20 November 2012

PÖFF 2012 part 1

Pimedate Ööde Filmifestival / Black Nights Film Festival
Tallinn, Estonia

It is that time of the year when not only the nights are dark, but the days are as well, and the best place to stay is indoor. A perfect time for a film festival, and PÖFF celebrates its 16. year this year.

So far I have seen these films during my first three days:
Puhastus / Purge
Antti Jokinen
Finland/Estonia 2012

A movie based on the price-winning novel by Sofi Oksanen. Two women with different horrible stories meet. One has experienced the horror of occupation, the other the horror of trafficking. There seems to be no hope, but they both found their way, one chose to stay, the other one to escape. Through their experiences we see how bad it can possibly get, until they are left with no choice other than what others would consider repulsive. Those are the stories we do not want to see, we would prefer them to be untold, pretending that they do not happen. But  they do happen, that is why they need to be told. The film is able to show the horror to such a content it really gets under our skin.

Kim Ki-duk
South Korea 2012

A fresh film from the South-Korean master director. The film is so horrible and repulsive I never want to see it again, I do not want to live through that. The film is that good. It is a catharsis with no end. There is no limit to the brutality of the protagonist. In his world it is perfectly logical to  make poor people cripples in order to cash in their insurance  money. His brutality is even repulsive to his mafia boss. When a woman arrives, claiming to be his mother, will that change him? Will that make him soft, and start making up for his sins? Is it really that simple?

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry
Alison Klayman
USA 2012

This is a wonderful documentary about one of my favourite artists. Ai Weiwei is world famous not only because of his ingenuity and creativity in his use of materials. The film most of all shows his deep conscience towards other people and his struggle to make a better world. His art is not only art as decoration or entertainment, his art actually changes the world. The documentary clearly aims to portray Ai Weiwei as a great artist and a wonderful person, and it succeeds in doing that.

Gone Fishing
Carlos Sorin
Argentina 2012

The film starts with the protagonist stranded on a gas station run out of fuel, and there are 420 km to the next gas station. This is symptomatic to not only the Patagonian area, but also the feel of the film. There are no spectacular action - the most dramatic is as the protagonist gets seasick. The distances are vast and communication is difficult, not only geographically but also between people. Everybody is stranded there for some reason. It is a film that forces you to slow down, appreciate the small joys of life. It tells you to enjoy the company of the people you meet, whether you have  something in common or not.

Marie Krøyer
Bille August
Denmark 2012

A film based on the story of the wife of Danish painter P.S. Krøyer (actually he was born in Stavanger in 1851). We have heard the stories before- the fantastic artist that is adored by the public as his family suffers under his ego - and the woman that breaks out of the impossible marriage to seek her own purpose and love. The protagonists even several times point to the "A Doll's House" play by Henrik Ibsen with the latter topic. But Bille August manage to make this a new story, we feel deep sympathy with the beautiful, but oh so sad Marie Krøyer, and feel happy when she is happy. She makes choices she might regret, but maybe she would have regretted even more taking no chances. An all through wonderful and touching film filled with the magic light of Skagen that her husband painted so well.

The Deep
Baltasar Kormakur
Iceland 2012

An incredible story from an incredible place. The people of Vestmannaeyar on Iceland live in constant danger, living on an active vulcano, and earning their living fishing on the rough arctic sea. This is the true story of the man who started swimming as the boat sank, crossed incredible distances in freezing water, surviving the impossible. A touching story reminding us of how fragile life is and how strong a human can be.