Based on a true story

EL HOMBRE DE LAS MIL CARAS (2017)

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A  film by Alberto Rodríguez

Cast: José Coronado, Eduard Fernández, Miquel García Borda

English : The Man with Thousand Faces

Francisco Paesa, former Spanish secret agent, is committed to resolve a case of embezzlement of money likely to lead to a state scandal. The man sees the opportunity to enrich himself while avenging the government that betrayed him in the past. Then begins one of the most incredible political and financial intrigues of recent years: the true story of a man who deceived a whole country and knocked down a government.

God dam!! what a film. Genius I might have. Here is a smart, captivating and brilliantly  film. The film is technically remarkable. In the beginning, we get lost a bit, then the magic takes shape. Filmed in France, Singapore, Switzerland and Spain, Director Rodriguez out did himself in this film. With a budget of 4,5 millions Dollars this film has an enormous success all over Europe. Based on Manuel Cerdán’s book, that the director appreciated, back in the 90’s Rodriguez decided to adapt the book into a screenplay. It was the biggest financial scandal in Spain, back in the 90’s. Here Rodriguez set the pace from the beginning of the film with some cool rhythm music.  The film has this narration and even depict the financial jargon so you can understand better the event that took place. Here the english title is going to be “Smoke and Mirrors” it is far from the traduction. Who cares see this film that is brilliantly filmed where the 90’s was recreated beautifully well even the costumes by Rodriguez.

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THE LOST CITY OF Z (2017)

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A film by James Gray

Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Tom Holland, Sienna Miller

The true story of Percival Harrison Fawcett, one of the greatest explorers of the twentieth century. Percy Fawcett is a recognized British colonel and a loving husband. In 1906, when he was about to become a father, the Royal Geographical Society of England proposed to him to leave to Amazonia in order to map the borders between Brazil and Bolivia. Right a way , the man has a passion for exploration and discovers traces of what he thinks is a very old lost city. Back in England, Fawcett constantly thinks of this mysterious civilization, torn between his love for his family and his thirst for exploration and glory …

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Here is a stroke a genius where James Gray reappropriates a genre fallen into disuse to offer us the masterful portrait of an explorer carried by his thirst for adventure.Here Gray choose to do an interpretation of the novel La cité perdue de Z écrit par David Grann. It is no secret that  Gray makes the viewer follow the adventure of the military man names Fawcett that disappeared somehow into the jungle never to return to England. James Gray’s latest feature film is a beautiful  scenario built around Percy Fawcett’s (Charlie Hunnam’s) back and forth between his home and the heart of the Amazon jungle. Here Gray shot this film à la classic mode the only thing to do to me otherwise the film will fall into the water. Fawcett is not crazy to go to the amazon forest but to reclaim his tile of his name he decided to go which trigger his thirst for adventure and exploration as well as glory. Charlie Hunnam here does a superb job to incarnate his character.It is interesting to see that Fawcett also has other obligations, well he is a  husband and father which his wife makes the sacrifices here  and is beautifully interpreted by actress Sienna Miller. You see  he returns to his home, after several years of travel so it takes a toll on his wife. He has a hard time with the children. The cinematography here is near perfect. I can’t wait until his next picture.

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HIDDEN FIGURE (2017)

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A film by Theodore Melfi

Cast: Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe

Nasa space program 1961 3 women African Americans Mathematicians serve a vital role here should I say they were genius.

Desperate to beat Russia at putting a man in space, NASA enlisted the help of a group of African American women mathematicians. Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) who were the brain behind the operation.

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Based on a true story, we didn’t even know that part of history and thank god it came out Director/co-writer Theodore Melfi has assembled a terrific cast to bring
this amazing story to life. Here are three women who had difficulty in their job because they are black. But with persistence and will power added to that their genius brains and overcame it which did wonders for Nasa. Mrs. Mitchell (Kirsten Dunst) who is cold here did not want to give in to Dorothy’s promotion. Everything was black and white, coloured bathroom, coloured computer, blacks were working on the east and white on the west wing. The film goes back and forth to the three women and shows us the difficulty on the job but also the perseverance that they had. Jackson is a wise ass with a  comic timing and Johnson is the clever optimist. They are similarly educated, though each has their own skill set the film will explore. They form a bond between them as you can tell with the dialogue. Think about it is not easy for a black woman in a room full of white men mathematicians to hold her own. I love that the fact the monster IBM computer was ordered and two white man did not know how to work it. Here comes Dorothy and on her spare times figures it out by herself, she even knew how to program FORTRAN  is a matter of fact I used to know this computer language. Here is a film that is well acted, casted, and written. Do not miss this one.

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LAND OF MINE (2015)

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A film by Martin Zandvliet

Cast: Roland Møller, Louis Hofmann, Joel Basman

Keep in mind that this film as just came in at the theatre in France. 1945. Denmark. End of the Second World War. Several German soldiers, barely out of their teens, were taken prisoner by the Danish army and sent to the front line to defuse the mines buried along the coast. For them, the war is far from over. Inspired by real events, {Land of mine} recounts this tragic episode of History.

The film open with a long line of ragged soldiers walked down the street. A Danish soldier knocked one of them to the ground, for the sole reason that he is German. The war has just ended, but the hatred of the danish soldier is still fresh.The victims of yesterday will become the executioners of today. Following the proposal of the British, the one that freed the Denmark from this hell  use young German prisoners of war to defuse the mines that are buried along the coast mine flouting the agreements of the Geneva Convention of 1929 which forbid to compel prisoners of war to carry out dangerous work.

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Opting for a refined style, the director avoids any heaviness of the war. He sets up his decor on an idyllic beach with white sand lit by a permanent sun that contrasts with the darkness of the subject. The camera focuses on the beauty and vulnerability of these young boys. You well see how scared they are  without hiding any details but also conveys the strength of their dreams and their struggle for survival. Little by little we are interested about those characters where they are from and what they will do when they come back home. The sergeant who is pissed about the german taking his country has no remorse for those kids that are from the age 15 to 18. It is as real as it gets It is based on real events here and the director has done a great job to film that. There is a real tension here that will rise until it blows up. Land of mine tells a human story that explores tactfully the beauty of the hidden face of humans.

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LADYBIRD (1994)

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A film by Ken Loach

Cast: Crissy Rock, Vladimir Vega, Sandie Lavelle

This film is based on a true story. Unbelievable story here as Ken Loach said in an interview A social worker call me an told me the story about this women and her kids after she was done she told him maybe there is a film to be made here. And there was.

The woman’s name is Maggie, and she is played by a former barmaid and stand-up comic named Crissy Rock who has never acted before. It took a long time to cast this character Loach could not find the right woman for the job, and did she pull the strongest performance here. She had embodied Maggie’s suffering so completely not an easy thing to do. She is short, blond, pudgy, in her 30s, with a nice face, she is a little plum. We meet her at a bar where people are drinking, singing , and talking. On karaoke night, she grabs the mike and brings down the house. She’s good company, tells jokes, holds her own. She is full of life but there is a sadness inside that is eating her slowly. She is in this bar to forget things a bit clear her head, she goes always out with the wrong guy who likely is going to beat the shit out of her. She meets she guy in this bar and he wants to buy her a drink , his name is Jorge (Vladimir Vega), and he is an immigrant from Paraguay with “political problems” at home. He is a nice guy who is trying later on for her to get her kids back. Well social services took her kids away from her because she they think she is an unfit mother. You get flashback of what happen and even when she was abuse by her father who was beating her mother  almost to death. Is she an unfit mother here or is it abusing the power of the social services here. I am going to stop here you will not believe what happen later as the story goes. Here is a most powerful performance of an actress as you can get. Human relation at its best. Also will she survive the ordeal?

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LION (2016)

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A film by Garth Davis

Cast: Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, Rooney Mara

A five-year-old Indian boy gets lost on the streets of Calcutta, 1,600 kilometres away from home. He survives despite all of it but then gets adopted by an Australian family and begins his new life.

The true story of this boy who was in India Calcutta lost and survives than get adopted by an Australian family. It is a simple story here. The one that is crucial here is the connection of the family from India and the one from Australia. Five year old Saroo (Sunny Pawar), who suddenly finds himself separated from his brother and left lost and alone. What google earth played a big part for Saroo to find his family ? Amazing !!!!!

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Sunny Pawar is a natural here you want him to succeed in finding his family. You have to understand the terror and the confusion plus the other elements who does he trust? how is he going to eat? and how is he going to find his way home not being able to speak the language. But later he realise that his family will not be able to find him. Later on in an orphanage that took him in gets him adopted by an Australian family. By the time we meet Dev Patel as the grown up Saroo, living a privileged life with his adoptive parents in Tasmania 20 years later. Patel delivers an outstanding performance here. The smart young man embarking on a hotel management course in Melbourne. But when he sees the brightly coloured traditional Indian sweet Jalebi, his memory jungles back in India that is going to make him to find out about himself and try to find his family. Of course he fall in love with an Australian girl. The film goes on and drags a little when Saroo is trying to find the village he was from but it is still interesting how he find out. There will be time of sadness and happiness during this film.

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L’ASCENSION (2017)

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A film by Ludovic Bernard

Cast: Ahmed Sylla, Alice Belaïdi, Kévin Razy

“For you, I could climb the Everest!” Samy should have shut up  that day … Especially since Nadia does not believe much in those beautiful words. And yet … Out of love for her, Samy leaves the  city and goes to climb the mythical 8848 meters that make the Everest the biggest mountain of the world. When he leaves his friends who also leaves in the suburb of France La Courneuve where they say the slackers resides has a radio station going to follow step by step Samy.

Ok it is based on a true story from  Nadir Dendoune from his book “Un tocard sur le toit du monde”A loser on top of the roof of the world. You see Nadir is the first Franco-Algerian to climb Everest without unkind of experience what so ever and did it the first time around. For the sake of the story here the name was changed and it is a black dude climbing who falls in love with a white girl. What I like about this story is that they will be no name calling nor race joke however it is a light comedy like us French people likes to make them.

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For the love of a woman this man will climb Everest, That is a crazy dude see in the Courneuve suburb there are a lot of laid off people and that are slackers. In the news recently it came to my attention that now there is a lot more business owners in that area. So a bank and a group of people who owns a small time radio station sponsor Samy to go to Everest in return he has to call once a day so he can tell everybody his progress. The thing here is that Samy has to succeed in order to win the love of Nadia and for the slackers friends that he has so they don’t ridicule him when he comes back. It is the journey of this man who at times who said to himself what the hell I am doing here and am I going to make it. Nice little comedy with breath taking cinematography. At the same time as a sentimental comedy, an adventure film, a social chronicle and an initiatory trip, this “l’Ascension ” that starts from the Courneuve  and ends at the snowy summit of Everest, Art is a mountain of sensations, from laughter to tears. Besides, Ahmed Sylla who plays the main role, would have largely lived up to this great performance in incarnated his character. Not too bad for a first time Director here who had to film this under extreme conditions.

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