David Parker‘s “Light” = A Commentary On Energy Waste

At just slightly over a minute long, this short film is visually what you might expect from a mixture of lava lamp luminescence and The Blob’s flesh-eating ways. And I guess it is intended to be scary, though less in a movie monster type way and more in a “horrors of humanity’s callousness” kind of way. Filmmaker David Parker created to bring awareness to energy waste. The Sunday Paper’s website writes: Bleeding, crying lights were meant to metaphorically parallel the way in which we invisibly squander our natural resources without much thought. While the original sentiment remains, the film also grew into a poetic statement about a world run amok and the human tendency to exploit that which we hold

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Best Intentions / Din dragoste cu cele mai bune intentii (2011) Film Review

Directed by Adrian Sitaru, Romania / Hungary Best Intentions has been dubbed part of the categorical oeuvre “Romanian New Wave.” The movie is about the hospitalization of a woman and the coping of her family and friends. I walked a half-hour late into the screening and felt like I didn’t miss anything. The story is formal and very straight-forward; the son cannot overcome his anxiety over his mother’s health, even as she is about to be discharged. But it’s the imaging of story which counts in this film. There are broad stylistics which qualify “Romanian New Wave,” most of which pertain to camerawork and condensed, isolated events — seemly ‘ordinary’ — which are narrative vessels for the camerawork. It can

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Innocent Saturday (2011) Film Review

Innocent Saturday is a Russian film about the Chernobyl disaster… the date is Saturday, April 26, 1986, and official reports of the meltdown have been withheld, so residents in the surrounding townships are carrying on life per usual — and breathing in radioactive air.

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The Turin Horse (2011) Film Review

The Turin Horse isn’t an interpretation of Nietzsche so much as a meditation on those impositions against which Nietzsche railed–order, morality, indoctrination, humanity removed from its animality.

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Once Upon A Time In Anatolia (2011) Film Review

Directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan Starring Muhammet Uzuner, Yilmaz Erdogan, Taner Birsel Turkey Once Upon A Time In Anatolia is a film from Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan, a name some film buffs may recognize. The movie depicts a night-long search for a body in the hills of Anatolia (the Steppe of Eastern Turkey). The police chief, medical examiner, region prosecutor, and, of course, the arrested man–who leads authorities in the direction of a body–are a crew of epistemological travelers. I say travelers in a literal and figurative sense, because the movie is concerned with the assumptions and understandings that characters make and question over the course of one night. The movie progresses linearly and is crouched within the fairytale,

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The Last Rites Of Joe May (2011) Film Review

Directed by Joe Maggio, Starring Dennis Farina United States A couple hours ago–6pm CST to be exact–somebody–an intern, a volunteer, a professional carpet tacker–somebody–rolled out the red carpet to start the 47th Chicago International Film Festival. It was humming with excitement over on East Randolph at the Harris Theatre, as fans and press and associates ushered in the kickoff screening The Rites of Joe May. Or I can only imagine, because I wasn’t there. But director Joe Maggio and star Dennis Farina were slated to show, and I’m sure there were some other guests of note. My press pass doesn’t cover the red carpet, so I watched the screener last night, and I’m okay with skipping Joe May on the

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Karl Krogstad: Saint, Sinner, Painter, Doctor, Oenologist, Writer, Humanitarian, Bird Lover, Butcher, Trumpet Player, Chef, Norwegian and Filmmaker.

  His Brigade: a sprawling horde of Fellini-esque circus folk, armed with monstrous lights, aging cameras, tattered rolls of cellophane, buckets of diluted house paint and a woman dressed as a Giant Albatross. Fiery banners emerge! Behold! The blood and the smoke… Hooves pumping wildly – they follow him valiantly, into the breach once more. This is Krogstad Studios. To some, it is a spiraling vortex of ignorance and depravity. To others, it is nothing more than the vacuous remains of carnivale – a putrid byproduct of post-modern Americana. And yet some would say it is a true sanctuary; a temple to the fantastic, a shrine to the wondrous and absurd – the very heart of the spectacle. Whatever you

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Gromozeka (2011) Film Review

Gromozeka is, in the words of my cohort, “very Russian.” Gromozeka is, in the words of my other cohort, “odd.” This odd, very Russian film is not for everyone. It’s probably not even for 75% of film-going patrons. There’s a plotline — kind of — but it’s comprised of a series of mostly disconnected vignettes. Some vignettes are poignant (a grown man being cradled by a frustrated prostitute), some endearing (a father and son sharing identical mannerisms when eating), some depressing (a man cramming barbituates into a bottle of bourbon). Quite a few are brief and almost pointless (a man ramming the back of his head once onto an elevator door, for instance). But Gromozeka is, in my words, “a

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Bellflower (2011) Film Review

Directed by Evan Glodell United States Artists unavoidably inject themselves into their work. Their personality, their characteristics, their likes, their prejudices, their fetishes, all these things are skin deep in any sort of artistic endeavor. Displaying your work is an inherent form of self-exposure, unavoidable in its necessity. But it’s true artistic talent that knows how to mitigate their own narcissistic influence, and to offer a statement that stands apart from the person behind it. Bellflower, the debut film from Evan Glodell, is not one of those success stories. This indie Action Drama races through its 106 minute runtime without a hint of irony, and a lot of excess fire, whiskey, burnt rubber and orange lens filter. Glodell stars in

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SIFF 2011 : Checkpoint! (Part 2)

Here’s a smattering of reviews that are up way too late for you to take advantage of, but nonetheless you should know about (for better or for worse). All these films were screened at the most excellent so far 2011 Seattle International Film Festival. Vallanzasca – Angels of Evil (2010) Italy, Directed by Michele Placido Biopic of Italian mobster Renato Vallanzasca has plenty of flair, but is possibly a little too fast paced. Kim Rossi Stewart makes the slick-talking Regato easy to fall in love with. Unfortunately, it’s hard to care about anyone else. Renato is wry, everything else just kind of happens. Also, the music almost never fits. The suits they wear are very nice, though. Terri (2011) USA,

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Vampire (2011) Film Review

Directed by Shunji Iwai Canada 2011 The line on Shunji Iwai’s English-language debut, Vampire, is “Don’t worry. The film is really not about vampires,” which is true. There are no mythical shenanigans; no supernatural mystique artificially injected into this story about a serial killer and his travails. However, the title of the movie does not mean to mislead. Iwai’s Vampire is definitely fantastical, and like Lily Chou Chou and Swallowtail Butterfly before it, requires a persistent state of suspended disbelief to truly shine. And by toeing the line of surrealism so expertly, Iwai, like a filmmaking Dracula, puts the view under a spell, allowing him to fully control (and subvert) one’s expectations. The story follows Simon, an attractive young biology

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Black Venus / Vénus Noire (2010) Film Review

The film explores the worst capabilities of human beings and their yearnings to manipulate and take control of others; it addresses multi-tiered issues of race, class, and opportunity and does so with faithfulness to realism, even when realism is uncomfortably atrocious.

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