Thursday, March 22, 2018

In 2011 French photographer JR (Jean René) won the TED prize award with the wish of changing the world. This project was the inspiration of the phrase "inside out" this was the beginning of a massive photographic project with a photo booth truck traveling around the world, capturing images of people from different nationalities focusing on several subjects, from gun violence, equality, racism, segregation, physical violence to women etc.

Inside Out became a well-known phenomenon. Agnés Varda Belgium director started a friendship with JR that lead to the creation of a documentary film inspired in the Inside Out project.

Visages Villages-Faces Places tells the story of Agnés and Jr traveling into small towns in France, meeting interesting people and creating portraits of them as part of the legacy of their faces and the places that make them.

Every character in this film is a treat, from the first encounter, the prep work for the massive picture, to the final result and the character reaction, the audience is presented with an emotional tale of simple people, who becomes work of art in their own front door. Jr and Agnés friendship are perfect, two characters with such age difference are so together, joking and teasing each other.

Visages Villages-Faces Places is a refreshing documentary when you are only exposed to tragic stories of war or political corruption. Don't get me wrong there are great documentaries, but you need to laugh a little about life.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

One of the most unusual subjects in films is fashion industry, from the models, the brands, their influence in modern history to the creators. There is always been a question about the origin of the person behind the brand and behind the style. But also what's going on inside their minds and their lives. Coco Channel, Dior, and Yves Saint Laurent are some of the films digging into the lives of their creators outside their creations, their struggle, their passion, the success, and failures. A new film Phantom Thread explores the life of a fictional fashion designer from the United Kingdom but influenced by the Spanish designer Cristóbal Balenciaga.

Balenciaga was disturbed artist, drowned on his own creations, convinced his how geniality, using his perfectionistic neurosis as an emotional wall against everyone. This description fits perfectly into the role of Reynold Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) a charismatic genius that at the same time is obsessed with his own work. Reynold sister Cyril (Lesley Manville) is the backbone of his company, she runs operations but also is able to control a serve as an influence of his work.

One day after finishing up a dress Reynold decided to take a break from his work in the countryside, after visiting a restaurant, he becomes interested in a waitress Alma (Vicky Krieps) later developing in a relationship. This event leads to Alma moving with Reynold and becoming his muse and assistant. He presence is disturbed the routine at the Woodcock house. From Reynold and for Cyril. But Alma is a very determined woman who is able to tolerate Renold bullying on her.

Paul Thomas Anderson team up with Daniel Day-Lewis on another powerful performance, in a disturbing film about a troubled relationship where the muse becomes the perfect artist block. A perfectionist artist cannot get inspired when the routine is altered or daily nuances become a norm.

In the end, Phantom Thread brings revenge to a whole new meaning, sometimes evilness has to pay the price, but mildly. Lesley Manville
Vicky Krieps was the perfect role for Cyril and Alma. Jonny Greenwood, delivers a beautiful film score accompanying the film.

Monday, March 12, 2018

In the art world, the artist develops a unique vision of art installations with the sole purpose of engaging with visitors and museum-goers. There is a clear definition of modern art and classical art. The first one is the most misunderstood and less appealing. The second is the most attractive because represents the classic intake from famous sculptors and painters who in the past create work to tell stories in the history of the world.

I love modern art because allows the artist to express their point of view about the what's happening in our society. It is hard to find a film that uses a museum and an art installation as the main theme to discuss and explore human nature.

Ruben Östlund director of the highly acclaimed Force Majeure directs The Square, a satirical drama about Christian (Claes Bang) a museum curator of the X Royal museum of Stockholm who is responsible to launch one of the biggest exhibitions yet, also named The Square.

Christina is divorced with two girls, a player with all the women he dates, but he seems to be very conscious about world problems. As a museum curator, he likes to use The X Royal as a stage to let artist start discussions about the human nature. At the very beginning of the film Christian, it's been interviewed by Anne (Elizabeth Moss) a journalist who develops feelings for Christian after a one night stand together. Christina is supervising the production of the exhibition The Square, but also he is dealing with the robbery of his wallet and his phone on the streets. After this event his assistant as Michael (Christopher Læssø) find the phone using the device geolocation, so he comes with the plan of going to the building where the phone is located and delivering a threating letter to every apartment demanding the return of the wallet and phone.

In essence, the events of the film The Square serves as a metaphor for most of the characters who express a certain mindset but in reality, they don't care about it. The exhibition examines how far you can trust everyone within the square, but then you see that Christian doesn't trust everyone because he's always begging to be trusted. The film also explores how we see the work of museums of modern art exposing visitors to ambiguous self-expression that is supported by millions of dollars and is not clear what the message is. For instance, you see a character like Julian (Dominic West, who is a good renown artist been interviewed at the museum but is constantly interrupted by a guy who suffers from Tourette's disease who barks obscenities to him and moderator, you can easily read this like is making fun of an artist point of view to why this work is considered art.

The Square is a rare film with a not define the genre, is a comedy, is drama, is a social critique.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Alexandrina Victoria was the daughter of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and the fourth son of King Geroge III. In 1820 both men died and Alexandrina inherited the throne becoming one of the youngest queens in the United Kingdom. At the age of 18, Queen Victoria brought so many things during her reign as the queen of England. Her legacy of morality and influence in politics became the inspiration for so many movie and TV shows around the world. The BBC show Queen Victoria, Mrs. Brown, The Young Victoria is among the most recent depictions of Alexandrina Victoria, Queen Victoria.

The most recent attempt to cover another chapter in the life of Victoria (Judi Dench) is the film by Stephen Frears-Victoria & Abdul, set in 1887 during the queen's golden jubilee, the film tells the story of Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal) a young prison clerk from Agra India who is instructed travel to the UK for the Queen's celebration.

The audience discovers that Queen Victora is lonely, tired and unhappy of her life as the monarch of England, so she develops an interest in Abdul as the first time she sees him during the Jubilee celebrations.

The queen is interested to know more about him and India, later promoting him to Munshi which is the Persian name of a private secretary. As the relationships between these two grow, the fear from the Queen's household and resentment from her inner circle grow too.

This will be the breaking point in the story where the audience understands the hate to another culture from the members of the crown, even knowing that the UK owns India in that time.

Victoria & Abdul is an interesting film to watch in order to understand one of the most beautiful friendships between the Queen of England Victoria and Abdul, but also as a movie about the respect to between two people one more powerful than the other.

Judie Dench is always pleasant to watch as a highly awarded actress.

In 1998 a new director earned the Directing Award at the Sundance Film Festival, also the First Screenplay Award at the Spirit Awards. His name is Darren Aronofsky, the movie PI.

20 years have past and Aronofsky has constructed a very unusual and controversial filmography. Requiem for A Dream, The Fountain, The Wrestler, Black Swan, The Fighter, and Noah are his films. Stories of the human condition: deception, envy, anger, weakness, success are among the subjects that Aronofsky have covered in those films.

His new film mother! is perhaps the complex of all, containing a visual metaphor about religion and the creation, mother! tells the story of mother (Jennifer Lawrence) and him (Javier Bardem) who together lives in the countryside in a house that was recently burned and then rebuilds from scratch. Barden is an acclaimed poet with a writer's block Lawrence his lovely wife who is been working the creation of this house.

One day a Man (Ed Harris) arrives at this house asking for a room, then later the wife of this man (Michelle Pfeiffer) asking to stay with him too. mother character seems to be annoyed and upset by this unexpected visitors and the acceptance from him character to let them stay. mother wants to finish this house, it's her life's work, but also the only place where she fits with him to make it their home and the place for their future family.

The film develops into a dramatic tale of two brothers fighting for a will, as a consequence one of the brothers died. During a wake in honor of the son, hundred uninvited guests arrived partially destroyed part of the kitchen and also sneaking into so many places of the house.

Later mother and him have sex and she announces the next morning she is pregnant. Barden finally breaks his writer's block and finished a highly successful book giving him so much reputation, ignoring mother pregnancy.

mother! explores the creation of the world as a house, brick to brick, wall to wall Lawrence is the mother, of humans or nature, Barden is a man representing what's man is doing to the world and how is destroyed by feelings anger, envy, pretention, love, hate and material interest. The film becomes bizarre and confusing during the third act when so many tragedies in the world collide inside the house: war, government suppression, chaos, just like our world is now. In fact, I didn't know if this scene was serious or trying to be funny.

I don't think I can hate this movie, but I only watched one, and that's enough for me. The film could be interesting and powerful but then loose connection and becomes absurd.

What happens when the love of your life, dies in your arms but your arms are the worst place to be according to a society who doesn't want you and despise you for being different.

That's the question from Chilean director Sebastian Leilo, who became famous with the award-winning movie Gloria.

Orlando (Francisco Reyes) is in love with Marina Vidal (Daniela Vega) a waitress and aspiring singer. In the beginning, they are celebrating Orlando's birthday, as a couple, they 30's years difference, which is not a problem for the society, the real problem is Marina is a trans woman.

During the celebration, Orlando get very ill and Marina has to rush him to the hospital, but he dies after the arriving. From that very moment the audiences realized that Marina is treated as the primal suspect for his death, not only because of Orlando's age, it's because Marina is different, she is related to mental deviations or sickness. Orlando's brother Gabo (Luis Gnecco) is probably the person who has empathy with Marina, so he helps her to leave the hospital, but still, Marina will be harassed by a detective making her a person of interest in the death of Orlando, to the point to humiliated her during an in-depth physical exam to find traces struggle in Marina's body. The family forbids Marina to attend Orlando's funeral and also slowly force Marina to give back all his belongings as part a family fight to Orlando's possessions.

A Fantastic Woman is a perfect movie to explain what is like to be different in this world. Been a transgender is been questioned by society, none knows who you really are, they label you as a monster who has a sick mind, you are not welcome any place, no matter how strong are your feelings for someone. The audiences see Marina as the main character, but sometimes we get so deep into the story that we are thru Marina's eyes.

Sebastian Leilo creates a movie, with so many subgenres, there is drama, comedy, fantasy, and a strong message about tolerance. The visual influence of Buster Keaton films, Stephan Elliot's "Priscilla Queen of Desert" are present here. The outstanding performance of Daniela Vega a real trans woman makes the film a documentary about a transgender life, not just a fictional tale.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

The Syrian war is probably one of the most dramatic events happening in the news. Since 2011 during a wave of Arab Springs the discontent with President Assad and his government, then an armed insurgency started in July 201, finally escalating in December 2013. The crisis still going and there is no solution at this point. Countries like Russia and Iran have been involved but not necessary to solve the problem.

This war has become the main source of personal stories made as a documentary. One of those is the story of Khaled Omar Harrah, Subhi Alhussen, and Mahmoud, founding members of the White Helmets a group in the city of Aleppo, normal citizens acting as first responders when military strikes hit the city.

Last Men in Aleppo focus on the dilemma of these people of keep fighting the war or flee the country. The film follows them in a very dramatic and dangerous situation when the audience witnesses the Syrian war down and dirty. The documentary divides the story into Khaled , Subhi , and Mahmoud and their family trying to live in this destroyed city, finding resources and experiences how everything is falling apart.

Syrian director Firas Fayyad directed and wrote this war documentary as a way of presenting to the world what's really happening in his home country.