Rakkautta & Anarkiaa 2016 – part IV

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My final day at the festival. The festival itself ended a day later and I thought about attending, but juggling work, family and the festival takes its toll, so I’m happy in the end that I didn’t.

Endless Poetry [2016]

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Another episode in Jodorowsky’s autobiographical film series about coming to terms with his past. I haven’t seen any of the early Jodorowsky films that enjoy immense cult fame, but I’ve read his Incal comics and seen the earlier film in the series, The Dance of Reality [2013]. Based on these, Jodorowsky is a poet, who doesn’t see the world as the rest of us. I just couldn’t skip the opportunity of seeing this.

This episode tells of Jodorowsky’s as a young adult. Having left home, he got into some artistic circles that at the time were just a bunch of young Chilean artists, but turned out to become the monsters of Chilean literature and arts. Jodorowsky throws away the chains of his past life and explores the current life in order to get rid of any restraints whatsoever. He frees himself artistically and enjoys life in this group of like-minded beings.

Jodorowsky sees the world through a lens of metaphor and symbols. What makes his films unique is that he has a way of embedding those elements into his films without making them unapproachable. He also manages to attach those elements into humanity – he gives the scenes a primal power deeply rooted in the human experience. This is what makes the films for me – they are essentially an exploration into what it is to be a human and what a human can be as an artist.

Jodorowsky explores the pretty and the ugly, the noble and the base and always does it with grace and a sharp eye to human nature. His shots are immaculately beautiful and often quite surprising. He is a unique artist and I’m extremely happy that he is active in film making again.

  • Director: Alejandro Jodorowsky
  • Original Title: Poesía sin fin
  • Watched on: 24th Sep 2016
  • Watched at: Savoy
  • 4.5/5

Love & Peace [2015]

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Sion Sono has been a constant festival favorite at Rakkautta ja Anarkiaa. Thus far I’ve missed his films, but this seemed like a good option to start… Boy was I wrong.

I hope this is not representative of Sono’s work, since I can’t find a good thing to say about it. A loser salary man buys himself a turtle pet and somehow gains magical superstar capabilities and becomes a pop icon. Somewhere there’s a drunk Santa Claus living in the sewers with abandoned toys – his day job, when it’s not Christmas is to provide shelter for the abandoned toys. The turtle goes back and forth between Santa Claus and the salary man and is a conduit for the powers. There’s obviously an office worker, who hides her beauty and was always secretly in love with the loser…

This aims for some kind of Happiness of the Katakuris weirdness, but instead of being delightful and surprising, is just painful to watch.

  • Director: Sion Sono
  • Original Title: Rabu & Pîsu
  • Watched on: 24th Sep 2016
  • Watched at: Andorra
  • 1.5/5

The Lure [2015]

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I’m not sure, if this was a filler pick, or if I was genuinely interested in the appraisal heaped on the film in the festival catalog, but I’m sorry I picked this.

A story about vampire mermaid human shapeshifters, who… I don’t know. I don’t know, what they are doing or why. And I don’t care. I didn’t think I could be so bored by a film that has two beautiful young women naked a lot of the time. There’s a night club and they become performers there and there’s some men they lure in to feed on and someone falls in love and is betrayed and someone takes revenge and all that jazz.

There is not a single interesting shot. There is no plot to speak of. There’s just a whole lot of film spent on an absolutely worthless piece of a turd.

  • Director: Agnieszka Smoczynska
  • Original Title: Córki dancingu
  • Watched on: 24th Sep 2016
  • Watched at: Korjaamo Kulmasali
  • 0.5/5

The Handmaiden [2016]

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This is a bit of digression, but…

Around the year 2000 I started to become a bit bored by the mainstream films I was seeing at the local multiplexes. I figured that there must be more to film than this – an endless repetition of the dozen or so stories that Hollywood thinks are bankable. There was a masterpiece every now and then, but mostly it was just bubblegum. I became aware of the Rakkautta ja Anarkiaa film festival around those times, but there were at least two years, when I missed it – noticed the posters just when the festival had ended or something… Then one year I noticed them, when it was starting in a few days. I walked into the ticket office without a second thought, talked with the sales person for a moment and ended up buying the 11 film ticket package with the catalog. I sat down there and browsed the catalog for over an hour picking those 11 films, went back to the counter, swapped the package to tickets for individual films and couldn’t wait for the few days to pass… My first film in the festival was Chan-wook Park’s Oldboy [2003] and I never looked back. I cried, when I came out of the film and realized, that there’s this whole wonderful world of film, where imagination and surprise still exist. Besides the festival, I started digging into this whole thing called critically acclaimed film and the gems I’ve discovered are an endless wonder to me.

So yeah, Park hasn’t been up to the same level in all his films since, but I still have a tender spot in my heart for him, so I was happy to go see The Handmaiden.

It’s a period piece set in a Korean upper class family, where everything is not what it seems. Besides being a period piece, it’s a bait and switch story, where you see the story in three parts – every part from a different angle and each time a different layer of the cons being played left and right is revealed.

The story is interesting enough and the convenient turns of events and the few blind spots that the director hopes the viewer won’t notice aren’t too prominent. The structure is very sound and holds a few twists that will genuinely surprise even by the time you expect them.

In the end, it is still a film laced with some nice dresses and manors, some structural ingenuity and a few nice plot twists. The whole is built so nicely that I enjoyed my time a lot, but it is still just an entertaining movie.

  • Director: Chan-wook Park
  • Original Title: Ah-ga-ssi
  • Watched on: 24th Sep 2016
  • Watched at: Korjaamo Kulmasali
  • 3.5/5

There’s a tradition of a few piss poor films in each instance of the festival and I was already thinking I’d avoided them, but my final day proved me wrong. Love & Peace and The Lure were just wasted hours and I considered leaving the theaters more than once. Luckily, Jodorowsky’s autobiographical film series continues to be marvelous and The Handmaiden turned out to be one of Park’s stronger pieces.

What about the festival as a whole? I can’t attend as fully as I’d like, so I missing some of the atmosphere, but in general it was a bit of a let down. I didn’t see the festival trailer, I thought the theaters were emptier than usual, there were less familiar faces around, the replacement theaters were mostly bad… Still, wouldn’t miss this for the world, for I again saw some of the best films of the year and counting in the turds, I still saw a better set of films than I could find in the multiplexes in an average year.

It took me so long to write these pieces that only 7 months to go until the next installment. Can’t wait.

Rakkautta & Anarkiaa 2016 – part III

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The second Friday of the festival and my second to last day in it. Had a four day break before this day, which refreshed me nicely for the final two days.

Mr. Gaga [2015]

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Again we circle back to the importance of art and how I can appreciate art more, when I know enough context for it. This is a documentary about Ohad Naharin, a choreographer and dancer, who changed the language of modern dance for ever with his Gaga style. I haven’t seen any dance pieces by Naharin live, but I think I’ve seen something in the TV without realizing it, since his language of dance is quite distinctive.

This is a pretty straight forward documentary, so nothing revolutionary there. I guess this is the first one that was produced with extensive access to the Batsheva Dance Company’s film archives, which allows the film to show things from beyond the 8-year filming period of this film.

The director Tomer Heymann, was with us watching the film and answering questions afterwards, and what I gathered from him was, that he was pretty much like me – an uncultured person taking steps into his life as an independent adult and encountering art forcibly for the first time… and realizing that life without art is pretty much meaningless.

This shows from the documentary – Naharin is placed on a pedestal and kept there. There’s a few moments, where some cracks are shown. Then again, it doesn’t really matter. This is not an opinion piece on an important political topic or the like. This is about dance, and about how that dance was born. We see enough dancing and enough context to learn to appreciate Naharin’s flavor of dance and that’s enough for me.

Seems like I’ve was at quite a tender state during the festival, but this was yet another film that made me cry – for the beauty of dance this time.

  • Director: Tomer Heymann
  • Watched on: 23rd Sep 2016
  • Watched at: Orion
  • 4/5

Swiss Army Man [2016]

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For all the elating films I saw during the festival, this was a nice balancing act. Some people have called this Harry Potter 8, since it has Daniel Radcliffe playing Manny, a dead and decaying body. My inner Harry Potter died a little during the film…

Hank (played by Paul Dano) is a depressed man stranded on a desert island. One morning a body drifts ashore and Hank loots the belt from its pants to hang himself with… But then the corpse starts to fart and it seems like it is trying to tell Hank something. They end up taking a jet ski ride out from the island with the body acting as the jet ski powered by the farts… From there it doesn’t get much better.

In my books, this is usually recipe for disaster. I don’t like the comedies, where the joke is the first one that comes to mind. Some real thought has been put into this one. The jokes are stupid but surprising. The plot is non-existent, but you find yourself rooting for Hank and Manny to kiss… and only when they do, realize what you were rooting for.

Really a magnificent effort considering that the premise is a dead body that farts and talks a lot for being dead…

  • Director: Dan Kwan, Daniel Scheinert
  • Watched on: 23rd Sep 2016
  • Watched at: Savoy
  • 3.5/5

This was again a good day. An elating documentary on dance and a less elating film on farts. Not your everyday combination.

Rakkautta & Anarkiaa 2016 – part II

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Second day at the festival after one rest day.

Aloys [2016]

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Another one of those weird films to fill out my schedule. Hadn’t heard of the director, Tobias Nölle, previously, but since this is his first feature film, no wonder.

The story tells about Aloys Adorn (played by Georg Friedrich), a reclusive private detective, who prefers to not meet with people at all. He conducts his business over the phone and films everything, whether targets on the job, or just random events during his daily life. He spends his days on the job and at home watching his endless archive of film he has shot. Also, drinking.

One day he passes out drunk on a bus, and his camera and a case full of films get stolen. This is already disturbing enough, but he starts receiving notes from the thief (played by Tilde von Overbeck), who threatens to reveal Aloys’ films to the world. With the threat the thief manages to lure Aloys into a game of imagination, where the thief tries to pull Aloys out into the world at least in Aloys’ imagination. The game goes on for a while and Aloys is completely pulled into it even generating an infatuation towards the thief, which is too much for the thief.

The plot sounds interesting, but the film fails at pacing. Things mostly develop very slowly, which can be a good thing in capable hands, but Aloys just is not interesting. There’s no inner world to develop in those quiet shots, no charisma to build – Aloys has neither – so it’s just boring. Then occasionally the films shifts a few gears too many and things happen that… you just can’t buy into.

Pacing isn’t the only problem though – the film relies on this character that basically has no inner world or charisma and then it makes you try to watch the world through his eyes. This is nicely supported by camera work and mise-en-scéne, but something is missing. It all adds up to a very bleak film that has problems keeping the viewer attached to itself. I think someone like Cronenberg or Haneke could’ve built a masterpiece out of this setup.

Despite the shortcomings of the film, it has its moments and I enjoyed my time with it.

  • Director: Tobias Nölle
  • Watched on: 18th Sep 2016
  • Watched at: Orion
  • 3/5

Francofonia [2015]

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A film by the legendary Russian director Aleksandr Sokurov. I don’t think I’ve seen anything by him, although he’s been a staple of the festival for a long time and working as a director for even longer.

The film is an essay about Louvre and the near destruction it and the art in its collections faced during the German occupation in WWII. Well, that is the framing – more essentially the film is a rumination on the importance of art as the vessel for preserving human achievement from generation to generation, on how fragile that vessel is, on how art is the most important of all human achievements, and how the people, who’ve sacrificed to save art, are the true heroes of all ages.

I’m always interested in the background for art. Often a piece of art without any context is quite bland – it might be masterful, but seeing it provides no additional elation besides the appreciation of the skill it took to bring the piece to life. Many times it feels like the reason the piece was made, the story of birthing it, the conditions it was made under, the artists intention and place in life – all of these details of the background are more interesting and bring the piece itself to life. Gaining additional insight into all of that is always interesting.

Sokurov’s thoughts don’t fail on this front. Although he proceeds through the film in a rambling manner jumping between places and times quite freely and not bothering with making his thoughts approachable, he provides ample bits of interesting trivia. Those alone would make the film worth seeing, but he also manages to construct a humane defense for art in general. Coming out, I felt strengthened in my belief that there is no endeavor more important than art.

The film also contains gimmickry and self-indulgent ramblings that lead nowhere. This is most likely intentional, since I expect this to be half an exercise to organize his own thoughts on the matter. A sort of journal entry that maybe will end up as a thought piece in some magazine later on, but is currently just an unorganized collection of thoughts mostly on one topic.

Very much recommended, if you share the belief that art is important.

  • Director: Aleksandr Sokurov
  • Watched on: 18th Sep 2016
  • Watched at: Orion
  • 3.5/5

My Golden Days [2015]

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I’ve seen A Christmas Tale [2008] by Arnaud Desplechin previously and loved it. The film recounts the story of one family’s one Christmas. In that film Desplechin shows us a family that is smart and well off, but snarky and with dark humane depths. He shows people, who are smart but struggle, who are successful but make mistakes, who are cultured but fragile – people, who are lovable and feel like life, despite being upper class people often described with less warmth. For me, that is the definitive Christmas film. It tells about a family that stays together despite all the reasons not to. It is bitter and sweet and honest.

With this background I jumped at the chance to see another Desplechin film. This one is framed in a story about Paul Dédalus (played by Quentin Dolmaire and Mathieu Amalric as the young and old Paul respectively) being apprehended by French officials upon him returning to France. Apparently there’s another Paul Dédalus somewhere and foul play is suspected. From there the film dives into Paul reminiscing about the formative events in his life. There’s three memories of which the first is a quick glance into tumultuous pre-teen years, where Paul threatened her mother with a kitchen knife, the second is about a field trip to Minsk, when Paul “lost” his passport to a jewish family in order to help them escape the USSR, which is also the reason Paul is now questioned, and the third is about the love of Paul’s life during his teens and early adult years. Everything else is just setup and framing for the love story, the golden days of the English title of the film.

Paul was a fragile and very romantic youth and he can’t help but still view his younger self with immense affection. Although he has grown up and generated the usual adult protective shell, underneath, he’s still the teen boy, who fell in love and felt betrayed with the strength only the people still learning to live with their feelings can. He’s the kind of person, who occasionally cries himself to sleep at night, because he can’t reach those depths of feeling anymore. Despite still feeling hurt and angry about how things went, he still yearns for those times with warmth.

The love story itself, between Paul and Esther (played by Lou Roy-Lecollinet) is one of sunshine, bitterness and impossibility. Youthful follies based on false expectations and on the sweetness of bitter disappointment. Except that at some point, the disappointment is only bitter and the damage has been done and you wake up realizing that you are mortal and everything is not possible.

The story is encased in everything that I felt during my teenage years. This is obviously the highlights reel of a life made more interesting for the silver screen, but I could’ve been that boy. I don’t think I am anymore, I don’t think I have such blindness towards the youthful me, but then again, I cried a lot during the film, since it connects on so many levels to some bitter memories I have.

If you didn’t already get it, I consider this a masterpiece. There are just a few tiny structural weaknesses, but those are inconsequential. Desplechin has a way of reaching into things that are bitter and sweet that just twists my soul with absolute warmth and nostalgia.

  • Director: Arnaud Desplechin
  • Original Title: Trois souvenirs de ma jeunesse
  • Watched on: 18th Sep 2016
  • Watched at: Korjaamo Kino
  • 5/5

Truman [2015]

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The final step of my festival scheduling process is to fill out the blanks. If there are days, when I’m going to see just one film or there’s a convenient spot between a few already chosen films, I look through the open spots and figure out some film to see in that spot. This was one of those filler movies. Boy, am I glad I chose this one.

The film is a story of two childhood friends meeting up for the first time since forever as old men. There probably were the usual promises of being friends forever no matter what happens in their lives, but as is the case usually, life intervenes. One has remained a successful actor in his childhood neighborhood, while the other has moved all the way to Canada. Julián (played by Ricardo Darín) is dying of cancer, when Tomás (played by Javier Cámara) comes to visit.

The film proceeds to present some too convenient situations that reestablish old childhood bonds and allows the protagonists to figure out, how to be the one, who accepts his friend’s death gracefully and on the other hand, how to die gracefully. On a wider scale, it may be about those eternal bonds, about male friendship forged in the fires of teenage years, but on a smaller scale, it is about telling a story that is filled with a kind of nostalgia for the future – this is the way that those childhood friendships should be fulfilled in the end, this is how we should be allowed to die, everything should be ok in the end.

I just cried and cried during the film at the grace and the moments, when grace failed, but it was still justified. I cried at the friendship and the final gesture with the dog. I cried at pretty much everything. I slightly cringed at the way everything had been built way too conveniently, but then again, if there’s story like this, it will seem way too convenient.

  • Director: Cesc Gay
  • Watched on: 18th Sep 2016
  • Watched at: Kinopalatsi 9
  • 4.5/5

The Clan [2015]

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This was chosen for the premise – the Puccio clan was one of the right wing death squads that operated during the Argentine state sponsored terror years that attempted to purge left wing supporters from the country. The thing that made the Puccio clan exceptional, was that they continued operating after the democratic government had been restored and after processes to compensate victims of the terror had started. At the point democracy was restored, the Puccios obviously lost their main source of income, so they kept at the kidnapping business.

The film tells the story. A successful model family with store keeper father devoted to his kids, an arts teacher mother, who is a home keeping wizard on par with Martha Stewart, and five kids, who are well behaved and liked with promising futures ahead of them.

Except that they kidnapped people, on occasion tortured them slightly, and once ransom had been paid, mostly killed the ransomed people in order to avoid gathering of any sort of evidence.

The film keeps very strictly to what is known, probably just building some details to fill in the day to day life of them. It also presents everything in a very calm and everyday manner. This is the humdrum of their life. Breakfast, homework, falling for a girl, football practice, kidnapping, rinse and repeat.

I find it difficult to say an opinion about the film. I like it. It’s interesting. Let’s go with that.

  • Director: Pablo Trapero
  • Original Title: El Clan
  • Watched on: 18th Sep 2016
  • Watched at: Kinopalatsi 1
  • 3.5/5

That was the first Sunday (I missed the closing Sunday).

I felt elated. Although the day ended on a film that doesn’t really lift your spirits, it was a good film. My Golden Days and Truman were very solid efforts, while Aloys played a weird little interesting game that could’ve been gold in more capable hands, and Francofonia was a reminder of the importance of art, which is never bad.

Rakkautta & Anarkiaa 2016 – part I

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So I went to Helsinki International Film Festival, or Rakkautta & Anarkiaa (Love and Anarchy in English). No news there. This was my 13th time.

I’ve usually seen 2-3 films each day, but this time I spent only four days at the festival. I saw 14 films during the time, which is nice considering my usual quota of 20-25 films. It meant that I crammed more films per day than usual on several days, but even that worked out nicely, since there were break days in between. I survived without festival exhaustion except on the final day.

A few of the still independent cinemas are currently closed for renovations, so the venues changed a bit. This was bad. Kino Savoy was given the role of the new main venue replacing Bio Rex, but it just didn’t work. It’s an old theater hall that hasn’t been in regular use in ages, which means that audio is awful, chairs are torture and bottom of screen is hidden behind people in front of you. I also visited the two separate cinemas in Korjaamo – Kino and Kulmasali. Kino was nice. It’s purpose built for screening films, so it has nice chairs, nice audio and stuff. Surprisingly good considering that it is a plywood cube sitting in the center of the bigger halls in Korjaamo. Kulmasali is regularly used for small scale theater and related performances, which means that it was another disappointment. Missed a few of the new venues mostly due to them being so far away and not being able to make the transition between films in my tight schedule.

I’m currently writing this three months after the festival and I still haven’t seen the festival trailer. I was kind of bummed for not seeing it during the festival despite attending a few single screening films in the bigger venues. I guess the new venues meant that they were constantly behind schedule and had to cut something away. Need to watch the trailer at some point though… there. Watched it. Not my favorite, but not the worst either (2014 will hold that place for a long time to come). Not in the correct mood for further analyzing the piece at this point. Just the first impression – I didn’t find a connection to the festival, films, love or anarchy.

This year the festival felt less… alive. There were several things having an effect on this. The main venues were closed, the replacements were at least partially bad, I didn’t see the trailer, I wasn’t there every day, I wasn’t in the physical ticket queue… But there were also less people, less random talk about films with strangers, less speeches. Hopefully the festival doesn’t start to simmer out. It’s the one event I look forward to each year more than anything.

My first day…

Certain Women [2016]

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I’ve been hearing about Kelly Reichardt since her 2006 film Old Joy and all of it excellent. I think a few of her films have been in Finland in R&A, but I’ve missed them thus far. It seems that currently the best cinema coming out of the US is often concentrating on small communities and small people. Giving short peeks into the lives of people, who’ve been left behind. In the films, they are not overtly angry. Something is always simmering below the surface though. Often fiercely independent, but struggling to find the independence in the community that is dwindling and descending into social problems around them. What I’ve heard, places Reichardt strongly into this genre and Certain Women was there as well.

It tells the stories of Laura (Laura Dern), Gina (Michelle Williams) and the unnamed ranch hand (Lily Gladstone, role credited as The Rancher). There’s not too much interleaving in telling the stories, which gives each piece time to develop its own emotional weight. There’s a few interconnections between the stories, but mostly they are inconsequential. Not your garden variety Look How Smartly We Built the Film episodic film then. Which is nice at least here.

Laura is a lawyer, who ends up in a hostage situation with her client and defuses it as best she can. Gina lives in a tent with her husband and daughter. They are purchasing quarried stone off of an elderly acquaintance in order to build a more permanent home. Might seem like a nice story about building your life yourself, living the American dream, but there are problems in the marriage already. Finally, The Rancher spends her days mostly at the ranch, but once a week drives 4 hours to get to an evening class taught by Elizabeth (Kristen Stewart). There’s infatuation maybe even on the part of Elizabeth and a few almost magical moments, but in the end everything falls apart.

All the stories are told with an elegant touch. There’s no bravado, no angles chosen for shock effect or even highlighting, just a complete mastery of letting the story tell itself, letting the actors be the stars and letting everything remain mundane. The hostage situation is resolved through the stupidity of Laura’s client, the marriage doesn’t evolve into a story of building the American dream, but neither does it fall apart, and the ranch hand returns to the ranch alone despite almost finding love.

The delicacy of Reichardt’s touch is just wonderful. I’ll certainly be watching more of her films.

  • Director: Kelly Reichardt
  • Watched on: 16th Sep 2016
  • Watched at: Kinopalatsi 1
  • 5/5

The First, the Last [2016]

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Also known as Les premiers les derniers. I haven’t heard about the director, Bouli Lanners, or any of his films previously. He has been acting since the 80ies, but directing features only since 2006.

When I pick my Rakkautta & Anarkiaa films, I try to pick some must see films, and fill it out with weirdness. Despite being an excellently curated festival, there’s always a bunch of films that are mediocre at best, but weird mediocre is usually better than normal mediocre.

This was one of those picks. A road movie that has two aging guns for hire running after the cell phone of their employer with Jesus popping in occasionally. Essentially a road movie, where the journey again proves more important than the destination – original is not even reached, but instead replaced by a more essential one.

I don’t really have much to say about this. Pacing is slightly off, atmosphere is close to the one in Certain Women, but not quite. Some hamfisted situations, some small problems here and there. But a solid film nevertheless.

Living is more than breathing.

  • Director: Bouli Lanners
  • Original Title: Les premiers les derniers
  • Watched on: 16th Sep 2016
  • Watched at: Kinopalatsi 2
  • 3/5

Sunset Song [2015]

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Another film by a director (Terence Davies), whose film I’ve heard praised often for a while (since Of Time and the City, 2008). Finally got a chance to see one of his films. A Quiet Passion [2016] was also in the festival program, but I missed that. I’ve got to know Terence Davies for sweeping stories that attempt to tell the story of a larger community. Usually it takes smaller parts of those communities and uses them as representative of the larger. This obviously misses some experiences completely, but apparently he has a knack in picking the things that are at least recognizable to everyone.

This one feels like that. A sweeping story that goes through a quintessentially Scottish experience through the story of one family. It bears certain similarities to the Finnish Seitsemän veljestä, that I’ve never been able to finish.

When I came out of the theater, I felt like the film was great. With the intervening two months I’ve become to like it less and less. I believe that it accurately describes some important portion of the Scottish experience, but I feel that the story is not worth telling. It is a story of domestic violence against women and children, about men breaking down under the then much more prevalent hurtful images of what a man is, about people, who see no escape and probably didn’t have it in reality back at the day.

Maybe I’ve internalized it well enough that this is not how you are a good person, that it isn’t educational. Instead, it only feels like a gory retelling of a story that has been told a million times. Maybe this is a story for the portion of Scotsmen, who have yet to internalize that it is ok to break tradition and do things smartly. Something that makes them go “Oh, that’s exactly my life! But wait, isn’t that kind of stupid? Maybe I should change something…”

I don’t know, how to soften the paragraphs above and still push my point through. In any case, as a film, it is pretty great. Everything is just built wonderfully into a nicely interlocking story that is revealed with all kinds of great technique (not CGI technique, but technical ability in following well established rules of storytelling, pacing, camera angles, settings, acting, scripting etc. to produce a coherent film that feels worth watching – the important kind of technique).

  • Director: Terence Davies
  • Watched on: 16th Sep 2016
  • Watched at: Kinopalatsi 2
  • 3/5

So, Certain Women was a positive surprise despite my high expectations, Sunset Song was interesting, but slightly disappointing to see (in part due to very high expectations), and The First, the Last was a slightly forgettable snack in the middle that offered something good nevertheless. Whole day spent in Kinopalatsi, which usually hasn’t been my favorite thing to do in R&A, but turned out to be a good decision what with the quality of Kino Savoy. All in all, a very good festival opening day.