13 December 2010

PÖFF 2010 overview

This is an overview of the films I saw at this year's PÖFF (Black Nights Film Festival). The ranking is based on my own impression, classified by:

-(Bad impression)
0 (No impression)
+ (Good)
++ (Great)
+++ (Fantastic)

1. +++ Waste Land - Lucy Walker - UK/Brasil 10
This year's highlight, a well filmed movie about a great story. About how art changed the life of peple sorting garbage in Brasil. I will have to write a full review on this one.

2. +++ Life in One Day - Mark de Cloie - Holland 10
A fantastic, unique idea about a world where a whole life is lived through just one day, and how a couple escape from this world. Fortunately the movie was not Hollywoodish streamlined and all-explaining. The roughness and the untold parts made it all more touching.

3. +++ Silent Souls - Aleksei Fedorchenko - Russia 10
A quiet, beautiful story of the burial ritual of a disappearing Siberian culture.

4. ++ Gesher - Vahid Vakulifar - Iran 10
A very interesting documentary-like story about people spending the nights living in large concrete pipes on the border of an oil-plant.

5. ++ Mao's Last Dancer - Bruce Beresford - Australia 09
An epic story of a village boy being chosen to go to dance school, ending up being world-famous, escaping to USA.

6. ++ In a Better World - Susanne Bier - Denmark/Sweden 10
A Danish masterpiece focusing on the morality questions of revenge/forgiveness on different levels.

7. ++ Kosmos - Reha Erdem - Turkey/Bulgaria 09
A weird story about a stranger appearing in a quiet, dull village. Some consider him a prophet, others want to get rid of him.

8. + The Housemaid - Im Sang-soo - South Korea 10
A thriller where a housemaid is deeper and deeper stuck in a powerful family. Creepy story, beautifully filmed.

8. + Loose Cannons - Ferzam Ozpetek - Italy 10
A feelgood movie about two brothers facing great trouble in their family revealing their homosexuality.

9. + When We Leave - Feo Aladag - Germany 10
I have seen quite some stories about conservative muslim families with a daughter wanting to decide how to live her life. But seldom seen the story so well told and filmed as here.

10.+ Pepperminta - Pipilotta Rist - Switzerland/Austria 09
Weird, weird, and an abundance of kitch scenes and colours. This is not a movie, it is an art piece, by visual artist Pipilotta Rist. The story, about the strange people with color as weapon saving the world, is seriously thin and naive. But the setting and effects are an explosion of colours and weird experiences.

11. 0 Milk - Semih Kaplanoglu - Turkey/France/Germany 08
I can't really tell my opinion of this movie. I am quite sure it deserves more score, but I was not fresh and concentrated enough to enjoy it. You need to be in the right mood to see this quiet, delicate film.

12. 0 Monga - Doze Niu - Taiwan 10
It startes out as a Taiwanese modern version of the Godfather. The first hour is great. But it is much too long, and the last 1,5 hours makes it all too much. Cut down to 90 minutes it could have been a great movie, now the length destroyes it all. Too much confusion about who is who, too much slowmotion scenes and crying scenes.

13. 0 Wunderkind - Manfred Vainokivi - Estonia 10
This is probably a very interesting documentary if you have seen or heard about the person. I had not.

14.- Journey Through Lithuania - Vaidotas Digimas - Lithuania 10
The only negative score from me this year. A travel documentary about Lithuania, how can you fail? Well, what bugged me was that Lithuania was not taken seriously. The interviewer has questions so long and complicated that I forget what it was all about when the questionmark is reached. The topics seem to be influenced by prejudice. I was forced to consider this an ironic travel documentary. This shows real people not being able to answer fully and charismatically, a traveller not able to really grasp the soul of the country, and coincidental visit spots. This is what real travelling is like, not like the perfect travel series you see on Travel channel.

The movies "Yes Men Fix the World" and "Banksy: Exit Through the Gift Shop" were also screened on PÖFF. I had already seen them, and they would have made it high on this list. "Yes Men" is mocking global commercialism, "Exit" gives an introduction to several major street artists. My review of "Yes Men" here, and there will probably be one about the Banksy movie in the near future as well.

More about the PÖFF film festival at www.poff.ee