Day 10 (15/04)
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A very peculiar film… The events told about in this film, take place during the preparations of a fashion show. Young blogger/student Michelangelo uses is cellphone to interview various people involved with the event. We learn about their characters and about how the fashion show is coming down. And when a model dies on the catwalk, all of the sudden Michelangelo’s footage might become of the utmost importance in solving a murder investigation. The weird thing about this film, is that director Sally Potter chose to have all actors give their performance in front of a colored backdrop (or blue screen, if you will). We don’t see anything else, except for the explanations and confessions of the characters. The names of certain actors who signed up for this project, are quite surprising too. For instance, we have Steve Buscemi as a cynical war photographer, Jude Law as a transvestite and John Leguizamo as a security guard. Now, to some this might be an incredibly boring experience to sit through. I found it to be an interesting experiment, to say the least, and therefor it held my attention to the very end. Although, I can’t really say this experiment turned out to be an overall success. Potter uses her characters to give a lot of insight to the fashion business and also criticise worldwide economical topics and express social commentary. Fair enough, and interesting altogether, but by doing this, the actual story becomes less engaging for the viewer, and she incorporates too many self-indulgent ramblings from the eccentric characters. But perhaps this was Potter‘s whole point to the film? Furthermore, the topics mentioned are handled in a mundane, obvious manner. It all could have made up for a more profound, controversial movie. But it didn’t. See this for the experiment that it is, and hopefully you won’t regret it.
A brilliant lawyer, Nyla, is asked to defend scorned woman Mona, who’s on trial for the decapitation of her husband. Mona, however, claims her husband was brutally murdered by Kandisha. A little difficult to make such a claim hold up in a nowadays court room, as Kandisha is the heroine of an ancient Morrocan legend. She’s supposed to be a vengeful spirit who slaughters unfaithul or violent husbands. Guided by her instincts, Nyla decides to delve deeper into the origins of Kandisha… Director Jerome Cohen-Olivar delivers a stylish & ambitous drama/thriller with supernatural overtones. While opting to keep the mystery intact, rather than to show us horrific ghostly imagery and gory decapitations, the film does show us things that rationally don’t fit, lending the film its supernatural overtones. The plot is well-balanced and intelligently constructed, takes its time to unfold and also offers us poignant points of view on women’s place in modern day Morrocan society. Amira Casar gives a great performance as Nyla, a character bringing a lot of weigth to the film as she suffered the loss of her own child. The recently deceased cult actor David Carradine also has a great supporting role in Kandisha. While his screentime is very limited, his character really serves as a great plot device to move the story onward into the right direction. It’s not often a film this excellent, succesfully blending genres the way it does, comes out of Morroco. So if you have a chance to see it, then don’t hesitate.
Sometimes it pays off sticking with a film and sitting through it. As was the case with Franklyn. I deliberately avoided reading too much about the plot of this film, as I knew it contained some twists and turns. By doing this, I can safely say I didn’t make things more easy going into this film. During the first half hour or so, I had practically no idea what director Gerald McMorrow was trying to do. We are presented a masked vigilante protagonist, called Preest, in the mysterious, futuristic neo-gothic city of Meanwhile (a place not unlike what we’ve seen already in films by Alex Proyas, like The Crow and Dark City) . At the same time, three characters who appear to be living in contemporary London are introduced. The old Esser is looking for his son gone missing. Milo is a young romantic who encounters a lost love one day. And Emilia is a nihilistic artist who can add several suicide attempts to her resumé. During the BIFFF screening of this film, I saw some people walk out about halfway through, clearly giving up on the film’s schizophrenic narrative structure. But things do pay off in the end, as inevitably the two universes this story is set in, will collide. Not exactly on an epic scale, but nevertheless making up for an intriguing conclusion. Afterwards, my friend and me spontaneously started discussing this film, mentioning different details we both picked up on. As more questions about certain plot aspects were raised, we became more enthusiastic about this film and even wanted to see it again at that point. A film that manages to evoke such a reaction, can’t be all bad, can it? See Fanklyn and form your own opinion, is all I can say.
Onward to Day 12 (15/04). (No films viewed on Day 11)
Mini-reviews by Vomitron.