Thursday, April 12, 2018

On Body and Soul (Teströl és lélekröl): Reviews from the 2017 Curaçao Film Festival #ciffr

On Body and Soul (Teströl és lélekröl), Ildikó Enyedi, Hungary, 2017
Closing Film (Sun Apr 9, 2017, 22:00)

I was a little wary of this one; the description mentions "a slaughterhouse in Budapest is the setting of a strangely beautiful love story", and—well, watching animals die, let alone in a systematized, 'commercially viable' way is low on my list of things I find entertaining. But the festival people were pretty convincing, and we ended up getting tickets.

Yes, the slaughterhouse isn't toned down or disguised, and a good portion of it plays a key part in the development of the story. And since the film is in Hungarian, it wasn't like I could look away during those gory scenes; I tried to read the subtitles as fast as possible, to train my eyes to focus only on the subs and ignore the images (it's more difficult than you might think; the eye wants to follow movement, make sense of the colors and shapes), but there were some spots, maybe one or two, when I did look away completely, and subs be damned.

But it was worth it.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Arábia: Reviews from the 2017 Curaçao Film Festival #ciffr

Arábia (Araby), João Dumans & Affonso Uchoa, 2017 (Uruguay)
Sunday, April 9th, 2017, 18:15

A story within a story, both of them riveting, this film is a journey of loss and nostalgia, of social injustice—but also, most poignantly, of hope and joy and the beauty of a simple life. It's a hard film with a soft heart; a story of love and poverty, of hope and its clash with reality.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Donkeyote: Reviews from the 2017 Curaçao Film Festival #ciffr

Sunday, April 9th, 2017, 14:15

To this day I'm still not sure whether it was a documentary or fiction, or a mix of both. It's catalogued as a documentary, but it feels like fiction. Something magical-realist here. A quirky film, certainly—but endearingly, maybe even wisely, so. And how could it not be? The wordplay in the title isn't just a tongue-in-cheek throwback to the Cervantes classic; this film is a subtle tribute to the Dreamer, a modern reminder, perhaps even a revival, of the Quijote and its magic: the mask of satire that slips and reveals nostalgia underneath, the whistle-in-the-dark laughter at the expense of old age, the self-deprecating dig at our own idealism—and the sudden spark of hope that maybe the impossible dream really isn't all that impossible.

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