There is so much to discover at this year's PiFan that the mind boggles. Here are my fifteen picks from the Vision Express
section, from a total of 27. A very wide selection of films from an even wider range of countries. Dig in! I know I will.
(Oliver Hermanus - South Africa - 2011)
The story of family man who has been able to repress his homosexuality until a young family friend comes into his life and he becomes consumed with desire. Beauty won the Queer Palm at last year's Cannes Film Festival and looks to be a dark exploration of sexuality and repression.
A family is accused of murder when a stranger, invited over for tea, dies in their abode. This low-budget feature looks to be an intense family drama and watching the trailer I couldn't help but think of last year's exceptional Kill List. The film has received mixed reviews but it I imagine it also has a limited audience, which is to say a PiFan audience!
A 32-year-old aspiring movie director has hit rock bottom but after meeting a struggling actress he decides to persevere. This debut film from Suzuki looks to be full of energy and explores some themes such a failure in a very direct fashion. James Marsh had some great things to say about it at this year's Yubari fest.
An absurdist Russian comedy-musical? Yes, I think I'd like a taste of that. It's a little hard to work out what this is about but there seem to be four interconnected stories assembled by a collective of artists. In any case, the film looks fascinating and I look forward to checking it out. Be warned though it is 207 minutes long.
Now here's a surprise, an Irish films that looks good! I hail from the Emerald Isle so I can permit myself the derision. I'm not sure why this film is listed everywhere as German, I suppose it must be where the money came from (fancy that Germany paying for something in Ireland, sound familiar)? The story of a terminally ill boy who is a brilliant cartoonist, as he comes to terms with his own mortality. It looks to be a rich blend of pathos and animation and I haven't been this excited about an Irish film since Lenny Abrahamson's wonderful Garage (2007).
A teenage girl lives a sheltered life in a Mormon family until one day she happens upon a tape recorder and listens to a rock song. She then becomes pregnant and believes that she was immaculately conceived by god through the song. She then escapes and winds up in Vegas. Electrick Children looks to be a whimsical film (with a strong soundtrack) and might be a nice counterpoint to last year's excellent but dour Martha Marcy May Marlene.
(Marc Dutra, Juliana Rojas - Brazil - 2011)
This Brazilian drama/thriller bowed at last year's Cannes Film Festival during the Un Certain Regard section and tells the story of a woman who is trying to start her own business. Just as the work gets underway her husband loses his job and things don't start off as well as expected. Then the building starts to cause problems and hides an unexpected secret. I love movies that play around with genre and the last time I saw a Latin American film use horror tropes in a bid to tell a family drama (the Argentinian In the Open), I was very pleasantly surprised!
(Tanya Wexler - UK, France, Germany, Luxemburg - 2011)
I'll admit that this isn't really my cup of tea and I'm entirely sure it belongs on a fantastic fest lineup but all the same Hysteria does present a novel approach to the genteel period dramedy. A gynecologist rises to prominence by inventing the first vibrator.
Rutger Hauer plays the CEO of Heineken who was kidnapped in the early 80s in Holland and then tracked down his own abductors to lay down the law. If that doesn't float your boat I don't know what will. Check out the trailer below for more awesome Rutger Hauer-ness.
After premiering earlier this year at Sundance, this documentary about a French teenager who tries to convince a texan family that he is their son who has been missing for three years has been making serious waves and attracted many positive notices, including a pair here on ScreenAnarchy.
A droll comedy about a man who must lead his curling team to victory in order to save a dying man, this quirky comedy-drama sports a rich mise-en-scene and may well be Norway's answer to Wes Anderson. Looks like a well-polished (pun intended) and fun affair.
Cinephiles seem to have a perpetual obsession with Marilyn Monroe but after the relatively drab My Week With Marilyn from last year I'm glad to have something with a more novel approach in this French light neo-noir in which a man becomes obsessed with a recently deceased woman bearing remarkable similarities to the legendary screen siren.
This gay-themed drama comes back to its native Korea following a series of festivals screenings where it has been well-received. The film, which began its journey at last year's Venice Film Festival, cuts between the stories of two men on the fringes of society who decide to put an end to their lives but their journey doesn't end there.
This low-budget post-apocalyptic love story hails from the PiFan's NAFF project and was funded by the Korean Film Council (KOFIC). I'm very curious to see how this film turns out.
(Pang Ho-cheung - Hong Kong - 2012)
Pang's delriously absurd and hilarious new feature has been gaining enormous traction following very successful screenings at the Hong Kong International Film Festival, the Udine Far East Film Festival and the New York Asian Film Festival this year. The story follows a film producer who gets himself into some sticky situations as he seeks to bring a new b-movie erotica to the screen. Chapman To in the lead role has never been better, this is one not to be missed!