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Kosmorama Recap, Part One

Trondheim’s International Film Festival, Kosmorama, is almost over. I have seen some fantastic films this year, and here are some of those I’ve seen so far: Still Life, ’71, and Kreuzweg. 

still-life-posterStill Life: 

Mr. May finds the families or friends of people who  have died alone. He works quietly, and thoroughly, but with little success. His lonely life is upset when he is fired due to budget cuts, but he decides to solve his last case.

The film was incredibly touching. Sad, but funny with silly little moments, and very exact, just like its main character. It’s beautifully shot with fitting music.

The ending, while almost frustratingly predictable, felt so genuine your cynicism melts away. For those of you who saw Stranger Than Fiction, the film felt a bit like the stories Emma Thompson’s character writes. Pathetic, but heartfelt, and unaware that life is passing them by. It is simply touching, and I admit I needed a few tissues.

’71: 71-efm-1sheet-lr-1

Set in Belfast in 1971, private Gary Hook gets left behind enemy lines in the streets after a confrontation with the locals. His presence upsets certain strongmen on both sides of the conflict, but the main focus is on Gary’s attempts to get back to camp.

This film was really exciting from start to finish. It does a great job of putting us on the ground. It is without any excess plot, and that helps its momentum considerably. The main character doesn’t say much, but the acting and direction means we still care a lot about what happens to him.

Because the story is so stream-lined, a few questions are left unanswered, but I honestly didn’t mind. The film looks great, the action is raw, and for a directorial debut it’s impressive.

kreuzweg-posterKreuzweg: 

A young girl takes her bible studies a little too seriously, even for her fundamentalist family. She wishes to give up her life so that her little brother can be cured (presumably from some form of autism), and her journey mimics that of the stations of the cross.

For someone like me who is almost as obsessed with fundamentalists as fundamentalists are obsessed with God, this film did not break any new ground in terms of content, but its story is engaging nonetheless.

The first thing that struck me was the chapters, or stations, which are all one scene each. These are impressive in both composition and acting. I almost got tired on the actor’s behalf. It works very well with the story, almost trapping us in, just like the main character considers herself to be bound to one path.

The acting is great, especially from the main character, Maria, played by Lea van Acken. While the ending was a bit predictable, the reactions from the characters are what sell it. The film doesn’t take sides at all, for better or worse, but tells its story in a simple way, leaving us all to do the post-interpretations ourselves.

Categories: action, drama, review

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