Monday, February 10, 2014

2014 Berlin International Film Festival: Day 5

Recap of the fifth day of the 64th Berlin International Film Festival (Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin), which runs until February 16.

Screening In Competition today:

  • Life of Riley (Aimer, boire et chanter) by Alain Resnais.

    91-year-old French filmmaker Alain Resnais (twice awarded the Silver Bear), marks his third trip to the Berlinale competition programme with an adaptation of British playwright Alan Ayckbourn's Life of Riley, starring Sabine Azéma, André Dussollier, Michel Vuillermoz, Hippolyte Girardot and Sandrine Kiberlain.

    Official Synopsis:
    In the Yorkshire countryside, the life of three couples is upset for a few months, from Spring to Fall, by the enigmatic behavior of their friend George Riley.
  • In Order of Appearance (Kraftidioten) by Hans Petter Moland.

    Also making his third trip to the Berlinale competition is Norwegian filmmaker Hans Petter Moland; with In Order of Disappearance, billed as an action comedy starring Stellan Skarsgard and Bruno Ganz.

    Official Synopsis:
    Nils snow ploughs the wild winter mountains of Norway, and is recently awarded Citizen of the Year. When his son is murdered for something he did not do, Nils wants revenge. And justice. His actions ignites a war between the vegan gangster “The Count“ and the Serbian mafia boss “Papa“. Winning a blood feud isn't easy. Especially not in a welfare state. But Nils has something going for him. Heavy machinery and beginner's luck.
  • Blind Massage (Tui Na) by Lou Ye.

    Chinese director Lou Ye makes his Berlinale debut with Blind Massage. A story based on a novel by Bi Feiyu that revolves around a blind massage therapist in Nanjing.

    Official Synopsis:
    Nanjing. At a massage centre run by the blind, damaged bodies find relief beneath sensitive fingers. A new couple comes to work at the centre. The others are drawn to them. Within this community, we witness seduction, suffering and - above all - the search for love.

  • Day 5 - Monday, February 10
Competition Film
Life of Riley (Aimer, boire et chanter)
directed by Alain Resnais

Critical response:
"Largely a superfluous footnote to the lofty career of its nonagenarian director. "Eric Kohn (IndieWire)
"Joyous yet melancholic effort once again charts the woes of middle-class couples coping with problematic love lives, solitude and death, though manages to do so with a bit of a smile."Jordan Mintzer (The Hollywood Reporter)
"If the whole point of a film is to put a big smile on your face and have you walk out of the cinema feeling a bit better about yourself, having learned just that little bit more about your fellow men and women, then Alain Resnais’ latest film does a splendid job of it."Dan Fainaru (Screen Daily)
"Resnais orchestrates all of these comings and goings with such graceful ease that it can be a pleasure simply to watch the movement of the performers through his meticulously composed widescreen frames, which alternate between expansive master shots and intimate closeups."Scott Foundas (Variety)

Competition Film
In Order of Disappearance (Kraftidioten)
directed by Hans Petter Moland
Norway, Sweden, Denmark

Critical response:
"Terrifically smart and funny Norwegian thriller starring Stellan Skarsgard and Bruno Ganz, has great appeal across borders."Tom Christie (Thompson on Hollywood)
"A delightfully droll tale of bloody revenge ... may well fit loosely into the much-hyped Nordic Noir bracket, but thanks to a series of nicely oddball performances and a plethora of killings it could even fall into Coen Brothers or Tarantino territory."Mark Adams (Screen Daily)
"Those formulaic elements are here, make no mistake, but the wit of the screenplay and the actors’ characterizations ensure that it's highly entertaining, giving the film a distinctive personality."David Rooney (The Hollywood Reporter)
"Feels more like an American crime thriller than virtually anything Scandinavia has produced before. "Peter Debruge (Variety)

Competition Film
Blind Massage (Tui Na)
directed by Lou Ye
China, France

Critical response:
"The emotionally overwrought representation of his characters' lives makes the film's few subtle attempts at social commentary feel incredibly faint-hearted."Patrick Gamble (CineVue)
"Lou’s detachment has a kind of tactfulness here that allows these absorbing stories to speak for themselves."Maggie Lee (Variety)
"One of the most convincing films made by Chinese director Lou Ye in recent years."Deborah Young (The Hollywood Reporter)
"It’s not hard to figure out why Lou Ye was technically attracted to this project, and he throws every angle of light and darkness at its visual ebb and flow, from jarring moments of high melodrama to the more gentle, blurred edges of love."Fionnuala Halligan (Screen Daily)

Screening tomorrow at the Berlinale (Tuesday, February 11):
  • Praia do Futuro by Karim Aïnouz (In Competition)
  • Stratos by Yannis Economides (In Competition)
  • Inbetween Worlds by Feo Aladag (In Competition)

See our other coverage of the 64th Berlinale:


Unknown said...

The film I just want to see is the Resnais film only because he's a name and a big name as far as cinema goes.

Unknown said...

It's actually quite incredible when you look at his career, he directed his first film in 1946.

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