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Review: Hitsville: The Making of Motown (2019)

Hitsville: The Making of Motown (2019)

Directed by: Ben Turner, Gabe Turner | 112 minutes | documentary, music | Starring: Berry Gordy, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, William Stevenson, Valerie Simpson, Eddie Holland, Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, Robin Terry, Mary Wilson, Abdul ‘Duke’ Fakir, Jamie Foxx, Martha Reeves, Dr. Dre, Claudette Robinson, Lee Daniels, Annette Beard, Paul Riser, Otis Williams, John Legend, Neil Young, Marlon Jackson, Little Richard, Jermaine Jackson, Tito Jackson, Jackie Jackson, Sam Smith, Nick Ashford, Aretha Franklin, Michael Lovesmith, Diana Ross

‘I Heard It Through the Grapevine’, ‘My Girl’, ‘Dancing in the Streets’, ‘Reach Out (I’ll Be There)’… Name a soul classic and chances are it comes from the Motown stables. Legendary, one-of-a-kind artists like Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and Diana Ross – all found their way to great fame under the wing of Berry Gordy Jr., the Detroit-based entrepreneur who has entrepreneurship in his blood. He was personally responsible for ensuring that Detroit was no longer known solely as ‘Motor City’, the city where tens of thousands of cars roll off the production line every year. Record label Motown also put the city on the map musically, with mostly local artists. Because Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, the members of The Four Tops and The Temptations; all were born in Detroit, Aretha Franklin lived there for much of her life, and Stevie Wonder was born in the nearby town of Saginaw. What’s in the water there? Unfortunately, the documentary ‘Hitsville: The Making of Motown’ (2019) by the brothers Ben and Gabe Turner does not answer that question. The film, which was made to celebrate the record label’s sixtieth anniversary, does provide insight into the genesis of Motown and the special approach of founder Berry Gordy Jr.

From a car factory to a hit factory, that’s how you could describe the career switch Gordy made around 1958. Like many Detroit residents, he worked at the Ford plant, where he saw first-hand how the cars were built step-by-step – the ‘assembly line’. That should be possible with music, he thought. He envisioned it this way: a young talent walks in like a nobody and comes out like a star. In an ordinary house in the suburbs of the city – not much later lovingly renamed ‘Hitsville USA’ and nowadays a frequently visited museum – he gathered all kinds of people who could help him turn musical talent into artists: songwriters, producers, musicians, a dance teacher and even a lady who could teach the stars etiquette. Mutual competition was stimulated, because that could only make you better and more successful. During so-called ‘quality control meetings’ it was decided in no uncertain terms which songs were good enough and which were not. Incidentally, everyone within the ‘Motown Family’ was allowed to participate in the discussion. Gordy’s strength was placing the figures in the right places, so that everyone could use their own talents to the fullest.

The documentary focuses on the period from the birth of Motown in 1958 until the move to Los Angeles in the early 1970s and is based on the ‘assembly line’ from the car factory, on the basis of which all aspects that make Motown such a great place success can be discussed (think of terms such as ‘talent development’ and ‘quality assurance’). The Turner brothers managed to get just about everyone involved in the record label’s success on the microphone. And when they are no longer alive, like Gaye and songwriter Norman Whitfield, we see them on archival footage. For example, the illustrious trio of writers Holland-Dozier-Holland shares experiences and anecdotes, just like singers Martha Reeves and Mary Wilson, singers Stevie Wonder and the four living members of The Jackson 5. Also younger artists who have been inspired by Motown and Gordy, like Dr. Dre, John Legend and Jamie Foxx will be there, partly to emphasize the role Motown played, whether consciously or not, in the civil rights movement. The label did not release music for black people, but by black people, meant for everyone to listen to. Or as Gordy himself says: ‘The color of the business was green’. Music as a connecting factor.

Of all the conversations in ‘Hitsville: The Making of Motown’, the one-twos between Gordy and Smokey Robinson are the most infectious. The two have been close friends for more than sixty years and were together at the cradle of Motown; they can also talk about it very enthusiastically and with a lot of fun. Gordy is also involved as an executive producer on the film and there is of course a danger in that. Because how objective is this film? For example, not a word is said about the financial abuses that are putting things on edge. That the rigid and conservative Gordy clashed with more and more of his stars in the early 1970s – Ross no longer wanted to just sing everything he told her to do, Wonder wanted to go his own way musically and Gaye felt a strong need to explore socially critical themes such as the Vietnam War. sing-along – is only lightly touched upon. The film especially praises the less charming sides clearly to the left; like a true manager, Gordy likes to be in control of his products. Fortunately, this musical documentary offers a lot in return: the many interesting insights we get about the ins and outs of Motown, unique image and sound fragments and above all that wonderful music, which still stands as a rock many years later!

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Review: Dersu Uzala (1975)

Dersu Uzala (1975)

Directed by: Akira Kurosawa | 140 minutes | adventure, biography | Actors: Maksim Munzuk, Yuriy Solomon, Mikhail Bychkov

Akira Kurosawa is a cornerstone of modern cinema, but things didn’t always run smoothly for the Japanese master. After his film ‘Dodes’ka-den’ (1970) received bad international reviews, Kurosawa tried to end his life. Fortunately, he failed and in 1973 the Russian film studio Mosfilm asked if he could make a film about Dersu Uzala; a memoir about a nomad who hunts in the taiga of Russia and befriends a group of soldiers exploring the area. The film not only wins the Oscar for best international film in 1975, but also breathes new life into Kurosawa’s career.

‘Dersu Uzala’ is a classic Kurosawa movie in many ways. As in his films about samurai, in this Russian film he tackles the contrast between old and new. The lonely Dersu is one of the last of his kind. Braving the rough life of the wild in harsh conditions is ridiculed by a group of modern soldiers when they see Dersu walking out of the bushes. The captain of the military admires the old Dersu and soon a close friendship develops.

The strength of ‘Dersu Uzala’ lies in the bond that develops between the soldiers and the fighter. Gradually, they begin to respect each other more and more, which leads to a heartwarming collaboration. Kurosawa transforms the unforgivable and raw Siberia into a beautiful environment where man and nature are in balance. It’s hard not to get a soft spot for the philosophy of the forgotten nomad. The film shows that there is joy and beauty in the most extreme circumstances. Music is not necessary, the camera work and the location of the filming form their own harmony, just as beautiful as that of the main characters.

Despite the fact that ‘Dersu Uzala’ is not very well known, the film had a lot of impact on George Lucas’ original ‘Star Wars’ trilogy. Teacher Yoda is very similar to Dersu. A scene in which the captain and Dersu must survive overnight in a snowstorm is very reminiscent of Han Solo and Luke Skywalker who must do the same on the ice planet Hoth.

A parallel can be drawn between ‘Dersu Uzala’ and today’s modern society. Well, Kurosawa probably didn’t have in mind that everyone would be glued to a screen all day in the future, but the message remains relevant: look after our fellow human beings and have respect for what nature gives us. ‘Dersu Uzala’ paints a picture of how the ruthless yet fascinating taiga can make us long for real friendships in a simpler time.

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Review: Interview Craig Gillespie, Jenny Beavan, Fiona Crombie and Nadia Stacey (Cruella)

Interview Craig Gillespie, Jenny Beavan, Fiona Crombie and Nadia Stacey (Cruella)

To mark the release of ‘Cruella’ on Disney+ (premium access) and (as it looks now) in theaters on June 9, Disney hosted a global press conference via Zoom with the talents in front of and behind the camera. If you were very lucky, your question (which you could post in the chat function) was presented to the cast and crew. Our questions didn’t make it, but we did get a lot of information about the challenges and the special moments during the filming of ‘Cruella’. Speaking are the director, Craig Gillespie, costume designer Jenny Beavan, production designer Fiona Crombie and makeup artist Nadia Stacey.

Not black and white

Australian Craig Gillespie, director of ‘I, Tonya’ and ‘Lars and the Real Girl’, among others, tells what attracted him to ‘Cruella’. “Bad guys are always great fun to play, after all: you have a lot more opportunities to show things that are actually unacceptable. You can push your limits a lot more with bad guys.” He adds that it was important that it was not a black and white story (no pun intended). “There had to be a gray area, I wanted to allow the viewer to identify with Cruella’s choices, because of the situations she finds herself in and what she acts on.”

tipper

About finding the young Estella/Cruella (Tipper Seifert-Cleveland) he has this to say: “It is not easy to find the young version of Emma Stone, she is such a nuanced actor and her strength and humor are very present. The search in London was quite intensive. Tipper has just that kind of spice we were looking for. It was essential that we find a child who could show some form of resistance; someone you can tell she believes in her ideals. So yes, with Tipper’s contribution I’m definitely over the moon.” According to Craig, the three-minute montage of her school days shows exactly what kind of character she has. “And she has a sense of humor, which is great.”

Old

Jenny Beavan has been a successful costume designer for decades. Previously she won an Oscar for ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ and ‘A Room with a View’, but a look at her curriculum shows that she has been able to make her mark on many more well-known films. When the moderator of the press conference points out that she grew up in London in the 1970s, she admits with a good dose of sobriety: “Yes, I’m afraid I’m very old. But I can still vividly remember this time. I had just graduated and started working on stage. I really wanted to be a set designer. Thanks to working on ‘Cruella’ a lot came back.” Jenny references the scene shot outside Liberty’s. “I wore clothes like that back then! This is indeed what we looked like at the time!”

Interview Cruella Cinema magazineGlenn Close

The script was the main guideline in shaping Cruella’s development in the film from anarchic, rebellious teenage girl to adult Cruella. “We know, of course, that fifteen years later she ends up as Glenn Close. So that was on my mind. It had to be possible that she eventually becomes that character.” There has not been one specific source of inspiration for the design of Cruella’s costumes, says Jenny. “Of course I looked at Westwood, McQueen, Galliano (Vivienne; Alexander; John, ed.) and BodyMap (influential British fashion label from the 1980s, ed.). I went back to my past at Biba (a London fashion store in the 60s and 70s, ed.), and I picked out what fit the story.” She adds: “But I also wanted to pay tribute to the times, with regard to the reuse of materials, and that of course is that red dress, which she finds in Artie’s second-hand store.” The funny thing is that Jenny herself doesn’t care about fashion at all. “I’m a storyteller, using clothes. That’s why ‘Cruella’ is perfect for this. Fashion here is a means to conquer. In fact, Cruella and the Baroness are at war.”

Garbage truck

The absolute showstopper when it comes to costumes is, of course, seen in the garbage truck scene. “It just felt like something Cruella would do, arrive nice and aggressive in a garbage truck. They (Estella, Jasper and Horace, ed.) had the resources, so that’s how it grew.” Craig agrees: “I wanted this to make a huge impact visually.” Jenny lets it be known that the credits for this dress are with Kerstin Fletcher. As big as Jenny’s name is in the film industry, she remains humble. “I hope I’ve never acted like Emma Thompson in this movie, it’s much better to be nice to your team and support them.”

The bar

Fiona Crombie, production designer, points out that the biggest challenge in filming ‘Cruella’ is the number of sets. There were about 120 of them and the film has a fast pace. “There are many small, but important, moments, where the details of the set are very important. I am very proud of that.” But it was very hard work, she admits. “In fact, I’m currently working on another film and feel like I’m not busy enough because the bar was set so high with ‘Cruella’.”

When it became clear to Fiona that the camera work would often consist of 360-degree shots, she realized that every detail was important. “Every corner, every little detail, had to be right.” The color palette of the different balls was also a challenge. “The first consisted of many pastel shades, then the white ball, then the Viking gala. All these celebrations consisted of specific color palettes. That was very exciting to work on.”

Mask

Nadia Stacey, makeup artist, explains that the biggest challenge was that Estella’s makeup was also initially intended as a means of deception. “After all: she has to disguise herself for the Baroness. So in all of her red carpet appearances, she wore a mask in one form or another. The difference between Estella and Cruella here is huge.” Nadia recognizes the feeling Fiona had: “I’ll never get something like this again. I never have to work on so many different looks in a movie again.”

Interview Cruella (Emma Stone as Cruella) Cinema magazine
White hair

One of the difficulties Nadia encountered while making ‘Cruella’ was the lack of wig makers available. “We had one wig made for the young Estella. But it was very difficult for Emma Stone, because there was hardly any white hair available. So it took a long time before I had more than two wigs at my disposal. I had to come up with all kinds of tricks to solve this, for example loose hairpieces. But in the end it all worked out and it was worth it!”

Panic

A very special experience was visiting the place where the wigs were made for the last party. “It was a massive operation,” says Nadia. “It was almost assembly line work, 120 wigs were made.” It almost went wrong. “I ordered a prototype,” says Nadia. “Something wasn’t right though, the black and white was reversed. I did have panic attacks from that, imagine if I had ordered 120 of them and that they would all be wrong and that we would only find out at the moment supreme?”

Music

The soundtrack in ‘Cruella’ is very important. Craig says about this: “I thought from the start that music would play a big role. When determining how to visualize something, I have already taken into account the fact that there should be room for music. While we were filming, I put on certain songs that I thought would go well with it, such as the first scene with the Baroness, The Doors. That has always been the case. The same goes for when Estella is in the elevator at Liberty’s, and we hear Nancy Sinatra’s “These boots are made for walking”. That’s when I thought ‘Music belongs to this’ and I looked at my phone and this song came to mind. Music is always playing in my head, so I’m constantly looking for opportunities to use it.”

Dalmatians

Then the dogs. Craig says it was important to him that the Dalmatians appear in Cruella’s life in a realistic way. “They are definitely linked to her emotional development. It was just really nice to have them on set, the dogs make for fun times.”

Interview Cruella (Paul Walter Hauser, Emma Stone, Joel Fry) Cinemagazine

Trio

Finally: Paul Walter Hauser and Joel Fry, in the roles of Horace and Jasper. Craig: “I had already worked with Paul at ‘I, Tonya’. I love working with him. His humor beats a deeper, human layer, you notice that there is pain, that he uses the humor to hide something. Joel is so approachable, he has a big heart. He forms the moral compass for Cruella and is like a brother to her. That dynamic between those three worked so well.”

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Review: Unleashed – Danny the Dog (2005)

Director: Louis Leterrier | 103 minutes | action, drama | Actors: Jet Li, Morgan Freeman, Bob Hoskins, Kerry Condon, Scott Adkins, Andy Beckwith, Christian Gazio, Michael Jenn, Vincent Regan, Silvio Simac, Carole Ann Wilson

It looks like Luc Besson was looking forward to an easy fight movie. Although the story still follows a certain line, the film has a moderately thought-out script and everything leads to as many fight scenes as possible. The fight choreography was done by none other than Yuen Wo Ping who also coordinated the fights in ‘The Matrix’ (1999). Someone who wants to renovate his bathroom in a few minutes soon can pick out a number of useful tips. Yet the fighting types don’t really get their money’s worth with this film. The swipes are mostly very fast, losing the beauty of a martial art. The few slow motion scenes that are occasionally edited in between cannot rectify this.

Cheap and unrealistic is the Pavlovian effect Danny gets when loosening his belt. And that applies to several data in this film. Everything revolves around rescuing an innocent boy from the big evil underworld and the fantasy is sometimes hard to find. For example, an obvious association with Ray Charles immediately arises at the entrance of the ‘piano man’ Sam (Morgan Freeman), who wears dark sunglasses because he is blind. Although this idea came from Morgan Freeman himself, who gave his character a very individual interpretation than Leterrier had in mind for him. Sam’s daughter Victoria is the innocent eighteen-year-old girl with the underwire mouth who talks just a little too much. She also plays the piano, Mozart’s most devastated piece of music.

Bob Hoskins and Morgan Freeman are actually the only two factors that keep the film going. They are not the least of players and subsequently provide an oppressive and charismatic character setting. The music appropriately enhances the atmosphere and was composed especially for this film by the British band Massive Attack. Something they never did before. Jet Li is also a well-known name in the fight film industry and shows more emotions than ever in this film. There may even be a few jokes, but it is not really tangible. The big names who worked on this project can hardly save the lackluster story and mediocre fight scenes.

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Review: Carmen in Khayelitsha (2005)

Directed by: Mark Dornford-May | 120 minutes | drama, romance, musical | Actors: Pauline Malefane, Andile Tshoni, Andries Mbali, Andiswa Kedama, Ruby Mthethwa, Bulelwa Cosa, Zintle Mgole, Lungelwa Blou, Zamile Gantama, Zweilungile Sidloyi

‘Carmen in Khayelitsha’ is an exciting experiment. Can you film such a classic from European culture in a completely different setting? That turns out to be very well possible.

Do not think that you will be presented with sophisticated sets. The film starts with raw footage from the townships. Slowly you discover who the actors / singers are and how director Dornford-May gives place to both the story and the music. Ultimately, music plays the leading role. The songs, if you may be so indiscreet as to call them that, are indeed surrounded by “real” images and acted-out scenes, but that’s actually an excuse to perform the opera from scratch with an all-black cast in very unusual locations. .

It is right that the music is emphasized. Bizet based his opera on a novel from that time. That novel is no longer read, but the opera ‘Carmen’ is still performed almost daily all over the world. In this film too, it appears again that the most moving scenes arise with the most beautiful pieces of music. ‘Carmen in Khayelitsha’ is not really the story. The music and the performances do, however, with Pauline Malefane in particular making an impression.

For opera connoisseurs it must be a fun voyage of discovery to see how situations from nineteenth century Spain are translated into present-day South Africa. Strangely enough, there is never talk of AIDS or drug abuse, but in the original opera the slums of Seville may have been portrayed a bit more romantic than they actually were. Apartheid is mentioned very indirectly and drug trafficking does occur, but only to give the story a new turn. In short: not a film for someone who wants to know what things are like in the townships.

A film not to be missed for anyone who has an affinity with opera and knows the original ‘Carmen’, and for people who want to get acquainted with the opera phenomenon. This is your chance. It takes two hours, but then you also know whether it is something for you or not. There are certainly melodies in it that you will recognize and love. However, if your opera finds an outdated nineteenth-century narrative form, this film will not convince you otherwise.

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Review: Turtle: The Incredible Journey (2009)

Director: Nick Stringer | 81 minutes | documentary | Dutch voice cast: Georgina Verbaan

Nature films are timeless, just think of Jacques Cousteau’s underwater films. Sometimes that produces gems such as ‘Microcosmos’ or ‘Earth’. And sometimes it is impressive, as with ‘March of the Penguins’, not because it is visually stunning, but it is nature itself that amazes you. ‘Turtle: The Incredible Journey’ falls into the latter category.

Turtles are cute and it’s fun to watch them survive in the Pacific. Although fun, it is actually a lonely existence full of danger that lurks. From birth they have to survive on their own and that is not easy. If it is not natural enemies that make this almost impossible, then it is humans who are a serious threat from line fishing from fishing boats. Just like in ‘Earth’, in ‘Turtle: The Incredible Journey’ a message is conveyed that we bear the responsibility, must have more respect for nature and must act consciously so that turtles will soon have a beach where they can lay their eggs on. can breed. Because for millions (!) Of years, even in the time of the dinosaur,

It is almost magical how these turtles have lived and managed to survive for so long and it makes a nice story for a documentary. What is disappointing about ‘Turtle: The Incredible Journey’ is that it is not always beautifully executed. It can be clearly seen that blue screen technology has been used regularly, for example at the meeting between Turtle and the shark Finn. This comes across as very unnatural, something that is extra disappointing in a nature film. It also seems as if images are sometimes colored so that it looks ‘more beautiful’ than it really is. The sunlight that shines through the water really looks different underwater, something that avid snorkelers and divers will immediately recognize. The latter may also be due to the fact that the first part of the film in which the newborn Turtle is transported by the Gulf Stream to the North Pole, was shot in a large aquarium. A handy solution for something that would otherwise have probably taken too long – or was too expensive – to film.

Besides the fact that ‘Turtle: The Incredible Journey’ is visually a bit disappointing, it will also disappoint for some that it is really a children’s film. The simple commentary is clearly written for the small audience, which is further emphasized by the somewhat childish voice of Georgina Verbaan. Apparently this was deliberately chosen because in the original English version the film is voiced by the actress Miranda Richardson, also known for her role as Rita Skeeter in ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’ (2005). You know exactly when the remark “ah how sweet” and the screams will come from the more exciting scenes from the children’s mouths. That is clearly aimed at in ‘Turtle: The Incredible Journey’. This is of course no reason not to see the film about the turtle,

It is striking that ‘Turtle: The Incredible Journey’ is packed with music. In a nature film, too little music is a better choice than too much. It’s all about the images and nature has its own sound, you don’t want to drown that out. With a nature film for children it is a different story, there are also fewer sounds under water (that we can hear?) Than above water. Predictable yet funny is that when the sharks come into the picture, the well-known ‘Jaws’ tune is incorporated into the music. A strange and unexpected choice of music is the theme song of the BBC television series “Miss Marple” from the 80s and 90s (with Joan Hickson as Jane Marple) by Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley.

All in all, ‘Turtle: The Incredible Journey’ is a nice nature film for (grand) parents who want to let their (grand) children watch an educational film for a change. Although the makers have done their best to make it a visually beautiful film, the adult viewer should watch ‘Planet Earth: Ocean Deep’ from the well-known BBC television series to be impressed.

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Review: An Hour of Peace (2014)

Directed by: Patrice Leconte | 80 minutes | comedy | Actors: Christian Clavier, Carole Bouquet, Valérie Bonneton, Rossy de Palma, Stéphane De Groodt, Sébastien Castro, Christian Charmetant, Arnaud Henriet, Ricardo Arciaga, Elisha Camacho, Martine Borg, Brigitte Lucas, Christophe Bouisse, Aurélie Valat, Marie-Do Ferre , Juliette Poissonnier, Pascal Parmentier

Michel has the day of his life when he finds an LP at a Parisian flea market that he has been looking for for years. Moreover, he only pays a pittance for the record. The only thing left for this energetic sixty-something is to set aside an hour to listen to the music. So Michel goes to his apartment to find that necessary hour of rest there. And there the comedy ‘Une heure de tranquillité’ begins.

Because ‘Une heure de tranquillité’ is an old-fashioned farce, of course nothing comes of that tranquility. In the space of an hour, a deluge of family, strangers, construction workers, lovers, mistresses, partygoers, Polish neighbors, Filipino children and much, much more appears. Instead of music, Michel is confronted with neighborhood parties, adultery, leaks, broken elevators, relocations and unwanted outpourings. In doing so, he is given the necessary lessons to pass on about solidarity and egoism. His newly purchased album is not called ‘Me, Myself & I’ for nothing.

‘Une heure de tranquillité’ seems to come from the 1970s, but it is not. The screenplay is based on the 2013 play of the same name by the young Florian Zeller. Yet ‘Une heure de tranquillité’ is not a post-modern comedy (as you would expect from a 2013 farce), because the characteristic post-modern irony is completely lacking. This is a thoroughbred farce as you rarely see it.

The latter is not without reason. The humor of such farces comes across as quite predictable and corny at the beginning of the 21st century. You know exactly what will happen when Michel puts on that damned record again. You know exactly what goes wrong when a clumsy plumber tries to fix a water pipe.

That makes ‘Une heure de tranquillité’ a nightmare for every reviewer. Because what the film has to do, she does very well. The acting is top notch, with Carole Bouquet as Michel’s funny tormented wife in the lead. The comedic timing is perfect, the music matches the tone of the film perfectly, and the messages about connection and solidarity come in clearly. In short, ‘Une heure de tranquillité’ is corny, bland and old-fashioned, but fine within the genre. So food for the enthusiast?

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Review: Under the Rainbow (2002)

Directed by: Dean Blumberg | 18 minutes | short film, documentary

The short film ‘Under the Rainbow’ starts with the message that one hundred and sixty-five security cameras are monitoring an area of ​​thirty kilometers. The cameras record about 100,000 stories from Johannesburg residents every day. This is one story. As a viewer you are immediately stimulated by this information and you are curious about the course of the film, which is made from an original point of view. A film made in this way requires good editing. The director must have thought this too. Dean Blumberg therefore quickly abandons the originality when he also inserts images that were not made by security cameras. Apparently not everything is properly registered by the security cameras.

What remains is the story: the survival instinct of two boys in the streets of Johannesburg. The boys are friends and have different characters. One is a dreamer who wants to be a famous dancer someday. He even claims to be able to dance without hearing music. What follows is a dance, which unfortunately is provided with music by the filmmaker. The other has no more dreams and lives from day to day. He indicates that the city (humanity) will never change. Only the population will continue to increase in number.

When one of the boys commits a brutal murder, the film suddenly takes a different turn. The sympathy generated at first turns resolutely into antipathy. The so-called friendship gives way to the harsh reality in which everyone is for himself. There is no room for compassion. The filmmaker realistically shows that cities like Johannesburg are ravaged by crimes that are brutally committed without rancor. There is a vicious circle in which violence is no solution to this problem.

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Review: A Butterfly Kiss (2011)

Director: Karine Silla | 108 minutes | drama | Actors: Valeria Golino, Elsa Zylberstein, Vincent Perez, Jalil Lespert, Nicolas Giraud, Cécile De France, Roxane Depardieu, Iman Perez, Veronica Novak, Serge Hazanavicius, Edith Scob, Jolhan Martin, Catherine Hiegel, Camille Thomas, Abdellah Moundy, Alaa Safi

‘Un baiser papillon’ brings together different stories that have a few things in common in terms of theme. This is mostly about motherhood and honesty and sincerity in relationships, and this sometimes creates magical and beautiful, recognizable moments. But often there is also too little involvement with the characters and the insights and emotions are flat. The film structure with intermittent and parallel stories can lead to a deeper or greater insight, but it can also backfire because too little time is spent with the characters and too many side jumps are made. Unfortunately, the latter happens a little too often in ‘Un baiser papillon’.

It feels like a missed opportunity, because if the director had tightened the reins a little more, it could have been an emotional and true film. Unfortunately, there is now too much distraction. Such as the whims of the black sheep Paul who, not only interferes with the life of Billie and Vincent, but also develops a fleeting relationship with a hooker and tries to save her from her pimp. In addition, the relationship between Alice and her husband has barely worked out and we only see her go through life unhappily because of the apparent monotony of their Parisian life (they go to the same place every year on summer holidays and hubby always buys the same sandwiches for breakfast). Her child’s fear of abandonment is potentially interesting (he’s afraid of the dark, and apparently this is, as an expert on the film explains

This applies to many of the stories, none of which are entirely successful, but all have beautiful moments. Valeria Golino is vulnerable but serene as a woman who does not want to be patronized and pathetic during her last days of life. It is not a new approach or wish, but the way she expresses her feelings is simple yet striking: as she watches a beautiful ballet lesson from her daughter, she explains that she does not want to die with them, she wants to go with them. life. Above all, she wants to feel the joy of living with them, and not let everything revolve around the approaching death. Also beautiful is her “confession” that she had expected that she would suddenly gain a lot of wisdom the moment the disease turned out to be irreversible, but she could only think about her shopping list.

Billie’s desire to have children is, then, very understandable, and frustrating because of her difficulty in conceiving, and her friend’s other priorities, who mostly get lost in his music (Vivaldi in particular). But this story could also have gone deeper and now sometimes gets bogged down in melodrama and hysteria.

The music is beautiful, although it is not an original soundtrack. Apart from the use of a Vivaldi symphony for Billie’s husband’s conducting job, Badalamenti’s soundtrack has been used before, for David Lynch’s ‘The Straight Story’. Well fitting, though.

It is nice in itself that not every story ends in an overly rosy way that there will still be a difficult road for different characters to go, but, as so often happens in these types of “mosaic films”, at the end everything is very neatly ended forged, and the quick solution and hopeful turn to every story is a bit too forced. It just raises the awareness that this is a film with “symbolism” and good intentions, and not necessarily recognizable pieces from real people’s real lives.

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Review: The Tourist (2014)

Director: Ruben Östlund | 118 minutes | drama | Actors: Johannes Kuhnke, Lisa Loven Kongsli, Vincent Wettergren, Clara Wettergren, Kristofer Hivju, Fanni Metelius, Karin Myrenberg, Brady Corbet, Johannes Moustos, Jorge Lattof, Adrian Heinisch, Michael Breitenberger

Disaster film has turned out to be a small but successful niche in film history. Not only do these kinds of films guarantee aesthetic spectacle, they are also able to get into the heads of characters. Because how do people behave in these kinds of extraordinary situations? By magnifying these kinds of circumstances, we as spectators come to know something about humanity. And about ourselves.

That principle works out solidly in ‘Turist’. No volcanoes, tornadoes or alien invasions here. The omnipresent avalanche danger on ski holidays is central. This everydayness has the effect of bringing the threat uncomfortably close. The problems the characters face feel lifelike. And that while the holiday started so well for the Swedish family that forms the core of ‘Turist’.

Father Tomas has well deserved winter sports. The work normally eats up all its time. In the French Alps he can finally spend some time with his family again. Mother Ebba is only too happy that he can now focus on their two children. The family does everything together. Skiing together, brushing their teeth together and they even sleep together in one bed. They enjoy the bright sunshine, each other’s company and their time on the slopes. Yet not everything is peaceful. The work phone, for example, still rings very often. However, it doesn’t get in the way of their enjoyment.

That changes when the four of them enjoy lunch on a terrace of a restaurant located high in the mountains. The view is phenomenal. When a deliberately excited avalanche rages down, cameras and telephones quickly appear. But then the snow mass comes very close. Several people start to scream in fear. Likewise the children of Tomas and Ebba. When the latter cries out for help, Tomas appears to have instinctively run off like a hare. Wow, women and children first. In the end, the terrace is only covered with a layer of drifting snow, but the damage has been done. Can the two parents still trust each other in times of need?

The aftereffect of the avalanche is worked out in a controlled manner in ‘Turist’. Relationships are increasingly under pressure. Small imperfections become large fractures. There is a constant sense of constant threat, made possible in part by the driving music. Ebba’s anger towards her husband continues to grow. The children respond by rebelling against their parents. Tomas, meanwhile, pretends that his nose is bleeding, thus widening the gap. And then the film is only twenty minutes away. Although the tempo and tension often drop very far and the film sometimes comes across as somewhat unbalanced, the downward spiral in which the family finds itself no longer seems to break through. Like a metaphorical avalanche, the family plunges into the abyss at a painful speed.

Avalanches are a common threat in ski resorts today. With the increase in the number of winter sports enthusiasts and the risk that they consciously undergo by moving off-piste, the risk of accidents is increasing. The influence that this has on the family situation is immense. With ‘Turist’, director Ruben Östlund brings a relevant film that reveals human behavior in such situations in a clever and intense way.