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Showing posts with label As if I am Not There. Show all posts
Showing posts with label As if I am Not There. Show all posts

Monday, 11 September 2017

Is The Villainess (2017) - despite resemblance to the Kill Bill volumes (2003 / 2004) - closer to Looper (2012) ?

Responses to a Teaser screening of The Villainess (Ak-Nyeo) (2017)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2017 (19 to 26 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

11 September

Some first-night responses to a Teaser screening, by London Korean Film Festival (in conjunction with Cambridge Film Festival), of The Villainess (Ak-Nyeo) (2017), screened at The Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge, on Monday 11 September at 9.00 p.m.

In The Villainess (2017), who is the title-character ?
Is it Seo-hyeong Kim ?

Amidst all the sequences where so much happens so quickly (the whirl that is typically in The Matrix (1999), or of the Kill Bill films (2003, 2004)), the opposite pole of The Villainess - aside from the possible elements of melodrama* of which Mark Morris spoke - is that type of moment when one thing reminds of another (which is there, with Motoko, in Ghost in the Shell (1995)) :

Sook-hee (played by Ok-bin Kim) is no longer in the present, because her instant has become the time to which (drawn by remembrance) she has disassociated - and so she is then visibly not 'present' to someone near her. But this is not mere daydream, but traumatic revisiting of episodes (or eras) of abuse [As in As if I am Not There (2010)].

As Motoko arguably is intuitively seeking – without knowing whom, or what, she seeks (but having the capacity ‘to dive into’ the being of others) – so is Sook-hee. Accordingly, we see her, finding in parts of her memory to which she does not have direct access things that events throw up, but unable to give her complete history (and so the film does not show it, not even 'out of order'). To this extent, The Villainess will not fully explain who Sook-hee is, or why, but just alludes to the tortuousness of her life - as its painful and wounded nature becomes clear to us.

In literary terms, one is reminded not only of G. K. Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday (and Conrad's The Secret Agent), but also the weirdness of Iain Banks in The Wasp Factory, A Song of Stone, and - of course - The Business !

Film-references :

* Akira (1988)

* As if I am Not There (2010)

* Ghost in the Shell (1995)

* Jupiter Ascending (2015)

* Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003) / Vol. 2 (2004)

* Looper (2012) [Surprise Film at Cambridge Film Festival]

* Salt (2010)

* The Matrix (1999)

These tattered corridors, do they remind us of where Neo seems to have been gunned down for good... ?

End-notes :

* There are certainly romantic tropes, but how much are they undercut by everything else that we know... ? (Even so it is very important for Sook-hee to know whether she was ever loved, whatever happens Now.)

Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Being given the bumps was [meant to be] no fun - for you...

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2017 (19 to 26 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

End-notes :

* Probably, it was my fourteenth birthday, but the resolve was there - for this day when I ceased being 13 : This is the last time / This won't happen to me again.

Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

All the raw edges, but with respect and compassion : Cameraperson (2016)

This enthusiastic response is to Kirsten Johnson's Cameraperson (2016)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2016 (20 to 27 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

8 March

This is a response – enthusiastic – to Kirsten Johnson’s Cameraperson (2016), shown for International Women’s Day by The Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge, on Wednesday 8 March 2017

Kirsten Johnson’s film luxuriates spiritedly in the constructed status and quality of cinema, whose nature as artefact, even in documentary, is usually heavily disguised – although, on the borders, there is little divide between documentaries and feature films, e.g. Man on Wire (2008), or the astonishing Jeanne Dielman, 23 Commerce Quay, 1080 Brussels (1975) (screened in 2016 in the Chantal Akerman retrospective at Sheffield Documentary Festival (Doc / Fest, @sheffdocfest)).

It would not enrich a commendation of this excellent piece of cinema to distend it with an exact catalogue of the ways in which it works or has been assembled – though it possibly says too little that Kirsten Johnson works with juxtaposition and accumulation.

In a three-line inter-title at or near the start of the film¹, she tells us that the footage is taken from what she has shot for films during the last twenty-five years, but which was not used in the film in question. (Given that a documentary not untypically has more than a hundred hours of material – from which it is edited down to, at most, somewhere between two and three hours² - this is a large amount.) Johnson extrapolates from that fact to call the film that we are about to see, if not a testimony (one forgets her word), then at least describing it in such a way that we appreciate that it is far from being constituted as if it were any sort of demo-reel :

Johnson, rather, has graciously chosen what to show us not necessarily because it is technically best, but so that we can see, and appreciate, what she does, sometimes including, as she lines up or composes her shot, dialogue with her producer or other person in the production team (presumably actually recorded in situ from her camera’s microphone, which is how she asks us to perceive it).

Johnson shows footage, from which this is taken, for Derrida (2002), where she is negotiating how to film the group of people to whom Derrida is talking as he crosses the road

There are three broad ways in which, as we go, we are aware of Johnson working on documentaries, which are when she is filming on her own behalf, and so being the voice asking questions or engaging with the person on screen (even if through an interpreter), when – which is clearly Michael Moore’s film – working with him, on Fahrenheit 9 / 11 (2004), and somewhere in between, where the conversations that she is having as she shoots suggest that the film is co-directed, co-produced, or made alongside a sympathetic colleague. (On IMDb, Johnson has more credits as a producer than as a director.)

Marine Abdul Henderson and Michael Moore in Fahrenheit 9 / 11 (2004)
In the footage shown, Johnson is talking to Moore about the technicalitities of arranging him, in relation to Henderson as his on-screen interviewee, and with The Capitol as a backdrop

Early on in Cameraperson, an assemblage of pieces of footage was presented at a great hurry, and which was also noisy (in the way that that sort of scratchiness of sound can be), which is very untypical of the film, because otherwise this work of editing (with film editor Nels Bangerter) shows that Kirsten Johnson wants to keep the rootedness and immediacy that she had when shooting, be it just a one-off attempt to film illicitly outside a prison for reasons of international interest, or where we see her several times, relating to who she is with and where that is. Nonetheless, it was a moment that suggested both the many places and people that are in her experience from close proximity, and, of them, the noise that news media seek to make for viewers.

Michael Koresky (in the helpful review for Film Comment, cited below - @filmcomment)) conveniently describes what also served as a very telling moment, and which shows what a cinematographer does to get a clear shot – and, naturally, reaching out with her hand, from behind the camera, where we can see what she is doing :

In Foca, the camera searches rural environs ; the voice comments on the patches of wildflowers ; a shepherd and his flock trail by. When she finds the right composition, a hand emerges from the left, reaches around to the front of the camera and pulls a few blades of grass from the ground, so they’ll sully the frame no longer.

The vivid, fresh water-melon that is cut up by a member of the militia (in Iraq ?), but the men are called away, joking – to one knows not what – before they can eat any of it : such an evocative image. Before, towards the end of the film, we hear someone speaking for dignity, and for it to be applied to injured and dead bodies in the media as ‘The golden rule’, we have already seen it enacted by Johnson in her practice.

It is there in not gratuitously giving us gruesome insights into the evidence that had been presented to a court-room about how a man came to be dead, but in very deferentially shooting a woman’s knees and hands as she talks, hearing a young man talk plainly about what happened to his injured face, and hearing those who were raped in the occupation of Bosnia, and those who have been investigating these war-crimes.

In the feature film As if I am not There (2010)³, concerning the fate of younger women during The Bosnian War, director Juanita Wilson based it on dramatizing stories revealed during the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague

Now, from colleagues at TAKE ONE (@TakeOneCinema), a review of Cameraperson on the web-site [with a comment from #UCFF]


¹ Apart from captions that locate us in, say, in Foča, Bosnia, or Kabul, Afghanistan, Johnson usually tells us relatively little about what we are seeing, or why we are seeing it, and has left what she has chosen to put on the screen to talk to other material, not just what immediately preceded or follows it. For example, we are in Brooklyn, New York, a couple of times early on, but the significant and longer clip is near the end of the film, and which sheds light on all that we have seen in between. (The principal exceptions to saying little by way of context are such as for footage of her twins, or of them with her father, or of her deceased mother (and her mother's artefacts and memorial place those things into time).)

² Even though many film-makers will edit ‘the rushes’ as they go, to keep on top of the scale and scope of the film.

³ The film had funding from a number of sources, including The Irish Film Board [and appears amongst Fifteen fine festival films].

Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

These are some of my favourite things… (with apologies to Rodgers and Hammerstein – let alone John Coltrane)

An overview of favourite films from Cambridge Film Festival in 2011, 2012 and 2013

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2014 (28 August to 7 September)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

28 July

An overview of favourite films from Cambridge Film Festival in 2011, 2012 and 2013

A month before Cambridge Film Festival starts, and following last month’s survey of What is Catalan cinema ? (550 page-views), we take another dive for strings of pearls, linked by their preoccupations, this time into the archive that is Fifteen fine festival films (now, seemingly, with the improbable more than 19,000 page-views…).

Put another way, what follows is a teasing-apart of strands in the best of (largely) subtitled festival cinema, the pick of what has been seen at Cambridge Film Festival between 2011 and 2013. They are not themes, by any means, unique to these films, for we can find them in The Matrix (1999) and its trilogy, Good Will Hunting (1997), or The Truman Show (1998), or ones that reductively sum up the films in either case – since, of course, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts – but, rather, they are touchstones to what may evoke a response in others.

And themes that, in any case, interlink (as the classic circles do, demonstrating colour-mixing, of red, green and blue) : finding the hidden truth is another aspect of being corrupted, yet of seeking renewal…

Our themes for this posting :

1. Innocence corrupted – and yet…

2. Knowing the beginning for the first time

3. Finding the truth behind the appearance

* * * * *

1. Innocence corrupted – and yet…

The selected films :

As if I am not There (2010) - from 2011

Premise : Samira, a newly started primary teacher, is caught up in the cruelty and selfishness of war, and used for sex, even if latterly with greater tenderness

Postcards from the Zoo (Kebun binatang) (2012) (Festival review) - from 2012

Premise : Threatened with expulsion from her paradisiacal life in the zoo, Lana leaves for a better life, but it vanishes, and she becomes prey

The Taste of Money (Do-nui mat) (2012) - from 2013

Premise : Lightly mocked for his gaucheness, Joo Young-Jak (‘Mr Joo’) seems immune to money’s attractions, but he sees how wealth changes status

In each film, a way back is offered or found, (which, using the language of money, we also symbolically call ‘changed fortunes’) – often both found and offered, for it is with and through the company chairman’s daughter’s changed perspective on her family in The Taste of Money that Joo Young-Jak (Kang-woo Kim) has the courage to act differently and selflessly at the close of the film, and, in Postcards from the Zoo, Lana (Ladya Cheryl ?) feels to be reaching out for her past life as a place that she loves, and where its inhabitants love her.

In between, we have Samira (Natasa Petrovic) in As if I am not There, who, rather as Lana also seems to do, disassociates from her oppressive present : when we first see Samira, she finds herself – unintentionally, in these terms – left to reflect on what went before. War has been unkind to her, and now she is in another country, with no home to which to return. She chooses to face what happened, just as we viewers in part live through it with her, and acts with kindness.

Engaging with her experience allows Samira a different perspective on what life in all its fullness can be for her now, just as Lana has lost what was maybe complacence about her home (and her place in the world), and can gratefully embrace what it offers. In the case of Joo Young-Jak, the film brings us to a more enigmatic close, but one where his companion and he have acted with thought and decency, to right the wrongs of the dynasty of which they have been part.

There is a fourth film that links with this theme, and which was shown at the opening of the Festival in 2012, when director Robert Guediguian took part in a Q&A : The Snows of Kilimanjaro (2011) (Festival review). There, Marie-Claire (Ariane Ascaride) and Michel (Jean-Pierre Darroussin) do not so much lose sight of their principles, as get enmeshed in a judicial process that pushes them in directions that cause them not to share their instincts for good. Nonetheless, they separately act on those instincts, and so reaffirm their beliefs in the meaning of life and in each other.

2. Knowing the beginning for the first time

The selected films :

The Idiot (Idioot) (2011) (Estonia) - from 2012

Premise : A stylized, but sympathetic, retelling of Dostoyevsky’s novel about the saintly ‘fool’ Prince Myshkin, who disarms others even as he harms himself

Kosmos (2010) - from 2011

Premise : Along with Myshkin, another man who, when not looked at in the round, is in danger of being misunderstood (by being over-praised)

Upstream Color (2013) (Young Americans) - from 2013
Premise : Most definitely another film not to be understood naturalistically, it shows the eye of faith seeing connections that their maker intended broken

Starting with the last of these, in the chance meeting and awkward understanding between Kris (Amy Seimetz) and Jeff (Shane Carruth, the writer and director of Upstream Color) we see evoked a feeling that would have one not only seek a sense of safety, snuggled with an unquestioning other in an unlikely confined space, but also, when no longer frightened, would break through into another reality.

No more so than The Taste of Money, this is not really a revenge tale, or about paranoia or conspiracy (though it entertains or employs these aspects), yet it shows / finds literal roots for what has happened. In a circularity that characterizes these narratives, it goes back to the place where those roots once grew freely, again – as with Postcards from the Zoo – with an Eden-like notion, in the vividness of the blooms, of the potential for beauty and for nurture gets subverted. Kosmos, too, has a highly spiritual dimension, which envisages, in its ending shot, a transcendent quality to life and to what we experience :

It embodies, through the unexplained character, power, and actions of a stranger come to town, a challenge to us as to the nature of generosity, a holy way of life, and ‘organized’ religion. Named Kosmos by the young woman whom he likewise describes by calling her Neptün (Türkü Turan), and played by the almost ceaselessly present Sermet Yesil, we do not know whether he is blessed or cursed by the attention that he receives for the act that he performs as soon as he arrives, of saving her brother, and which is inconveniently treated as heroism: for, even at the start, the expectations of – and upon – this Kosmos seem immense and crushing.

However, it is largely only in moments of quiet and isolation, often with Neptün (who both hides from and seeks him), that we see that Kosmos is truly not limited by human constraints. Yet not seeing himself in relation to them when they are in the form of mores, he makes us ask when and to whom the rules can / do apply – not least in relation to Dostoyevsky again, this time with Raskolinkov in the novel Crime and Punishment (from 1866). The Idiot was published soon after (by instalment, between 1868 and 1869), and, if we look at Myshkin alongside Kosmos, we more easily see how our conception of the good person, or of the life well lived, can enslave us to all-or-nothing perfectionist thinking about others (often enough), who may then be seen as capable of no wrongdoing, or, as the case may be, disappoint us.

By contrast, Reha Erdem (the writer / director of Kosmos) seems to want to shatter such a conception, which contrariwise puts the hypocrisy I could never do something dreadful like that ! onto our lips, and thereby creates (if only in our own denied image) the archetype of ‘the bad person’. We will have the same problems relating to Myshkin, but this time because what can be characterized as his extreme passivity, which Risto Kübar has the knack of making seem both irritatingly real and yet otherworldly.

Unlike Kosmos, who maybe finds some better resting-place (or might have to keep going), Myshkin is mentally delivered back to where he began. We must ask, and ask carefully – heeding any faint reply : In whose terms, though, does it make sense to ask whether either man failed – or succeeded ?

In both films, we see lives taken, which different actions might have prevented, and we see love having the power to intoxicate and destroy. Its usual emblem is symbolized to Myshkin by the display of a bleeding heart, gaudy and neon, which transfixes him, and we then see him proceed to be powerless to ignore it. Yet philosophy or religion aside, and just in terms of the making of this film, it creates moods within different ecclesiastical interiors in the Aleksandri kirik (Narva, Estonia), from this evocation of an ikon in a shrine, to a railway-carriage, to a garden, or lapping water…

By contrast, Upstream Color’s looping on itself seems a little different (with at least one hurtful cycle broken). Yet the film’s ending feels exemplary, if not in a didactic way, of the patterns in films such as Leviathan (as screened at last year’s Festival) or Samsara. Or, equally and in common with other of the Fifteen fine festival films, such as Dimensions (2011) (which premiered at the Festival in 2011) or Formentera (2012) (UK premiere, from 2012), of that sensation that Eliot describes in Four Quartets :

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time

'Little Gidding', v, 26-29

3. Finding the truth behind the appearance

The selected films :

The Night Elvis Died (La nit que va morir Elvis) (2010) (Catalan) - from 2012

Premise : See the paragraph, in italics, quoted below from What is Catalan cinema ?

The Redemption of the Fish (La redempció dels peixos) (2013) (Catalan) – UK premiere, from 2013

Premise : Likewise, see the paragraph, in italics, quoted below from What is Catalan cinema ?

Tirza (2010) - from 2011

Premise : A university teacher who has recently lost his job waves his favourite daughter off on a flight to Namibia – then, when there is no news, goes off in search of her

To cut this longish posting a little shorter, we take a detour to What is Catalan cinema ?, from which we lift the following paragraph, where two of these films have been talked about before :

On another level, and in Venice, we again have finding the truth in The Redemption of The Fish (La redempció dels peixos) (2013), as Marc tracks down his past, and is seduced and misled by the shapes, shadows and reflections of La Serenissima : so many of these films revolve historical and familial disputes and allegiances in a rich and productive way. In V.O.S. (2009), we have that theme translated into the playful and malleable notion of relation and relationships, in and out of making a film that crosses the barrier between ‘life’ and ‘film’ in a way as inventive and thought-provoking as Allen’s The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985). And - but one might need to read further, with the links below to reviews on this blog - The Night Elvis Died (La Nit Que Va Morir L’Elvis) (2010) teases apart the layers of reality (not least with its quiet homage to Paris, Texas (1984))…

In The Night Elvis Died – whose title refers to when, during the production of the town’s passion-play, Aureli Mercader’s (Blai Llopis’) life unravelled, and what we now see is a man who has forgotten everything but the broad thrust of what happened – the amnesia is our link to Tirza. A feature of film construction that takes us back beyond Hitchcock’s famous use, when he collaborated with a self-celebrated master-of-dreams in Salvador Dalí for Spellbound (1945), we see another man, becoming as ragged, run down and lost as Aureli is, in Jörgen Hofmeester. He only finds out, as he voyages, what his own story is, travelling in the company of Kaisa, a young girl who works as a prostitute, far into the striking territories of Namibia.

With Jörgen (Gijs Scholten von Aschat) both confronting, yet at the same time avoiding, his attitudes to the country’s Dutch colonial past (and other matters) and what those global connections mean, Arnon Grunberg co-adapted his novel in such a way that Jörgen’s involuntary strings of revelation to Kaisa (Keitumetse Matlabo), sometimes drifting from English into Dutch, leads us to the heart of who he is – and the void within him that he has hidden from himself. His narration tips us over into the muddle of our emotions about the man whom he plays, and into the twisted mess of family that has been the genesis of so much torture, violence, degradation, and pain.

When, in The Night Elvis Died, Aureli finds out his truth, the film nigh on destructs with the intensity of the experience, almost fully as much for us as for him, and we are brought before staggering images and insights – which leave Dalí’s role, in dream-imagery, for Hitchcock far behind (albeit his were for the purposes of dream-interpretation). (One is reminded, though in a very different way, of the disintegration in, and the dislocations in the narration of, Lindsay Anderson’s O Lucky Man ! (1973) (itself rescreened at a recent Festival).)

Much more quiet than this is the realization that steals upon Marc in the shimmering Venice of The Redemption of The Fish – perhaps attuned, in tribute, to the shifting sensations of David Lean’s seemingly personal favourite film Summertime (1955), with Katharine Hepburn and Rossano Brazzi, but, in parallel, to those of Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland in Nicholas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now (1973). Yet it is not Marc (Miquel Quer) who is the one here with the tendencies to retelling / reformulating (if not to actual amnesia), but the one because of whom he has gone there to find out more :

One is curiously reminded of ‘the closing reveal’ in another Catalan film, the Festival favourite of 2012 that was Black Bread (Pa Negre) (2010). Yet, compared with the younger Andreu (and what he gains, which What is Catalan cinema ? characterizes roughly as ‘A naturalistic, but haunted, story of a child’s perspective on betrayal, sex and anger’), Marc experiences so many varied things during his short trip.

Not only a host of reactions and feelings (and – with them – a rush and self-realization of maturity), but : relaxed lunches by the canal-side, the Commedia dell’Arte, the under-surface sound made by the waters of the lagoon, moonlight on The Lido, and plumbing the loneliness and emptiness of the quiet corners of the city, as well as books and artefacts, and what they reveal. In closing, and acknowledging again that recognizing the beginning for what it is and penetrating to the truth are not always discrete descriptions, one last paragraph from Whatis Catalan cinema ?, which leads into talking about a film that links, in a profoundly moving way, a Dante scholar, graffiti-encrusted former gun-emplacements, a confused man in hospital, and the history of Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War :

Directors such as Ken Loach, working with screenwriter Jim Allen in Land and Freedom (1995), have brought a British perspective on seeking to fight pro-fascist Nationalist forces, but Jesús Garay’s Eyes on the Sky (Mirant al Cel) (2008) delves less into the politics and the pointlessness of brother against brother, but rather, and very movingly, into the ‘visceralness’ of what it means to tick down to something that changes individual lives for ever : although Garay is from Santander, not Catalunya, again this is in the very North of Spain.

Closing note :

Since Cambridge Film Festival 2013, Eyes on the Sky has had a special screening (plus Q&A) at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (@ICA), as did another of its Catalan films, The Forest (El bosc), which What is Catalan cinema ? characterized by the key-words Magical realism – Twisted love – Collectivization – Other worlds – Symbolism – Unreal feast, and the short phrase An account of a civil war through how the hated better-off classes fared.

On 23 August 2014, the ICA screens a third one of these films, The Redemption of the Fish, with a Q&A…

Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Thursday, 6 October 2011

As if I am not There: from the claustrophobia of a concentration camp back to the outside world

This is a Festival review of As if I am not There (2010)

More views of - or after - Cambridge Film Festival 2011
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

7 October

This is a Festival review of As if I am not There (2010)

* Contains spoilers *

One usually gets so much of the feel of what a foreign-language film will be from the title that it has been given, and that can be misleading (or just a bad choice), so it is good to know that this one was intended. Obviously, such things should not carry too much weight, but there is the feeling in these words ‘How can this be happening to me? How can something so outside my experience be taking place?’

And this film shows a response to that horrible feeling of unreality. Any suggestion, as in another review that I have read, that it was just made to have some sort of gruesome residue of appeal that it does not really deserve is just so bizarre as not to merit any real further comment. Things on which this film relies happened (maybe to different people and at different times), and I really struggle to believe that anyone would think the film made just to exploit those people’s suffering.

It does not rejoice in that suffering, but shows how the small group of women with whom we end up managed – or chose to manage – in humiliating conditions after their menfolk had just been executed for no crime other than being men, and being from the wrong racial group.

No one depicts rape for its own sake, and here, in the case of Samira (Nastasa Petrovic), it is a vehicle for us to witness her seeking to absent herself from the brutal and disgusting way in which she is being handled – ‘treated’ is too genteel a word for it. And, of course, there are worse atrocities that could have been committed (and which are visited upon a young girl in a cruel parody of the Christian cross and what it is meant to symbolize), but, for Samira, recently travelled from home and family to a new place where she expects to teach and care for children, this must be unimaginable, unbearable.

When she expects to be raped again, but the soldier shown into her prefers to fall asleep next to her, there is a short moment of respite from the cruelty and dehumanisation, even though, as one of the women selected to satisfy the soldiers, she and they probably have better conditions than the others, with whom we lose contact until much later. For Samira, and for her increasing bravery, the decision comes to be that of staying a woman, of putting on lipstick, and not remaining the unwilling recipient of sex, but asserting her right to be a person, to reject the men’s belief in their right to strike and abuse her.

In what I read as a by-product of that assertion, she attracts the attention of the soldiers’ Captain (Miraj Grbic), and swaps civilized – but still meaningless – love-making, rather than enforced copulation at the hands of insensitive and brutish men who do not even view her as human. Within the constraints of that role (and in a fine performance), he shows Samira such kindness as he can, but it is all too undeniable – and, at several points, cannot be denied – that they both know that he has every power over her, and that he just chooses to give her some respect, the respect denied to so many of the others from her adoptive village.

The Captain seems partly drawn to her because she is educated, from Sarajevo, and believes in herself – in the ordinary course of the events that Samira could have had no knowledge of being about to unfold she would not have been there. When the painful physical and mental things that, for me, Nastasa Petrovic’s acting render totally compelling, with her face seeming like a window through which her disbelief and sense of degradation seem transparent, are over, she cannot even go back to her home city or her family, because it is all gone.

As if I am not There is a story that needs to be told, but it in no way has that sense of a worthy subject that has been attributed to it – to see where Samira, the woman at the beginning, has come from, to see what has shocked her, traumatized her, and the legacy with which she is left in another country, and with which she seems to take steps to come to terms, is such a powerful piece of individual heroism that it truly offers hope where it feels least likely.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Those CFF events (so far...)

7 September

Thursday 15
4.45 Ace In The Hole
8.00 Opening film: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (sold out)

Friday 16
12.45 Tomboy
3.15 Rembrandt Fecit 1669 (Jos S.)
8.00 The Illusionist (Jos S.)
11.00 The Day The Earth Caught Fire - decide on the night

Saturday 17
12.45 Jess + Moss
3.00 Black Butterflies
8.15 Jos Stelling in Conversation (Q&A)
10.30 Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark

Sunday 18
3.15 No Trains No Planes (Jos S.)
5.45 White White World
8.15 Burnout

Monday 19
1.00 Bombay Beach
3.30 The Camera That Changed The World + another
5.45 A Useful Life
10.30 Sympathy For Mr Vengeance - decide on the night

Tuesday 20
8.15 Drive
11.00 Red State - decide on the night

Wednesday 21
3.15 As If I Am Not There
8.15 Dimensions (sold out)
11.00 Wild Side - decide on the night

Thursday 22
12.30 The Seventh Seal
11.00 Bullhead - decide on the night

Friday 23
3.30 Jo For Jonathan
6.00 The Nine Muses
8.15 Gerhard Richter: Painting
10.30 Red White & Blue - decide on the night

Staurday (?) 24
12.30 Kosmos
8.00 Tyrannosaur
10.45 Guilty Of Romance - decide on the night

Sunday 25
3.15 Sleeping Beauty
6.00 Surprise Movie (probably sold out)
8.30 Closing film: The Look