9 Great Flicks at the Rotterdam Film Festival 2017

Feb 13, 2017 | Inspiration, Research, Reviews, Writing

Every year I travel to Rotterdam for their international film festival. There is always something inspiring to see.

Writing is my passion and so is cinema. Nothing really beats images when you wish to convey a story.

I was quite satisfied with my choices this year and would like to share them with you.

Loving

A mixed race couple in Virginia in America’s deep south become unlikely heroes.

Their predicament instigates changes to a 400-year-old law preventing marriage between white and negroes. These changes paved the way to legal same-sex marriage in the United States.

A poignant look at the power of love. The couple’s drive is not to change to system but merely a desire to stay together.

The film is especially noteworthy considering the current situation with immigration policy worldwide.

The pacing and quietness of this cinematic masterpiece is somehow reminiscent of “No Country for Old Men”. It has an epic quality. Moving, inspiring and well worth seeing.

Secret Défense

The workings of the French secret service is juxtaposed with the induction of a muslim convert into an extremist group.

Notable in that the film was released in 2008 and probably way ahead of its time in commentating on the “war on terror”. The film is surprisingly contemporary and jarring.

It appears very little has changed in attitudes to foreigners and the way wars are fought today.

Paterson

Quiet, thoughtful and humorous.

A suburban bus driver observes the world through his poetry. He is encourage by a girlfriend with a fetish for black and white colour schemes and accompanied by a bulldog called Marvin.

Is Paterson the birthplace of modern poetry?

Directed by Jim Jarmusch it is a worthy followup to “Only Lovers Left Alive”.

Asura: City of Madness

A corrupt police officer in a provincial Korean city, run by an even more corrupt mayor, grapples with being trapped between bad and pure evil. His drive: a life-saving operation for his wife.

The slaughter is intense, as is the detectives situation. The final showdown puts most other movies of its genre to shame.

Don’t take this ride on a full stomach.

The Mole Song: Hong Kong Capriccio

A sequel to a Japanese gangster splatter movie from 2016.

Bizarre visuals and explosions of colour, it is more slapstick than anything else.

Although with less blood than its Korean counterpart, there is the ingenious use of a plunger as a weapon.

Unfortunately, the story is somewhat confusing, but then it is intended to be watched and not absorbed—pure mayhem.

The Last Family

True story of the life and times of a well renown Polish painter, photographer and video artist.

The artist, Zdzislaw Beksinski, resides together with his wife and both their mothers. He attempts to manage his slightly deranged son.

The film is based around the artist’s home videos which are freely available on You Tube.

Incredibly strong casting make this film a success. This is coupled with great camera work.

Set in a small apartment in a block of Warsaw flats the filmmaker perfectly captures the cramped surroundings. You can almost feel the walls closing in around you.

The finale is truly shocking.

Lemon

This film kicked off the opening night of the festival.

It paled in comparison with all the other movies I saw.

A heavy-handed story about an unlikable character with quite juvenile comedy scenes, it somehow missed the mark for me. The comedy worked well but there were just too many themes.

There was an incredible amount crammed into the film: A blind girlfriend trying to escape a terrible relationship; a white man out of his depth in an African American suburb; a director tearing an amateur actress to shreds, and much more.

All in all, an overload and, disappointingly, a bit of a lemon.

Lemon 2017 Film Still
Prevenge

English black comedy about a pregnant single mother on a murder rampage.

The twist: she is being egged on by the foetus in her womb.

Raised questions about the innocence of childhood and the difficulties women face with pregnancy. In particular, how mothers come to terms with giving up control of their bodies.

Quirky, funny and very entertaining with some very interesting messages.

Manifesto

What started life as an art installation has now taken to the road as a feature movie.

Made with a production budget under €100,000 and shot in 12 days in localities in and around Berlin, the film version is a summation of various political and artistic manifestos.

Effectively one long monologue, it was quite overwhelming to try to absorb.

In retrospect it could be seen as a piece of poetry with images.

Cate Blanchett takes on numerous roles, in both genders, and shows off her acting muscles to the extreme.

One to watch and observe. Although, in order to truly understand all the manifesto’s I would advise reading them.

Sixty manifesto’s in 90 minutes is a bit of a stretch.

There you have it.

Some of these films will make it onto the commercial circuit and others you will have to search for in arthouse cinemas or online. Don’t forget to support independent filmmakers, not to mention independent authors.

Wishing you lots of viewing pleasure.

l

Have you seen anything good lately?

 

Leave a comment below or join the mailing list and let me know.

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