Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Best of Nov 15

Victoria by Sebastian Schipper - German - 2015

There are few movies out there, which have been completed in a single shot. Making of a cinema is always like creating harmony out of various creative departments, and to make this happen in a single shot requires great vision, planning and pinpoint execution and hence such movies are special. However, with all the past single take movies, one factor was always missing, a la thrill. Most of them were also shot in a single or in a couple of locations.

Victoria is a Spanish girl who has just moved into Berlin for work. After some fun in a night club she comes across a group of boys and develops some feelings for one of them. However, the boys are stuck up in a very dangerous situation and Victoria too gets trapped into it.

The dangerous situation is a bank robbery. And from the above brief itself you would see that this movie cant take place in a couple of locations, right? I think there are more than, at least, a dozen locations in this cinema. Though, the first half is all about getting a bit romantic the second half takes a sudden deviation into pure thrill. Now think about it, all this is shot in a single take. Frankly, it is unbelievable and absolutely brilliant.

I must say, Victoria is not brilliant just because it is a single shot movie. It is an excellent cinema. There are some believable characters too, who are all payed brilliantly. Special mention to Laia Costa who plays Victoria. To think that most scenes must have involved a lot of on the spot improvisations and all.., it is incredible. The second half is as thrilling as any good thriller. It would be a sin to not mention the heroics of the cinematographer, who had to shoot the whole movie in one take, 2 hours plus of a single shot, half of it during night and the rest during dawn. Brilliant.

I cant imagine, how could they conceive and execute this so well. My salutes to all behind this one. Thank You.

La Isla Minima (Minimal Island) Marshland by Alberto Rodriguez - Spanish - 2014

A double murder in a remote Spanish village is investigated by two detectives.

A well taken investigation cinema, with some stunning cinematography.

Diplomacy by Volker Schlondroff - French/German - 2014

Whenever Hollywood wants to talk about atrocities on humanity or human sufferings or historical wrongs, they always go to Europe and the World war. And its always the Jews who suffer. This is another example of how European cinema seem to create master pieces out of world war situations, without Hollywood cliches.

Germany occupied Paris. The allies are closing in on the city and they can capture Paris any moment. Hitler have ordered his General - now acting mayor of Paris - to raze out the city of lights. The Swedish consul is trying his best to prevent the General from doing so.

This cinema takes us into a historic moment, happening in a room, the General's office, and let us witness their whole discussion, which starts sometime very early in the morning and goes on for hours. We see the versions of both sides and why both are so intent on doing their job. 95% of this cinema happens in this room and yet, it feels like a thriller is no mean achievement. Absolutely brilliant performances by the two veteran actors Neils Arestrup and Andre Dussollier. With all my love for the city of Paris, I may be forgiven for looking at this movie as a thriller.

Love - read here

Les Combattants - Love at First fight by Thomas Cailley and Andy Goddard - French 2014

A young man has to fight a fierce young woman in a silly beach competition and falls for her. He is now ready to go to any lengths to impress her. This girl is quite a concrete block though. 

Well, that brief would make a typical Hollywood Romantic Comedy and this cinema too is a kind of Romantic Comedy, but very Frenchish with lot of cinematic touches. So do not expect all the fun and grief  and twists that you would expect in a normal Rom comedy. Excellent performances, especially by Adele Haenel.

Turist - Force Majeure by Ruben Ostlund - Swedish - 2014

A Swedish family is on a skiing holiday in the French Alps. They face an Avalanche and the mother and children are stunned to see their father running away without any worry for the family. 

This is one of those, quite different from rest, intelligent and novel idea for a movie. There are no fatalities from the avalanche and things are back to normal. But how would a family react to a father after such a thing. A really good watch, except that the end was a bit predictable. Some of the frames, embedded in thick white snow, were so beautiful and artistic.

The movie really made me think about how I might react in a similar dangerous situation. Would I put a brave face or would I behave like a coward. Our mind is a strange thing. We never know.