interesting when Maher talks to a group of religious truck drivers, whose faith is sincere and touching,
allowing for a real exchange of differing opinions.
Despite its limitations, Religulous overwhelmingly makes the argument that organized religion has by and large
caused more harm than good. Though Christianity receives the majority of the brickbats, Mormonism, Islam, Judaism
and Scientology are not spared Maher's treatment. While it would be too much to ask a 100-minute movie to be
authoritative on such a nuanced topic, the film's willingness to wander from joke to joke sometimes stalls the film's
intellectual momentum.

And though Religulous is a comedy first and foremost, Maher's impassioned closing speech about the need to abolish
religion as the only way to save humanity indicates the serious intention beneath the humour. He may be preaching to
the converted, but unlike some of the self-serving religious leaders he comes across, at least his sermon is entirely
heartfelt. - Tim Grierson / Screen International


Three Monkeys                                                                                  Üç maymun
Dir: Nuri Bilge Ceylan      Turkey, France, Italy      2008 109 mins                    Cert: Club
Starring: Yavuz Bingol, Hatice Aslan, Rifat Sungar, Ercan Kesal, Cafer Köse and Gürkan Aydin .
Language: Turkish
Available: Sept / Oct 09

Gifted Turkish filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan won best director at Cannes for his brooding drama of guilt, corruption and
infidelity.

While his acclaimed Uzak (Distant, 2002) and Climates (2006) were exquisitely pitched, intimate explorations of
personal issues (strained friendship, a tested marriage), this latest offering marks a departure: it's still constructed on a
chamber scale, but the film looks outwards towards wider questions in Turkish society to powerfully ruminative effect.

We begin in the darkness of a country road at night, where an abandoned dead body indicates the nefarious
handiwork of a politician, who later pays off his loyal driver to accept a prison term. While the latter's inside however,
his layabout son begins to suspect that his mother has begun an affair with said sleazy ex-MP (who's just lost the
election to the conservative AK party) - setting the scene for confrontation when the husband and father is eventually
released.

Ceylan's mastery of the visual image (he's also a noted stills photographer) is evident both in the atmospherically
graded sepia tones of the digital camerawork, and his Antonioni-like way of framing claustrophobic interiors and
unlovely exteriors to reflect the dramatic temperature. Under a baking summer sun, we feel gnawing anxiety at the
narrowing options the characters create for themselves, all of which hints at a deeper social malaise where evasion of
responsibility filters down from the political classes. The ships on the Bosporus seen from the family's apartment
suggest wider horizons, but Ceylan insists that Turkey still needs to take a long, hard look at itself. This is an
engrossing new chapter for one of today's cinematic vanguard. - Trevor Johnston / Irish Film Institute Programme

Winner - Best Director, Cannes Film Festival 2008


Tokyo Sonata
Dir: Kiyoshi Kurosawa      Japan, Netherlands, Hong Kong         2008 120 mins              Cert: Club
Starring: Teruyuki Kagawa, Kyoko Koizumi, Yu Koyanagi, Kai Inowaki, Haruka Igawa, Kanji Tsuda and Koji
Yakusho.
Language: Japanese
Available: Oct 09

Tokyo Sonata is yet another of Kiyoshi Kurosawa's chilling portraits of micro and macro alienation, a family drama as
chillingly controlled and despondent as the horror films that gained him international recognition.
In Tokyo, office worker Ryuhei Sasaki (Teruyuki Kagawa) is downsized and chooses to keep it a secret from his family
(à la Laurent Cantet's Time Out), making him part of the legion of specter-ish businessmen who roam the city during
daytime, pretending to answer work calls while surreptitiously getting lunch at a free food cart. Ryuhei is humiliated by
his loss of stature, though he continues futilely attempting to exert authority over wayward teen son Taka (Yu
Koyanagi) and younger kid Kenji (Inowaki Kai), the latter of whom rebels against not only his father by surreptitiously
taking piano lessons but also his porn-reading school teacher. Domestic conflict occurs out in the open in front of his
mother Megumi (Kyoko Koizumi), who patiently suffers her husband's severe parental conduct. Concealment,
however, is the order of the day, with Kurosawa's characters determined to bottle up emotions and secrets even as
they crave release and escape, their repressive tendencies subtly suggested by the sight of Ryuhei zipping up Kenji's
backpack, and their fear of (and yearning for) liberating disruption conveyed by an opening image of Megumi longingly
kneeling in front of an open door during a storm.

Kurosawa's narrative is, superficially, nothing particularly unique, a deadpan depiction of modern disconnection filtered
through the lens of a nuclear family's slow disintegration. But as with much of his work, it's the means to the end that
are profound, his indirect aesthetics creating palpable unease, as if reality had imperceptibly, and yet fundamentally,
shifted slightly to the right or left, leaving everything cockeyed and unstable.

Akiko Ashizawa's deep-focus cinematography strands characters in a labyrinth of constricting physical structures-
doorways, shelves, chairs, walls-which are isolating and seemingly un-traversable. Smoothly segueing between tight
medium shots and widescreen panoramas, her highly mannered compositions feel illusory, like something out of a
nightmare, and as such steep (as does the director's haunting score) Kurosawa's standard story in the realm of the
otherworldly. It's a fittingly shaky mood for a film concerned with familial breakdown caused by the absence of
commanding paternal influence, and soon so permeates the landscape that-along with Taka's desire to join the
American military (permissible under a new law)-it casts Ryuhei and family's disaffection as endemic to a culture
plagued by powerlessness and the ensuing confusion, terror and anger wrought by that weakness.

This dreamlike atmosphere engulfs Kurosawa's characters but his story doesn't reduce them to featureless ghosts.
Ryuhei, Megumi and Kenji are drawn with sharp, telling lines, thus providing an anchor of realism amidst a story that
increasingly veers into the unreal. As it allows the focus to swing from Ryuhei (and his struggles to assert head-of-the-
family clout) to Megumi, this progression is welcome, allowing for a view of both familial breakdown and reconstitution
that gives the story breadth.

Still, having so scrupulously established his conflicts and milieu, Kurosawa seems unsure of how to resolve his
narrative, eventually settling on sending his protagonists on trial-by-darkness odysseys into the pitch-black night, with
Ryuhei (now working as a mall janitor) fleeing his shame, Kenji getting thrown in jail after trying to sneak aboard a bus,
and Megumi being kidnapped by a lunatic (Kurosawa regular Koji Yakusho) and spending the night in a beach shack.
It's the last of these that takes precedence and feels the most false, a too-obvious and straightforward bit of surrealism
to underline characters' problems and transformations. Tokyo Sonata recovers from this stumble, however, in Kenji's
climactic piano recital of Debussy's "Clair de Lune," a sequence that, in its tonal modulation and manipulation of light
and dark to express a sense of simultaneous hope and horror, verges on awe-inspiring. - Nick Schager / Slant
Magazine

Winner - Un Certain Regard Jury Prize, Cannes Film Festival 2008
Visitor, The_______________________________________________________________________
Dir: Thomas McCarthy          USA              2007          106 mins      Cert: PG
Starring: Richard Jenkins, Haaz Sleiman, Danai Jekesai Gurira, Hiam Abbass
Language: Engllish
Available: Sept 09

McCarthy's modest tale of friendship is a welcome alternative to the prevailing political rhetoric that promotes fear of
"enemies in our midst". Concern over the mistreatment of immigrants and government abuse of the Patriot Act make
The Visitor a topical film,

McCarthy's heartfelt, often funny, story is the self-discovery of Connecticut widower Walter Vale (Jenkins), who
befriends the Syrian drummer Tarek (Sleiman) and the Senegalese street vendor (Gurira) who have rented his rarely
visited pied a terre through the kind of scam that victimises immigrants in New York every day.

Their uneasy meeting turns into a tentative friendship and Walter, a stiff WASP who exhibits many symptoms of "white
man's disease", begins playing the conga drum under Tarek's patient instruction. Anything he does requiring rhythm is
an instant joke, but the academic has a crash course in immigrants' reality when Tarek is arrested rushing through a
subway turnstile by cops who drag him away to an immigration jail.

When Tarek's mother, Mouna (Palestinian actress Hiam Abbass), visits from Detroit, an unlikely romance is sparked
between the man, who just lost his wife, and the woman who fears losing her son.

Alongside McCarthy's tender treatment of strangers who would never meet, except for chance forming a human bond,
is a chilling view of life for immigrants who have the bad luck of being caught by law enforcement.

Decisions seem to be made and carried out in the spirit of Franz Kafka. In McCarthy's script, everything takes place
under our noses, and most citizens are unaware or indifferent.

Jenkins gives a poignant performance as the awkward professor who slowly lets his feelings show, and then learns his
tax dollars have paid for the deportation of a man who poses no threat.

As Tarek, Haaz Sleiman has the kind of effortless warmth that Charles is drawn to, but can barely express, while
Danai Gurira as his wife frowns with a distrust that is hard to shed when you have no rights in your adopted country.
- David D’Arcy, Screen


Water Lilies                                                                                        Naissance des pieuvres
Dir: Celine Sciamma               France        2007                          85 mins        Cert: Club
Starring: Pauline Acquart, Louise Blachere, Adele Haenel
Language: French
Available: Sept 09

With terrific poise and the crispest, cleanest cinematography imaginable, the 27-year-old French director Céline
Sciamma has given us a very provocative and stylish drama set in the world of teenage girls' synchronised swimming.

The setting is a suburb just north of Paris, and a provincial pool, which is the arena for the local school's girls' synchro-
swim team, whose undoubted star is glamorous Floriane, played by Adele Haenel. Floriane is a veritable Esther
Williams - though a more knowing version - and her biggest admirer is moody Marie (Pauline Acquart). With her lank
brown hair and shapeless clothes, she is Floriane's exact opposite, but can't stop herself hanging about the pool and
making her feelings pretty plain. Meanwhile, Marie's plump best friend Anne (Louise Blachère) has a hopeless thing
for hunky François (Warren Jacquin), whom gorgeous Floriane is secretly going out with.
With the insouciance that only really beautiful people can manage, Floriane indulges Marie's adoration and one
evening even encourages her to call round at her house and go for a walk. Her strategy becomes clear: poor Marie is
to provide cover for Floriane, who wants to escape from her strict parents and meet with François in an underground
lockup, while Marie can only hang around, waiting for her friend to finish and return to complete their bogus walk back
home. But their friendship deepens and becomes scarily close to something that Marie had hardly dared to dream -
though it causes new tensions with poor, excluded Anne.

Sciamma's sexual quadrangle exposes each of their vulnerabilities, and it discloses the awful gulf between boy and
girl, girl and girl, gay and straight, and most agonisingly of all between pretty and non-pretty. The choreography of their
approaches to each other is clumsy and heavy, unlike the floating ease of the pool. None of this precludes moments of
slightly bizarre comedy. There is a scene in which a row of girls in their bathing costumes line up poolside with arms
raised. Are they going to flip into the water, one after the other, as if in some watery fantasia? No. Their strict teacher
wants to make a body-hair inspection.

Sciamma has made an impressively elegant film and elicited great performances from her young cast; it is beautifully
shot by Crystel Fournier, and the poignant note of implied autobiography lingers in the mind.
- Peter Bradshaw / The Guardian


Waveriders_________________________________________________________________________
Dir: Joel Conroy           Ireland              2008                88 mins               Cert: G
Featuring: Richard Fitzgerald, Gabe Davies, Kelly Slater, Kevin Naughton, Chris, Keith & Dan Malloy, John
McCarthy, Andy Hill & Easkey Britton
Language; English
Available: Nov 09

Joel Conroy‘s Waveriders is a superb and seamless Irish documentary about extreme surfing that won the audience
award at the 2008 Dublin International Film Festival. Ostensibly, it's a history of the sport and the development of
fringe 'soul surfing'. But Conroy, in a stupendous final reel, achieves something unexpected and transcendental: his
images of surfers riding waves in the maw of a monstrous angry ocean will linger long in your mind.

Waveriders is narrated by Cillian Murphy and begins in the indigo climes of Hawaii. Here is a story not just about
surfing but the unique role Ireland has had to play in it. Surfing was reportedly discovered by Captain Cook. He saw
Hawaiian natives riding waves in the 1770s and was gobsmacked. (The New England missionaries that followed were
harder to impress. The surfers, naked without the aid of wet suits, were quickly banned.)

Surfing became what it is today thanks to the Hawaiian-Irishman George Freeth. His father, an emigrant from Ulster,
married a Hawaiian woman of royalty who taught the young George to surf. Jack London watched the surfer on his
travels and was mesmerised.

"He is a Mercury – a brown Mercury," London wrote. "His heels are winged, and in them is the swiftness of the sea."
Freeth took surfing to California and with it began a modern phenomenon. Before he died of the Spanish flu in 1919 at
the age of 35, he had also invented life-guarding as we know it today and so can be blamed entirely for that other
worldwide phenomenon known as Pamela Anderson.

Much of Waveriders concerns itself with 'soul surfing'. The men who pursue it are like pioneers: bearded and gnarly
faced, they travel the world for the most inaccessible and exciting waves.

We meet eight-times world champion Kelly Slater who goes to the west of Ireland for his holidays. Soul surfer stars,
the Malloy brothers, a second-generation Irish family, head out with Donegal professional surfer Richard Fitzgerald to
surf Aileen's. This enormous and now famous Irish wave is set in a spectacular theatre, buffeted by the Cliffs of Moher
and accessible only by jet-ski. Fitzgerald, who hails from Bundoran, is the kind of guy who cheers when the weather
forecast is bad. He looks like Jake Gyllenhaal, speaks with a soft Donegal twang and is made of titanium.

The last reel off the Atlantic seaboard takes you close into the minds of these frontiersmen. It begins with a forecast of
storm warning and the sight of four men heading out to sea.

The ocean churns like Biblical end-days. It's the kind of weather that would sink ships. The waves tower over the men
like foaming giants, about the size of a four-storey house. If you come off your board in these conditions, there's a
good chance you will die. The tiny men in black look like ocean snackfood. They are whizzed in front of the waves by
jet-ski and let go. You wait for them to be gorged but each surfer holds steady. Miraculously they emerge safe on the
other side.

The footage was shot in December 2007 and the waves were the largest ever surfed off Ireland. It's a very moving
spectacle, and on a cinema screen it's staggering. It puts you back in touch with nature at its most elemental and
exhilarating. Watching it, you experience what Captain Cook must have felt when he first discovered surfing.
- Paul Lynch / The Sunday Tribune


Wendy and Lucy              ___________________________________________________________________
Dir: Kelly Reichardt        USA                   2008        80 mins                     Cert: 15A
Starring: Michelle Williams, Will Patton, Will Oldham, John Robinson, Wally Dalton, Larry Fessenden, Brenna
Beardsley, Ayanna Berkshire, M. Blash, John Breen, Michael Brophy
Language: English
Available: Oct 09

Kelly Reichardt's third film is another small story revolving around seemingly banal events which, like its predecessor
Old Joy, builds into a moving cry of despair for its alienated lead character, a young twentysomething woman called
Wendy. But Reichardt is no pessimist and her compassion for Wendy and belief in the kindness of strangers make for
an optimistic film which should serve to build her already strong US reputation on an international scale.

Also serving to boost the film's commercial appeal is Michelle Williams in the lead role. Although by no means a
bankable star on her own, Williams is developing a sterling reputation as one of the most adventurous and versatile
actors of her generation and this film, combined with upcoming titles from Charlie Kaufman, Lukas Moodysson and
Martin Scorsese should continue to cement her name in both financing and critical circles.

Williams is superb here, unbeautified and effortlessly natural as a woman driving a clapped out Honda from her
homestate of Indiana to Alaska in search of lucrative work at a fish cannery. Whether they are dead or estranged, she
has no parents to lean on and one disinterested sister; in fact the primary relationship in her life is with her golden
yellow dog Lucy.

Her schedule and money are tightly controlled so it's a blow when her car fails to start one morning in a small Oregon
town. While waiting for the repair shop to open, she goes to the local supermarket for some dog food, leaving Lucy
tied up on a leash outside. But, rationing her cash, she opts to shoplift the cans of food, is caught by an overzealous
employee (Robinson) and dispatched to the local police station.

Although anxious to get back to Lucy, who is still waiting for her outside the supermarket, Wendy is detained for
several hours and, having paid her $50 fine, returns by bus to the store only to find Lucy gone. Seized by mounting
panic, she searches for the dog to no avail and has to wait until the following morning to reach the local dog pound.
In her quest for the dog, she is helped by a kindly parking attendant (Dalton) who lets her use his cellphone as the
contact number on fliers which she posts in the neighbourhood. Meanwhile a mechanic (Patton) gives her bad news
on the state of her car.

Reichardt's films are quiet and detailed, and in Wendy And Lucy, she provides an all too believable picture of how fine
is the line between getting by and becoming homeless and destitute. Isolated from family and other support networks,
Wendy even realizes that she cannot afford to look after her beloved Lucy.

Unlike Old Joy, which was a two-hander, Wendy And Lucy is told entirely from the point of view of one character - and
her dog, of course. The beauty of the film is not only in telling a story with so few words but in showing the wordless
tenderness that exists between woman and dog in a society which has cast her onto its fringes.

Indeed, Wendy's forced layover in Oregon brings her into contact with some of society's undesirables. In the opening
scene she tries to extract Lucy from the hands of a bunch of druggie wanderers and later on she is woken up by an
unhinged homeless man in the woods where she is sleeping. Her flight of terror from this man, who doesn't hurt her,
but might have done, is one of the film's darkest moments. - Mike Goodridge / Screen International


Year of The Nail                                                                               Año uña
Dir: Jonás Cuarón                 Mexico                     2007         78 mins       Cert: 15A
Starring: Diego Catano, Eireann Harper, Salvador Elizondo, Michele Alban, Cristina Orozco, Mariana Elizondo,
Pia Elizondo, Emilia Garcia, Mateo Garcia, Jeronimo Garcia, Katie Hegarty
Language: Spanish
Available: Sept 09

The serious artistic drive to meld fine photography with cinema is married to a charming tale of young almost-love in
Jonas Cuaron's sweet and memorable debut, Year of the Nail. The Cuaron filmmaking empire -- including brothers
Alfonso and Carlos -- has expanded with Jonas, Alfonso's son, whose still black-and-white photos eventually morphed
into this film. Fictional narrative of 14-year-old lad Diego (Diego Catano, Cuaron's half-brother) and visiting American
college gal Molly (Eireann Harper) gradually emerged out of organizing the photos into sequences, with all but one of
the original photo subjects (Cuaron's grandfather, Salvador Elizondo, who died during shooting) recording the
soundtrack's voice-over dialogue.

The result, except for the dialogue, recalls Chris Marker's technique in his classic sci-fi short, La Jetee, which was also
composed purely of photos. Two films couldn't be less alike in every way, however, with Year of the Nail a thoughtful,
tender but quite hip look at two young people with too much separating them for a match to ever be possible.
Just before her exchange studies term in Mexico City ends, Molly puzzles over all the cultural gaps between Mexicans
and Americans, and ponders why, for all of her efforts, the only good friend she made during the term is loudmouth
Yank Katie (Katie Hegarty). At the same time, Diego is a horny teen whose inner monologue is a constant spew of
neuroses and insecurities, much of it centered on the hots he feels for his pretty cousin Emilia.

The tale is structured according to the seasons, so by fall, Molly has long gotten over her (offscreen) French best
friend Michel and has had a May-September romance with one of her college profs. Lying to her folks that she's
visiting Katie in the Bay Area, Molly returns to Mexico as a live-in guest in a real home -- which happens to be Diego's.

Immediately smitten with what for him is an older woman of the world, Diego works various angles to get closer to
Molly, especially when they visit the beach. Reality gets in the way --his grandfather is slowly dying of cancer, his cat
must be spayed and neutered, Molly must return to New York -- but that doesn't stop determined Diego from
managing to get in a day's charms with Molly in Gotham in the spring. By then, Molly senses that they could, if
everything worked, fall in love.
But Year of the Nail (the title derives from an ingrown nail that bothers Diego for much of the timespan) is about life's
fleeting moments, the sweeter for being fleeting.

The richly developed soundtrack serves an unusually crucial purpose, providing not only the characters' often roiling
inner thoughts and their outward dialogue, but natural sounds and music suited to each scene.
- Robert Koehler / Variety

				
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