giovedì 23 luglio 2015

Summer Movies

Summer is never considered a good time for movies: who wants to hide in the darkness of a cinema when outside the sun is shining and you can have a cocktail lying down on a deck chair? 
Well, I do. I like to go to the movies anytime, all year long. Sunny, rainy, snowy days, any day is perfect for a good film.
In case you have the chance to live in Paris and you want to relax and enjoy a couple of hours comfortably seated in a fresh spot (air conditioning, anybody?), here are Zazie’s suggestions for the best movies in town:

If you are an Amy Winehouse fan, you probably don’t want to miss this documentary on her life and (tragic) death. 
The film-maker received a worldwide praise for his biopic on another famous figure, the Formula One pilot Ayrton Senna, and now he has pointed his camera towards this outstanding artist, victim of her own fame and self-destructive nature.
Kapadia had access to unseen archive footage of Winehouse (even from her teenage years), coming from friend and first producer Nick Shymansky. The parabola of the singer is clearly shown and it is easy to understand that behind her craving for love there was a lack of the same thing when she was child (thanks, mum and dad!). But the worst influence of all has been the one of her husband, Blake Fielder-Civil, a real piece of shit. He is the one who introduced her to drogues such as cocaine, crack and heroine (thanks, honey!), not to mention all the rest. To witness the inability of Amy Winehouse to take care of herself and to sink into depression and any kind of addiction is painful and unbearable. And it is heart breaking to hear her incredible voice and to understand what she could have done with it if only things had turned out differently.

What a shame.

If you are an Eric Rohmer’s fan or if you love movies where there is no much going on (I personally adore them), this is the summer flick for you. 
Kwon comes back to Seoul after a period of illness recovery in the mountains, and she finds a bunch of letters from a Japanese guy, Mori, waiting for her. The two had a short affair a while before and Mori, who is in love with Kwon, has decided to surprise her and to visit her from Tokyo without any notice. Since Kwon is not there, Mori spends his days writing letters seated in a café, the Hill of Freedom. In the meantime, he gets to know people who live around Kwon’s place: the waitress of the café and the guests of the small bed & breakfast where he is staying. Will the couple be able to get together?
This is one of the sweetest movies I have ever seen in my life, and God knows if we need a bit more of tenderness and kindness in this world. The way the story is told (Kwon has dropped the letters in the stairs so she is reading them in a random sequence), the way the characters speak (in the most elementary English, since the Korean characters don’t speak Japanese and Mori doesn’t speak Korean), the funny and delicate dialogues, make Hill of Freedom an irresistible and incredibly poetic feel-good movie.
Zazie is crazy about it!

If you love tenderness, then there is another movie you don’t want to miss: Infinitely Polar Bear. 
Written and directed by Maya Forbes, the film is autobiographical and infinitely touching. Forbes relates her childhood and teenage years spent in Boston with a manic-depressive/bipolar father who was taking care of her and her younger sister while their mother was studying and working in NY trying to provide a better future for her daughters. Cameron, the father, is as crazy as irresistible. He tries his best but life with him is a rollercoaster, both practical and emotional, where big crises mix with moments of bliss. Basically: it’s a mess, but a beautiful one.
I have to admit that I went to see this movie for one particular reason: Mark Ruffalo. I always loved this actor but since I am following him on Facebook, I’m just crazy about him. He genuinely looks like a fabulous human being and every time he is posting something I feel the urge to forward it to the world!
His performance is astonishing here, but also the rest of the cast is very good: Zoe Saldana as the mother and the two adorable young actresses Imogene Wolodarsky (who is Forbes’s real daughter… hello Mr. Freud!), and Ashley Aufderheide.

Please don't miss this tender thing!

If you loved True Detective – Season 1, you’re going to adore La Isla Minima by Alberto Rodriguez
Set in 1980 in the marshlands of Andalucia (filmed as if it was Louisiana), the movie tells the story of two detectives, very different in age and style, who are called from Madrid to inquiry the disappearance of two girls. When the girls are found raped and killed, the investigation turns from complicated to grim.
Superbly filmed, this perfect film noir has been last year’s big hit in its own country (winner of 10 Goya prizes, the Spanish Oscars). The sticky atmosphere, the contrast between the older detective (who used to work for Franco’s militia) and the idealist younger one, the sense of oppression mixed with the difficulties of a country that is trying to switch from a dictatorship to a democracy are the juicy elements of this story.
The actors playing the two detectives are absolutely amazing: Javier Gutierrez and Raul Arevalo (if you think you already saw his face the answer is yes: he was one of the three dancing stewards in Almodovar's Los Amantes Pasajeros).

A seasonal must-see!

If you like Woody Allen, you’ll probably love the new Baumbach’s movie. 
Cornelia and Josh are a married couple in their 40something, without kids, very wealthy and working in the documentary field (he’s a documentarian, she’s a producer). They met by chance a married couple in their 20something, Jamie and Darby, and they become friends. Jamie wishes to be a documentarian too and he declares to be a super fan of Josh’s work. Very impressed by the young couple’s life-style, Josh and Cornelia start to slightly change their own way of being. This is going to have consequences, of course.
I have to confess I was a bit disappointed by this movie, since I was so crazy about Frances Ha, Baumbach’s previous film. I think the screenplay has evident flaws: there is something missing here, as if the film-maker wasn’t completely sure of what he was trying to say. Pity, because it is an enjoyable movie, with some great ideas and some incredibly funny moments (the meeting with the guru that makes you puke your demons was my favourite one!). And the cast is super good.
So, even if it is not perfect, it’s still a very good Summer Movie. Go for it!

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