While everyone was out choking the theatres trying to catch Harry Potter and the God Knows What Part 1, we spent our week hanging around Cathay catching German Film Fest.
Ajami is a town in Tel Aviv made up of Muslims, Christians and 5 stories. the stories revolves around a young man who got caught in some gang violence due to something his uncle did. as he battles to get out of something he had no apparent part in, the story evolves into something bigger, pulling in the other characters into the maelstrom. I was rather confused at the start as to the point of the story, as it jumped from one character to another. all 5 stories seemed unrelated until the end when they sorta piece things together; gang violence, drug activities, street violence, war crimes and racial hatred. it’s amazing how the stories weave into one another. Not the best film i’ve ever seen about such themes but still rather powerful. Of course I left the theatre wondering what was it doing showing in a German film fest.
Run if you Can
I absolutely love love love this film. It is a story about Ben, a paraplegic and his days with his new helper Christian. The opening scenes introduces to you the cynic bitter person that Ben is, the way he treats the people around him and the contempt he feels for them. Until Christian comes along and tells him he’s not going to put up with his shit. And in comes Annika, the girl with the cello that Ben has been watching through his binoculars for two years, cycling under his balcony every day on her way to cello sessions. Through Christian, Ben meets Annika and a strange friendship is formed among them, what with both boys falling in love with Annika at the same time. By the end of the show, I can’t help but envy with the sort friendship that they have, which is rather amazing considering they were perfect strangers from the start. Ben reveals how he got into a wheelchair, Annika faces her fears and Christian is the catalyst that makes it all happen.
Ceasefire is set during the Iraq war. There’s a temporary ceasefire between both sides at Fallujah. 2 doctors are making an attempt to enter the area with much needed medical supplies. Unable to get official escort from the American army, the doctors used 2 German TV journalists to get them all in. Excited to be the only TV crew who know about the ceasefire, they unwittingly agreed to follow, not realising there was no promised escort at the last checkpoint. It is rather nerve wrecking watching their little unarmoured van trek across the war zone, driving past ruins still in flames, around dead bodies strewn everywhere and buildings ridden with bullet holes. Again I wondered what was this doing in the film fest but then at least it’s in German.
In The Shadows
I couldn’t find a trailer with English subtitles so you’d have to pay attention here. Trojan (pronounced as toh-yarn) just got out of jail and he’s back in the game again. he goes round looking for that one heist so he can escape to the countryside to lead a peaceful life for a while, or until his money runs out. he hooks up with his old contacts and finally agrees to do one simple gig, which quickly turns bad due to corrupted cop Meyer who tries to stick his nose in. The entire movie is like the trailer, dark, quiet and empty. It is shot like the few Eastern European movies I’ve seen. Everything is a dull grey, even the weather is either cold or wet, or both. there is little in terms of a soundtrack except for this discordant JAAAAAAR sound in B flat minor. There is little dialogue and everything could be read from the very scenes. For example, Trojan needed a car. so instead of simplifying it by having him ask his contact for a car or mention he’s going to get a car, they spent the next 10 seconds showing him buying a car. it soon became a movie where everything and nothing happens. What do i mean by that? I sat in my seat waiting for something to happen. The robbery happened. so did a bit of shooting and deaths. but it seemed as if something monumental or plot twisting was going to happen and i kept waiting for it to happen but it never did. however, everything else happened. from Trojan drinking coffee to changing hotel rooms to moving things around, to meeting his contact, who met his other contact who then came back to tell him what that contact said. I couldn’t wait for the movie to end though and when it did, the ending was as if Trojan was better off sitting on his hands right from the start.