“THE LAST DUEL”
Following the Rashomon Syndrome, viewers must decide which of the three scenarios is closest to the truth; glorious filmmaking and superior acting cement one’s attention for its over two hour duration. Director Ridley Scott focuses on an actual, occurrence in 14th century France: Marguerite, (Jodi Comer, sublime “damsel in distress”) the wife of Knight Jean de Carrouges (a rather plodding Matt Damen) accuses Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver, charismatically slimy) of rape. Ben Affleck as King Charles VI is reason enough to visit this period piece.
THREE & ½ STARS!!!
“THE LAST EXECUTION” (GERMAN: ENGLISH SUBTITLES)
No surprise ending makes this highly watchable depiction of the catastrophic decline of scientist “Franz Walter” (should win the Best Actor Award, Lars Eidinger) a must. Misplaced ambition led to his demise. Directed by Franziska Stunkel, was inspired by the life of scientist Werner Teske, executed in East Germany in 1981. The death penalty was abolished in 1987.
“NOBODY HAS TO KNOW”
A kind and gentle film cloaked in tenderness; a lonely couple unite out of a creative and desperate craving to sabotage isolation. Director, writer, actor Bouli Lanners and his costar Michelle Fairley blend beautifully, succinctly, lives, not extraordinary, but keenly observable and noteworthy.
THREE & ½ STARS!!!
“YUNI” (INDONESIAN: ENGLISH SUBTITLES)
Certainly, one the “best of the fest”, Director/writer Kamila Andini, grasps the intricacies defining the lives of women in a Muslim world: educated, but limited by the exigencies of marriage and male domination. “Yuni” (immaculate presentation by Arawinda Kirana) a gifted teenage scholar lusts for continued education but stymied by one proposal following each rejected offer; at sixteen, discovering womanhood, the only valid relationship is with a younger classmate, a poet who loves her with his entire being and pens poems of such vast beauty, wholeheartedly searing one’s soul.
FOUR & ½ STARS!!!!
“ROBUST” (FRENCH: ENGLISH SUBTITLES)
This was a first for moi. I could not decide who was the sorrier, the character or the actor depicting him, impossible to differentiate between the two; legendary Gerard Depardieu, playing a grotesquely obese, ageing actor “Georges” is paired unfairly with “Aissa”, (Deborah Lukumuena) a security guard paid to stave off his delinquency (pathetically reminiscent of “The Intouchables”). The incongruities exponentially erased any entertainment of note; undeserving audiences are penalized by the weightiest measure of “robustness”.
ONE & ½ STARS!