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 Post subject: Re: The Films of 2017
PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2018 3:17 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:20 pm
Location: New England
Naoko Ogigami's Close Knit (original is something like "when they knit earnestly (together) ..." -- sort of parallel construction to Naruse's "When the Woman Ascends the Stairs ....") finally showed up in Boston, courtesy of the 34th Annual LGBT Film Festival. This story of a neglected 11 year old girl (a mother almost as problematic as the one in Kore'eda's Nobody Knows) being taken care of by her uncle and his transgender (almost fully transitioned) girlfriend seemed to be a crowd pleaser. Plenty of comedy mixed into a story with lots of serious elements (child neglect, home/trans-phobia, school bullying, etc.). The young heroine (Rinka Kakihara) is very well done -- and the performances are all quite good (as usual for Ogigiami). Not sure that all plot points fit perfectly, but didn't find anything especially aggravating.


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 Post subject: Re: The Films of 2017
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 12:06 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2013 6:24 pm
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Samuel Maoz' Foxtrot is purposefully disorienting - with an elliptical structure, surreal imagery, animated interludes, and a strong lead performance by Lior Ashkenazi that is (purposefully) often withholding and near mute for much of the film - but the audience's inability to get a firm grip on the film's aims for much of its runtime is ultimately more appropriate to the material than frustrating, as the emphasis put on Foxtrot's titular metaphor is (arguably more than) enough to make both its intended points clear by the conclusion. Jumping between a family receiving tragic news about their son and that young man's time at a border checkpoint somewhere in Israel/Palestine (though neither nation or their people are mentioned by name), the narrative ultimately coalesces around a sharp sociopolitical criticism couched in character-driven drama, bolstered by striking cinematography and production design that emphasizes the sense of place in (and the distance between) the muddy, ragged outpost and the upper class urban apartment that serve as the primary settings.

Though obviously very different in form and plot, I was strongly reminded during Foxtrot of the sensibility of Waltz With Bashir; that film's director, Ari Folman, was - like Maoz - deployed to Lebanon during the 1982 war, and both films are clearly grappling with the personal and societal impacts of that conflict. I haven't seen Maoz' debut feature, 2009's Lebanon, which appears to cover events similar to those in Bashir through a more gritty and realistic lens rooted in Maoz' experience, but there's enough clearly biographical detail in Foxtrot to infuse it with a sense of personal and social urgency that provides clarity to what could have been a more obtuse, less compelling film without it. Definitely recommended, and worth heading out to the theater for as it continues its limited release in the US.


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 Post subject: Re: The Films of 2017
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 1:51 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm
Lebanon, which I voted for in our war list, isn't quite a realistic film with a lot of fantastic imagery (the polarizing donkey tears being the most obvious point) though it is a film of psychological realism.


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 Post subject: Re: The Films of 2017
PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2018 11:50 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm
Lady Macbeth (William Oldroyd) One of the things I've noticed from tours of colonial homes is how terribly noisy everything is, and if nothing else, this 1800s Brit-set film shows how hardwood floors got their name! The title clues you in to what will transpire as the new lady of the house deals with an impotent husband by fucking the help and then killing everyone who gets in the way of continuing-- and I do mean everyone! This one gets away with being predictable by virtue of not flinching, and the film crafts an expert unease throughout its compact running time that makes for a stressful viewing experience regardless of knowing the beats it's about to sound


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 Post subject: Re: The Films of 2017
PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 4:36 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:20 pm
Location: New England
domino harvey wrote:
Lady Macbeth (William Oldroyd)

I find it hard to imagine this story without the tremendous music Shostakovich created for its operatic adaptation (and which put him deep inside Stalin's cultural dungeon).


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