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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My DIFF Ratings

I saw only 8 films at the Dubai International Film Festival, that's because I only came for the weekend. But out of these , 3 of them had children in the leading roles, and most of them are none professional actors. Sometimes they are far more impressive than affirmed ones.

Here are my ratings:

Feature film by Marco Pontecorvo

Italy/France/Romania - 2008 - 100'
My Rating: 4 stars and a half

I can't believe how much I enjoyed the film. I did not know what to expect and I did not even know anything about the filmmaker, save the fact that he's the son of renowned director Gillo Pontecorvo (director of the 1966 The Battle of Algiers). It's about a French citizen who comes to Bucharest post 1990 and helps children of the street by installing a circus. Poignant and charming
Con: I could have done without the very end of the ending, but I can see why it's important to the film.

The Class (Entre les Murs)
Feature film by Laurent Cantet

France - 2008 - 128'
My Rating:
4 stars and a half
Pro: a genuine French film. I can't remember when was the last good French film that I saw lately. The cast is surprisingly good. I expected it to be a bit more violent but it's just perfect as it is. Teachers should watch this!
Con: -

Pranzo di Ferragosto
Feature film by Gianni Di Gregorio

Italy - 2008 - 80'
My Rating:
3 stars and a half
Italy has made wonderful films in 2008, including the much acclaimed Cannes winners Gomorra and Il Divo. I had no expectation for this comedy, but it turned out just fine. The scriptwriter and director is also the leading actor who's entertaining four irascible and annoying old women.
sometimes it's a bit easy, and falls into the clichés.

Three Women (Se Zan)
Feature film by Manijeh Hekmat

Iran - 2008 - 94'
My Rating:
3 stars and a half
The script is brilliantly constructed. It reminded me of The Edge of Heaven by Fatih Akin. Iranians films are always a pleasure for the eye. The leading actress is made of win.
Con: I'd say the problem of generations and having three women portray it was developed so much already.

Days of Boredom (Ayyam El Dajar)
Feature film by Abdellatif Abdulhamid

Syria - 2008 - 93'
My Rating:
3 stars
Very enjoyable. It runs smoothly.
Just as other films by Abdulhamid, it's not bad, but it's not exceptional either. The jokes are sometimes a bit too much.

China Is Still Far (Wa Law Fil Sin)
Documentary feature by Malek Bensmail

Algeria/France - 2008 - 118'
My Rating: 3 stars
Pro: another trademark documentary for Bensmail. Although not of the caliber of his 2004 Alienations, it was thoroughly enjoyable. The children add a lot to the general vibe of the film.
Con: a bit too long, could have been a lot shorter.

Dawn of the World (Fajr Al Alam)
Feature film by Abbas Fadhel

Iraq/France - 2008 - 100'
My Rating:
1 star
Pro: beautiful image. It reminded me of the Hungarian film Delta which was screened during the 2008 Cannes Festival.
Con: well, I couldn't see anything except the image. I was bored, the acting was extremely theatrical and, well I was bored.

Pomegranates and Myrrh (Al Mor Wal Ruman)
Feature film by Najwa Najjar
Palestine - 2008 - 95'
My Rating:
1 star
Pro: I don't know.
I had high expectations for this one. And yet I didn't know what to think of it. I was too disappointed. It went in the same vein as Annemarie Jacir's Salt of this Sea. Several clichés and the film does not improve at all. The music was too much .

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