Summer is officially dwindling down but don't let it say goodbye without watching this collection of gems. From Citizen Four to Two Days, One Night, there's something here for everyone to sink in to the couch and enjoy. See the full list here
Quite the unparalleled cinematic offering, Kornél Mundruczó’s “White God” and its plot can actually be summarized in a fairly straightforward manner: Girl loves dog. Dog trusts girl. Girl’s Father, as well as the rest of society, scorns dog. Dog, after experiencing the harsh realities of life, trains, rounds up a military-like legion of mutts, and goes on a revenge-seeking rampage. While the synopsis flows off the tongue like the reciting of a campy, B-movie plot, “White God” is anything but that. It’s locked and loaded, unrelenting in its depiction of both a girl and her dog’s adjustments to the injustices and changes around them. Below the surface, this is also a curiously metaphorical depiction of social inequalities within contemporary Europe. Telling this through the guise of a dog lover’s revenge flick, be warned: “White God” is no “Homeward Bound”.
We enter into this sort of part familiar, part darker reality as 13-year-old Lili (Zsófia Psotta) and her dog Hagen are temporarily left in the care of her father Daniel (Sándor Zsótér). When Daniel refuses to pay the taxes necessary to keep the mix breed dog at home, he promptly releases the mutt out into the wild, unknowingly starting an eye opening turn of events for the whole city. As Hagen starts to experience brutality at the hands of humans, he becomes the scene stealer of the film. Lili also stands out with her own particular stoic, rebellious demeanor. Her growth as a teenager is told in parallel with Hagen’s own dog troubles, creating an interesting narrative formula. Sometimes the parallel storytelling has its flaws, but as the credits play, it's hard to find fault. For this, credit should be given to the trainers that managed to create dog-centric scenes that were often more captivating than any shared between the human actors. Luke and Bodie, the two mixed breed dogs that shared the role of Hagen, are remarkable. That Mundruczó and crew were able to create moments where you actually feel the dogs’ emotions exuding from the screen is a feat well worth applauding.
Winner of the Un Certain Regard prize at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, “White God” easily fits within the award’s predilection for original and different work. It’s a gripping fantasy about a world where humans, so often asserting their authority as an all-powerful being, are finally punished for their “sins”. Whether we are talking dogs or just using them as a metaphor for ethnic inequality, the message is clear. Now widely available on several VOD platforms, “White God” is the type of filmic fare that should be consumed, if only to finally see the hand that feeds get rightfully bitten back.
White God – Hungary, 121 MINS
Directed by Kornél Mundruczó
Starring Zsófia Psotta and Sándor Zsótér
Link to Trailer: https://vimeo.com/114052375
Link to VOD Links (July 28, 2015 Release): http://www.magpictures.com/whitegod/
One mind’s manifestations, challenged by new and total blindness, are the main focus of Eskil Vogt’s highly inspired debut drama “Blind”. A somewhat self-reflexive portrait of one woman’s creative struggle with recent loss of vision, the film explores the consequences of both sightlessness and loneliness. With the shutting down of one sense, every other sense becomes heightened. Taking this direction, “Blind” allows the audience an amplified and surreal viewing experience completely withdrawn into fantasy.
The film follows newly blind Ingrid, played by standout Ellen Dorrit Petersen, as she copes with the darkness by embracing her vivid imagination. We learn early on that Ingrid’s blindness came without much warning. She now spends her days constantly awaiting the return of her elusive architect husband, Morten (Henrik Rafaelsen). During his absence, and sometimes even in his presence, she imagines the world he must surely be inhabiting, or craving to inhabit. Is he present in the room, secretly watching her, or is he off seeking physical satisfaction from other women? These doubts are what drive the entire film and start to create the nuanced narratives and characters within her mind. Ingrid's narration introduces us to two peripheral characters: a single mother and a porn addicted loner. These characters, complete with backstories, effortlessly blend into both her imagined world and reality with Morten. It’s not until the absurdity of her creations start to unravel into more serious territory that we see the true reality behind her paranoia.
Bathed in a whitened glow, the ethereal Petersen creates an almost animalistic Ingrid. Hungry for knowledge of the space around her, we become part of her desperation and playful demeanor. As Ingrid states at the beginning: “They say that my ability to visualize will fade away. That the optic lens wither without new impressions ... but I can maintain it”. And maintain it she does. Like one of the film's standout scenes, we stand with Ingrid, pressed against the surface of her apartment window, craving to see and be seen. Currently available on DVD and UK/Ireland VOD platforms, Vogt has created a debut film that leaves behind a haunting, lingering memory of derailed reality long after watching.
Reviewed By: Indie Street's Sarah Rice
Films saddled with the label “quirky” are often dismissed sight unseen these days as they’ve earned something of a bad rap in recent years. It’s frequently well-deserved as many attempt to take a shortcut into our good graces with oddball supporting characters, manic pixie dream girls and impromptu dance/singalong scenes, but few succeed because they’re usually surface-level efforts. So when a movie comes along that backs up its fun-loving eccentricities with raw honesty, sincere depth and glorious belly laughs you should pay attention. Read more
For the uninformed: Back in 1983 the video game industry crashed and burned, and a pretty terrible game adaptation of Spielberg's E.T. took (deservedly or undeservedly) a large part of the blame. On its last legs, Atari was forced to dump millions of unsold and returned cartridges of the E.T. video game into a landfill—or so the legend goes. For years, this was one the gaming industry's biggest urban legends, like a video game El Dorado. Read on
When a director gets summonsed to court for filming an illegal activity, you know it must be a good documentary (read NY TImes Interview). This film from Lotfy Nathan is centered around "Reckless dirt bike riders that parade through Baltimore’s streets", but "it's important to remember that not every day is a joy ride. 12 O’Clock Boys is also a portrait of a family. Coco is raising Pug and his siblings without their father, in a community that is dangerous for reasons that have nothing to do with bike accidents. - See more at: http://www.filmschoolrejects.com/reviews/12-oclock-boys.php#sthash.rpY2f...
When asked at the QandA after the film premeire "What did you want the audience to leave thinking at the end?" Director Cutter Hodierne replied, "I simply wanted them to leave thinking." Well he succeeded, and since well deserved hype is escalating around this Somali Pirate Vice Films produced feature. Expanding on his SunDance winning 2012 short film on the same subject, Cutter captures the real truths of the complex situation in a manner that will keep you on the edge of your seats. He pulled wonderful performances out of the largely Somali cast, and we at IndieStreet hope that the "Captain Phillips" release will prove to be a help not a hinderance for the exposure of this more honest and stylized representation of the conflicts on the African Coast. Click here to see a teaser for the feature, as well as the entire short film from 2012.