Strella (2009)

Strella represents the Greek cinema at its best. Some things are extreme. The director of the movie, Panos Koutras,  gave an explicit request not to discuss or write the “film’s secret”. Its request is worth respecting 🙂 It is a film worth seeing.

My rating: 08 / 10

In the loop (2009)

A worth seeing movie, combining several characteristics. Like in software development (!) there are are several tiers: the first one, is the one of comedy. You’ re going to have quite some laughs there (I did at least!). The language used, the incidents that occur, the whole story is really hilarious. The second one relates to the characters of the people portrayed. They are for real, as in all British films. They will remind you of our politicians, employees, citizens. The third one, dealing with the fictitious (?) incidents of the story is the one that really hurts: how much might be true out of this?

My rating: 08 / 10

An education (2009)

A British film by Lone Scherfig which defines once more the word authenticity. Its characters are real, the problems and reactions to them are found in everyday life. It is located in the past, but if one talks with a teenager he/she will (surprisingly?) find that the same problems roam in its mind today.

It is an amazing film. There are scenes, like the one where the camera shows the student’s feet dancing in the rhythm of music, that are really wonderful. Other scenes which have their strength coming from the scenario, like the one where Carey Mulligan states her opinion about the “message” that school’s teachers pass to the students, with tears in her eyes that really swept me away.

It talks about choices one makes in the course of life, how one thing may lead to another, how even a brilliant mind, in the course of re-inventing the wheel may be led astray. Do not miss it!

My rating: 10 / 10

The Girlfriend Experience (2009)

From Steven Soderbergh, the director of Sex, Lies, and Videotape I would expect more. When the film ended, I was left with mixed emotions. The plot is orchestrated in threads of stories that intertwine, making the follow up of the story tedious. One must keep in memory several scenes presented, in order to have a final view of the puzzle. The question is whether it would be an equally interesting movie stripped out of its presentation? The answer is no. There are several issues addressed which are important and of real value. Like the fact that in a real relationship, one cannot have the other person exactly the way it imagines it in his/her head. So, somebody offering this illusion, even for a short while may be paid  handsomely. The form of the film is something of a documentary and a personal confession with a flavor of a traditional film, spread during its duration. The fact that Sasha Grey is an amazing woman, cannot put aside the impression is that she is playing herself in this movie. May be this is a good start for a non-porn movie but a real actor is one that has the ability to impersonate, bring to life other characters, personalities one cannot imagine they may be materialized… What was the goal, the basic idea that the film tried to convey? If it was to convey the emptiness of the characters portrayed, then the idea did come through!

My rating: 06 / 10

Welcome (2009)

Philippe Lioret makes a film about immigration, humanity, friendship, love, life it self. There are no beatifications, no good and bad people. Just people in need and people settled. People who, when in need, will steal to make their lives a bit easier and those who will not…There are also people who keep their humanity and those who cannot.

It takes a lot of courage to make such a film: being honest about oneself, about the society one lives in, the friends you’ll have to face once such a film is released. A must see! Do not miss it…

My rating: 10/10

The White Ribbon (2009)

white_ribbonIf you want to see how kid’s education may turn future citizens into fascists, this is a film you must see. It all begins with the fact that kids have a sense of justice which is unblemished by the dirt of  the grown ups’ around them. They tolerate a lot, but hypocrisy combined with unjustified cruelty, is the perfect recipe to lead them to extreme behavior. Although this is not an easy film to see, it is certainly worth your time.

My rating: 9/10

Moon (2009)

moonMoon is a science fiction film (my favorite species!) talking about people (best of breed). A movie by Duncan Jones, which under a well conceived plot, touches a number of issues: What can be said when a person does not even like its own self? :).  How can he/she like others? What helps a person endure a really hard situation? What is the driver behind all this technology around us and what the limits of this drive? Even if you do not like SciFi films, it is worth seeing! On the other hand, if you do like them, do not be intimidated by the film’s philosophical aspect.

My rating:  8/10

Julie & Julia (2009)

julie and juliaI loved this film. Although it did not have a “big” message to convey, there was Meryl Streep which really emerges you in the soul of the character portrayed and with Amy Adams, they cook! Well, if you love cooking, as I do :), this film is an inspiration!

My rating: 8/10

PS. If you are really interested in learning what Julia Child wrote, then the book “The Art of French Cooking” is the one the film refers to.

Taking Woodstock (2009)

talking woodstockTaking Woodstock is a lesson on how one may transform misery into something better (I hate the word “success” so much used these days!), about how people you really love and try to help may step on you because they do not know otherwise and how you may find love and hate where you do not expect them to be found. The scenes where Demetri Martin (playing the main character of the film, Elliot) sees seas of colors under LSD influence prove that [a] cinema IS amazing and [b] Ang Lee should have experienced something similar 🙂

My rating: 8 /10


A friend asked “are you going to do your backlog too?”. He was referring to the films of the 15th Athens cinema festival. Since some of these films now appear in Athen’s movie theaters, it is a good idea to transfer the “telegraphic” descriptions sent by email back then.