Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Montreal World Film Festival - Day 4

Yesterday’s first film was Jacques Doillon’s Le Mariage À Trois (The Three-Way Wedding) a terrific if complex story about love, lust, marriage, self-absorption and the acting trade, and what Woody Allen once said “the heart wants what it wants.” Or does it? This story has stage written all over it. But it doesn’t matter because, with a twist on Shakespeare’s words, “the story’s the thing”.....Next Taxiphone (d. Mohammed Soudani, Switzerland). Mona Petri is the best thing about this road movie set in the desert wastes of southern Algeria. This extraordinarily photogenic and expressive actress has natural written all over her. Unfortunately the rest of the movie, despite its exotic location, tends to be a series of tedious little scenes. We can just imagine how all these have been set up as the director says, “now for this one you go here and for the next one you go there”.....Next film: Run if You Can, from Germany’s Dietrich Brüggemann, a demolish-the-cliches piece about the disabled. Robert Gwisdek as Ben is at turns a funny, arrogant, bullying and angry paraplegic who slowly falls in love with Annika (Anna Brüggemann) who has her own issues as an aspiring classical cellist. Good performances and a strong story from usually reliable German cinema.....Next, Miss Mouche (Bernard Halut from Belgium). This is a searing portrayal of middle class shallowness and hypocrisy told from the videos captured on her cell phone by daughter Nina (Mona Jabé), a more-than-precocious tween. The story – much of it largely seemingly filmed from a cellphone camera – is a fresh filmmaking approach. Jabé is excellent. The film is so good it made me unfairly dislike it – because of its despicable story not because of the way it was made.....I didn’t intentionally plan it this way but my last film was also about cameras, appropriately called The Cameramurderer (Austrian/Swiss, d. Robert Adrian Pejo). A trendy upper-class couple living in their Bauhaus-inspired home on what used to be the border of Hungary and Austria (old rusted guard towers still abound) invite friends from Vienna for the weekend to their idyllic country retreat amidst the backdrop of the disappearance of three local boys. This psychological thriller tautly plays itself out.

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