Complex Refugee, Online Revolution & Rolling Freedom

Complex Refugee, Online Revolution & Rolling Freedom
29 novembro 13:42 2018 Imprimir

By Roger Costa

THE CHARMER

Iranian director Milad Alami’s sophomore feature is an intense dramatically-charged sexy thriller that subtly addresses the refugee issue with brilliant insights. Ardalan Esmaili gives a breakthrough performance as the protagonist Esmail, a young, handsome, naive Iranian immigrant living in Denmark, desperately searching a way out to maintain his visa and avoid deportation. He spends the nights at a club where he picks up women in the hopes of finding a wife, convinced of his good looks and sex-appeal. He isn’t of much luck, until he meets a dysfunctional family led by mother and daughter, kicking off a strangely warm attachment, becoming a prestigious love interest but also ruining his chances. A complex, profound and mysterious examination on a male character, the film fully explores Esmail’s personal conflicts, based on his financial and moral crisis. As he invests time to find a partner in order to settle his documents, he is also dealing with the responsibilities he left back home, which is depicted under unknown circumstances by the vigorously unpredictable plot. We only learn of his home connections through short conversations he has online, though never showing the other side of the line. At one point it’s obvious he’s developing mixed feelings for the women, the culture and the country he had sought shelter, though these reactions reveal another side of his unbalanced intentions. It seems like he’s gradually forgetting the essence, focusing on his current position, and experiencing a delicate, fragile male crisis. On the other side, director Alami also explores the dilemmas haunting mother-daughter turbulent relationship, proving accuracy with the feminine aspects of the material. Superbly acted and seductively crafted, this award-winning thriller is a timely, suspenseful drama with shocking twists. (Film Movement. 12/5. Film Forum.)

PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF DESIRE

An intimate portrait of young people who manage to make tons of money as hosts of live streaming web shows in China, director Hao Wu’s third project is an alarming account on obsession for fame in the post-modern age of internet manipulation. He follows these exclusive folks, as they engage in their “fame” activities through the screen, collecting the profits from devoted fans. Using the preparations for a competition as a main conductor and common ground for the players, the film exposes their loneliness, the family conflicts, the personal crisis, and their strong vulnerability to cash- even if that means living without a social life, being locked in a room with a computer and rarely seeing the sunlight. Winner of Best Documentary Award at this year’s SXSW Film Festival, it’s a precise, heartbreaking and shockingly honest overview about living under the control of manipulative forces. (Tripod Media. 11/30. Village East Cinemas.)

UNITED SKATES

The racial conflicts in America extends everywhere and reaches the skate rinks all over the nation, where many African-Americans find a place to express themselves through rolling on the ground their authentic moves. Surprisingly moving and exhilarating, Directors Tina Brown and Dyana Winkler dig deep inside the culture, the politics, prejudice, devotion and passion of leaders and activists among the skating movement, conceiving an accurate portrait of those struggling for their artistic/humanitarian ideals. Produced by John Legend and massively awarded at prestigious festivals including taking the Best Doc Prize at this year’s Tribeca, New Orleans, Chicago and Vancouver, it centers on a single mother and her children all devoted to skating, and the owner of a long-time community rink center who sees his dreams collapse when they are obliged to shut the doors down. As the cameras spin all around the skaters and the electrifying soundtrack, capturing amusing moments of human physical balance, they also paint a canvas of the underground culture, looking at its dimensions in different generations, witnessing old and young equally determined to rock the floor. A work of grand bravura. (Double Exposure. 11/30. Cinema Village.)

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