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What!? 5.4 points!? Did you watch it with your eyes?
A masterpiece. Otar Iosseliani's style. The whole Guatemala painted impressionistically in just one ordinary night of nothing. But nothing suddenly and relentlessly is wiped out by everything, just the way the life likes to do, putting all the movie's elements in their places. Brutality is combined with subtle irony, I remember at least three bursts of laughter of mine. The photography, editing and non-professional acting are impeccable.
With real budget Cordón will rock the world. They say he already did it with 2011 Marimbas del infierno.
By the way, besides being half-guatemalteco, he works in México. Looks like this country is on the edge of yielding the new wave of young superdirectors.
Tiempo de revancha (1981)
A key element o Argentinean culture
This movie is considered to be one of the best in Argentinean cinema. And for reasons. The only problem is in that it's hard to be valued properly if watching outside of the historical context. Otherwise, you risk to find yourself under the wig of military censors (the movie saw the light at the pinnacle of the last dictatorship), who never were able to understand what the film was about. And fortunately, did not forbid it. Although, the hints at dreadful times when the movie was made, are supposed to be noticed by a blind, with the horrible last film's frame not only destroying watchers, but also being a loud and clear slap in junta's face.
Artistically it's impeccable. Aristarain is considered to be a master of making interesting stories out of boring topics. This time it's a thriller born out of neglecting the safety rules in a copper pit. The music of wonderful Emilio Cauderer makes the movie sound hitchcockishly suspensive. Leaves no doubts as to the necessity to watch all Aristarain's works.
Anjos do Sol (2006)
I give 10 stars too
It's supposed to bring not a milligram of pleasure, be it directing or, especially, acting. Who cares? That's not a piece of art. That's a desperate yell that fades into a hopeless howling. This movie alone is enough not to want to wake up next morning. Watching can easily lead to a heart attack. I nearly had one. But filmed impeccably by a guy with a very big heart. Great photography, great sertaneja score intended to contrast, great cast including Otavio Augusto, Chico Diaz, Vera Holtz and Antonio Calloni among others. Virtually a documentary with a very slight acting, which may be just a bit too much. But the most shocking is that the movie leaves you breathlessly ashamed for being part of this world.
Abril Despedaçado (2001)
Why "Behind the Sun"?
The original movie's title is "Torn/Blown/Smashed April", and I have no idea, why it was translated into English (and into Russian, by the way, too) the way it was.
Few know that the movie is based on a novel of an Albanian author Ismail Kadare with the same title. I don't know how typical vendetta problem is for Brasil, so, I would rather watch something Albanian on that issue (Albania is world's vendetta capital). But I would say the movie is not rather about the problem (the script is quite sketchy), but a poem about sertão - a magnificent desert-type land west of Pernambuco coastline, which has been attracting many Brazilian movie-makers. That was the destination for Salles previous film's characters' trip ("Central do Brasil"), and that was the ambiance for Brazil's cult classics "Vidas secas". Directing, shooting and cutting are out of this world. The nerve-scratching score is written by the incredible trio of Ed Cortes, Antonio Pinto and Beto Villares. The first two in a couple of years would knock the world out with their unforgettable music for "Ciudad de Deus", while Villares would do the same for "O ano em que meus pais sairam de ferias". The film catapulted Rodrigo Santoro onto the star orbit, although I liked even more the acting of Ravi Ramos Lacerda, another Salles' prodigy after Vinicius de Oliveira in "Central do Brasil".
Konpliktis zona (2009)
A perfect sequel
This is a sequel to Gasierneba Karabagshi by Levan Tutberidze, which was a breakthrough of Georgian cinema in the third millennium. The sequel is as perfect as the first film, although directed by another person. Moralistic humanism (or humanistic moralism?), Caucasian who-is-who and what's-going-on-there-and-why, Georgian soul turned inside out, Miles Davis as one of the key plot spots, juicy storyline with gangsters, Abkhazian war, friendship, Georgian humor and Georgian wisdom, and much more. Mikhail Meskhi seems to get established as one of the leading Georgian actors, although Zura Ingorokva is equally eloquent and eye-catching. You won't get enough watching it over and over again.
Very simplistic, but in no way disregardable
The film is not about Maradona, it's about Gardel. The drawn parallel is doubtful: the insiders of Argentinean football would compare Gardel rather to Ricardo Bochini. Rodolfo Pagliere made a couple of low-budget movies about tango in 90s, another one being "Quereme asi (Piantao)" about Astor Piazzolla's life, and ever since suspended his directing activity. The style is romantic surrealism bordered upon documentalism, with a lot of Gardel's footage, including pre-catastrophe shots. The best part, in my opinion, is the duo with Rosita Moreno from "El dia que me quieras". Although the budget is low, it includes Rodolfo Mederos' score as well as Alejandro Dolina's and Esther Goris' participation, let alone Maradona himself. Maybe the worth is not in the film itself, which lasts for about one hour and something, but in prompting to revise Gardel's heritage. Shouldn't be ignored by tango addicts and Gardel's completists.
It's hard to say, what Nana Janelidze has more of - talent or humanity. I have never seen movies of that kind before. It has Claude Monet in each frame. The film is short - 1h:14 min, but given that every frame is scrupulously composed, it's quite a lot. Movie's symbolism becomes understandable if you take into account the year of its production. It's incredible, but this extremely sophisticated master of Georgian cinema has only four movies, and nothing after 1994, except for 1998 documentary "Georgia in a Water Drop". Instead Nana has been teaching directing at Tbilisi University. Who should be making movies, if not Nana Janelidze, I have no idea.
Gaseirneba Karabaghshi (2005)
a long awaited Georgian jewel
Georgian cinema had always been known for its high quality. The first independent years did not give the chance for Georgian cinematographic talents to realize their potential. But the blow still came. This flawless epic movie, beautifully shot and impeccably cut at Barrandov studio in Prague, includes funny, clever, life-like and twisted plot, perfect acting (Giorgi Gurgulia being particularly bright), and bullseye directing. The movie can be considered an encyclopaedic insight into today's Pan-Caucasian reality. And yes, the trademark Georgian humour is abundant. So is moral.
The film was soon followed by equally precious sequel, as brilliantly directed by Vano Burduli.
Perro come perro (2008)
The most amazing about this marvel is that you will hardly find any information about Carlos Moreno in Internet. The directing of this Colombian gangster drama is impeccable. As cruel and cynical as Tarantino's and Rodrigues' artificial works, it's based on real Cali life. And it's deeply moralistic, despite all its cruelty. The movie boasts with at least four brilliant acting performances, each of them worth festivals' laurels. Charismatic Marlon Moreno acts unforgettably with glances and silent pauses, being responsible for the dramatic tension throughout the movie. Multifaced Alvaro Rodriguez deserves the Best Supporting Actor award at any festival. But the truly brilliant is Blas Jaramillo ("El Orejón"), a theatrical actor from Bogotá, who wasn't able to see the final cut, having left this world because of pancreatitis and peritonitis in his 39.
No dog-suffering scenes.
El laberinto del fauno (2006)
a 20-minute ovation is too much for this
I liked the movie. Although, ten minutes later I was not able to recall its virtues, except for the stunning enigmatic image of Sergi Lopez's character. From my point of view, THAT's the face of Spanish cinema.
The best thing about the movie is the overall idea. The script is mediocre, lots of filler-dialogues. The war story and the fantasy looked at alone are shallow. Philosophy is scarce. I bet, Argentineans or Brazilians would have implemented the idea better, but fortunately they haven't had cataclysms of Spanish Civil War scale in their history. The movie lacks gradations of grey. You can't paint a worthy full-scale masterpiece on civil wars topic with black-&-white paint only.
But for some reasons, I still liked the movie.