Movies Reviews: Giving the world a little hand, a kitsch future and a revolutionary dancer

Movies Reviews: Giving the world a little hand, a kitsch future and a revolutionary dancer
30 novembro 09:27 2017 Imprimir

By Roger Costa


A truck is unloading at a seaport somewhere in Finland also delivering a Syrian refugee fleeing the horrors of war; Loads of shirts are being stocked in the trunk, as a salesman leaves his wife consumed by insecurity and ego. The clandestine man is seeking to help his sister who is the only family member alive as everyone else were killed, and applies for asylum; Gambling his money out and succeeding at it, the recently unmarried man is willing to bet all his earnings on a new, risky business. A sense of displacement (financial, physical, emotional) takes control of both men, Khaled being forced to evacuate his homeland and losing his family to violence, while Wikström is struggling to reassure himself as a stable professional. When life connects these two lonesome souls, at first they feel threatened, confused and end up hurting each other. But then, that is the most important aspect in accomplished writer/director Aki Kaurismäki’s latest comedic look at  modern social relationships: their encounter and destination are mirrors to humanitarian values, compassion and virtues, brilliantly examined through the darkly smart, cynical, inventive humor that makes Kaurismäki one of the greatest artists in the medium. Winner of the Silver Bear for Best Director at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, Kaurismäki conducts all the material with absorbing, contagiously funny and accurate perspectives, not denying the urgency of the world social crisis, but using cuteness and kindness to offer some changing in the world. (A Janus Films Release. Opens Friday, December 1st at Film Forum and Film Society of Lincoln Center.)


In Writer-Director Jamie Greenberg’s sophomore feature, a clueless scientist is part of a complicated project where he travels to the future, just to learn the essentials of society’s evolution. Shot in saturated Technicolor, with kitsch aspects perfectly re-creating that era’s style, the film is a hilarious screwball comedy, an irreverent look at modern behavior as our protagonist Essex (Nick Westrate) lands precisely in 2018. At first completely confused with all the advances, technology and eccentricity found along the way, Essex crosses path with a gorgeous hotel clerk (Betty Gilpin) who joins him while he explores the modern world, and looks for a way to get back time and make sure history is saved. Filled with satirical characters promoting a feast of spontaneous laughs, and highly creative whimsy dialogue, this Slamdance Audience Award Winner, smartly revives the gentle, sophisticated humor that notoriously prevailed during a real golden era. (A Freestyle Digital Media Release. Opens Friday, December 1st at Videology Cinema, Brooklyn.)


Magical and explosively sensual, Stéphanie Di Giusto’s richly crafted and sumptuous debut is a fabulous piece of art. Based on true events, it’s a compelling story about an aspiring artist who’s trying to settle after her father dies and mother becomes a religious nun. But it’s on the stage where she finds herself, as she joins a theater company. During a performance incident, she naturally creates a character offering an intensely choreographed dancing set. She re-names herself “Loie” and becomes a star and a direct influence among women, also known for her complicated, stubborn and creative personality. The film observes her love affairs with glamour, especially with a wealthy fading-ill bon vivant. The dazzling cinematography, set designs and costumes, precisely reproduce La Belle Époque Paris’ period with exquisitely gorgeous skills. A passionate and vigorous portrait on the construction of an outrageously brave artist. (A Wild Bunch Release. Opens Friday, December 1st at Village East Cinema.)


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