THE SILENT REVOLUTION (2018)

THE SILENT REVOLUTION (2018)

A film by Lars Kraume

Cast: Jonas Dassler, Judith Engel, Tom Gramenz

East Germany, 1956. Kurt, Theo and Lena are 18 years old and preparing to graduate from high school. With their comrades, they decide to do a minute of silence in class, in tribute to the Hungarian revolutionaries harshly repressed by the Soviet army. This minute of silence becomes a state affair. She will rock their lives. Faced with an East German government determined to identify and punish those responsible, the 19 students of Stalinstadt will face all threats and remain in solidarity.

Based on a true story back in 1956 a bunch of student listening to the illegal radio on the east german (4 years before the wall) about the Hungarians who wants the Russians out of their country are starting a revolution. One of the classmate decided to have a minutes of silence in class in honour of the Hungarians. And may the investigation begins, yes the school decided to see who started this.  The school is going to play dirty and secrets will surface. The film is plunging into the cold war that some people didn’t know about. It is a hard decision toward the end that the students took and thank god they took it. It is also about sacrifices and what is best for their kids. Education however is important. The costumes and the set design ere beautiful, it is like you were there. It is an ensemble cast and they are so perfect for each other. A  Brilliant successful stroke of action for this captivating evocation of East Germany where high school students discover the notion of treason, submission and rebellion.

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DAS SCHWEIGENDE KLASSENZIMMER

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IN THE FADE (2017)

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A film by Fatih Akin

Cast: Diane Kruger, Denis Moschitto, Numan Acar

Katja’s life (Diane Kruger) takes a horrible turn when she learns that her husband and son dies in a bombing attack. Slowly Katja plan her revenge.

I am going to say that the critics a lot of them didn’t like it. But to me It stands out and it did won for best actress for Diane Kruger and best film at the Cannes Film Festival 2017. Yes it is a revenge movie but done differently.

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When Katja finds out that her husband and her son are killed in a bombing attack it is going to be unbearable for her. As we continue to follow here it is going to be more unbearable than ever. You see her coffin shopping for the funeral than the court drama that is going to unfold. Interesting how they do things  in the court in Germany. Katja even cries herself to sleep with this pain that she carries all the time. Then she goes to court to see the couple who was caught doing the bombing because the evidence points right to them. In the most emotionally brutal scene, she has to hear a medical examiner calmly  offer a detailed, point-by-point accounting of her dead little boy’s injuries (hair burned onto the scalp, arm severed, eyes melted in their sockets). Here Akin hold nothing back, he goes full force into it with detail and the emotion of Katja is at a point of boiling in the verge of exploding. There are three chapter in the film Family, in the fade, Justice. And to top it all off Katja even guesses who was behind it. The traveling of this journey seems seamless plus in the end is brilliant. The grief here with the scenery of raining all the time goes hand to hand. Diane Kruger assumes the role beautifully well in this melodrama and so are the other actors. Do not miss the film with raw energy.

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THE NILE HILTON INCIDENT (2017)

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A film by Tarik Saleh

Cast: Fares Fares, Mari Malek, Yasser Ali Maher

Two days before the  Egyptian Revolution, this thriller features a police officer who investigates the murder of a woman who is a popular singer but turn out she is also a call girl.

Egypt’s 2011 revolution provides the backdrop for Tarik Saleh’s  political thriller. In order to do this type of penetrating film making the Danish Director has to know the Egyptian culture. The film opens with the corrupt police officer Noredin  (Fares Fares) doing his round to get his money from business owners. Noredin a chain-smoking cop who is called on a scene of a murder of a singer. The atmosphere of this film is like a smoked, perfumed street with corruption of all sort where there is no justice. Plus the fact that the internal affair are investigating the precinct of Noredin. As Noredin is trying to find the only possible witness he discovers more dead bodies and possible a suspect the son of the President of Egypt. You actually try to investigate with him. The more he investigate the more corruption he finds and he puts his life in danger as well. Even though Saleh was  forced to shooting in Casablanca after the production was shut down by the Egyptian state security service. I wonder why? You can smell though the screen the smoking, dust, perfume, food, and the heat that add to the Neo-Noir film. Yes there are twists and turns in this story that is tastefully told by Saleh. Do not miss this one. 

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THE DARK VALLEY (2014)

 

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A film by Andreas Prochaska

Cast: Sam Riley, Tobias Moretti, Paula Beer

Through a hidden path a stranger arrives in this little town hidden away by the mountains. The stranger wants to stay until spring but nobody knows where he comes from, they know this much they do not want him here.

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The stranger named Greider is hosted in a hostile and suspicious way, especially by the six Brenner brothers who terrorize the village and whose father owns all the land. He is lodged by a widow who lives with her daughter, Luzi, about to marry the young Lucas. Greider begins by photographing the village, its inhabitants, the valley, he tells Luzi that he lived in Texas, he wears strange serrated spurs and hides a Winchester-type rifle unknown in this  town. Flash back reveals the village’s heavy secret little by little you are beginning to know what the stranger is doing here in this little town, and it is not going to be pretty. Here is a patient, intelligent man waiting for the ideal moment to let his purpose be known. It is nothing that you are already seen in western but this one takes places in Austria’ alps. The film is  incompatible to the traditional American Western.

Also the story takes a spin once you know the secrets of the town and providing the flashback. Andreas Prochaska showers  this film in mystery and you are going to sense the blood bath that is going to follow. The cinematography captures the raw paysage of winter as well as spring. The dark valley here fells like a Clint Eastwood film like the one High Plain Drifter. This film however is an adaptation of the book I think of the same name I am not sure yet.

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A CURE FOR WELLNESS (2017)

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A film by Gore Verbinski

Cast: Dane DeHaan, Jason Isaacs, Mia Goth

The film opens in a large financial services firm in New York City, a man named Morris works late when  he suffers a massive heart attack and drops dead. Well life ’s is a bitch in finance. Lockhart, an ambitious young executive takes over his position and is sent to retrieve the company’s CEO, Roland Pembroke, from a mysterious “wellness center” at a remote location in the Swiss Alps. Of course there is a catch to it you are going to watch the  film. The retrieval is crucial because Pembroke needs to sign papers for the merger.

Ok it is a simple retrieval but once you are in the Wellness center no one ever leaves. Why you say well because everyone love it here. Once lockhart is in they give him the run around nothing new there. They tell him to return later in the evening because visiting hours are past. This is going to be a tough review to do here because this film is not only dark, bold , beautiful but it has twist and turns with hidden  messages so I am going to see the film again to see what I missed, also the audience will interpret the film differently and for a film with a big budget my hot goes out to you to do such a bold film usually it is reserved for the independent film.The character of Lockhart is not a very likable person, yet we follow him throughout the entire film. An other character who is mysterious is Hanna played beautifully well by Mia Goth and her life is a total mystery here all we know she was raised at the center. Gore Verbinksi and Bojan Bazelli Director of Photography create  a beautiful looking film. A cure for Wellness is a rare film you won’t se that everyday. Well I am going to retreat myself in my own Cure for Wellness with cheese, bread and wine .

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FRANTZ (2016)

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A film François Ozon

Cast: Pierre Niney, Paula Beer, Ernst Stötzner

After the war 14-18, in a small German town, Anna goes daily to the tomb of her fiancé, Frantz died on the front line in France. But that day, a young French man, Adrien, came to visit the grave of his German friend. This presence following the German defeat will provoke angry reactions in the city.

Frantz, is pacifist German soldier who loves paintings by Manet and  Verlaine died on the battlefield. Convenient because it is around his absence that will enroll the whole narrative of Frantz. On his grave first, where  a French man , a former soldier of the Great War who is over his grave crying and then when accidentally where he will enter the lives of Frantz’s family. Bur the family wants to know how Adrien knew Frantz, Where did they meet. And yes Ozon has done  a  film a la  Hitchcock and creatively uses black a white to show the darkness and the pain switching to color where there is a moment of happiness using the theme of Vertigo (watch for the museum scene) .The suicide (1877) the painting of Manet, occupies a central place in Frantz ’s heart. For it is symbolically through him that Adrian and Anna, the key protagonist of the film wonderfully interpreted by Paula Beer, will learn to love life. The dark photography and the dreamy music allowing Frantz do to create a rather cruel tale atmosphere, but above all tender and naive. Niney an up an up coming actor does a nice job here playing the melancholic on the verge of suicide. Here is a terrific romantic cruel tale that will suit you thirst of melancholic drama.

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RACE (2016)

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A film by Stephen Hopkins

Cast: Stephan James, Jason Sudeikis, Eli Goree

Race is a Franco-German-Canadian film directed by Stephen Hopkins. It the story of the African-American athlete Jesse Owens who alone humiliated Hitler and prevented the glorification of the Third Reich at the Games Olympics 1936 in Berlin.

In 1934, during a period of racial segregation, Jesse Owens arrives at the Ohio State University to work with the best coaches of the time. Jesse will develop  an amazing relationship with a white coach Larry Snyder. Snyder became the coach who is obsessed with success also one of the toughest who develop this relationship with his protegé who together focus on getting at the Olympics. Talking about humiliating Hitler even pissing him off every time he won a medal. Even after becoming world-famous, Owens is treated with contempt by many whites, including those in the athletic and political establishment. President Franklin D. Roosevelt never invited him to the White House. Jesse became aware that racism has many faces at every turn of his life. You have to understand that they did not want him to go in Berlin (And that would have been a mistake) under pressure from both side he decide to go. As he said at the moment the gun off and I start running I have 10 second of freedom where nothing matter 10 second where I am free. Some powerful word there. Jesse however endured still the hatred by the white people even though he had humiliated Hitler by winning 4 gold medals. That is a shame. It took 25 years before someone break one of his records. He has done more in one year that others has done in a life time.

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