with the bold text in the example below:

Monday, September 26, 2011

El truco del manco (The One-Handed Trick) by Santiago Zannou, 2008

with El Langui, Ovono Candela, Javier I. Bustamante...

Two friends, Enrique El Cuajo Heredia and Adolfo make music together in a barrio outside of Barcelona. Cuajo has cerebral palsy but chooses not to resign himself to sitting on the street selling lottery tickets. Adolfo has a heroin problem that he has been trying to kick and lives with his ill, alcoholic father. After getting kicked out of a recording studio when they run out of money, Cuajo decides they should set up a studio of their own. To finance their plans, Cuajo gets them a gig fencing stolen goods from local gangster Marquito. But when things go wrong with Marquito, their friendship, their dreams, and their lives are all in danger.

I just saw this on the festival New Urban Cultures from Spain, at the King Juan Carlos Center of NYU, the main focus being suburban culture. Right on. It is a good and tough movie, very difficult to find hope, except in the main character, he was fascinating. Amazing soundtrack, great acting, good scenario. But that reminded me too much of 1990's French movie La Haine by Matthieu Kassovitz, talking about the ghetto, drugs, violence, power, money... from the inside, with hip-hop musicians. I guess the phenomenon is new in Barcelona, so it felt like the right subject to talk about. Then two years later, Biutiful is again trying to portrait the changes of society in the outskirt of Barcelona. Hoping something can change.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Biutiful by Alejandro González Iñárritu, 2010 (R)

with Javier Bardem (To The Wonder, Eat Pray Love), Maricel Álvarez and Hanaa Bouchaib...

This is the story of Uxbal, a man living in this world, but able to see his death, which guides his every move.

Barcelona, another version. The one of the left aside, the immigrants, illegals. A place where the rules of our society have no place to be, it is about survival. The main character is almost good, or maybe he is just using a system that allows him to make money out of the illegality of others. Or maybe he cares... It is a powerful slice of life near death, with amazing acting. Dark, very dark, with a tiny lamp in it.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Simone by Andrew Niccol, 2002

with Al Pacino, Catherine Keener, Rachel Roberts, Winona Ryder, Jay Mohr, Evan Rachel Wood, Jeffrey Pierce, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Jason Schwartzman

Left in the lurch when a temperamental actress walks off the set, director Viktor Taransky (Al Pacino) is in trouble. Not only is he without a star, but his studio-exec ex-wife (Catherine Keener) fires him, endangering his chance at a comeback. So he decides to take matters into his own hands -- digitally, that is. He creates the ultimate star: Simone, a beautiful, computer-generated actress who will always do exactly what he says. Or will she?

This man did Lord of War and Gattaca. Two reference films. Interesting, I believe I loved it back in time, when it came out. I saw it again ten years later, it felt quite strange. It could be some sort of Woody Allen mixed with a little science fiction. Esthetically, it is a bit old, there has been much better done 3d characters. The story is ok, nothing spectacular... I guess the movie had a time frame, maybe in fifty years, the impact of it will be much bigger. Who knows...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Circumstance (Sharayet) by Maryam Keshavarz, 2011 (R)

with Nikohl Boosheri, Sarah Kazemy, Reza Sixo Safai, Soheil Parsa, Nasrin Pakkho

Atafeh and her brother, Mehran, have grown up in a home filled with music, art, and intellectual curiosity. Atafeh dreams of fame and adventure, and she and her best friend, Shireen, explore Tehran’s underground scene with youthful exuberance and determination to be themselves. Meanwhile, Mehran returns home from drug rehab, and renounces his former decadent life with a vengeance. His once obsessi...ve practice of classical music soon finds more destructive outlets. Having lost his parents’ trust, Mehran is jealous of Atafeh’s loving relationship with their father and tries to find new meaning in his life. He relentlessly watches his family and slowly becomes estranged from them. As Mehran disapprovingly observes a budding relationship between Atafeh and Shireen, he becomes obsessed with saving Shireen from his sister’s influence. The once close siblings find themselves at dangerous odds with each other. As violence and desire collide, the once safe haven of the family home becomes increasingly claustrophobic and threatening.

Circumstance is so poetic, full of beauty, amazing souls, perfect moments, happiness, love, respect, awareness. I didn't cry, it is just stuck there and doesn't want to get out. I am so angry. And sad. Desperate. Thank you Maryam Keshavarz for making this movie. May it travel all over the world and specially to Iran...
I think that even if the movie story passes and gets forgotten, there is no way not to remember the situation in Iran. It is shocking, backward, disrespectful, painful and I don't see how the situation will change. The movie compares the situation of the two girls to "Milk", but it is bigger than Milk: it is the whole woman condition, linked to the empowerment of religion, with a vicious circle of the impossibility of the system, thanks to fear and mistreatment, and the law that has been implemented to protect it. Yes, extremism is the main tragedy. And then there is homosexuality, that can be punished by death. So after all this, who can be a Milk when people are not only homophobic, but there is a law out there to punish homosexuality.
About the movie itself, beautifully shot, perfect rhythm, perfect actors. Excellent.
Freedom is a human right. Take Part: http://www.takepart.com/circumstance