Archive for the ‘Norway’ Category

Berlin 2010 Preview: Generations, Part 1

February 10, 2010

Like the Jesuits, the Berlin Film Festival understands that you need to get ‘em while they’re young. To that end, the Generations sidebar features films about and aimed at youth. This year’s selection of 56 features and shorts looks at every aspect of growing up, from unappreciative single parents to freaky flights of fancy. In the first part of our preview, we start out on a Mexican fishing trip and end up running away with an Italian circus.

Alamar

Three Mexican generations convene on the Chinchorro reef in Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio’s acclaimed “documentary fiction” of fathers and sons. Daniel Kasman wrote, “a sojourn of a film, getting the simplicity and details of a wonderful but limited experience down to their most honest, most untroubled, most tender, and often most beautiful essences.”

Bestevenner (Best Friends)

This Norwegian children’s film from director Christian Lo combines young friendship, the Christmas season and the threat of deportation. When their friend Naisha flees to Oslo, Julie and Mette pack up their knapsacks and give chase. Expect heartstrings to be hammered like Jerry Lee Lewis attacking a piano.

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Berlin 2010 Preview: Competition, Part 1

February 3, 2010

The Berlin Film Festival is often overshadowed by Cannes Film Festival as it’s very difficult to dock a yacht in Berlin. It’s endured for 60 years, though, as an early warning system for the best of the year’s international art house fare. The Competition strand features those films vying for the Golden Bear, which in past years has gone to Jose Padilha’s The Elite Squad and Claudia Llosa’s The Milk of Sorrow. The field’s first half features Japanese war stories, the making of one of the worst films ever made, criminals old and young and the returns of Polanski, Baumbach and Popogrebsky.

Bal (Honey)

Turkish director Semih Kaplanoglu’s fifth film is a father/son story set in the remote mountains. Young Yusuf is ostracized at school for his stammer, but worships his beekeeper dad, who tends to a network of precarious treetop hives. When his father is called away on business, Yusuf follows him into the forest.

Kyatapira (Caterpillar)

Lieutenant Kurokawa returns from the front of the second Sino-Japanese War. He’s had his arms and legs blown off. Shigeko is expected to dutifully attend to her immobile war hero husband. Director Koji Wakamatsu’s previous film, the acclaimed United Red Army, still awaits release in the U.S. Based on the story by Edogawa Rampo, which was censored by the Japanese authorities in 1939.

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Trailerama: Bestevenner (Best Friends)

September 25, 2009

Three girls spend the dazzling days in their snowy valley doing everything together. Then one of them disappears. Julie and Mette learn that Naisha’s family have gone to ground in Oslo to escape the country’s immigration authorities. The pair leave their country home for the big, bad city, hoping to find their vanished chum. Judging from the heart-string yanking and gloopy music, Christian Lo’s festival-bound film is proof even the Norwegians can do feel-good.

Trailerama: Knerten

September 22, 2009

During Norway’s beige ’60s, young Lillebror is overwhelmed by his eccentric family and his new home. Then he meets Knerten, an animated wooden fetish with a flair for adventure. It looks brightly inane but hey, it’s for kids. The film is based on stories by Anne-Cath. Vestly, one of Norway’s greatest children’s authors. She’s best known for the Aurora and Eight Children series of books. Director Asleik Engmark also provides the voice for the twig.