It’s Only the End of the World (2016) dir. Xavier Dolan; “Home is Where it hurts”.

 {by Eleanor}

Opening the movie with the song “Home is Where it hurts”, Dolan gives us a glimpse of the family drama coming up on screen, in one of the most beautiful opening sequences in his filmography. Louis (Gaspar Ulliel), visits his family after 12 years of absence in order to announce to them that he is dying. Louis’ mother (Nathalie Baye) and his sister, Suzanne (Lea Seydoux) are excited and emotional about his return and they make multiple preparations for his arrival. However, Louis’ brother, Antoine (Vincent Cassel) and his wife Catherine (Marion Cotillard) seem quite suspicious about Louis’ return and they expose a somehow hostile attitude towards him.

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 The constant shift from happiness and excitement to pain and anger is exposed mainly through the intense body language shared by the characters. Creating the aura through facial expressions, gestures, and gazes, Dolan sets the right intense atmosphere to foreshadow the next emotional outburst. The family members share the awkward silence, the full of meaning gazes into each other’s eyes and some hesitant hugs, while we – the audience – experience the tension through the multiple sequences of close-ups on faces. We are sitting uncomfortable in our seats, waiting for the next problem to arise, for the next awkward moment of silence, which we share, full of curiosity, with the characters.

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Xavier Dolan transfers the feeling of pain shared among these people by effectively visualizing the rarely uttered emotions in the characters’ faces, gestures and in the claustrophobic use of space. The director intensified the emotionally tense atmosphere by the use of extremely high temperature and -later on- the heavy rain when the family experiences the most significant outburst of emotions. Dolan creates a voyeuristic experience, entering the most private moments of a family in order to experience their dysfunction. By providing no reasons for Louis’ long absence and a limited access to his emotions, Dolan establishes Louis as a force that triggers a family chaos.

Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5fzQI6UMvc

The Neon Demon:…the demon of our neon world

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Written by Ariadne

My dear beloved cinefreaks,

It’s been quite a while since the last time I wrote a review regarding a movie that had opened recently in cinemas. Yesterday , I attended the premiere of a movie which I had  passionately  awaited and anticipated for , at Athens International Film Festival. My silence, my dear cinephile audience, is now broken for the arrival of the exceptional The Neon Demon.

The world of fashion has never been portrayed more attracting and compelling than in this Nicolas Winding Refn’s allegorical fable. The Neon Demon is the triumph of a sequence of visual images full of neon lights, geometric shapes and rampant, acute sounds which resonate in every Abbey Lee’s high heel step on the runway, each seemingly innocent sigh by Jena Malone, and every Elle Faning’s lock of adolescent, fresh, golden hair.

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The movie I witnessed yesterday as a deeply social and arousing film about human beings’ real essence, is not a story about a young model that comes fresh into the world of fashion filled with ambitions and aspirations, but the world we are living in, and the arrival of a new face on my stage which waves my disastrous upcoming way-out of it.

Since that, approximately, early scene where a wild beast is revealed as having rushed into Jesse’s motel room while she was away and her uncanny look through its fearless eyes and whole wilderness, we know that this is not going to be a barbie-doll tea party. Primitive instincts arise when you feel threatened; beauty, innocence and freshness are wanted, envied and desired; the neon lights and golden make-up that ornate your neck and caress your skin and shoulders shall corrupt your soul and as it seems, your literal and allegorical sparagmos will burn your enemies’ guts or nurture them stronger.

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“They say beauty is everything. Beauty is not everything… is the only thing,” and like that, Nicolas Winding Refn spoke the biggest, most unrealized and bitter truth we all tried to conceal from ourselves when looking through the mirror.

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The Neon Demon is a neon tale about the relentless pursuit of beauty in a world full of perfect replicas. It’s the pursuit of real magic in the fake Disneyland. It’s about you and the world you see around you, covered in glitter and neon advertisements.

 

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Beware !

 

Café Society (2016): A light and stylish romantic comedy but not Woody at his best.

Written by Eleanor.

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Woody Allen, in his 80s, is back with a new romantic comedy. After the latest series of movies set in Europe, Woody Allen returns to his beloved America. Even though Woody is not starring in this movie, he makes sure that the protagonist, Bobby serves as his alter ego. Set in the 1930s in Hollywood, the film follows young Bobby (Jesse Eisenberg) in his attempt to find success and happiness in Hollywood. Bobby’s uncle, Phil Stern (Steve Carell), is a wealthy star agent, who introduces him to the elite of Hollywood in order to find a well-status job. In his attempt to help get to know and explore Hollywood, Phil introduces Bobby to his secretary, Vonnie (Kristen Stewart). The two of them start spending a lot of time together and Bobby falls in love with Vonnie. However, Bobby doesn’t know that his uncle is also in love with Vonnie, which makes things complicated. Who is the one that is going to have a place in Vonnie’s life? Continue reading “Café Society (2016): A light and stylish romantic comedy but not Woody at his best.”

Julieta (2016): A Story as intense as the red colour.

Written by Eleanor.

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The latest film of Pedro Almodóvar is another addition to his well-established and admirable cinematic trademark. Get ready to experience one of the most heartbreaking family drama, as intense as the red color and as complex as life itself. The theme of mother-daughter relation is here again for all of us who still enjoy diving into Almodóvar’s obsession with family dramas and the complexity and heroism within the female nature. The director’s love and admiration of the female figure and beauty is always there; multiple close-ups on female eyes, lips,  hands and feet become the windows from where we can get a glimpse of feelings and emotions. Complexity and mystery are added to the protagonist’s personality, who is one step away from a complete emotional collapse. Continue reading “Julieta (2016): A Story as intense as the red colour.”

Taxi Driver (1976): “You talkin’ to me?”

Written by Eleanor.

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Travis (Robert De Niro) is a Vietnam ex-veteran, who tries to readjust to the society of the US. Suffering from insomnia, Travis becomes a taxi driver and wonders around the city all night long.  Starting with one of the most memorable opening scenes in the history of cinema, Scorsese uses a close-up on Travis’ eyes. Travis wanders around the city with the look of a man, who observes, doubts and investigates. Travis claims to be “[…] God’s lonely man”, who carries the duty to become the ‘savior’ of New York and the ultimate hero. He wants to ‘clean’ New York from all the “scum” he encounters during the night; drug dealers, prostitutes, pimps etc. Continue reading “Taxi Driver (1976): “You talkin’ to me?””

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966): Fasten your seat belts! It’s going to be a crazy night at Martha’s and George’s.

Written by Eleanor.

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Martha (Elizabeth Taylor) and George are a middle-aged couple, which at the opening scene of the movie seems to be quite happy. The movie follows one night of their married life, when Martha and George invite a young couple, Nick and Honey, at their house for drinks at a late hour. Martha and George start playing multiple games and drag the young couple within their troubled marriage and their destructive relationship. Continue reading “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966): Fasten your seat belts! It’s going to be a crazy night at Martha’s and George’s.”

Her (2013): “I feel like I can be anything with you”.

Written by Eleanor.

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image source: athenacinema.com

Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) is a lonely man, who tries to get his pieces back together after his wife ended their marriage. Unable to move on with his life and getting more and more detached from human interactions, Theodore installs an operating system to help him organize his computer and his daily program. Theodore’s operating system, Samantha, functions, at first, as a kind of secretary but gradually evolves into a good friend. Continue reading “Her (2013): “I feel like I can be anything with you”.”

The Hunt (2013) – ““Look me in the eyes. What do you see? Do you see anything?”

Written by Yara

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Lucas (Mads Mikkelsen) is a respected and beloved teacher in a small Danish town. However, when the young daughter of his best friend accuses him of sexually assaulting her, Lucas’ whole life will fall head first in a whirlpool of suspicion, violence and exile.

Continue reading “The Hunt (2013) – ““Look me in the eyes. What do you see? Do you see anything?””

A Bigger Splash (2015): A whirlpool of emotions leading to a crime.

Written by Eleanor.

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Marianne (Tilda Swinton) is a famous rock star, who had an operation on her vocal strings and she has to temporally avoid speaking. Spending the summer with her quite younger boyfriend, Paul (Matthias Schoenaerts), Marianne takes some time off and enjoys her vacation on an Italian island, Pantelleria. The unexpected arrival of Marianne’s ex-lover, Harry (Ralph Fiennes), and his free-spirited young daughter, Penelope (Dakota Johnson), will lead to a series of problematic actions. Continue reading “A Bigger Splash (2015): A whirlpool of emotions leading to a crime.”