Having been disappointed by Pedro Almodóvar's last release (Los amantes pasajeros), early reviews led me to be cautiously hopeful that this would be more to my taste. It is definitely better. It is visually very much Almodóvar - splashes of red, Madrid streets, relationships in turmoil. Based on a series of short stories by Alice Munro … Continue reading Julieta
Very strange, atmospheric film which was interesting, although failed to really convey more than an air of mystery and a sense of depth yet to be explored. Shades of David Cronenberg's body horror and Shane Carruth's otherworldliness mingle with some fairytale-type storytelling. Difficult to say more without giving away what little plot there is. Directed by Lucile Hadzihalilovic, … Continue reading Évolution – Evolution
Director Patricio Guzmán made one of my favourite films of 2012 - Nostalgia de la Luz (Nostalgia for the Light), in which he examined murky aspects of Chile's history. El botón de nácar does the same thing, but over a much broader timespan of subjugation and dictatorship. This time, instead of the desert holding the secrets, it's … Continue reading El botón de nácar – The Pearl Button
Gorgeous, vertiginous overhead shots and wide landscapes are the visual hallmark of this Spanish detective story. With Spain still not sure of itself in a post-Franco democracy, two detectives not sure of each other's backgrounds, and everyone seeming to have a hidden agenda, the many layers mostly fall in to place by the end, although … Continue reading La Isla Mínima – Marshlands
An anthology of six short scenarios, with a darkly comic theme of revenge. Gleeful, self-indulgent, revenge. We shouldn't side with the violence, yet we can't help ourselves (mostly). In these short vignettes, director Damián Szifrón manages to give just enough background so that we understand exactly why the victims/perpetrators feel and act the way they … Continue reading Relatos salvajes – Wild Tales
Seen as part of the ¡Viva! Film Festival. This film is also listed in some places as Los fenómenos. Director Alfonso Zarauza introduced this film to the audience, saying that the economic crisis in Spain has given rise to winners and losers. "This is a film about the losers", he concluded. Lola Dueñas plays single mum Neneta … Continue reading Os fenómenos – Aces
Seen as part of the ¡Viva! Film Festival. A black comedy with an element of slapstick, and deeply buried roots in the economic crisis in which Spain finds itself. There are two sets of hapless, incompetent younger men, two unconscious older men, a dodgy lawyer and a lot of confusion. It's one of those films … Continue reading ¿Quién mató a Bambi? – Who Killed Bambi?
I love a film that has me wondering what the hell is happening from the very start, and this just does that. And because it doesn't directly answer all the questions it prompts, I'm still thinking about it, which is a good thing. Not one but two Jake Gyllenhaals find themselves face to face with … Continue reading Enemy