MON INCONNUE (2019)

A film by Hugo Gélin

Cast: François Civil, Joséphine Japy, Benjamin Lavernhe 

English Title: Love at second sight. 

Overnight, Raphael finds himself immersed in a world where he has never met Olivia, the woman of his life. He is trying to find his way back or is he going to win her back his wife that became a complete stranger? 

With his third feature film “Love at second sight”, Hugo Gélin questions the evolution of love and friendship in time. it is a feel good movie romantic and full of comedy so I suggest to take your girlfriend or spouse to this wonderful film. Right off the bat we meet Raphaël (François Civil), passionate about writing his science fiction novel. And Olivia (Joséphine Japy) passionate about playing the piano. One of them start to have success in his life. Raphaël will lead his best friend Félix (Benjamin Lavernhe) in his adventure by making him his driver to carry him from his home to his publishing house, through out the tv interviews. While his wife is perfectly content that her husband has found successful but as we see it takes a toll on her because Raphaël is so into his career that he forgets to see her plus she has made so many sacrifices. One night they argue and the next day Raphael finds himself propelled into a parallel world. In this world he is not known and is a teacher in high school with his best friend both are single. 

The adventure begins and Raphaël tries to find a way to go back to his world or does is he going to stay in this miserable life so he thinks. Gélin’s film here is full of life, it gives you that feel good feeling, and has comedy a good recipe for this kind of film. A beautiful romantic comedy directed by this wonderful director Hugo Gélin which I can’t wait to see his next film. 

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GOD EXISTS, HER NAME IS PETRUYA (2019)

A film by  Teona Strugar Mitevska

Cast:  Zorica Nusheva, Labina Mitevska, Stefan Vujisic 

In Stip, a small town in Macedonia, every year in January, the parish priest throws a wooden cross into the river and hundreds of men dive to catch it. Happiness and prosperity are assured to the one who achieves it.
That day, Petrunya throws himself into the water on a whim and takes the cross before everyone else.
His competitors are furious that a woman dared to participate in this ritual. The war is declared but Petrunya is holding out: she won her cross, she will not give it back.

Here is a feminist satire that seeks to understand the complexities behind the rampant prejudice against women in her country. The film opens with a birds eye view shot of Petrunya (Zorica Nusheva) in an empty swimming pool that means the luxury and glamour but in an empty one means misery , and unemployment which is the case for Petrumya. She is now 32 unemployed and living with her parents in Stip a small town in Macedonia. She goes in an interview for a job that is not going to go well but when she return home she comes across the holiday of Epiphany where man are going to swim in the river to get the cross that the priest is going to throw in the river. The one who gets it will have prosperity and happiness. Petrumya for some reason dives in the water and finds the cross that will put some events into motion.

The director here shows the suburbs that are depressive, and deserted where misery reigns. Here Petrumya who does not want to get the cross back, she sicks to her guns without letting go don’t matter what. Her mother is not supportive at all and thinks she is ugly without saying it. The situation gets darker and more violent. Here is a woman who has little self esteem and slowly thought out the day will rise to the occasion. Terrific acting from Zorica Nusheva who has some great energy through out the film. Like the reporter in the film says we still live in the middle ages. The end couldn’t be more perfect pay attention what Petrumya does.

BIRDS OF PASSAGE (2019)

A film by  Cristina Gallego, Ciro Guerra

Cast:  Carmiña Martínez, José Acosta, Natalia Reyes 

In the 1970s, in Colombia, a Wayuu family of natives found themselves at the heart of the flourishing sale of marijuana to American youth. When the family honor tries to resist human greed, clan warfare becomes inevitable and endangers their ancestral lives, culture, and traditions. This is the birth of the drug cartels.

A girl named Zaida (Natalia Reyes) has just completed her ritual period of isolation and her people are celebrating her emergence, which symbolizes her readiness for marriage. And the prospect soon after the announcement tells her you “you are going to be my wife”  announced by Rapayet (José Acosta), from an other family. Zaida’s mother, Ursula (Carmiña Martínez), who seems to be the leader in her family , seems suspicious of Rapayet as soon as makes his intentions known.  She ask for a dowry that she seems to assume is way beyond the man’s means; it includes scores of goats and cows the main thing that one will ask as well as some valuable necklaces that are not easy to find. Not long after that he returns with all the dowry items. The way he enriched himself enough to afford his pretty and pricey bride is where the film’s crime story begins. Birds of Passage is based on actual events from the 1960s-’80s and is told in four chapters, followed by a epilogue.

The Wayúu family believes in traditions and also in ghosts and are superstitious. But the new young members does not believe in tradition and resist the old way of doing things. They value honor but soon became to understand that greed, power, violence and death will follow. The director here took an approach non Hollywood , they did not glorify the violence. The filmmakers avoided direct, up-close depictions of violence. Sometimes we see only its results. Here is an independent film done right which is how the cartel took over back in the day. Now days the Cartel is going to take a hit because Marijuana is beginning to be legal in some countries. Do not miss this one.

BALLON (2019)

A film by  Michael Herbig 

Cast:  Friedrich Mücke, Karoline Schuch, David Kross 

In the midst of the Cold War, two ordinary families from East Germany dream of going west. Their plan is to build a hot air balloon and fly over the border. An incredible true story.

Here are two families who had enough living in the East side of Germany who has a crazy idea to build a balloon to go to the west side. I knew a friend back in the late 80’s who went to the East side of Germany he is an American he went by train and the Stasi (Homeland security) went on the train and told the passengers to get their passport out which followed by a question if they had anything that they are not suppose to have in their suitcase. My Friend was talking to this English guy who the Stasi search his suitcase and found playboy magazines in it. The Stasi took him and my friend never saw him again. The Stasi does not mess around if you try to go over the wall they will shoot you down that you are man, woman, or a kid. My friend told me that on the East side it is depressive as hell? Nobody smile everyone minds their own business, you could smell fear in people as you walk by them. Here the director has done a colorful film like if it was an American movie from the 60’s except we are in 1979. And the Stasi is film in this grey color here the director has done this purposely. The heroes are as colorful as the balloon that they are going to take to go to the west side. It is like a ray of hope. Are they going to make it? The thing is the director didn’t not let up the tension as well as the suspense. The Stasi here are their trail and they are coming closer. It is amazing that they were smart to figure out how to build it even to saw the fabric together. Everyone had a job to do in this in order to leave as quickly as they can. A terrific film not to be missed.

STAN & OLLIE (2019)

A film by  Jon S. Baird

Cast: John C. Reilly, Steve Coogan, Shirley Henderson 

Laurel and Hardy, the greatest comedy duo of all time, embark on a tour across England. Now aging and forgotten by the audience , they struggle to sell tickets . But their ability to make the audience laugh they reinvent themselves and will allow them to win back the audience, and be successful again. Even if the specter of the past and new challenges shake the strength of their duo, this tour is a unique opportunity. to realize how humanly they count for each other …

The first scene of this wonderful film is of Stan & Ollie going to a set to make a film and discussing to negotiate their contract for more money. The next scene it is 16 years later in 1953 where The duo is aging and are off their game. They now perform in theater in England and fails to sell tickets. well they wanted to prove hollywood that they are still bankable enough for a Robin Hood film. Reilly is an good choice to play Oliver Hardy, due to the fact he has comic abilities and he even looks the parts. makeup that took four hours to apply in order for Reilly to look the part and he did. As for  Steve Coogan, whose resemblance to Stan Laurel is also rather uncanny and what a beautiful performance Coogan even walks like laurel. Laurel is the one who wrote the sketches and the two worked in sync. When they did the shows in England it became evident that Laurel reinvented the duo by being creative and even invented new sketches and they were back on top of their games. The third act is when Hardy gets sicks and it is sad to see him in that state because they just became to be on top again. Their wife were a big factor in their life. The film here has the right balance of comedy and drama. Beautiful film, do not miss this one.

Unit stills photography

CELLE QUE VOUS CROYEZ (2019)

A film by  Safy Nebbou

Cast:  Juliette Binoche, Nicole Garcia, François Civil 

English title : Who you think I am

To spy on her lover Ludo, Claire Millaud, 50, creates a false profile on a social networks and becomes Clara a beautiful young woman of 24 years. Alex, Ludo’s friend, is immediately seduced. Claire, trapped in her avatar, falls madly in love with him. If everything is played out in the virtual, the feelings are very real. A vertiginous story where reality and lies merge.

Here is Claire (Juliette Binoche) a professor of literature who is turning 50 and her husband left her to finds herself along. Although she has a lover about the age of her son. She one day spying on her lover by putting a fake profile on Facebook a young woman named Clara and immediately Alex the friend of Ludo is taken by her. She is anticipating the weight of the consequences of such a trickery. To overcome her humiliation and sorrow, she imagines herself in the shoes of another. And a game of manipulation is going to take place. To top it all off claire is seeing a psychologist and begins to tell her story. From an identity disorder, Safy Nebbou tells different stories that fit into one another, with some ingredients like manipulation, lies, cheating, and guilt. Reality is confused with fiction. There are a few twist in the story and a perfect ending to go with it. Here Binoche does a wonderful job with this ensemble cast. It is not surprise to me that she is still doing nude scene to incarnated her character. A wonderful actress where at 50 is still going strong and no sign of slowing down.

SORRY TO BOTHER YOU (2018)

A film by  Boots Riley

Cast:  Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Jermaine Fowler

After landing a job as a telemarketing salesman, Cassius Green switches to a macabre world by discovering a magical way to make a lot of money. While his career takes off, his friends and colleagues are mobilized against the exploitation of which they consider themselves victims within the company. But Cassius is fascinated by his cocaine boss who offers him a salary beyond his wildest expectations …

Here is a satire with an adrenaline-shot of a comedy about malice of corporate companies and the Americans tendency to look the other way when confronted with horror. And thrown in there that with greed one can be blindsided. The film is designed for you to pay attention. Be warn it is going to be this adventure of this man who is going to go on this funky journey that is going to be a little weird.

 Cassius Green, a young man wondering what is he going to do with his life and is trying to get a job that is going to pay well like any other man out there today. And he has a his girlfriend Detroit (Tessa Thompson) who thinks that they are going to make a difference in this world. Soon after Green get his job at a telemarketing firm, he become so good at it that he might get a promotion. As he is watching TV after work the show Green watch a show called “I Got the Shit Kicked Out of Me” with commercial that is going to come on about embracing a new lifestyle called WorryFree, which is very clearly corporate slavery advertised as something good for you. How does he get to climb the corporate ladder? Well he is advised by a colleague (played by Danny Glover) to use his “white voice,” Too funny there!!!! Meanwhile his friends are on strike and demand better pay. As Green goes up the ladder greed takes over he wants the better car, the better apartment etc…..His friends now thinks he sold out. Soon his Boss later at a party gives him an offer he thinks he is not going to refuse.

The film is going to be entertaining and never lets up but also there is a message in there. This satires never hold back towards the end of the film it is going to be a little weird with good intentions. It is an insane world that Boots Riley is showing you but he even went all out over the edge. It is nice for a change that a director does not hold back and experiment with cinema.