Browsing: Netherlands

Film Festival zomer_1-1

“In the name of the father, the son, and almighty electricity” murmurs the petty paterfamilias of Summer from the head of his table, clumsily consolidating the movie’s key ideas in a way typical of this terribly erratic effort. Proposing a cultural context forged of vague religious heritage and emergent industrialisation, Danish director Colette Bothof’s…

Cannes IMG_2135.CR2

Yorgos Lanthimos returns to the Croisette after winning the Un Certain Regard prize for his bizarre feature Dogtooth back in 2009. This year the Greek director moves up in the ranks of the festival by competing for the Palme d’Or with his star-studded English-language dystopian love story The Lobster that can also ironically be described as a satire of our…

Reviews Kidnapping Mr. Heineken

Why would anyone want to rob a bank? What is it that drives someone to point of desperation to commit a crime when statistics tell them that it almost never ends well? If history has taught us anything, it is that it is cyclical. People keep making the same mistakes over and over. But why do they make them?

Film Festival boven1

It’s not solely for stylistic reasons that It’s All So Quiet tips its hat toward the western work of John Ford in one striking shot of its middle-aged farmer protagonist emerging from his barn, framed in silhouette in the vast doorway. The agrarian narrative of this new…

Film Festival tsf_1-1

Two Shots Fired opens on an act of irrational violence: A 16-year-old boy, devoid of any expression or motivation we can register, shoots himself twice after a quick swim. The film ends, 100 minutes later, having fully convinced us that it’s no more logical than that impulsive act. Two Shots Fired operates just beyond our understanding, which befits a film about human…

Fantastic Fest 2014 thetribe_1-1

The foundation of The Tribe will intimidate and shock audiences. The film is shot with an all-deaf cast with no acting experience and there are no subtitles to tell you what they’re saying. Accept the premise and the content as a challenge to enhance your love of cinema. It would be reckless to dismiss this as a gimmick. The Tribe works because of the skillful direction of Miroslav…

Reviews 4guide_borgman

Borgman opens like something out of a Beckett play, then proceeds to resemble the work of Michael Haneke as it moves along. In its first half, the film strings together a series of mysterious happenings with vaguely supernatural undertones, weird moments that are striking in and of themselves but never quite coalesce into something much …

Reviews the_girl_and_death_2012_2

So opens the poem by the great Russian writer Aleksandr Pushkin that plays a central role in Dutch director Jos Stelling’s period romance The Girl and Death. It’s verse quoted devoutly by the central character, a physician passing through Germany who begins a dogged years-long love affair with a young tuberculosis sufferer he meets there—a doomed affair not unlike that between Pushkin and the woman to whom his poem was dedicated. If the link serves to lend literary weight to the movie’s romance, though, it’s all the better at incidentally pointing toward the problems that pull it right back again.

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Before gifting us the cinema of blood spurting phalluses (and talking foxes!) in 2009, before he ended the world in 2011, and before he, in graphic yet clinical fashion, challenged the sexual mores of society and the filmic facsimiles thereof this past year, Lars von Trier made Breaking the Waves, a work that’s as much a remonstration as is its younger brethren. Despite the late public courts decreeing him more a provocateur than auteur – even a hybrid moniker like “provocauteur” feels like a concession of his talents – the confrontational tenor that pervades his films is one that’s distinctly personal, an extension of his own musings on social and artistic orders, his own phobias and anxieties, and his own feelings on what constitutes beauty and amity; his characters often reflect this, bearing the weight of the director’s cognitive crosses as they march themselves perforce toward martyrdom. What’s of important note, however, is that while von Trier readily projects his own traits and concerns unto a protagonist, he’s able to refrain from painting himself a sacrificial lamb – he never truly characterizes by way of surrogacy. Thus, his films take the form of largely candid but wholly exotic outlets, works that are imbued with a certain intimacy even when at their most oblique or didactic; to find appeal in von Trier’s cinema is to realize that his essayist intellectualism and his coarse humanity are complimentary tendencies of the same persona.

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