Star-studded foreign films among Cinema One fest’s thrilling cinematic treats
When the 13th edition of the Cinema One Originals Film Festival commences its 16-day run today, the seven diverse entries being fielded in the feature-film category aren’t the only ones that deserve film buffs’ avid attention and patronage.
True, “Nay,” “Paki,” “Si Chedeng at Si Apple,” “Nervous Translation,” “Historiographika Errata,” “Changing Partners” and “Throwback Today,” as well as the documentaries “Bundok Banahaw, Sacred and Profane” and “Haunted: A Last Visit to the Red House,” should be on top of Pinoy cineastes’ movie-hopping priorities, but ignoring their “foreign” counterparts—there are 13 of them—wouldn’t be a good idea, either.
For the foreign movies that we’ve seen so far, here’s why you shouldn’t miss them:
In Ben and Josh Safdie’s frenetically paced Cannes-winning crime thriller “Good Time,” Robert Pattinson delivers the best performance of his career as Connie, a bank robber who, after a heist that goes awry, spends the night trying to save his mentally ill brother Nick (Benny Safdie) from being sent to Riker’s Island prison.
Connie’s brotherly devotion knows no bounds—he even romances a gullible black teenage girl to help him rescue his incarcerated sibling and cover his larcenous tracks.
Pattinson turns in a thespic “vanishing act” that allows viewers to see the 31-year-old British heartthrob in a fresh new light—this time, as a serious actor.
Set in the 1920s, Warwick Thornton’s stunningly photographed Venice-winning period drama, “Sweet Country,” is just as taut.
The Western from Down Under follows the tragic events that ensue after aging Aboriginal farmer Sam (Hamilton Morris) is sent by his preacher, Fred (Sam Neill), to help foul-mouthed war veteran Harry March (Ewen Leslie) renovate his cattle yards.
But, Sam’s woes escalate when he shoots his abusive new master in self-defense.
Suddenly, he inexplicably finds himself the subject of a manhunt led by Sergeant Fletcher (Bryan Brown) across the deadly Australian outback.
Joaquim Trier’s “Thelma,” Norway’s entry in the best foreign language film category of the Oscars next year, is a supernatural thriller about a college student (Eili Harboe) who comes to terms with her sexuality when her strong feelings for flirtatious fellow student Anja (Kaya Wilkins) trigger the activation of her deadly superpowers.
For its part, Hungary’s prized entry to the Oscars is Ildikó Enyedi’s unconventional romance, “On Body and Soul,” which won the Golden Bear in Berlin this year.
Sparks don’t fly the first time handicapped older man Endre (Géza Morcsányi), a slaughterhouse supervisor, crosses paths with autistic (but functional) meat inspector Maria (Alexandra Borbély). But, they forge an unlikely “partnership” when they discover that they share the same dream every night!
Even more thematically alluring and sexually provocative is Francois Ozon’s mind-bender, “L’Amant Double.” The French psychological drama is topbilled by Marine Vacth as fragile heroine Chloe, who goes through the emotional wringer when she falls in love with her charismatic shrink, Paul (Jeremie Renier).
But, Chloe begins to doubt Paul’s perfervid devotion to her when she meets another shrink, Louis (also Renier)—who looks exactly like her secretive beau! Has Chloe lost her mind this time?
The movie also features a significant cameo from Jacqueline Bisset, who portrays the vengeful mother of Louis’ disabled former patient—who also used to be his fiancée!
Clair Denis’ evocative Cannes-winning drama, “Let the Sunshine In,” alternately soars and stalls, but there’s nothing phlegmatic or emotionally “overelaborate” about Juliette Binoche’s luminous portrayal of Parisian artist Isabelle, who keeps looking for love in all the wrong places.
“Sunshine’s” star-studded cast also includes Xavier Beauvois, Nicolas Duvauchelle and a dull and dreary Gerard Depardieu, who plays a fortune teller who helps Isabelle come to grips with her romantic lamentations.
The Cinema One Originals fest runs until Nov. 21 at Trinoma, Glorietta, Gateway, UP Cine Adarna, Cinema 76 and Cinematheque Center, with an extended run at the Power Plant Mall from Nov. 22 to 28.
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