Directed by: Bruno Dumont
Starring: David Dewaele, Alexandra Lemâtre, Christophe Bon
An enigmatic young man (Dewaele), living in the marshes on the outskirts of a small town, appears to have healing powers. He is befriended by a young goth (Lematre), whose abusive father he shoots dead. As the film progresses, some fall victim to his murderous rampage while others are healed of their ills.
Last year Dumont left his comfort zone with 'Hadewijch' a Paris set tale of religious fanaticism. It was his most mainstream work yet, following what was basically a straight narrative. His latest sees him return to his usual milieu of unattractive faces set against the grim backdrop of Northern France. It's self-indulgent garbage, consisting mainly of our protagonists walking across wind-swept fields. As is the norm for modern French cinema, it's filled with violence, though not as graphic as the work of most of Dumont's contemporaries. The movie is not only grim to look at, but rough on the ears too, thanks to Dumont's insistence on naturally recorded sound.
Bizarrely, 'Hors Satan' shares a silly sight gag (a character pulled back comically by a wire after being shot) with 'Django Unchained'. It seems Tarantino saw this at Cannes last year.
Americans have a curious relationship with porn. It's a billion dollar industry with a product enjoyed by most of the population yet it's coverage in the media would have you think it's run solely by criminals. Any films tackling the subject have always focused on the negative aspects, most of which are applicable to any get-rich-quick business, of the industry. 'About Cherry' bucks the trend, showing the world of porn as far less maladjusted than the mainstream.
Hinshaw does a good job in the lead role and is undoubtedly a star in the making. The film itself is quite a bore, filled with cliched characters like the manipulative alcoholic mother (Taylor), the disapproving boyfriend (Franco), and the platonic friend (Patel) who can't express his true feelings for our protagonist.
Hinshaw's breasts aside, there's nothing here we haven't seen before.
Directed by: Michael Winterbottom
Starring: Shirley Henderson, John Simm, Shaun Kirk, Robert Kirk, Katrina Kirk, Stephanie Kirk
More than any other British film-maker working today, Winterbottom is pushing the boundaries of narrative technique. His latest examines the lives of a family over the course of a father's four year prison stretch. What sets it apart is Winterbottom's decision to shoot it over five years, casting the four young Kirk siblings (two boys and two girls) as the children of Simm and Henderson. The film is essentially based around four prison visits, each roughly a year apart, and seeing the children realistically age adds an extra level of pathos.
Most viewers will no doubt find the film's lack of drama infuriating but the performances, (particularly Henderson's), and Winterbottom's subtle direction make it interesting up to a point. Ultimately however it's a much more successful experiment than it is a piece of story-telling. Michael Nyman's score, though a tad too dramatic for the proceedings it accompanies, is quite beautiful.
The Movie Waffler