16th Athens International Film Festival – The end

Double misfortune during this festival: out of the twenty films, because of the flu (?), I managed to see only thirteen. May be my sample is not good but seems that the quality of the movies in the 16th Athens International Film Festival were significantly of lower quality than those of the 15th (click on the corresponding categories to make a comparison) and the 14th. May be I did not see some really good movies that were played. Ok. But films like BrilliantLove and Room In Rome (IMHO) do not belong to the festival (at least not the one I am used to). It is very hard for me to believe that there are not good movies out there. Usually, during a financial crisis, artists have a lot of things to talk about. Let us hope that next year things will be better OR that I was just really unlucky with the movies I chose to see.

Room in Rome (2010)

There is a line between soft porn and an art film with erotic scenes. It is not a thin line. If Julio Medem wanted to show in “Room in Rome” the foolishness of the one night, the escape from a tough decision by using an erotic night as a diversion, the sudden closeness one may experience with a total stranger under some circumstances (to name a few cases), he certainly failed in doing so. The dialogues, the script, the underlying music provided a cheap feeling which spoiled completely the initial five-minute impression of the film. “Sex and Lucia” of his, was a good film. This is a very bad one. Avoid it!

My rating: 02/10

Brilliantlove (2010)

Brilliantlove (which as seeing from imdb was changed to “The Orgasm Diaries” – I wonder why: to be more … catchy??) is a film with … no purpose! One may justify the extreme erotic scenes, which are far from being romantic (as mentioned in the festival’s brochure – although there are a couple of exceptions to justify the rule), IF they are used as a vehicle to convey a message, a concept, a meaning. If a person is helplessly in love with someone else, no matter how stupid he/she may be, shows a minimal (!!!) care for that person, apart from using it as an object of getting pleasure. This lack of care is one of the many non-realities portrayed in the movie. The story is totally unconvincing and at the end, the spectator wonders what the whole … fuss was about!

My rating: 03/10 – the three being purely …  symbolic!

Monsters (2010)

Monsters is a realistic and … impartial movie. These two attributes may appear weird at first since we are talking about a SciFi movie, but they represent the feeling one gets after seeing it. Do not expect too much action, plot turns,  or frightening surprises. This is not Alien.

It has probably the lowest profile for a SciFi movie of that kind (i.e. encounter with an alien race) and has some things to say about the way we (humans) deal with anything out of the ordinary as well as, who the Monsters really are … As a film it has a better chance to be liked by a cine-file than by the usual SciFi audience.

The story is original, acting is very good, visual effects are convincing and most of all, one gets the sense that this is exactly the way things would evolve under the portrayed circumstances. There are no exaggerations…

The down side of it, is that it leaves the spectator with more to be desired. On the other hand, Gareth Edwards is in his beginning 🙂 Seems promising.

My rating: 06/10

Inside Job (2010)

Charles Ferguson with Inside Job, created an amazing documentary that everybody must see. The reasons for the financial crisis of 2008 are explained thoroughly, in layman terms. If one wants to understand why his life became more difficult after the recent crisis, the information is there!  interviews with top economists from all over the world that played a leading role in the crisis and others that warned about the instability of the financial system, politicians that played and still play an important role in the deregulation of the derivatives market, academics that are paid to provide their “unbiased” opinion form a puzzle that still is not solved.

Are you wondering if such a crisis may happen again?? This is a film that after one sees, probably must see a couple of times more, to pin down the names that have changed our lives and the sources of information provided for a deeper understanding.

My rating: 09/10

The town (2010)

Ben Affleck, in the Town, has done a great job.  A good, original story, convincing characters, a lot of action plus a romantic story. It has it all! Sometimes, you even forget it is an american movie (for me, it is a plus!).

My rating: 08/10

Im Schatten (In the Shadows) (2010)

In the Shadows is about a convict is released only to try to settle his score and try to get his next jobs moving. A classic film for characters who break the law as well as those working with or against them. Corruption depicted with the clearest colours and at the end, although the protagonist is far from being a saint, one likes him because he is the cleanest of them all!

If you want to see a good movie with suspense, with no hollywood-like exaggerations, this is your movie:)

My rating: 07/10

Chronique d’un été (Paris 1960) (1961)

Chronicles of a Summer” is a film I did not know it existed. More than that, it is astonishing, to say the least, that such a film was created fifty years ago (!) and is still so fresh, so revealing, revolutionary during our time. “Are you happy?” is the question asked to people passing by the roads of Paris the film’s participants. Some do not reply at all, some say a couple of words, some go in the trouble (?) of sharing a discussion. A revealing discussion where one finds out that there are philosophers among every day people, others who shared the same problems with us, have a similar or different point of view but they can justify it. It was a snapshot of the truth at that time. What is even more revealing is the point of view of the participants in the film for other participants.

If you can see it somewhere do NOT miss it. It is a different kind of film but worth seen not only because of its differences but for many other reasons.

My rating: 10/10

Some Days Are Better Than Others (2010)

Some Days Are Better Than Others” describes in the world of the shuttered American dream, four entirely different people live a life which is far from the average way of life. Each one with its own problems, routines, hopes and hardships. A realistic and sensitive look from four different perspectives on the individual vs. society theme.

Acting is superb, the stories are original, the workings of the American system are presented in a cause-and-effect manner explaining the paradoxes encountered in previous points of the plot, hiding an intelligence instead of bragging about it.

My rating: 07/10

L’arbre et la forêt (2010)

A person thrown during the war in a concentration camp because of its sexual preferences. The pressure from society forcing him to live a lie for decades. The ever going struggle between the inner self (L’arbre, i.e the tree) and what society (la forêt, i.e. the forrest) expects one to be: within its norms. A family which has felt the impact of these events in a multitude of ways.

In “L’arbre et la forêt“, acting is good, characters are convincing, the story is good. It has a non-trivial message to convey. However, given the story of  it could have been much better.

My rating: 06/10