By Roger Costa
Stunningly reconstructed and designed, this intense, atmospheric psychological thriller set in 1938’s Vienna during the awakening of the Nazi regime, leaves an impressive mark from accomplished director Philipp Stolzl. Following the attempts to escape of lawyer Bartok, who is captured by the Gestapo when trying to flee to America, the director builds up a gripping and suspenseful portrait of the physical and psychological effects of imprisonment, pressure and uncertainty. When he refuses to cooperate with the system, he’s put in solitary confinement, findind solace in a chess book, but at the same time descending into madness. Actor Oliver Masucci anchors the film with a superb performance that brilliantly and tragically switches from elegance into madness. He deservedly won the Best Actor Prize at the Bavarian Film Awards. Using dark aesthetic influenced by horror elements, Stolzl scores a claustrophobic puzzle, an immersive survivalist thriller.
(Film Movement. 1/20. Quad Cinema.)
THE STALKING FIELDS
Directed by Ric Maddox, this thought-provoking, utterly brutal and fast-paced sci-fi hunting thriller efficiently displays our inner fears of system manipulation while presenting an intriguingly resonant story. A secretive program backed by the US Army, abducts some civilians and force them to participate in a deadly experiment designed to cure PTSD. What follows is an agressive, bloody game of hunting and shooting down, all while monitored by head-implanted explosives ready to go on without warning. Drawing from the director’s and the screenwriters’ own experiences with trauma and rehabilitation, as well as the fractured relationship between the institution and its veterans, director Maddox delivers an incredibly relevant, entertaining and furious antiwar statement.
(Gravitas Ventures. 1/20. On VOD.)
ALL EYES OFF ME
Exploring desire, sexual fantasies, identity and connection in modern world, Award-winning Israeli filmmaker Hadas Ben Aroya’s frenetic, vigorous and observational erotic drama casts her as a major female cinematic voice. Her sensibility and honest vision over taboo and stigmatized issues is generously and kindly shared with an immediate sense of collectiveness and inclusion. The camera randomly closes up at Danny who is looking for Max to announce her pregancy; then moves to him, who is starting a new relationship with Avishag, who is in fact, thinking of someone else. A well elaborated, tender, witty and sensual look at the perennial pursuit for pleasure and satisfaction, it is a wonderful modern rom-com, a triptych on the inconsistence of relationships among Generation Z.
(Film Movement. 1/20. In Theaters and On VOD. Info: www.FilmMovement.com )