Sprains and Strains

This selection contains both light sprains of reality and more serious bruises of the mind. The eponymous hero in Hungarian Károly Ujj Mészáros’ Liza, the Fox-Fairy suspects that she is a mythic fox fairy because all the men who fall for her tend to die. The reality is mixed up with fantasies also in the middle-aged mind of the protagonist of Landscape with many Moons by Estonian Jaan Toomik, as well as in the dark Mumbai noir film Sunrise. The absurd is constantly lurking around the corner in Anna Melikiani’s tragic comedy Star, and the state of the events is a mess also Michael Winterbottom’s new film The Face of an Angel. In Violet the violent trauma is turned into beautiful images and a collection of quiet conversations. The depression and mental illness are central themes in Magnus Hedberg’s dreamlike thriller From the Depths of My Heart as well as in Norwegian documentary Ida’s Diary in which Ida, suffering from borderline, is keeping a video diary about her feelings for eight years.

 

Photo from Liza, the Fox-Fairy.

From The Depth Of My Heart is on one level a thriller, but it is also an experience similar to that of being in the wilderness. People have always been mesmerized by nature and it can have a very strong effect on you. One of my goals with the film was to convey just that feeling. A sensation of freedom, peace and being in an almost dreamlike state where all the pressures of our everyday lives seem distant and small. That was one of the main points of interest for me, to have something horrifying and tragic happen in a place of such beauty and calm. The characters in the film are deeply affected by their surroundings, first in a positive way and then in a more dark and destructive way as nature turns against them. The wilderness is truly the fifth cast-member and we took great care in finding
Screenings
Ida is a young Norwegian woman, struggling with a very turbulent emotional life caused by emotionally unstable personality disorder (borderline). For the last eight years, Ida has kept a video diary in order to ease her mind and structure her thoughts. In her diary we get a unique insight into a world of fear and anxiety, but also precious moments of everyday victories and self-discovery. Most importantly we get to witness her powerful struggle towards self-acceptance and a genuine appreciation of life. Ida’s Diary is a film about hope, about finding your own identity and daring to live. Production notes I’ve tried to make a film that focus less why people hurt themselves or why they have mental issues. Rather I’ve tried to make a film that shows what leading a life like Ida’s actually feels like. August B. Hanssen I accidentally showed my friend some of my old video
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Landscape with Many Moons is a drama about a middle-aged man who lives a seemingly ordinary life with his wife and children. The truth is, that his marriage has reached a dead end but the illusory decorations of living together are better than the free fall into emptiness. The man rambles around his previous and current relationships without knowing exactly what to do with them. Living on the edge starts to overwhelm his nervous system and as a result, actual reality and dream-like reality blend together and it becomes harder and harder to distinguish between what is real and what is not. Landscape with Many Moons portrays the explosive state that precedes insanity and a person that can no longer find ways to get in contact with life. The film, however, is in no way depressing and the absurd situations, deviations from reality, and surprising transitions provide some comic recognition.
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This playful, genre-bending black comedy takes place in a fictionalized 1970s Hungary and follows Liza, a bright young nurse who works in a small town sanatorium. She loves all things Japanese and studies the language with Marta, a patient who happened to be married to the consulate of Japan. She even has an imaginary friend – Tony Tani, a Japanese Frank Sinatra type – who often appears to Liza, dancing and singing for her. There’s one thing that’s bringing Liza down however, and it’s her bad luck with men. When she also begins seeing an evil shape-shifting Japanese spirit known as a fox-fairy, a demon known to suck the souls out of men, she thinks maybe her bad luck might have something to do with it. Could Liza be a fox-fairy herself? Blending Japanese folklore with Amélie-inspired artistic direction, this dark fairytale delivers touches of whimsy and a large helping
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Star charts the counterpoint struggles of two social journeys, one up and one down, with panache and verve (…). The eternally optimistic and frankly untalented Masha dreams of being an actress, or more specifically a star. But her reality is rather grimmer: a round of humiliating failed auditions gets her a job in a nightclub as a mermaid in a tank. One her first night she nearly drowns, but is saved by dislocated youth (…) Kostya, a thief who impresses Masha by stealing a load of cash and giving it to her so that her transformation into a star can begin with plastic surgery on her ears. Kostya is the stepson of Rita, immensely wealthy by virtue of her marriage to Sergey, a stereotypical shiny-headed, world-weary, corrupt Russian politico, who refuses to marry Rita until she can guarantee him an heir. Summoned to hospital, Rita learns that she cannot have
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At the beginning of Sunrise, we are told that over 60,000 children go missing in India every year, and it is the country’s well-documented struggle with violence against women and children that is at the heart of Partho Sen-Gupta’s latest, a surreal and haunting procedural. The film begins with the police department’s social services inspector Lakshman Joshi (Adil Hussain) in a frantic search on the dark, winding backstreets of Mumbai for his missing daughter Aruna (…). Joshi trolls the city’s perpetually rain soaked dark side with an almost jaded attitude. Two cases that occupy his time at work are one involving a battered 16-year-old boy, Babu (Chinmay Kambli) (…), and another surrounding a little girl who has also gone missing. At home he does his best to deal with his traumatized wife, Leela (Tannishtha Chatterjee). [W]riter-director Sen-Gupta […] toggles back and forth between Joshi’s daily, grim routine and his imagination,
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In The Face of an Angel, a fictional meditation on the horrific murder of the British student Meredith Kercher in Italy in 2007, the director Michael Winterbottom has a grand time doing two things: slapping the wrists of news reporters and pontificating on the truth. His stand-in is an apathetic Daniel Brühl, playing Thomas, a depressed filmmaker with a damaged ego and backers who are patiently awaiting a true-crime thriller. Thomas, however – thanks to a dive into Dante’s Divine Comedy – is increasingly drawn to making what one character calls a “medieval morality play.” Yet as we accompany him on his morose wanderings around Siena, it soon becomes clear that he’s in no shape to make any kind of movie at all. Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times In the past Michael Winterbottom has dealt brilliantly with the horrors of real-life murder (A Mighty Heart), the unpicking of a
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After his best friend is killed before his eyes in a random act of violence, the teen protagonist of Violet (…) wanders around in a state of semi-shock, unable to reconnect with “normal” existence. Devos depicts stages of grief not as a series of emotions but as an evolving alchemy of perception that surrounds the protagonist, distorting time, space, color and light in patterns of dislocation (…). The murder that overshadows the entire film is seen only indistinctly on a silent closed-circuit TV as a night watchman, reflected on the screen, leaves just before the apparently motiveless stabbing. Devos then cuts to the mall itself as 15-year-old Jesse (Cesar De Sutter), obviously in shock, hesitantly steps forward to witness the last breaths and movements of his best friend, Jonas. The inability to understand what has happened, much less cope with it, infects every character and every image. Musical group Deafheaven’s
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(…) [D]irector Morgan Matthews’ debut fiction feature – inspired by his acclaimed 2007 documentary “Beautiful Young Minds” – proves potent on its own terms as a satisfying, compelling drama (…). In the world according to “X+Y,” the prodigy is Nathan Ellis, a Yorkshire youngster who, during the film’s early scenes, is diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum, and credibly portrayed by Edward Baker-Close as a skittish introvert who fixates on the fascinating “patterns” of mathematics. Young Nathan manages to forge an affectionate bond with his simpatico father (Martin McCann). But after Dad dies in an auto mishap, the boy is unable, or unwilling, to share a similarly warm connection with Julie (Sally Hawkins), his indefatigably attentive and endlessly patient mom. Nathan is scarcely more emotionally open with Martin Humphreys (Rafe Spall), a sardonic yet sensitive teacher who once excelled as a math prodigy, and even competed in the IMO,
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