Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Film: Summer 1993 - Estiu 1993 - dir. Carla Simón

Carla Simón
2017 Spain
Catalan with English subtitles
97 minutes

In the summer of 1993, following the disappearance of her parents, six-year-old Frida (Laia Artigas) moves from Barcelona to the Catalan countryside with her aunt, uncle, and younger cousin Anna (Paula Robles). Although her new family embraces her, Frida struggles to adjust in an environment that seems mysterious and estranging. Winner of the Best First Feature Award at the 2017 Berlin International Film Festival, Simón’s autobiographical drama is a captivating, emotionally frank reflection on family relationships and childhood loneliness, anchored by moving performances by its two young stars (Laia Artigas, Paula Robles).

Monday, June 4, 2018

Film: Look Up - Guarda in alto - dir. Fulvio Risuleo, Open Roads: New Italian Cinema 2018

Fulvio Risuleo
Italian with English subtitles 90 minutes

While taking a cigarette break on a rooftop in Rome, a young baker (Giacomo Ferrara) notices a curious fowl plummeting from the sky. He crosses from one rooftop to the next to get a closer look, and what he discovers is the beginning of a journey down an urban rabbit hole of incredible situations and bizarre characters (including one played by a delightfully off-kilter Lou Castel). Documentary filmmaker Fulvio Risuleo’s fiction debut is an odd bird indeed, an unpredictable and imaginative twist on the road movie that evokes Alice in Wonderland...

Film: Beautiful Things, dir. Giorgio Ferrero (Open Roads: New Italian Cinema 2018)

Beautiful Things, dir. Giorgio Ferrero

This wildly ambitious documentary follows four men who work in isolation at remote scientific and industrial sites around the world. Like monks, they carry out their daily tasks in silence and solitude, creating products soon to enter the capitalist cycle of production, consumption, and destruction. A ravishingly beautiful audiovisual experience, Giorgio Ferrero’s debut feature is a transfixing work about the origins of consumer society imbued with a musical sense of rhythm (Ferrero is also a composer and sound editor) and a wealth of aesthetic ideas about the way we live now.


The creators of this film present us with a few 21st century "immensities" --
the immensity of our petroleum production and consumption, the immensity of cargo shipping, the immensity of our technology to test the physical construction of goods, and the immensity of garbage produced by our excessive consumption.

This is presented in a context of worldly immensities: the vastness of Texas oil field lands, the vastness of the oceans, the loneliness of humans in some of these consumer-propelled professions.

The director, with his ear for music and cool handling of topics, allows the viewer to create their own emotional landscape(s) inside the luscious visuals. When we witness the final "music-video version of ourselves" joyfully dancing at the temple of consumerism (the shopping mall), we know that the director and all of the creators of the film are looking at us for our response.  -- dp

Theater: SECRET LIFE OF HUMANS, by David Byrne, 59E59 Brits Off Broadway

photo: David Monteith-Hodge 

Directed by David Byrne & Kate Stanley

With Richard Delaney, Olivia Hirst, Andy McLeod, Andrew Strafford-Baker, and Stella Blue Taylor

In 1949, Dr. Jacob "Bruno" Bronowski installs a secret, alarmed room in his house. Fifty years later, his grandson and his blind date delve into Bruno's locked room for the first time, unearthing echoes from across six million years of human history. 

Inspired by Yuval Harari's international bestseller, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind and the work of the mathematician and intellectual behind hit television series, "The Ascent of Man", Jacob Bronowski.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Film: Stories of Love That Cannot Belong to This World - (Amori che non sanno stare al mondo) - dir. Francesca Comencini

Dir. Francesca Comencini
2017 Italy Italian with English subtitles
92 minutes

Francesca Comencini adapts her own novel for this intelligent, intensely felt romantic comedy. Academics Claudia (Lucia Mascino) and Flavio (Thomas Trabacchi) have been a couple for seven years, but their physically and intellectually passionate relationship seems to have reached an impasse, and neither of them understands why. As a result, Claudia begins a process of reflection and self-exploration to come to terms with Flavio’s love in light of her own insecurities and neuroses. This funny, charming movie reveals the inner work we must do in order to move on with our lives.