FYI I am only allowed to list a film after it’s had it’s first festival showing
Afterlife (Hungary) B+ Some good laughs, some great scenes and characters but some jokes fall flat.
Beloved Sisters (Germany) C Story of Schiller and the sisters he loved, marrying one. Unremarkable biopic except for it’s length of 3 hours.
Clouds of Sils Maria (France in English) C A disappointment. An interesting premise but unsatisfying. Deals with aging and manipulations.
Come to My Voice (Turkey) B Slow but interesting. Set in Kurdish Easter Turkey, the scenery and cultural aspects are great.
Corn Island (Georgia) A some will find it slow but it was fascinating to me. Very little dialog as a grandfather and granddaughter grow corn on an island just there for the season while Georgian and Abkahazian and Russian soldiers battle on shore and run up and down the river on boats.
Felix & Maeira (Canada) C+ She is a young, naive, dissatisfied Hasidic wife/mother in Montreal. He is a would-be artist runaway from his wealthy family. An unlikely friendship that will come to no good
The Fool (Russia) B+ Corruption. One of the most cynical films I’ve seen. Engrossing.
Gambler (Lithuania) B+ Dark story of a gambler and emergency services doctor who comes up with a profitable scheme while his girlfriend’s son gets a grave diagnosis and needs a treatment she can’t afford.
Gett (Israel) A This could be seen as an expose, though it’s not a documentary. Perhaps if I lived in a dictatorship I wouldn’t have been so outraged, but this is from the country that calls itself a democracy, often the only one in its region.
Hotel Nueva Isla (Cuba/Spain) E Fortunately this isn’t playing again so you won’t make the mistake I did and waste your time.
Human Capital (Italy) A Great. Three chapters focusing on three different characters in the same story so we see different details and points of view, in the time of reckless financial investors.
In Order of Disappearance (Norway) B+ Billed as a black comedy but more spraying blood than laughs. As is often the case, the description in the program is wrong but that doesn’t matter.
Invisible Front (Lithuania) D poor documentary (in English) lionizing a anti-Soviet patriot during the post WWII days (50s)
Iron Ministry (US) C this put me to sleep – to be fair it was a 9pm showing – but I was disappointed.
The Japanese Dog (Romania) A- I liked this quiet film but many thought it too slow. I enjoyed seeing the rural life, the houses, the way they treated each other. Not a whole happens but the relationships do change.
Liberator (Venezuela) C the story of Bolivar. Very Hollywood. Pass
Magician (US) B- Mediocre bio-pic of Orson Welles who was a fascinating man so it’s interesting even though it’s not a great movie.
Marie’s Story (France) B- Tearjerker based on true story of a deaf blind girl in 19th century France who learns to sign just as Helen Keller did but didn’t distinguish herself.
Mr. Kaplan (Uruguay) B+ delightful comedy about an aging man who is losing it but is he? A WW2 survivor goes Nazi hunting.
Life in a Fishbowl (Iceland) A- Very complex story in the context of the Icelandic crash before it happened and more importantly personal stories and pain. I didn’t get the flashback was a flashback, though afterwards I saw there had been clues
Living is Easy with Eyes Closed (Spain) B+ Charming road movie of a teacher on a quest to meet John Lennon while he’s making a movie in Spain. Warmhearted and great characters.
The Look of Silence (Denmark/Indonesia/Norway) not easy to watch or to rate. An Indonesian man whose brother was a victim of the anti-communist massacre of 1965 interviews shockingly unrepentant and frank perpetrators as well as his family. Repetitious but gripping. Long lists of ‘anonymous’ in the credits!
The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (PIFF Sweden) A Hilarious. Some could find it too silly.
Phoenix (Germany) A- A survivor is returned to Occupied Berlin to have her face reconstructed and look for her husband despite being told he betrayed her. She finds him, he doesn’t recognize her but wants her to help him get his share of her inheritance. Disturbing with a hell of a great ending.
10,000 KM (Spain) B Can a relationship survive a year apart with Skype? Not so well if you look at this couple separated because one gets an art residency.
Timbuktu (PIFF Mauritania) A Life under Sharia law in Timbuktu and the countryside around it.
Today (Iran) B compassionate taxi driver sticks around when others wouldn’t have with a fare (who doesn’t even pay him) at the hospital.
Tu Dars Nicola (Wake up Nicola) (Canada) C Boring, pointless. Young woman drifting for the summer taking no responsibility for herself.
Underdog, (Sweden) A- Universally liked, complex story not just about being a foreign worker but definitely you see this aspect but it’s more about how one outsider affects a family, how people treat each other.
Wild Tales (Argentina/Spain) A Six black comic shorts each with a surprise ending and many laughs.
Rick Steves says, “With an elegant history cut brutally short by the Holocaust, Pest’s Jewish Quarter is gradually restoring its once-grand sights and embracing its long-dormant heritage.” There are several synagogues in the neighborhood. At the Great Synagogue there is also a Jewish museum and a memorial garden.
The Jewish cemetery was in the outskirts of Budapest, an interesting trip since I’d only been in the older center until then. I took a tram and passed poorer areas than I’d seen, including housing projects and industrial areas. The only beautiful architecture was churches, schools and one gymnasium. The cemetery was at the end of the line.