Twitch's Top Picks for Cineteca Nacional's Muestra 55
Bastards - Claire Denis
Missed this one when it played at the Morelia Film Festival and I regret doing so.
According to Twitch’s Brian Clark, Claire Denis’ latest “begins as a simple, slow-burn revenge thriller, and then very quietly morphs into one of the bleakest, most twisted neo-noir films of the decade.”
Berberian Sound Studio - Peter Strickland
Twitch’s Kwenton Bellette recommended to “See Berberian Sound Studio immediately; I have not been this excited for a mind-bending puzzle film of this ilk since Mulholland Drive, an absolutely dark treat for the unchallenged mind and a terrifying technical achievement.”
Synopis (from festival scope): Gilderoy, a naïve sound engineer from Dorking, England, loses his grip on reality as he takes a job on an Italian horror film in the 1970s.
Blue is the Warmest Color (La Vie D’Adele) – Abdellatif Kechiche
Blue is the Warmest Color is beautiful, intense, with two amazing performances and the best sex scene of the year.
Blue Jasmine - Woody Allen
I know personally two Woody Allen detractors who, simply, called Blue Jasmine a great movie. That doesn’t happen very often so, needless to say, fans should rejoice with a 77-year-old Allen in top form.
Distinto Amanecer (Another Dawn) - Julio Bracho
The Muestra 55 has in total four Mexican films: three new and this Julio Bracho classic. I watched the recent ones (The Amazing Catfish, The Empty Hours and Club Sandwich) at the Morelia Film Festival and, frankly, didn’t love any of them.
The restored 35mm print of Distinto Amanecer is definitely the best option if you want some Mexican cinema for the Muestra.
Like Father, Like Son - Kore-eda Hirokazu
One of the best films I watched in Morelia, Like Father, Like Son is an incredibly moving piece.
“It seems Kore-eda Hirokazu is incapable of making bad movies. The babies-switched-at-birth premise in films is nothing new. But he just makes it so darn affecting and poignant, avoiding all the clichés that go with this kind of blurry-eyed family drama”, remarks Dustin Chang on his ScreenAnarchy review.
Liv & Ingmar - Dheeraj Akolkar
Only two documentaries are part of the Muestra 55 and Liv & Ingmar should be a really interesting look at Bergman and Ullmann’s partnership.
Only God Forgives - Nicolas Winding Refn
Refn’s latest has had mixed reviews in Mexico and, actually, Cineteca Nacional’s own film criticism magazine (Iconica) said it was the biggest slip of the director’s career.
I, on the other hand, completely agree with Twitch’s Ben Umstead who said Only God Forgives is a masterpiece because “thirty years from now when we talk about movies of the early 21st century, Refn and Only God Forgives will undoubtedly be an important part of that conversation.”
Don’t expect much from Ryan Gosling though as Vithaya Pansringarm steals the show with an unforgettable character. Brutal stuff, beautiful to look at.
Pieta - Kim Ki-duk
Kim Ki-duk’s premiered his latest film Moebius a couple of months ago in Venice, where Pieta won the prestigious Golden Lion back in 2012. I don’t think this one has been shown in Mexico before and it looks great, just read part of Todd’s review:
“Though he is very much his own beast, Kim can also be very fairly looked at as a sort of Korean equivalent to Lars von Trier. He is a master provocateur playing out his own neuroses and obsessions on the big screen. Like von Trier, Kim never says anything quietly when he can shout. And like von Trier, his films don't always work. But when they do ... well, when they do, Kim is capable of creating work that disturbs and troubles and finds beauty in unexpected places. This is one of those films.”
Stray Dogs - Tsai Ming-Liang
From Patrick Holzapfel’s Stray Dogs review: “If Stray Dogs really is the last movie of Tsai Ming-Liang, then it would be one of the harshest losses of modern cinema, but at the same time one of the most powerful retirements in the history of the medium. In his latest effort, the Taiwan-based director explores the power of the cinematic image to its core.”