North Korean Science Sings

It’s refreshing to hear songs about Science, even if they do honour the “General” aka Kim Jong-il. The Schoolgirl’s Diary is the first North Korean feature film to be distributed internationally. The state of their film making in 2006 only outshone their Science. Let’s hope their nuclear and missile industries are similar fizzers.

For the Flicrit from MIFF 2009, please see:

The Schoolgirl’s Diary: Propaganda 101

Kevin Rennie

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Michael Jackson Dead at 50

Jackson's casual look..

Jackson's casual look..

Well it appears that the reports are true.

The self-proclaimed “King of Pop” has hung up the glove for the last time, and has died from a massive heart attack in Los Angeles at the age of 50.

Tributes are flowing in, including my own humble piece penned to the Jackson hit “Bad”…

Because I’m dead, I’m dead.
(dead really, dead)
You know I’m dead, I’m dead –
You know it –
(dead really, dead)
You know I’m dead, I’m dead –
Come on, you know it –
(dead really, dead)
And the whole world wants to know right now
Just to tell you once again,
Who’s dead . . .

Flick Crit: Tulpan

Latest film review at Cinema Takes is Tulpan: spring in the steppe

Kazakh documentary maker Sergey Dvortsevoy has brought us the acclaimed feature film Tulpan. Its flat, dusty, dry plains are reminiscent of parts of outback Australia but are even more remote.

It’s easy to see why Tulpan has been hot at the film festivals. Superlatives are hard to avoid: original, raw, authentic, genuine, funny, joyous, honest.

Dvortsevoy has restored respectability to the term reality. In fact it is hard not to think that this is a documentary at times. These people couldn’t really be actors. It’s great to see the potential of the movie medium stretched in such powerful ways.

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Oz Flick Crit: Closed for Winter

Latest film review at Cinema Takes is Closed for Winter: unlocking summer’s secrets

Australian writer/director James Bogle has given us the very introspective Closed for Winter, an adaptation of Georgia Blain’s 1998 novel of the same name. This dark film brought to mind the recent French language I’ve loved you for so long, “This is a sombre, desolate tale. It is as much about her complex relationships as it is the past.”

Both stories explore coming to terms with loss, about achieving the dreaded ubiquitous cliché and about creating a new beginning.

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In theatres now.

Flick Crit: Good the movie

Latest film review at Cinema Takes is Good: just another Third Reich movie

Germany’s Third Reich didn’t last its planned thousand years but there seems little doubt that they will be making movies like Good for that long. It’s certainly a winning genre at the Oscars and the box office.

The key word for this Nazi/Holocaust film is derivative.

If you missed The Reader or The Counterfeiter or classics such as Sophie’s Choice or Schindler’s List, then Good will be a fresh and rewarding experience.

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Flick Crit: Camino – children suffering for Opus Dei

Latest film review at Cinema Takes is Camino: children suffering for Opus Dei

Director Javier Fesser’s Spanish film Camino (The Way) evoked anger and pathos in me in equal measures.

The old cliché that we see what we believe seems to apply here.

With its dream world elements this is a fairy tale in many ways. I was sucked into the story despite initial distaste for the subject matter. Its sentimental plot borders on the telenovela with:

* pubescent love
* hospitals with graphic operations
* secrecy and intrigue
* suspense and misunderstandings
* and of course contrived coincidences

There is even confusion over names.

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Summer Hours: fading into autumn

Latest film review at Cinema Takes is Summer Hours: fading into autumn:

L’heure d’été/Summer Hours is a French language story of family generations. When Hélène Regnier (Edith Scob) dies after her 75 birthday, her two sons Frédéric (Charles Berling) and Jérémie (Jérémie Renier) and daughter Adrienne (Juliette Binoche) have to decide what to do with her home and possessions. Her collection of art and furniture is much sought after, with the Musée d’Orsay as central players. The museum originally commissioned three short films that were never made.

The central theme of “what we leave behind” is familiar one to those of us who are baby boomers. Perhaps this is an advance on the preoccupation of filmmakers with what to do with the old folks. Now it’s how to deal with their passing. Or more cynically, the inheritance.

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