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Posts Tagged ‘Foreign Film’

The Attack, A Compelling Drama (Film Review)

June 27th, 2013 No comments

THE ATTACK posterReview by John Delia

The compelling film The Attack has a pocket full of messages and a handful of questions as it spools out a tale of an unconscionable act.  The casting is point perfect with acting unparalleled in most countries.  While Israel and Palestine are the featured areas where the story takes place, this could be a sign of the times most anywhere in the world.  I felt disconcerted throughout the film then let down with a finale that leaves one wondering the effect the story will have on those that view it. Read more…

A Royal Affair, Intriguing and Striking (Film Review)

January 18th, 2013 No comments

ROYALAFFAIR poster

Review by John Delia

Picturesque, intriguing and romantic the odd love story of the strange King of Denmark comes to theaters this weekend.  Called A Royal Affair, the opulent period piece transports the viewer back to the late 1700’s for an inside look at a time of ‘Enlightenment’ when this country was ruled by tyrants who deceived the crown.  Take a look into this interesting world of idealism, insecurity and revolution.

The true story of the Danish King Christian VII (Mikkel Boe Følsgaard) who takes Caroline Mathilda (Alicia Vikander) of England to be his Queen is at the center of this beautiful costume piece.  While King Christian has a mental illness and depends largely on his advisors who make favorable decisions for the court, but chastise the people of his realm, have caused unrest.  His new wife urges him to take advice from his newly appointed German doctor Johann Struensee (Mads Mikkelsen) who has visions of a free society. While he loves Queen Caroline, so does Johann and a love triangle of sorts ensues leading up a rebellion in the kingdom that changes forever. Read more…

Ninah’s Dowry, Film Festival Review by John Delia

October 22nd, 2012 No comments

STARK

REALISM

WITH GUT

WRENCHING SCENES

NINAH’S DOWRY

Review by John Delia

Life in other countries can be brutal in many different ways, with spousal abuse coming to the forefront more often in America the film Ninah’s Dowry becomes a harsh reminder.  The film runs through October 23 as part of the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival.  Direction, acting and cinematography are outstanding in Ninah’s Dowry with filmmaker Victor Viyuch in attendance at Florida Atlantic University on Tuesday October 30th at 2:30 pm for a Q&A.

Mbufung Seikeh as Ninah in Ninah’s Dowry

The film opens in the mountains of Cameroon, Africa with Ninah (Mbufung Seikeh) the 20-year-old wife of Memfi (Anurin Nwunembom) her head strong husband.  A sharecropper for a local land baron, his duty to him overshadows justice to his family.  On one afternoon Memfi gets a visit from the baron telling him that one of his children has ridden his horse. Being forbidden, Memfi has to punish the boy.  Ninah steps in to protect him she also gets beaten.

Deciding she has had enough abuse, Ninah escapes the house and travels to her sick father.  When she gets there they tell her that she must go back to her husband because it is the customary law.  Ninah refuses causing uproar among her family members and friends of Memfi.  Memfi demands his dowry back.  When she cannot pay he grabs her and forces her to go back to his farm.

The film has some very gut wrenching scenes with a lot of brutality. Director/writer Victor Viyuch gives the viewer a close up view of how women are treated in the Cameroon like slaves to their husbands and fathers.  In one scene her own son turns against her in favor of his pitiless father.

The movie is unrated but does contain violence, brutality and language.

FINAL ANALYSIS: A very good film that hits at the heart of troubled women in Africa. (B)

Additional Film Information:

  • Cast: Anurin Nwunembom (as Memfi), Mbufung Seikeh (as Ninah), Crista Eka (as Clarise)
  • Directed by: Victor Viyuch
  • Cinematography: Victor Viyuch
  • MPAA Rating: NR (Contains Violence, Language, Brutality)
  • Genre: Drama
  • Language: English + Pidgin & Babanki w/English sub-titles
  • Running Time: 1 hr 35 min
  • FLIFF Play Date: October 21, 22, 23
  • Country of Origin: Cameroon, Africa

 

Director Victor Viyuch filming Nina’s Dowry

THE DIRECTOR: Named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Independent Filmmakers to watch, Victor Viyuoh wrote and directed the thesis short MBOUTOUKOU which was filmed entirely in Cameroon, Africa. In one year on the circuit, Mboutoukou played at over 100 festivals including Venice in Italy, New Directors/New Films and Rotterdam. Beginning with its nomination for the 2002 Student Academy Awards, Mboutoukou won over 20 awards including Best Short at SXSW, Best Student Short at FLIFF, and the Rights of the Child Award at the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival. Victor is an alumnus of USC’s School of Cinema-Television and Film Independent’s Directors and Screenwriters labs.

LA RAFLE (THE ROUNDUP) review by John Delia

February 16th, 2012 No comments

A DISTURBING

MOVIE

THAT MUST

BE WATCHED

 

LA RAFLE (THE ROUNDUP)

 

By John Delia

 

 

It’ not often enough that we can get reminded in film of some of the more dismal times from the past, especially those that show ‘man’s inhumanity to man.’  This happens to be the case of La Rafle (The Round-Up) a French film that captures a period in history covering the cruel extermination of a helpless people, including children in the 1941-45 France.  The movie has a sorrowful tone that resonates throughout yet a must see to remind us that the world we live in is so fragile.

 

The film opens with French children already wearing the yellow Jewish identification star sewn to their clothes like some sort of tattoo.  With fear of punishment and death, the Jewish people are scared with the scorns of those who look upon them as a scourge.  Stamped with this awful disparagement they still go on with their daily lives. The Nazi occupied France has put fear in the pathetic Vichy Government to do their bidding and time is running out for all Jews everywhere. 

 

Children and women being rounded up for extermination in La Rafle

With an order from Adolph Eichmann, the French police have been told to round up 20,000 Jews and movie them to the Velodrome d’Hiver, a massive stadium normally used for rallies and sporting events.  There they will wait their fate as French Vichy leaders debate with Hitler’s bidders on the next step in the lives of these powerless humans.  An unfavorable decision gets made and thousands of men, women and children are put in the Beaune La Rolande detaining facility, the last step before total extermination.

The solemnity of the film showing how vulnerable we are as humans to governments, the power that’s wielded by a chosen few and the fear that instills a weakness in those that are afflicted gets played out under the excellent direction of Roselyne Bosch. 

Also the writer of the true story Bosch relates that “All the events, even the most extreme, happened during this month of July 1942”.  Her story isn’t all an uncourageous narrative as we are presented with heroes like Dr. David Sheinbaum played by Jean Reno who gives his medical experience to his fellow Jewish prisoners.  Reno has that kind of poetic face that shows a kindness and love for what he does, even in the face of being subjected to the same fate as his fellow Jews.

Melanie Laurent as Annette Monod

La Rafle (The Roundup) has not been rated by the MPAA, but contains brutality, language, violence and a rape. The movie is performed in French with English Subtitles. I recommend this film as a must see for all adults.

 

FINAL ANALYSIS: An important reminder and an excellent production. (A)

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

  • Cast: Melanie Laurent, Jean Reno, Hugo Leverdez, and Anne Brochet, with Mathieu and Romain Di Concerto as Nono Zygler
  • Directed and Written by: Roselyne Bosch
  • MPAA Rating: Unrated (contains violence, rape, language and brutality)
  • Genre: Foreign, Drama
  • Running Time: 2 hrs 4min
  • Opening Date: Now Showing
  • Distributed by: Menemsha Films
  • South Florida theaters:   Miami: The Tower Theater, Frank Intracoastal 8
  • Ft. Lauderdale: Cinema Paradiso, Tamarac Cinema 5, Gateway 4
  • Palm Bch County: Living Room Theaters, Movies of Delray, Movies of Lake Worth

 

Follow John Delia on Twitter @staragent1 and follow Your Entertainment Ticket @yeticket

 

 

 

 

Life, Above All-Review

September 15th, 2011 No comments

Everyone do not wear a raincoat when it is raining.

All Rights Reserved

Dear Alice-French Review

August 17th, 2011 No comments

Le nom des gens (The Names Of Love)-French Review

August 17th, 2011 No comments

This movie review is in French.

SNOW FLOWER AND THE SECRET FAN review by John Delia

August 4th, 2011 No comments

The film is performed

in Chinese and English

with Subtitles when necessary

SNOW FLOWER AND THE SECRET FAN

 

Cast: Ji-hyeon, Li Bingbing, and Vivian Wu, with Hugh Jackman

Directed by: Wayne Wang

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexuality, violence/disturbing images and drug use

Genre: Art/Foreign, Drama, English Subtitles

Running Time: 2hrs

Distributed by: Fox Searchlight Pictures

 

 

By John Delia

 

Beautifully photographed the drama Snow Flower and the Secret Fan provides a stunning window into the lives of four women.  Although the film is a bit long, I found the journey well worth taking. Although a major chick flick, the film still plays well to older males.

Snow Flower and Lilly become laotung

 

The film features the custom of laotung a binding of friends for life as soul mates.  The tradition comforts the main characters Snow Flower (Ji-hyeon) and Lilly (Li Bingbing) through the best of times and then the toughest tests of their lives.

Nina and Sofia have tea together in Shanghi

 

In a parallel story in present day Shanghai, the laotong’s descendants, Nina and Sophia, struggle to maintain the intimacy of their own childhood friendship in the face of demanding careers, complicated love lives, and a relentlessly evolving Shanghai.  Drawing on the lessons of the past, the two modern women must understand the story of their ancestral connection, hidden from them in the folds of the antique white silk fan, or risk losing one another forever.

 

Director Wayne Wang (The Joy Luck Club) pulls excellent performances from his cast although I found myself struggling at times to separate the modern day female pair from their ancestors because he used the same actors.  Even with the make up and costume differences, the ploy just doesn’t work for me.  That said, Ji-hyeon as Snow Flower/Sofia and Li Bingbing as Nina/Lilly are brilliant in their roles portraying the delicate women who have to live through some very hard times. 

 

The film does have some drawbacks however; the transitions between the modern day laotung women to their 1800’s counterparts happen a little too frequently, which causes a disjointing of the storyline.  Although director Wang found it a necessary bridge between eras, larger spans of each couples lives would have made the film more compelling.  Continuity suffered from a possible shorting of some scenes, especially the invasion of the Chinese rebels that displace a whole village only to find them returned in such a short span of time.

Snow Flower reads Lilly's fan

 

The customs of the early Chinese involve foot binding whereby the parents of young girls wrap their feet tightly so they will not grow.  Since most high-class suitors like women with small feet it becomes a way for most families to increase their station in life. Nicely inserted this binding process generates empathy and sadness for Sunflower and Lilly adding to the emotional charged film.

 

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is rated PG-13 for sexuality, violence/disturbing images and drug use. Be cautions on dragging along immature pre-teens due to the subject matter. English subtitles are used during Chinese dialog.

 

FINAL ANALYSIS: A challenging film for viewers and the filmmaker. (B-) 

 

 

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WINTER IN WARTIME, review by John Delia

April 28th, 2011 No comments

 

 

 

 

 

Cast: Martijn Lakemeier, Jessie van Driel, Raymond Thiry, Yorick van Wageningen, Melody Klaver and Jamie Campbell Bower

Director: Martin Koolhoven

MPAA Rating: R for some language.

Genre: War, Drama, Foreign (In Dutch with subtitles)

Running time: 1 hr. 43 min.

Distributed by: Sony Pictures Classics

 

 

By John Delia

The Dutch drama Winter In Wartime is a gripping story that depicts a challenging time during World War II when the Germans occupied Holland.  Extremely well acted, brilliant cinematography and a suspenseful storyline make this film a must see.  The compelling film is based on a semi-autobiographical novel by Dutch author JAN TERLOUW who experienced five years under German occupation.

Martijn Lakemeier as Michiel in WINTER IN WAR

The film centers on Michiel (Martijn Lakemeier) a young teenager growing up in a time were the world has lost touch with brotherhood and moved on to an evil time of occupation and hostility.  World War II has entered a tailspin, but for small towns in Holland the resistance still lives on trying to hold out until an end to the German atrocities.  With most of his village on edge, Michiel tries to keep out of danger.  But with his discovery a downed British flyer (Jamie Campbell Bower) and his Uncle (Yorick van Wageningen) a member of the resistance moving into his home, it isn’t very easy not to get involved.  When the Germans arrest his father (Raymond Thiry) after finding a dead soldier, Michiel has to make some challenging decisions that could put his family in jeopardy.

Michiel being restrained by Germans

I enjoyed the story for its shocking elements involving the youngster who has to come of age during an appalling time in history.  Well acted by Lakemeier as the boy who looses a chance to grow up in a normal society and face the atrocities of a cruel occupation by the Nazis filled with greed and a lust for power. Lakemeier makes his character strong and willing to sacrifice all for his country even if it may affect his own future.

 

The keen direction by Martin Koolhoven shows the suspenseful and distasteful time with which his characters have to deal.  He weaves the story around young Michiel making him the thread that ties the script together.  His strict control of the brilliant camera crew to get his movie gives the viewer an opportunity to feel the effects of the damning war.

 

Winter In Wartime is rated R for some language.  It also contains war related violence and a scene of sexuality.  The film is acted out in the Dutch language with English subtitles.

 

FINAL ANALYSIS:  A powerful drama that changes innocence into manhood. (B+)

 

ANOTHER YEAR review by John Delia

February 3rd, 2011 No comments

Starring: Lesley Manville, Jim Broadbent, Ruth Sheen, Oliver Maltman, Imelda Staunton, Philip Davis and David Bradley

Directed by: Mike Leigh

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some language

Genre: Foreign, Comedy/Drama

Running Time: 2 hrs 10min

Distributed by: Sony Pictures Classics

By John Delia

The film Another Year rolls out like a theatrical play or good book that’s a swift page-turner.  From the opening character introductions throughout writer/director Mike Leigh’s ‘seasons’, we are treated to blossoming relationships, seeds of life, uncertainty, and a dieing effort.  Amazing acting, direction and fascinating storyline make Another Year a great choice for the mature adult.

Lesley Menville plays Mary in Another Year

Tom (Broadbent) and Geri (Ruth Sheen) make a lovely couple bordering on their golden years living the happy middleclass life with their thirty-year-old unmarried son Joe (Oliver Maltman).  Geri’s co-worker and office friend Mary (Manville), a recent divorcee, have a drink or two after work once a week.  On one occasion Geri invites Mary to her home for a Bar-B-Q in an attempt to set her up with Tom’s best friend Ken (Peter Wight).  Totally caught off guard, Mary rebukes Ken’s approach.  Geri, not wanting to make Mary feel that she wronged her with the introduction, inadvertently forms a closer bond of friendship. With this an unwitting year of ups and downs begins.

The character Mary, portrayed with an astonishing performance by Lesley Manville, is the main reason for seeing Another Year.  Her role, a bothersome chatty woman torn by her past and grasping at straws to avoid a future of loneliness provides the crux of the film and she nails it.  During the course of the year we see her change with each humiliating attempt to grasp friendship and love using booze as strength to fulfill her fantasies.

Mary (Manville) and Geri (Sheen) in a scene from Another Year

Another Year has a terrific support cast in Broadbent, Sheen and Oliver Maltman who work together interacting their characters with Mary as she moves deeper into the abyss of her decaying life.  Meaning well, but unable to save Mary from uncertainty, the strong impassable characters portrayed are really the reason for her downward spiral.

The film is rated PG-13 for some language.  It contains some adult humor and a lot of alcohol use.

FINAL ANALYSIS:  A very good story with magnetic performances. (B+)