Tuesday, November 27, 2012

short reviews on the recent EUFF films

 Twin Sisters (De tweeling): A pair of twin sisters were torn apart when their parents passed away, and relatives from two different sides fought for their custody. One went to a German Catholic farming family and another to a wealthy Dutch family. When they grew older, they struggled as they were divided by the events of WWII. While I felt that one of them was being spoilt and petty, this made me shed a lot of tears.


The Illusionist (L'illusionniste): From the director of the 'Triplets of Belleville', come an animation that follows an amicable middle-aged illusionist looking for performing jobs, and sadly finding that his skills is increasingly unappreciated. Until one day, a job search led him to a small Scottish town where a young woman was in wonderment by his skills, convinced that he's a real magician. He kindly indulged her, and she follows him. Without spilling out too much, it tracks their journey together. It is mostly a dialogue-free movie, and a very visually engaging animation in its quaint representation of their characters and places. The storyline is quietly poignant and sad, especially on how tenderly the illusionist treated the young woman.

Mataharis: While solving their own cases, three private investigators on separate cases found that the line between their work and private life vanishing... may it be in the way that it affects them or made them reflect on their own values and life. It was well-portrayed and in some interactions, it was also convincing realistic.

The White Space (Lo spazio bianco): An independent person who is in control of her life, Maria's life was upturned when she had a premature pregnancy and not knowing whether her child will survive the incubation or not. Single mom. Honestly, I found this a bore... usually I'm empathetic towards the characters I watch, but not here. It did not have sufficient depth for me.


A Distant Neighbourhood (Quartier lointain): A middle-aged man accidentally boarded the wrong train, bringing him to his childhood home. He decides to visit his mother's grave there. There, he lost consciousness and found himself as a teenager again. I really enjoyed this one; how he has youth again yet the maturity of an older man. This lead to some immensely sweet moments, and also funny ones. But it also had a serious undertone to it, as his father left the family without any warning and now he was transported back to the time just before he left... he made it his task to find out why. Also, visually pleasant as it portrayed a French community of the past.

The Pirate's Ward (Stationspiraten): It's about the friendship and struggles of these teenage boys in a cancer ward. The camaraderie and antics of these boys would brought a smile to my face. Not only that, it shows their struggles within the friendship and sorrows of living with cancer or in a fellow ward mate's death or when one is free from cancer while they are not and coming to terms with lessened quality of physical life. Both a heartwarming and sad movie.

Road to Mecca: A short introduction of the celebrated European intellectual, Leopold Weiss, who then converted into Islam and was known as Muhammad Asad. This documentary trails how the people in the countries he had impacted thought of him, and the thinking movement that he sparked. This was fairly interesting documentary, but it is less of a story of him than a glimpse into his impact on the Muslim world. If one wants to get to know him more, best to check out the book instead. (Also, a lack of subtitles on bits of the filmmaker's narration made me miss out on some stuff).

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