Hadewijch (2009)

BRUNO DUMONT Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.  France, 2009.  3B Productions, Arte France Cinéma, C.R.R.A.V. Nord Pas de Calais, Le Fresnoy Studio National des Arts Contemporains, Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen, X-Filme Creative Pool, Cofinova 5, Canal+, CinéCinéma, Centre National de la Cinématographie, Contact Film, Cofinova 4, Soficapital, Région Ile-de-France, Région Nord-Pas-de-Calais.  Screenplay by Bruno Dumont.  Cinematography by Yves Cape. …

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Glorious 39

BBBB.5 (out of 5) A young boy approaches two elderly gentlemen and announces that he is distantly related to them and has questions about the past. He wants to know about a distant aunt and her disappearance during the Second World War, which leads the two men (Christopher Lee and Corin Redgrave in his final film) to…

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Ajami

BBBB (out of 5) The Israel/Palestine conflict is distilled down to a handful of violent interactions on the streets of Tel Aviv that are all connected in the fascinating epic drama, directed without a script and with non-professional actors who were mostly improvising (neither of which are apparent).  A downward spiral begins when a Bedouin…

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Like You Know It All (Jal al-ji-do mot-ha-myeon-seo) (2009)

SANG-SOO HONG Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.  South Korea, 2009.  Screenplay by Sang-soo Hong.  Produced by Kim Kyoung He.  Music by Yong-jin Jeong.  Toronto International Film Festival 2009. Another delicate, deceptively simple charmer from Hong Sang-Soo. A reasonably well known arthouse filmmaker is forced to face his own irresponsible attitude towards the people in his life through increasingly dire…

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The Young Victoria

BBBB (out of 5) Having lost her father in infancy, princess Victoria grows up in a cage with golden bars under the careful watch of her politically scheming mother (Miranda Richardson) and her mother’s even more viciously ambitious advisor (Mark Strong). As Victoria is next in line for the throne, and King William (Jim Broadbent)…

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Face (Visage)

BBBB (out of 5) Tsai Ming-Liang was commissioned by the Louvre Museum to make a film set within its walls, and the artistry of this Taiwanese master has not been in any way diluted by its unusual setting (he has actually made a film in Paris before, What Time Is It There, in which he first…

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Antichrist

BB (out of 5) Lars von Trier makes his most provocative film yet with this attention-grabbing but empty drama. Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg are a married couple whose child dies in an unfortunate accident, falling out of a window while they’re having sex.  The resulting grief threatens to completely pervert Gainsbourg’s mind, so her therapist husband…

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Triage (Shell Shock)

BB.5 (out of 5) Colin Farrell plays a war photographer who has spent almost two decades travelling the globe to disastrously conflicted places to do his work, heedless of the danger to himself. On most of his assignments he is accompanied by his best friend (Jamie Sives) and their latest sojourn is in war-torn Kurdistan, but…

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Eyes Wide Open (Einayim Pkuhot)

BB (out of 5) Aaron, an Orthodox butcher in Jerusalem opens his workplace and home to a visitor when young Yeshiva student Ezri shows up at his door in need of help: he is between destinations and requires somewhere to work and sleep. Aaron senses that this young man is running away from something but,…

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Get Low

BBB.5 (out of 5) An ornery old man living alone in the woods (Robert Duvall) shows up in his dusty little town and announces to the local preacher that he wants to arrange a funeral. Throwing a big wad of money at the parson, he finds himself unable to communicate his desires properly and so…

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Dorian Gray (2009)

B (out of 5) Having already ruined Oscar Wilde and Shakespeare, it is incredible to think that Oliver Parker would be permitted to get his hands on the great author’s material only to make mincemeat of its contents yet again. This terrible adaptation of The Picture of Dorian Gray, whose contents were incendiary enough to…

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Mother And Child

BB.5 (out of 5) The multi-strand narrative begins with a teenager giving birth after getting into trouble with her high school boyfriend.  We then fast-forward to thirty seven years later, where a lonely and bitter health care worker (Annette Bening) lives with her mother and writes a diary to the baby she gave up for…

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