7:00 PM, 10th August, 2013
Ali (Schoenaerts) is penniless, homeless and has a young son to take care of. Stephanie (Cotillard) works as an orca trainer at a sea park. They meet in a night-club, exchange numbers and leave separately. Then tragedy strikes one of them, which brings about the impulse to call the other.
Director Audiard previously gave us A Prophet (Semester 2, 2010) which was nominated for an Oscar and received many other awards. I personally wasn’t enamoured with that movie, but this new one hooked me. It takes the old cliché ‘whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ and infuses it with mystical realism so as to make it feel original. It never descends into melodrama, but keeps you in its vice-like grip with tension, thrills and emotion. Schoenaerts will be new to most of us (most of his films remain unreleased here), but he’s an acting force to watch. We are quite familiar with Cotillard however, and with every new movie she continues to show us that her Oscar win was no fluke. She’s amazing here.
Street fighting, topless swimming, wheelchair dancing – this film has something for everybody. It even got me liking a Katy Perry song (in the context of the movie, of course). I encourage you to come along and see one of the best films released this year.
9:17 PM, 10th August, 2013
Francis Ford Coppola made this film in 2007. His extensive CV includes such varied films as Is Paris Burning, The Godfather and Apocalypse Now, winning Oscars, BAFTAs and film festival awards along the way. That should be enough incentive to come and see this less well known but challenging film.
It is 1938 in Romania. Dominic Matei (Roth) is a 70 year old professor of language and philosophy dissatisfied with his achievements and contemplating suicide after the death of the woman he loved. After being struck by lightning he grows younger and his mind grows more brilliant.
His now incredible memory and his astounding knowledge about languages create great scientific interest. When the Nazis find out about him he flees abroad. Determined to understand the origins of language and consciousness, the fugitive professor leads authorities on a wild chase through Romania, Switzerland, Malta, and India. He meets a young woman who also passed through a lightning storm and falls in love with her. The film explores reincarnation and karma, mysticism and spirituality and time - excellent acting, beautiful photography and wonderful locations.
Reactions to this film are extremely divided (see David and Margaret’s ratings!). As well as surviving the lightning Dominic also gained weird powers such as the ability to read books by simply staring at them. If you can suspend your doubts, if you are willing to bring your own interpretation to what is happening, you might end up loving this film.