A cheerfully iconoclastic film, Michel Hazanavicius’s Redoubtable has provoked both ire and delight. Jean-Luc Godard is considered such a key figure in both European culture and political history that to treat him with levity is outrageous to some, and just deserts to others. Hazanavicius has said that critical responses have, at times, been as if he’d peed on the Sistine Chapel.
Like all the most accomplished fairy tales, Guillermo del Toro’s latest world of wonders, The Shape of Water, opens with a sense of promise, of magical things to come, and inevitably, with an undertone of darkness.
Through a door, ajar, the camera slips into a dark, blueish, watery home. The sound of creaking wood, a low rumble, a swoosh, as if one were at sea in an ancient sailboat. A sunken sailboat: everything is underwater, floating dreamily in a tranquil space cluttered with old fashioned furniture – a Victorian side-table, an old lamp glowing in the gloom, a chaise-longue, and on the chaise-longue, a blissfully sleeping woman. ‘If I told you about her, the Princess without voice’ the unseen narrator begins to tells us, with a warm kind voice…
Utterly charming and bucolic, a meandering story of a summer idyll unexpectedly builds up into something deeply moving and memorable.
Summer 1983, somewhere near Crema, Lombardy. A landscape of sleepy village squares baking in the afternoon sun, of lazy rivers to bathe in, grass to roll in, of gardens with trees bearing luscious fruit.
Joachim Trier’s latest film Thelma, made with his long-term collaborators, writer Eskil Vogt, cinematographer Jakob Ihre and composer Ola Fløttum, marks a new development in the director’s career. His usual powerful existential themes remain, but Thelma represents a departure in other ways, perhaps presaged by Trier’s previous work, Louder than Bombs (2015), which had starred Isabelle Huppert.
A quietly intense love story starts in a Berlin Konditorei. Oren (Roy Miller) travels from Jerusalem to Berlin every month, for work. He always stops at the same café, for a coffee and a generous slice of Black Forest gateau; he also always buys a little box of cinnamon cookies, for his wife, Anat (Sarah Adler). She also runs a café, in Jerusalem, and loves those cookies from Berlin. One day, he asks the baker, Thomas (Tim Kalkhof) for advice. What gift should he bring back for his young son? In the glances they share, something strong happens between Oren and Thomas the baker.
Magloire (Paul Hamy) is a man on a journey to nowhere, or more accurately, Nowhereland. He lives at night, on the run, stumbling onto a dying man and thence into the clutches of a menacing band of gangsters. His face looks innocent, but he is a pragmatic executioner. At first merely held hostage, he is soon an accomplice. A heist goes wrong. The gang, along with their molls, board a phantom cargo ship. They carry a heavy box, a troublesome legacy of their heist: enough polonium to, likely, destroy all of humanity.