Film Society at Lincoln Center and MoMA is
presenting press screenings of the 43rd
Annual New Directors/New Films March 19-30. Return
to Homs, by Talal
2013, is a heartbreaking documentary, about the civil war in Syria with
the destruction of the city of Homs. There are horrendous scenes of
people being killed, and injured victims suffering in hospitals. It is a
powerful film, revealing the senseless horror of civil war.
The Strange Little Cat (Das merkwurdige
katzchen), by Ramon
Zurcher, Germany, 2013, is a film about a family meal in a cramped
apartment in Berlin. A mother tells a silly story about going to a
movie. A cousin tells a silly story about trying to read a book on
vacation. A little girl is obnoxious. A dog barks loudly. A cat pays no
attention to the self indulgent nonsense of this ridiculous extended
family, where two people are slapped in the face for no apparent reason.
To put it mildly, they are not pleasant company.
Youth, by Tom
Shoval, Israel/Germany, 2013, is a film about two unattractive
brothers, whose family is having economic difficulties. To acquire
money, they decide to kidnap a wealthy young girl and demand a ransom.
We see the miserable treatment of the victim by these brutal men. It is
depressing to watch.
The Story of My Death (Historia de la
Meva Moort). by Albert
Serra, Spain/France, 2013, is an overlong film. It features a
disgusting Casanova, whose bowel movements we are forced to watch, and
Dracula, who appears for reasons only known to the self indulgent
director. There are a number of pretty actresses, who are pawed over by
Casanova. I do not see the point of this film, which has many scenes
filmed in darkness, which is hard on a viewer's eyes.
Fish & Cat, by Shahram
Mokri, Iran, 2013, is a continuous shot as the camera
follows two creepy restaurant workers, who specialize in serving human
flesh, walking through a forest, where a group of students are preparing
for a kite festival. Danger lies ahead for one of them. It is an
interesting, intense, but slow moving film.
Salvation Army (L'Armee du Salut), by Abdellah
Taia, France/Morocco/Switzerland, 2013, is in two parts. In
Morocco, a young teenager secretly engages in homosexual sex with
various older men. Ten years later we see his relationship with a Swiss
professor. It is an objective look at the restricted life in a large
family in Part One, and the boy's life later as an adult. The film is
Trap Street (Shuiyin Jie), by Vivian
Qu, China, 2013, begins as a romantic comedy, as a young trainee as
a surveyor is attracted to a mysterious young lady. Suddenly, he is
arrested without knowing why, interrogated, imprisoned, and his whole
life changes. It is a remarkable film by an interesting director.
The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears, by Helen
Cattet and Bruno
Forzani, Belgium/France/Luxembourg, 2013, is a horror story, about a
businessman, who returns to his apartment, and finds that his wife has
disappeared. He searches the building, and has weird encounters with the
strange tenants living in the different apartments. There are many
scenic effects of cruelty, that will only please sadomasochists, and add
nothing to the story. It is an exhausting and unpleasant film.
She's Lost Control, by Anja
Marquardt, USA, 2014, is a film about a young psych major, who works
as a sex surrogate. I did not know that this profession existed. We
watch her sexual encounters with a variety of mentally disturbed men.
The actress Brooke
Bloom gives a fearless
performance, on many occasions completely naked. Voyeurs may enjoy this
Salvo, by Fabio
Grassadonia and Antonio
Piazza, Italy/France, 2013, is a film about a tough mafioso in
Palermo, who searches for the rival who wants him dead. He finds the
rival's blind sister and falls in love with her. There is lots of
violence and shootings in this unbelievable film.
20,000 Days on Earth, by Iain
Forsyth and Jane
Pollard, Great Britain, 2014, is for fans of Nick
Cave and the Bad
Seeds. We watch the musician talking with his psychiatrist (I
thought those sessions were confidential), recording an album,
performing a concert in Australia, and talking with friends like Ray
Winstone and Kylie
Minogue in his car as he
drives his car around Brighton. If you like his voice, songs, thoughts
or Brighton, you may enjoy this partial documentary.
MoMA is presenting Vienna
Unveiled: A City in Cinema through April 20. Wienfilm
1896-1976, by Ernst
Schmidt, Austria, 1977,
is a disappointing film, which instead of scenes of the past, spends
much of the time on two children (I suppose they are the director's),
and a man, who wanders around, occasionally with a monkey, thinking he
is amusing, and is just irritating, and strangers in the street being
asked silly questions. The occasional historical footage is interesting,
and the songs sung by a famous singer from the past are pleasant and