< SWITCH ME >

Monday, 20 June 2016 11:26

Café Cinema: Black

Written by
3168281980 9fc63cc2ae z
Photo: Nicolas Vigier (flickr); Licence: CC0 1.0  

The Belgian movie Black draws its audience into the unknown and often cruel world of Brussels´ migrant neighbourhoods. Reminiscent of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, the filmmakers have adapted the novels of Dirk Bracke and created a film that is a mixture between thrilling action and bitter reality. The young directors Abdil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah have made an astonishing film that is timely as it considers the issues of migration and globalisation.

Thursday, 25 September 2014 00:00

Boys will be boys

Written by

 

Pojedeme k mori
Photo: © Bio Illusion, courtesy of Miloslav Šmídmajer
Young talents Petr Šimčák and Jan Maršal in Pojedeme k moři

 

Cafe Cinema is returning to Sixth Sense! In the first edition of this new run, E&M's Frances Jackson reviews Pojedeme k moři, a ground-breaking Czech film written and directed by actor Jiří Mádl.

At a time when many critics have been despairing of the state of Czech feature films and finding only documentaries to their taste, there comes along a film that not only bucks the trend, but also seems to have re-written the rulebook.

Pojedeme k moři (English title: To See the Sea) was released in April of this year and quickly became one of the biggest hits of the summer, bagging a number of domestic and international festival prizes along the way. Both young and old have flocked to the cinemas of the Czech Republic to watch this unconventional comedy, which tells the story of Tomáš, an 11-year-old scamp with bold ambitions to become the next Miloš Forman.

Armed with just a digital camera – a birthday present from his parents – and a nose for intrigue, Tomáš sets out to produce his own documentary about life in the southern Bohemian city of České Budějovice. With the help of his equally mischievous best friend Haris, he uncovers a number of mysteries and comes to appreciate that all is not as it seems – particularly when it comes to relationships. 

True love can only exist between men. Micky Limun, main character in Serbian director Srđan Dragojević's new movie "Parada," a veteran from the Bosnian war and owner of a Judo gym, would probably agree without hesitation, having met friends for life on the front lines. Micky is a Serbian war hero, a macho, a hooligan, a petty crook – and highly homophobic. Thus, he is not amused when his fiancée's wedding planner offers his services only in return for him protecting a gay pride parade in Belgrade. Not an easy task in today's Serbia.

The last actual Gay Pride in Belgrade took place in 2010. 5600 policemen had to protect about 1000 activists against 6000 right-wing extremists. More than 100 people got hurt. For the last two years the parade has been cancelled due to security risks. The movie meets its viewers exactly at this point: in a macho society where the majority have resentments against homosexuals, and gays and lesbians are confronted with hostility and exclusion.

With a heavy topic like this, one would expect a niche film, a drama for intellectuals. Instead "Parada" is a comedy, and with more than half a million viewers in the Balkan states and several international awards, it is one of the most successful recent movies in the region. Being a Serbian-Croatian-Slovenian-Macedonian-Montenegrin co-production the movie seems to touch a common issue in the otherwise divided ex-Yugoslavian countries.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012 06:58

Gavras taps into the poetics of protest

Written by

The recent protests, and especially those of the Occupy movements in numerous American and European cities, have gained a vast presence in the media and in many cases popularised radical alternatives to the current democratic system. This process brought back situationist initiatives such as the 90's "Reclaim the Streets" that were envisioned as a model for the contemporary manifestations. Along with the protesters' demands came symbols of civil disobedience, such as Guy Fawkes masks, a human microphone, tents in a cityscape, or the calls simply to "occupy everything." The last of these didn't just remain in the symbolic sphere. Patterns of communication and cooperation that were adopted in the occupied spaces effectively appealed to the public imagination and thus formed a "poetics of protest."

Tapping into the feel of these movements, Jay-Z and Kanye West released a video for their song "No Church In The Wild" last May. The video was directed by a young Greek, Romain Gavras, who is known for his violent yet elegant aesthetics, a coldly tinted imagery and daring narrative themes. This time, Gavras had a go at the spectacle of a riot scene.

The video quite clearly strikes the viewer as glamorous. When a protester lights up a Molotov cocktail in the opening sequence, it is difficult to resist an association with French New Wave cinema chic. On a fiercer note, for Salon's Natasha Lennard the video is unmistakably "riot porn," "capturing particularly dramatic riot scenes - the sort with fire, tear gas, charging police horses, careening masked crowds and, often, a hardcore backing track." "Riot porn" might also earn its name because it shows scenes of passion staged especially for the camera. Indeed, the video's striking beauty is disturbing and alarming when we realise the familiarity of the images and our consent to watching them paired with some rather decadent rap.

Jay Z & Kanye West "No church in the wild" (dir. ROMAIN-GAVRAS, available on Vimeo.)

Page 1 of 2
NEXT ISSUE
IN 38 DAYS