Anyhow, it was a great day, saw three very good films and hats off to the organizers and volunteers. Was impressed how relatively smoothly things went with respect to lineups, all films running on schedule, no projection problems, and fortunately no encounters with idiot spectators.
Rust and Bone (De rouille et d'os)
directed by Jacques Audiard
Every single facet of the film bears the mark of a master filmmaker. Marion Cotillard reminds us again why she deserves to be an international superstar, and Matthias Schoenaerts proves for the second time in as many years why he should be one too. The cinematography is stunning, the soundtrack brilliant (yes even the Katy Perry), and the special effects are flawless. It's not a masterpiece like A Prophet, but even an average Jacques Audiard outing is miles ahead of most. He got robbed by the CNC.
Long Live the Family! (Rodina je základ státu)
directed by Robert Sedláček
Would you believe this is my first live action foray into modern Czech cinema? Either this is an anomaly or not so much has changed in 45 years. It's got professional actors, and a straight forward narrative, but all the other hallmarks of the Czech New Wave are here. Timely satire (just trade Communism for the financial crisis), lots of symbolism, natural characters, pitch black humour out of deadly serious situations, and even a direct reference to Ivan Passer's classic Intimate Lighting. Highly enjoyable.
Children of Sarajevo (Djeca)
directed by Aida Begić
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Emotionally powerful stuff. Shades of the Dardenne's, with long constantly moving eye-level shots that follow the lead for the entire film. Occasionally inserted archival footage is absolutely gut wrenching. Solid building of dramatic tension throughout, and brilliant sound design is used to parallel everyday noises with the sounds of war. Lead actress Marija Pikic is a force. But story probably too bleak and unresolved for any Oscar chances.