Category Archives: Foreign Language Film

Rosalie Blum (2015) Film Review

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Vincent(Kyan Khojandi) lives a life stuck in a rut – he runs the hairdressing salon that he inherited from his father, takes care of his needy mother, Simone(Anemone), and has a long-distance relationship with a girl who keeps cancelling their visits. Then he sees Rosalie Blum (Noemie Lvovsky) in a grocery store outside of his usual routine and recognises her. He cannot place her, but becomes obsessed with trying to recall why she is so familiar. Things are not as they seem, however, and when Aude(Alice Isaaz) comes onto the scene, everything changes.

It’s a delightful French film. Somehow, even the kind of creepy stalking parts have an innocent charm to them. And people are raving about this film. Yet.. I wanted to like it, but just didn’t. It seems like the type of film I absolutely should love. The characters are great, the setting is beautiful, the story is quirky and fun with a hidden depth. But I just didn’t really like it. I still recommend it – I think most people will enjoy it more than I did. The guy behind me in the cinema loved it!

 

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The Lovers and the Despot (2016) MIFF Review

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In 1978, a famous South Korean actress and her director ex-husband were kidnapped and taken to North Korea to make films for Kim Jong-il. Eight years later, they managed to escape. That’s the story.

I’d heard the story told on This American Life some time ago, and I think that’s what made the documentary less engaging for me – I knew the story, I’d heard it told from their points of view, and so I knew where it was going. However, what I was fascinated with was the footage from the North Korean films – a few years ago, MIFF had a series of North Korean films, and it is very interesting to see what has been produced from that country.

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Get Ready to Be Boyzvoiced (2000) Film Review

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I cannot remember who introduced me to this insane Norwegian mockumentary, but I thank them forever. I got my own copy and for years, every so often a group of us get together and Get Ready to be Boyzvoiced. It’s a mockumentary following the three members of Boyzvoice, M’Pete (Espen Eckbo), Hot Tub (Oyvind Thoen) and Roar (Kaare Daniel Steen) as they hit the highs and lows of their career. Written, directed and starring Edpen Eckbo in multiple roles, I assume that he is the Chris Lilly of Norway. But it’s not the plot or the characters that are the highlight. It’s the lyrics. The cheesey love song that laments ‘but she’s my cousin. Yeah, yeah, yeah.’ Or ‘being fooled by a twelve-year-old woman’. It’s wrong, but oh so funny.

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A Common Thread (Brodeuses) (2004) Film Review

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Claire (Ariane Ascaride) is a seventeen-year-old who has accidentally fallen pregnant and decides that she will have the baby and adopt it out. She lives alone, and takes sick leave from her supermarket job. She doesn’t want anyone to know that she is pregnant – not her family or colleagues. She loves to embroider, and takes a job with a seamstress who has recently lost her son in an accident.

This is one of those films where kind of not a lot happens. It’s slow and beautiful and the craftwork is amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed being part of this small world for an hour and a half.

A Common Thread won the Critics Week Grand Prize in 2004

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Seoul Station (2016) MIFF Review

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This is the animated film which pairs with Train to Busan, both set in Seoul during a zombie outbreak. Seoul Station sees the outbreak starting amongst a group of homeless people who live at the station. Quickly, we are following two storylines – the annoying weeping girl who is being searched for by her boyfriend and father. Wait, let me go back a step. The girl is a runaway ex-prostitute and her boyfriend is addicted to internet cafes and not getting a job. He wants her to go back on the street, she is annoyed with him and walks away. Her dad turns up looking for her, but before they can be reunited, zombies happen. And while she tries to stay alive, her father is stuck with her annoying and fairly useless boyfriend trying to find her.

Such annoying characters who are crying all the time, very loudly. And a somewhat stupid plot (though with some cool twists). And I don’t really do scary films. Any yet… There was something really great about this film. It was fun, it was daggy, it was just ace fun times.

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Train to Busan (2016) MIFF Review

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Fund manager Seok Woo (Yoo Gong) has little time for his daughter, but does not want to give her up to his estranged wife. But the adorable child convinces him that, for her birthday, she wants to go to her mother, and so the two of them get on the train. But, unknown to them, there has been an outbreak of a mysterious disease – essentially, people are rapidly becoming zombies. And one of them managed to get on the train… it’ a problem for the rich and selfish businessman, the high school baseball team, the elderly sisters, the pregnant woman and her husband and, of course, Seok and his daughter.

I don’t think this is necessarily that different to most zombie films. Not that I’ve seen a lot… yet this one didn’t scare me like some others have in the past. I mean, I jumped and squealed a couple of times. But mostly it was a lot of violence and a lot of giggling – zombies can actually be really funny, given half a chance.

Train to Busan is paired with Seoul Station – both set in the world of a zombie outbreak in Seoul and surrounding areas.

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Ants on a Shrimp: Noma in Tokyo (2016) MIFF Review

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What do you do when your Copenhagen Restaurant continues to win accolades for being the best restaurant in the world and is known for amazing experimental dishes and fresh flavours? Pack it all up and take it to Tokyo, of course! This documentary shows Rene Redzepi and his staff as they plan a six-week residency in a Tokyo hotel.

It was interesting to see them discovering new ingredients, trying new menu items, but I felt that there wasn’t really enough focus of the food – though it is perhaps hard to put into words, I’d have love to have heard the various chefs talking about why they used the ingredients in the way they did. What was created by adding ants to that shrimp? How did the creative process actually unfold? I’m glad we got a good look at the final product, though I would have loved a taster…

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