EDFILMFEST 17 part 2

Posted on: 10 Jul 2017 by Philip Wyn Jones

(Click here to read part 1)

We’re now halfway through the festival with ten films to go.

11: Freak Show (Trudie Styler, USA, 91 min). This high-school comedy is more substantial than most of its kind. The leading character is a boy who’s not only gay; he prefers to wear girls’ clothes and make-up and seems to be living in a non-stop stage show. He gets violently bullied and suffers loneliness and yet he’s ultimately the winner.

12: Bad Day for the Cut (Chris Baugh, UK, 99 min). This is a violent thriller from Northern Ireland. An apparently innocent old lady is murdered and her son seeks revenge but is soon out of his depth when faced by an organisation with serious grudges dating back to the Troubles. The film is well-made but, either because of the characters or the plot development, it’s not really interesting.

13: Snow Woman (Kiki Sugino, Japan, 96 min). This excellent film, based on ancient Japanese legends, begins with two men struggling through a violent snowstorm. One of them falls ill and almost dies. During the night a beautiful woman appears, dressed in white. Will she revive the man? She has other ideas! We shall encounter her again. She is the Snow Woman. This is, in effect, a beautifully filmed horror story.

14: Menashe (Joshua Z Weinstein, USA, 82 min). Menashe is a comparatively young widower who’s trying to bring up his son on his own. He lives in a part of Brooklyn which is dominated by Orthodox Jews. They insist that a child needs a mother and a father and his own family are far from supportive. This Yiddish-language film is a real eye-opener and totally involves the audience. We want Menashe to succeed because he has such a lovely relationship with his son.

15: I Dream in Another Language (Ernesto Contreras, Mexico, 100 min). A young linguist/philologist travels to a remote part of the country where the local language is on its last legs. There are just two native speakers but they haven’t spoken to each other since they were teenage best friends and they’re both very old. To record the language the young man has to persuade them to patch up their differences but in doing so he uncovers secrets and causes much pain This beautifully acted and directed film is not without humour and is very moving.

16: The Little Hours (Jeff Baena, USA, 90 min). This film appeared to have great promise; based on stories by Boccaccio, tuneful music, gorgeous Italian scenery, a horny young man and frustrated nuns. This could have been great fun but it’s not. The nuns swear like troopers, the sex is of shoddy 1970s soft- porn vintage and there’s even some sub-Hammer witchcraft. In brief it’s cheap and nasty nonsense.

17: The Midwife (Martin Provost, France, 117 min). The midwife had an unhappy childhood. Her mother died young and her step- mother and her father disappeared. After 25 years the stepmother suddenly re-appears and changes the course of the story. We see the midwife at work and the child-birth scenes are very emotional. This is not all.The film is graced by two wonderful actors, Catherine Frot as the midwife and Catherine Deneuve as the stepmother. A great treat.

18: Romans (The Shammasian Brothers, UK, 91 min, pictured). The title of this memorable film refers to one of the letters penned by St Paul and specifically his teaching on the subject of revenge. Orlando Bloom, giving a great performance, portrays a labourer with a troubled and haunted past. He was sexually abused when he was twelve years old and the perpetrator is back in the area. The lad told his mother at the time but she refused to believe him. His girlfriend knows nothing about the matter, What can he do? A passage in his mother’s Bible provides the answer and the result is horrific.

19: 1945 (FerencTorok, Hungary, 91min). 1945 was a fateful year for Hungary and this striking film explains why. The film concentrates on one particular village and its inhabitants. A wedding is about to take place but who are the two strangers emerging from the railway station? The film was shot in sparkling black and white and is reminiscent of the films of the 1940s and 1950s, particularly psychological Westerns like High Noon.

20: A Quiet Heart (Eitan Anner, Israel, 92 min). This is, in many ways, a terrifying film. A young woman moves from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, presumably to escape from an unhappy relationship. She soon discovers that she’s moved into an area dominated by extreme Orthodox Jews and feels increasingly under threat. The previous owner of her flat died in suspicious circumstances. Should she escape or face up to her tormentors. It’s reassuring that this film was made by an Israeli director. Film-makers tend to be more liberal in their attitude than the government of Israel.

Philip Wyn Jones

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