1/14/11

PIFF JOURNAL 2011- PART TWO

Well, here goes our second installment of the three part PIFF Journal 2011. All the films mentioned are contemporary and possess a gripping story line. With our usual 'synopsis and critique' format, we cover the following six movies;


FAITH (SHAHADA) (2010, Germany)

Set in Berlin, Shahada follows the lives of three young contemporary Muslims. Their lives are interconnected and the story revolves around addressing various issues like the impact of the orthodox Islamic ideas, the evils arising from misinterpretations of the Holy Book, intolerance towards adultery and homosexuality, hardships of immigrant communities and many more.


It is definitely a well compiled and connected story line with the gripping direction of Burhan Qurbani. The progression of the story is beautiful and the story line itself is ironic and painful, yet comes with several lovely messages. The narration has been beautifully divided into parts and establishes the true theme; Shahada or Faith. Good watch this one.

WINE (2010, Argentina)

A film with only two characters; a man and a woman. Their conversations, the building moments, the activities associated with the scenes and yes, lots of wine!

Interacted with the director Diego Fried personally before and after the film. A very simple person, who also happens to play the role of the man in the film. The film is bizarre and yet very powerful. Initially, the too much close up of the camera may be discomfort to your eyes, but with the smooth progression of the film, it very much becomes the essence of it. There is no history or future associated with the characters, which makes it a movie open on both sides! The whole mystery around the plot and the lovely interplay between the two characters; the comic dialogs, the amazingly well portrayed seduction and playfulness makes this 75 minute feature an unforgettable experience!

SWEET EVIL (2010, France)

A 15 year old Celine is a troubled child. With no whereabouts of her father and a mother in prison she is way too much informed about life than she should be. She lives with an elder guy until one day she sneaks in and takes refuge in an old couple's house. However, the couple decides to keep her with them. As the story unfolds, the true and deadly intentions of the child are revealed.

One of the bests in the festival, this one is a gripping tale of seduction, justice and to a great extent vendetta. The film is held by amazing performances by everyone, but more importantly the excellent interplay between the characters. The story line is gripping and convincing even though it deals with some really hard hitting subjects. And the performance of Anais Demoustier, who plays Celine, is just brilliant and beautifully lives up to the title; Sweet Evil!

RAINY SEASONS (2010, Iran)

This one is about a troubled sixteen year old boy Sina whose parents are going through a divorce. Both have separated from their old house leaving Sina alone there. They bribe him with alluring shopped products, which has not much effect on him. He is in need of money, around 8 million as he is stuck in a drug racket with another guy Ali and they owe the money to Masoud, a local troublemaker. One day, Sina meets a much elder Nahida who is in need of a place to crash in. Sina and Nahida develop a strange relationship which would change his life.

Open endings and Iranian cinema go hand in hand and this one is another example of this fixation. The film is slow, yet very musical and a lot of "make and break" can be seen, where the director builds up some moments and then breaks them rather unexpectedly. Good performances and a good enough story line makes this a good watch.


THE SICILIAN GIRL (2009, Italy)

Rita, a Sicilian girl, seeks vendetta for the killing of her beloved father and brother who were associated with the mafia. She had the image that her father was never a bad mafia and the other mafias were. Soon, as she grows up and looks for facts along with the public prosecutor, her seeking vendetta turns to fighting for justice and she does a remarkable job in making widespread arrests of men associated with the mafia.

Marco Amenta, the director, talked to the audience after the film. He said he made the film from the point of view of the people who have suffered and not from the point of view of the mafia. He said, he did not want to glorify the mafia and instead expose its true form, unlike films like The Godfather. This film is certainly good and made with best intentions, but is no where around being The Godfather even in terms of performances, direction or dialog. Some scenes were too loud and some were redundant. And somehow, the protagonist's performance was not really convincing. Apart from that, it's a nice film.

HITLER IN HOLLYWOOD (2010, France)

Maria de Medeiros, best remembered for her role in Pulp Fiction opposite Bruce Willis, is making a documentary on the movie star Micheline Presle whose career began in the 1930s. A name called Luis Aramcheck comes into the picture when she discovers during her research that he had made two films called I Don't Love You and Hitler in Hollywoodthat which were never released. On a journey to find all the answers around the mysterious Aramcheck, they stumble upon some great secrets and conspiracy theories.

Using some elements of the dogme movement, this film manages to make you laugh and at the same time you are tensed about the thrilling whereabouts of various pieces of the puzzle. Some of the artistic liberties taken in the film itself are very funny, like the brightening of the two protagonists; Maria and Micheline and keeping the background dark, throughout the film! We would love to read more about the things this film has talked about and do a lengthier post sometime later. But yes, this is a crazy mockumentary which you must catch up with.

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