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    The Cannes premiere of Terrence Malick’s “A Hidden Life” brought the subject of immovable will in the service of belief to the fore with a biopic of a WWII martyred Austrian conscientious objector. Today, with their competition premiere of “Young Ahmed,” a fictional portrait of a radicalized Belgian teenager, the Dardenne brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc, examine the flip side of will bent in support of a belief-based cause.  

    The Dardenne brothers are among the small number of prominent international directors who have been a prevailing force at Cannes since they won the Palme d’Or for “Rosetta” in 1999. They won the Palme again in 2005 with “L'Enfant.”  

    The Dardennes are social realists, directing their films in tandem. Their issue-based stories play out in the lives of characters grappling with the stacked deck dealt to Europe’s underclass. Unjust job layoffs were at the center of “Two Days, One Night"; the immigrant crisis was treated in both “The Unknown Girl,” and “The Silence of Lorna.” The plight of children, unwanted, disadvantaged, or misguided, has figured in several of their films, including “The Kid with the Bike,” "L'Enfant,” “The Son,” and “Rosetta.”    

    “Young Ahmed” tackles a daring subject in an ethically dangerous way. There is the real possibility that the film’s meticulously detailed portrayal of a 13-year-old boy’s unrelenting resolve to murder his teacher in the name of Islam will feed into the prejudices of every person whose preconception of Muslims involves the assumption that all are radical terrorists.

    All who know serious, bespectacled Ahmed (Idir Ben Addi) acknowledge that he has changed within the space of two months, becoming a sternly humorless holier-than-thou puppet. At his after-school tutoring class, he now refuses to shake hands with Ines (Myriem Akheddiou), a Muslim herself, and the teacher he has known since the age of five. He considers her to be impure for dating a Jew. His friends and his brother Rachid joke, and play the radio in the car on the way to the mosque, but Ahmed demands silence in order to study his Koran. 

    At home, Ahmed is like a tormented wild animal with nowhere to vent his rage. He flings insults: his mother is a drunk because she drinks wine; his sister, in a tank top, dresses like a slut. His new life under the influence of the radical young imam and convenience store owner Youssouf (Othmane Moumen) revolves around frequent ritual ablutions, prayer, and religious study. He is an eager audience for the “treat” Youssouf brings him—an online tribute to his cousin who martyred himself as a terrorist.

    Assured by Youssef that Ines is an infidel and a heretic, Ahmed plans and executes an attack with a kitchen knife, although this is a move too far even for the imam. In short order, Ahmed ends up sentenced to a juvenile detention facility, where his resolve to commit murder at any cost to himself diminishes not a bit. 

    The Dardennes create a cycle of obsessiveness that generates a certain amount of sympathy for the young man. He is yet another of their lost boys, pathetically immature, confused more than he knows, and grimly starry-eyed with the dream of attaching to something bigger than himself in the name of a skewed concept of God. 

    Late in the film, a temptation to normalcy is thrown in his path in the form of Louise (Victoria Bluck), the teen daughter of the family where Ahmed performs daily farm labor as part of his sentence. With the innocent boldness of a girl attracted to a cute guy, she teases him as they eat lunch on the edge of a field just a few feet away from Ahmed’s supervising caseworker. “I want to kiss you,” she says, tickling him with a wheat straw. For just a moment, the former and the potentially future Ahmed coexist in the bashful smile flitting across his face.

    With this plot, even the Dardennes have walked into a trap with no exit. In their directors’ statement in the film’s press kit, they write, “How to halt the headlong rush towards murder of this fanatical boy, cut off as he is … How can he be stopped?” We, the audience, don’t know, and it appears that they ultimately don’t know either. In a deus ex machina move, the directors take the decision out of Ahmed’s hands, but even then suggest that it may not be possible to trust the resolution that we see. 

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    Two very different visions of the relationship between women emerge through the work of established French director Celine Sciamma, and Moroccan newcomer Maryam Touzanis. 

    Celine Sciamma has staked out the territory of female desire as her own, starting with her first feature “Waterlilies.” Her films have been distinguished by vibrant emotional realism in a coming of age context, especially in the electrifying “Girlhood,” which portrayed a clutch of teen girls of color growing up in a Paris housing project. In her first-time Cannes competition entry “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” Sciamma brings a feminist sensibility to a period drama about a female portrait painter challenged to create an engagement portrait of a subject who is reluctant to pose.

    Set in 1770, “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” depicts the arrival by boat of a soaking-wet Marianne (Noemie Merlant) to a remote island where she has been commissioned to spend a week painting a portrait. In a large, seemingly deserted castle she is met only by the deferential young maid Sophie (Luana Bajrami), who shows her to a cavernous room and departs. Sciamma establishes Marianne’s profile as a rebel for her time, with glowing shots of the woman lounging nude before a roaring fireplace, smoking a clay pipe while her clothes dry.

    Sciamma’s take on the period genre is more of a suggestive sketch than a fully fleshed picture. Her concerns are based wholly in the nuances of emotion and attraction, and the ways in which women who are brought into proximity without men, relate and bond with each other. Her actresses wear contemporary faces but period costumes, and the loft-like space of the castle is largely free of furniture or accouterments of the era. The style of art represented in the portraits is more typical of present day illustrations.

    Marianne learns from the maid that Heloise (Adele Haenel), the subject of her portrait to be, has been brought home from a convent by her family. Following her sister’s suicide, it is planned that Heloise replace her by marrying the Milanese aristocrat who was her sister’s fiancé. He requires a portrait of his intended, but she refuses to pose. A painter previously engaged for the job has already given up in despair. The first meeting with beautiful but prickly Heloise does not go well, and Marianne begins clandestine sketches of the woman, based on close observation during their time together.

    The film’s central plot driver, the process of the creation of a portrait, is one that serves Sciamma’s purpose in the exploration of a relationship in which the women begin to mirror each other in the recognition of desire and its fulfillment in the course of several erotic love scenes. Painter and subject are equal in their keen observation of each other when the sheltered and inexperienced Heloise finally submits to pose for worldly Marianne after their bond has been consummated by graphic lovemaking.

    Sciamma devises subplots bound up in the solidarity of her female characters. The present day currency of the circumstances and dilemmas are only lightly disguised within the story’s 18th-century setting. Seeking a remedy for her menstrual cramps, Marianne learns in passing that the maid Sophie is unhappily three-months pregnant. Folk methods of abortion are pursued, and an elder village woman consulted, culminating in two different but related scenes in which Sciamma creates tableaux of the implied meeting of life and death in the cycle of a woman’s life.

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    A 180-degree different take on the advent of a loving relationship between two women is found in Moroccan director Maryam Touzani's Adam,” screening in Un Certain Regard, and eligible for the Camera d’Or for first feature. The women of “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” come together across several layers of artifice and ambition, and in a story that is itself layered in theoretical constructs. By contrast, “Adam” is an affecting but modest film with few pretensions, but a claim on primal emotions.

    Samia (Nisrine Erradi), a young woman with big expressive eyes and a round earnest face, is first seen only in close-up, inquiring about work up and down the Casablanca streets. Every door is shut in her face. A long-shot finally reveals that she is heavily pregnant and obviously homeless, hauling her belongings in a bulging duffel bag over her shoulder. She camps out for the night on a doorstep across from a home where she was refused, and after some hours, the hard-faced woman of the house gestures for her to come in.

    That woman is Abla (Lubna Azabal), a single mother and baker who sells her wares daily from a window on the street. She lives upstairs with her eight-year-old daughter Warda (Douae Belkahaouda). Abla is hostile toward her unwanted guest, angry that her conscience required that she take pity on her. Warda is intrigued by the novelty of the situation, and takes an immediate shine to Samia.

    There is little that is unexpected in the trajectory of this story, but the particulars are less its primary focus than Touzani's warmly perceptive, intimately loving view of her female characters. Samia turns out to be an expert baker herself, and attempts to win her benefactor’s favor with a batch of the string bread specialty rziza for her to sell. The contribution is grudgingly accepted, and more goodies and a gradual thawing follow. 

    One of the film’s most sensual scenes comes when Samia places her hands on Alba’s and teaches a more gentle method of kneading her bowl of pastry dough. It’s a love scene to be sure, but not an erotic one, for the two are not lovers. There are aspects of a foodie film to “Adam,” as the many sorts of Moroccan pastries produced in Alba’s kitchen are very much a feature of the story 

    Touzani lingers often on the faces and bodies of her actresses. She keeps her camera close, with backgrounds blurred softly. Her visual appreciation for the female form in both its beauty and its imperfections is a rare and welcome sight. Samia’s already large pregnant belly grows steadily, and little Warda comes upon her washing one night. With the unabashed curiosity of the child that she is, she feels, strokes, pats and listens, giggling at the baby’s kicks to her ear.

    The backstories of both women are withheld for much of the film, until the two have become sisters in their need for solace. Both actresses are superb in their ability to express great ranges of emotion in tight close-up. Samia, youthful and merry despite her circumstances, forces Alba out of mourning in what is literally a semi-hostile dance of transformation. The tables are turned when Samia gives birth, and rejects the squalling infant. 

    “Few things belong to us,” observes Samia, referring to the place in which women find themselves in life. In “Adam,” Touzani effectively gives women their own.  




    Original: https://www.rogerebert.com/cannes/cannes-2019-young-ahmed-portrait-of-a-lady-on-fire-adam
    By: Barbara Scharres
    Posted: May 20, 2019, 9:12 pm

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    Does Werner Herzog ever sleep? His latest film, "Family Romance, LLC,shown in Cannes's special screenings program, is one of his most unusual.

    To begin with, it's a fictional work; these days Herzog has largely devoted his efforts to documentaries. It was shot with nonprofessional actors in Japan. And although Herzog takes a writing credit, he told Variety that his stars had substantial freedom to improvise, learning situations and hitting certain plot points rather than reciting dialogue verbatim. (He also said it was his first trip to Cannes in 25 years, which is kind of astounding.)

    "Family Romance, LLC" opens with a man (Yuichi Ishii) spotting a 12-year-old girl he is supposed to meet, Mahiro (Mahiro Tanimoto), and sitting down with her in a park. He says he is the father who abandoned her in a divorce when she was very young, and they try to catch up for lost time. But we soon learn that he is hired actor, of sorts: His company, Family Romance, LLC, rents out surrogate family members when real ones are unavailable. He's playing a father figure for Mahiro at the request of her mother, who is concerned about her, and reporting back to the mother on the girl's well being. (He suggests that the mother allow Mahiro a little more freedom.)

    This first family is just the tip of the iceberg. Family Romance LLC rents out a fake father for a wedding when the bride's dad, an unreliable alcoholic, can't be counted on to be there. Another man is hired to get berated by an angry boss, taking the heat for a railroad employee who allowed a train to leave 20 seconds early. (The railroad worker cheerfully thanks the ringer afterward: "You really took the blame for me.")

    But par for the course with Herzog, the wry setup quickly reveals troubling dimensions. Family Romance employees are "not allowed to love or be loved," but Ishii's character begins to get close to his work. Mahiro lies to him, and he feels duped—but of course, he is lying to her. Things get truly complicated when her mother begins to view him as a potential replacement father. He even begins to ponder the nature of his own home, wondering how much of his own family's behavior is genuine and how much is acted.

    Pieces of this premise may seem familiar from films like "Certified Copy," in which a fake couple begin to resemble a real one, or "Marjorie Prime," in which the dead are replaced with computer replicas. But the Herzog touch is evident both in his globetrotter's fascination with real-life oddities (as other writers have already noted, The New Yorker covered Japan's rent-a-family industry last year) and in—this is a compliment—the imperfection of his execution. Herzog is not interested in filming a polished drama about characters who play roles for a living; he is interested in recording actors as they pretend to pretend. The movie lets awkward dialogue hang in the air and leaves pauses that appear to be the vestiges of improvisation in place. The sensation that the actors are as in the dark as we are only adds to the refractions in Herzog's hall of mirrors.

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    Questions about the nature of family are also at the heart of Michael Angelo Covino's debut feature,  "The Climb," one of the highlights of this year's Un Certain Regard program. This is a portrait of two friends played by Covino and Kyle Marvin, who co-wrote the script and whose characters share their first names. The movie follows them episodically across several years: Michael wrecks Kyle's impending marriage to one fiancée (Judith Godrèche) and then keeps coming terrifyingly close, at several junctures, to wrecking his next engagement (to Gayle Rankin).

    Covino’s strength is not only in the movie's strange comic rhythms—this is the sort of film that may seem unfunny initially but gets deeper, more horrified belly laughs as it progresses—but also in his an odd and original use of screen space. Much of the movie is filmed in long takes, in shots that are partly show-offy and partly purposeful. The camera often tracks through rooms and hallways to show us what characters are saying about one another once someone is just out of earshot, heightening the awkwardness of already-mortifying situations. (It's killing me not to spoil a scene at a church, which goes several steps further than a similar moment in a certain 1967 classic.)

    Part of the movie's point about male friendship is that these two friends, who have grown up together and perhaps don't even like each other much as adults, nevertheless know each other with an intimacy that allows them to stick together effortlessly in a way that sometimes eludes romantic couples. Some critics have called the movie a bromance, but it's more of a heartwarming tale of bro-acceptance. Michael and Kyle are family, whether they like or not.

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    Also about family bonds, also spanning many years, and also in Un Certain Regard is the Brazilian director Karim Aïnouz's "The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão." Two sisters in Rio de Janeiro, Guida (Júlia Stockler) and Eurídice (Carol Duarte), part ways when Guida runs off with a sailor. She returns in 1951, pregnant, and her father, so ashamed of his daughter's indiscretion, tells her that Eurídice is off studying piano in Vienna. He insists to his wife that Eurídice should never know that Guida returned.

    And so the two sisters—Eurídice is by married now as well, and a pregnancy forces her to put off her real dreams of studying piano in Vienna—spend years living in the same city without ever knowing it. Guida writes letters to Eurídice that, care of their mother, never reach her. Guida lives in poverty as a single parent, while Eurídice, who is reasonably well off, gets an expanding brood and a diminished version of the piano career she wanted. There are some accidental near-meetings over the years, but neither sister, like Orpheus vis-à-vis Eurydice, knows of the other's proximity.

    There is much to admire here, particularly both women's performances and the delicate shading of Hélène Louvart's cinematography. The question of how "The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão" will resolve itself keeps the movie continually absorbing and suspenseful. The film's fatal flaw is that it doesn't seem to know the answer. After nearly two and a half hours of screen time, "Invisible Life" comes in for a soft landing. It's a seriously deflating finale for a movie that aspires to the richness of myth.




    Original: https://www.rogerebert.com/cannes/cannes-2019-family-romance-llc-the-climb-the-invisible-life-of-euridice-gusmao
    By: Ben Kenigsberg
    Posted: May 21, 2019, 1:28 am

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    Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein star in “Booksmart,” the story of two BFFs who spent all of high school studying and decide it is time for one wild night to make up for all they missed before they leave home. It is directed with endless affection and delicious verve by Olivia Wilde. Dever and Feldstein told RogerEbert.com about creating on- and off-screen chemistry, un-safe words, and what makes female friendships essential.

    Your characters have the opposite of a safe word. They use “Malala” as a kind of “let’s not be safe” word.

    BEANIE FELDSTEIN: It’s sort of like a, “Please listen to me; follow my lead,” type of word.”

    KAITLYN DEVER: Yes. “Trust me; go with my flow.”

    If you were going to try to come up with a word like that for your friends what word would you pick?

    BF: For my friends? Stephen Sondheim.

    KD: Beyoncé.

    image

    You were working with Olivia Wilde who had a lot of experience being a teenage girl but not much experience directing. What was important about her perspective?  

    KD: Olivia is one of the best directors I’ve ever worked with, really. I’m not just saying that in interviews; I truly believe that. She’s got an incredible mind. She is so inspiring and she really, really had such immeasurable passion for “Booksmart.”

    I first read the script four years ago and then she came on about two years later and Annapurna had loosely attached me to the project. It was the first time that this ever happened to me for a leading role and it was huge for me. And then Olivia came on. I remember meeting her for the first time and she had so many ideas. She basically said, “High school is war.” And she was so passionate about Molly and Amy’s friendship. And then she told me that she wanted Beanie; Beanie was her dream Molly.

    BF: I read this script about three years ago reading initially to play a role that doesn’t even exist in the film anymore. I love the script and I was so taken with these two women who are the center of this comedy. There’s so much warmth and heart.

    I got a call from my agent: “Olivia Wilde wants to have lunch with you” and I was like, “Come again? Yes! Name the time and the place and I will make myself free.” She was like, “And I want you to play Molly” and I was like, “Wait, Molly is one of the two right?” She said, “Yes, it’s you and Kaitlyn Dever” and I was like “Oh, my God, from ‘Short Term 12.’” I was a huge fan.

    Olivia as a director is the most collaborative, positive spirit. She just emanates warmth and intellect and she’s so cool. That’s why the film is all of those things; it’s simply because she is all those things. She shared her vision so openly with everyone and was so inclusive in her filmmaking.

    She directed every actor individually as they needed to be directed. Olivia has done theater, she has done film, she has done music videos and so she understands every way to approach acting. So some of us, like Noah [Galvin] and I, come from a theater background and she knew how to talk to us. Kaitlyn and Olivia had both been acting forever so they had a completely different rapport. Victoria Ruesga and Nico Hiraga are very new to acting and so she could speak to them and direct them however they needed to be directed. She had such specificity with the way she approached every single person on the crew and the cast. There’s no one better.

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    You did not know each other before and you had to play girls who could finish each other’s sentences. How do you develop that chemistry?

    BF: Olivia organized a lunch for the three of us we hugged for 20 minutes before we decided to sit down and have our food. Olivia brought up the concept of us living together. She was like, “Oh yeah, that would be great, what a pipe dream,” and Kaitlyn and I were like, “No, we’re very open to that!” It’s kind of crazy because we’d known each other for 20 minutes but we could tell we had a mutual passion and an understanding of this story. We both understood that Molly and Amy are the center of the heartbeat of the film and “Booksmart” doesn’t work without those two girls being such a truthful depiction of female friendship. They’re obsessed with each other, they spend every day together, all day together, so we wanted to really get to know each other and really develop our own rapport and our own trust and our own friendship. Living together was the perfect way to do that because we were just with each other all the time.

    The movie is unexpectedly sweet and really does not let the audience feel like it is making fun of the girls, even when they are making mistakes.

    BF: What I love about the movie is the humor comes from positivity it’s not like “I’m going to rip you down with this joke” type kind of comedy or humor. It’s such a positive depiction of female friendship, which in my experience has only ever been that. They’re never competitive with each other. Also the humor of the film comes from how beloved they are and how smart they are. Their whip-fast rapport is where their humor within the film is generated. I love that it’s just a movie that brings people together through comedy instead of tearing each other down, which is a very different style of humor.

    Where did the idea for having the girls wear matching jumpsuits to the party come from? It is so funny that they think they look very cool in them.

    KD: I think the great thing about this movie is that on high school movies that I grew up on when girls are getting ready to go out to that party she has to really change herself or make over herself but we didn’t do that. April Napier who is our costume designer she is incredible.

    BF: We had our fittings together always which I thought was really cool. I’d never done that before and I think that’s how that idea came to be. If we were separated it wouldn’t have happened. April and Katina Danabassis and Coral Cunningham were the wardrobe team on “Lady Bird,” so I got an email from Olivia asking if she should have them on “Booksmart.” I’ve never sent a longer email in my life. I was like, “April is the only person who can do this movie. You have to pick her.” I was so excited because April’s vision is so subtle but the way she tells the story through clothing is so expert. And Kat and Coral are two of the coolest girls in the world. They have their finger on the pulse like what would be cool by the time this movie comes out?

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    Amy and Molly are so supportive in this film, which is great because very often in the media we see women undermining each other.

    KD: Gosh, I think that female friendships are almost one of the most powerful relationships you can have. Some of my best friends know me the most. They know everything about me. When I think about “Booksmart” and Molly and Amy’s relationship I think about how my best friends really shape who I am. And a fight with your best friend is probably one of the worst feelings in the world. It’s heartbreaking.

    BF: They’re the family you choose. It’s really powerful. Making this film made me think about how your friends are the first decision you get to make in your life. Like when you’re 3, 4, and 5 your parents tell you where to go, what to wear, what to eat, what you’re doing that day but you get to say, “This is my pal in the sand box, this is who I want to jump rope with.” That’s really a powerful thing. And then to continue to choose that person year after year after year is no easy feat. So I think friendships are kind of magical. So many movies tend to show women competitive with each other but every relationship I have with my best friends that are girls is like they’re your cheerleading squad. There’s a true magic in those friendships and if we’re a part of capturing that and cementing it in film, that is so exciting.




    Original: https://www.rogerebert.com/interviews/friendships-are-kind-of-magical-kaitlyn-dever-and-beanie-feldstein-on-booksmart
    By: Nell Minow
    Posted: May 21, 2019, 3:05 pm

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      Entertainer published a blog post The Tomorrow Man

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      Sometimes when we fear a loss of control it's reassuring to be in control of anything at all. In “The Tomorrow Man,” two lonely people “on the wrong side of 60” experience great loss and respond to the uncertainty around them in ways that have give them some comfort. But are they be willing to that risk sense of control for another kind of comfort that can also be terrifying? Will they risk caring about each other?

      Ed (John Lithgow) is by nature and profession a man of research, data, and order. Until he was laid off, he was a systems analyst at a ball bearing factory (“You have no idea how screwed up the world would be if not for ball bearings!”). Now he sits in a small makeshift command center in his home, posting as Captain Reality on a doomsday prepper message board. We first hear him lecturing his son Brian (Derek Cecil) on the phone about preparing for an impending apocalypse of some kind. Whatever it is, Ed knows exactly what will happen next, from the stores that will be out of food after three days, to the failure of phone and internet connections, to the inevitable invasion as soon as America is in a weakened state. “I’m not saying this to scare you,” he tells his son. “I just want you to be ready.” 

      But of course Ed is saying it to scare Brian. He wants Brian to be as scared as he is so he can feel closer to him and so he can comfort him, the way he did when he was a child.

      Ed makes frequent trips to the grocery store to buy small quantities of items he's quietly stockpiling. It's there that he spots an attractive older woman named Ronnie (Blythe Danner). Like him, she shops frequently and even pays in cash. He thinks this means she's ahead of him in going off the grid, as he has given up credit cards but is still writing checks. Part of the movie's understated humor is that due to Ed’s prepper outlook, he assumes she must be one, too, and thus must recognize that he's a kindred spirit who would not be willing to discuss it beyond some veiled comments.

      When Ed finally gets up the courage to invite Ronnie out, he pelts her with questions about her preferences for core prepper supplies like tuna and batteries. She does not know where this is coming from but does not consider it odd. She assumes it is the kind of question one might ask to get to know someone, like a Buzzfeed quiz about which “Game of Thrones” character you are. Ronnie is grateful for the companionship, and so is he. When one of the cheesiest pop songs ever written comes on the radio, he bolts from the driver’s seat out into an empty field because he is just so overcome with combined yearning and fear.

      In some ways, dating is easier once you've moved past some of the issues that get younger couples into trouble. There’s no need to agree on in-laws or children or money or where to live or the complications of work life. If all you're looking for is someone to care for and be cared about, at a time in life when you truly understand how precious that is and how little time is left, things can move pretty quickly. Soon Ed is calling Ronnie his girlfriend, and bringing her to his family’s Thanksgiving dinner, which becomes riotously dysfunctional. Seeing the chaos in Ed’s meticulously organized, systems analysis life lets Ronnie begin to share some of her own. For both of them, the issue then becomes more than companionship. Can they take on the risks of intimacy? Can the man who thinks he can control the future take time to appreciate what's in front of him? Can the woman who thinks she feels stronger by withholding learn to let go? 

      The actors bring a great deal of humanity to keep a wobbly script from going too far off balance. The excellent supporting cast includes Eve Harlow as Ronnie’s young boss, who enjoys the chance to give Ronnie some advice on dating, Cecil as Ed’s son, who wants his father to pay attention to him for something more than prepping, and Sophie Thatcher as Ed’s granddaughter, whose strained relationship with her parents parallels what is going on between Ed and Brian. Lithgow and Danner show us characters who may qualify for Medicare but are every bit as vulnerable and as eager to matter to someone as middle schoolers at their first mixer.




      Original: https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/the-tomorrow-man-2019
      By: Nell Minow
      Posted: May 21, 2019, 3:10 pm

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        • Retirement is one of the most significant life events several of us will ever experience. From both a personal and financial perspective, recognizing a comfortable retirement is a long process that takes sensible planning and years of persistence. 

          Ron Peoples Raleigh North Carolina- Retirement and Estate Planning

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          Retirement planning describes the time you will have after reaching a certain age and exiting the workforce. Retirement planning is widespread and should include a comprehensive estate plan. https://www.peoples-wealthmanagement.com/

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                          One of the Cannes competition films most anticipated this year is Terrence Malick’s “A Hidden Life,” a screen biography of Austrian WWII conscientious objector Franz Jagerstatter. Malick won Best Director at Cannes in 1979 for the cult favorite “Days of Heaven.” After a sporadic output that included “The Thin Red Line” in the intervening years, he was welcomed back to Cannes in 2011 like a prodigal son, with the flamboyant metaphysical opus “The Tree of Life,” which won the Palme d’Or that year.

                          Since “The Tree of Life,” Malick has stepped up the pace of production, with nearly a film per year. Thematically, he has continued to work in an overtly metaphysical and Christian message direction. There will be a great many who find “A Hidden Life” truly moving. Malick’s Jagerstatter is portrayed as an unblemished 20th-century saint through and through. In fact, Jagerstatter was beatified by the Catholic Church in 2007, one of the several steps to an official declaration of sainthood. 

                          On one level, what’s not to like? “A Hidden Life” is conspicuously reverent, gorgeous to look at, and morally on the right side of history. It’s likely to be a fixture in church and school discussion groups and seminars for years to come. A little research into the historical Jagerstatter reveals that he was a far more complex, widely experienced, traveled, and educated character than Malick’s holy peasant, as was his wife, but this is, after all, Malick’s film, and his fictionalized vision. Setting the stage for Nazi evil vs. good, he opens with a montage of images from Leni Riefenstahl’s “Triumph of the Will.”

                          Shot in widescreen, “A Hidden Life” boasts the sumptuous visuals for which Malick’s work is renowned. The first shot of the valley in the Austrian Alps where Franz (August Diehl) and his wife Fani (Valerie Pachner) live with their three children, takes in the lush green landscape with such depth of field that it almost seems like 3-D. Malick romanticizes their love and their family life with soaring music and a flood of heart-tugging imagery. Home is an idyllic farming village where little in the social or agricultural order has changed for centuries. News of the world doesn’t filter down very far here, but there is a war in progress, and men have been conscripted to fight.

                          Franz serves and comes back with a farming exemption. The one change that the village has undergone is that Nazi fervor has taken hold. Based on his recent military experience, Franz alone among his neighbors has formed the opinion that the war is wrong. He refuses to “Heil Hitler,” to contribute to a Nazi solicitation for veterans, or to accept a cash subsidy for his family. The drunken village mayor and others spout anti-immigrant sentiments, but there is no mention of Jews or extermination. The specifics that rankle Franz’s conscience so mightily are always left vague.

                          Resisting the Nazis is interpreted as equal to sin by the pious residents of the village. Franz confides his doubts to the parish priest. Perceiving that this level of moral questioning is above his pay grade, the priest refers him to the bishop. The bishop advises that he submit himself to the church: “You have duty to the fatherland,” he says. 

                          In the bishop’s residence and other locations away from the bucolic beauty of the village, Malick also excels in visual realization, bringing the interiors of ancient churches, sacred artwork, and embellished medieval edifices of every sort into the story. His signature technique of utilizing voiceover narration to reveal confidences, letters, and thoughts in place of dialogue pairs effectively with location-as-character, since this is a film with remarkably little to see in terms of dramatic advancement. Delivered with enormous gravity, in “A Hidden Life,” these voiceovers can be perceived as increasingly instructional and evangelizing.

                          In 1943, Franz is called up for military service again, despite his exemption. Resolved that he will refuse to take the required oath of fealty to Hitler, and understanding the consequences, he moves on to the next chapter in his fate. All of his adversaries are external. He harbors no doubts about his personal mission, and is portrayed as clear of conscience in refusing every chance that might have gotten the charges against him reduced or dropped.  

                          Lead actor Diehl, with chiseled features and hollow cheeks, suffers nobly, and Franz is doomed to suffer in saintly fashion throughout the final hour of “A Hidden Life.” A half-crazy prisoner tempts Franz to deny God, but he doesn’t listen. He recites the 23rd Psalm in voiceover. He accidentally knocks over someone’s umbrella minutes after receiving his death sentence in a Nazi tribunal, and stoops down to put it back in place with his manacled hands. As Malick sees it, he’s just that good.    

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                          The term whistleblower takes on an alternative meaning in Corneliu Porumboiu’s very tongue-in-cheek black comedy “The Whistlers.” It marks the Romanian director’s first time competing for the Palme d’Or. Porumboiu won the Camera d’Or at Cannes in 2006, with his first feature “12:08 East of Bucharest,” and has screened in Un Certain Regard with other films including “Police, Adjective,” and “The Treasure,” both of which were awarded prizes in that section of the festival.

                          With “Police, Adjective” and his recent “Infinite Football,” Porumboiu demonstrated his affinity for the strain of New Romanian Cinema that tends toward exploring the mechanics of process to the limits of absurdity. In “Police, Adjective,” this involved the precise interpretation of words. In “Infinite Football,” it was the intricacies of soccer rules. 

                          “The Whistlers” is a poker-faced comedy that subtly, then more blatantly undercuts itself with intent, through complications and creeping excess that includes references and homages to other films, including John Ford’s “The Searchers.” Porumboiu keeps the viewer off-balance with tangled facts, unfathomable relationships, and procedural details of a heist. 

                          “The Whistlers” at first appears to be modeled as a standard thriller involving a policeman who is a double agent for the mafia. Iggy Pop’s kickass rendition of “The Passenger,” strikes an incongruous note on the soundtrack as stodgy, greying middle-aged cop Cristi (Vlad Ivanov) arrives by boat to Gomera in the Canary Islands. It’s the first clue that all bets may be off when it comes to genre expectations.

                          Cristi is there to be tutored in an ancient whistling language that is now used by mafia operatives to relay information non-verbally across distances. His assigned partner in crime is the statuesque Gilda (Catrinel Marlon), who is to direct him in getting their man Zsolt (Sabin Tambrea) out of prison. A flashback reveals Cristi’s sexual adventure with Gilda back in Bucharest, when she faked an identity as his high-priced call girl for the benefit of surveillance cameras.

                          “The Whistlers” can ultimately be taken as a game or exercise of sorts. For whom, or with whom Cristi is actually working barely matters, whether it’s for Gilda’s mafia masters, or the tough-gal police boss Magda (Rodica Lazar), who at some point sets out to kill him. It’s about the process. Porumboiu plants gotcha moments all over the place, and springs a bang-up ending in Singapore that is a delectable blast of kitsch. 




                          Original: https://www.rogerebert.com/cannes/cannes-2019-a-hidden-life-the-whistlers
                          By: Barbara Scharres
                          Posted: May 19, 2019, 9:17 pm

                          • Entertainer

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                            "The Lighthouse" is the first movie I've seen at Cannes this year that actually looks like a classic—"looks" in the most literal sense. Not only has the director, Robert Eggers, in his first feature since his 2015 Sundance breakout "The Witch," shot the picture on black-and-white film stock, but he's also opted to revive the old 1.19:1 Movietone aspect ratio of the early sound era. You may know it from Fox films of the late 1920s ("Sunrise," "Street Angel"), which were made before the dimensions of the image and the optical soundtrack were standardized with Academy ratio (1.37:1) in the early 1930s.

                            The unusually narrow screen shape lends an appropriately claustrophobic feel to Eggers's tense, often darkly comic two-hander, set entirely on the grounds of a lighthouse somewhere well off the New England mainland in the 1890s. (New England also served as the setting of "The Witch.") There, a crusty old lighthouse keeper (Willem Dafoe, sporting a roiling Irish accent and a giant beard that makes him look like Emil Jannings) has a new assistant (Robert Pattinson) who is trying his hand at being a "wickie"—slang for the lighthouse-keeping trade.

                            Before anyone speaks, for a few minutes it appears as if Eggers is emulating the actual Movietone aesthetic—in the early sound era, movies sometimes employed sound effects and a score, but not dialogue. In the opening moments of "The Lighthouse," the movie seems as acutely attuned to the sounds of wind, birds, and waves crashing against the rocks as it is to the clank of dinnerware. (A bit later, it also has the, uh, wit to cut from Dafoe passing gas to the sound of a foghorn.)

                            Visually, the movie is continually striking. I was reminded of Robert Flaherty's 1934 "Man of Aran," shot off the Irish coast. There is an upward crane shot (or perhaps a series of blended shots) to the top of the lighthouse tower that echoes the stagehands' review of Susan Alexander's opera performance in "Citizen Kane," and there is a clear Kubrick influence as well. The cinematographer, Jarin Blaschke, fully exploits the expressive possibilities of fog and strategically placed lanterns, and sometimes contrasts the silhouettes of the two actors against the bright lighthouse glare.

                            But just as you're beginning to settle into the movie's visual pleasures, the characters begin to talk, and the gift for period dialogue and antiquated constructions that Eggers brought "The Witch" resurfaces. This is a wonderful movie simply to listen to; Eggers and his brother Max have cited inspiration in Herman Melville, Robert Louis Stevenson, and actual lighthouse journals from time. The actors are both superb, and their stylized arguments give Dafoe an excuse to chew on lines like "You make me laugh with your false grum."

                            Initially, the men's estrangement extends to not even knowing each other's names. (Pattinson reveals his first, and it's a doozy: Ephraim Winslow.) It turns out that Dafoe's character's previous assistant went crazy, babbling about sirens and merfolk. Ephraim begins to have premonitions of that fate himself.

                            The suspense turns on whether this pair will be able to ride out a long stretch in close quarters without driving each other nuts—and, later, after Ephraim tempts fate, without the delivery of new provisions. (Dafoe alludes to a previous inhabitant of the island—"the rock," they call it—who spent seven months without a visit after storms made launching and docking boats too difficult.) As the booze that Ephraim initially resists begins flowing freely, "The Lighthouse" turns into a potent, hallucinatory cocktail of a movie. Eggers hasn't simply avoided the "sophomore jinx"—he's distilled the strengths of "The Witch" into something even more singular and strange.

                            "The Lighthouse" screened in the parallel festival Directors' Fortnight, where last year, the perennial Cannes provcateur Gaspar Noé unveiled "Climax." This year, he returned the official with a late addition to the lineup: a mystery midnight movie called "Lux Aeterna" (well, officially "Lux Æterna," or on screen, "LVX ÆTERNA"), about which little was known other than the running time (about 50 minutes) and that the announcement had promised a screening as "hyped as it is mysterious." Who could resist that?

                            Eggers went from "The Witch" to "The Lighthouse." Noé has made a movie whose title means "eternal light"—and it's about witches. In a prologue featuring a clip from the witch-burning sequence in Carl Theodor Dreyer's "Day of Wrath," it is explained that the actress was up on the stake for two hours during shooting: "It's no wonder her face bore a real expression of horror."

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                            It's a form of horror that Noé intends to replicate. Cut to present day: Béatrice Dalle and Charlotte Gainsbourg, playing themselves, are working on a movie in which women are burned at the stake. Initially, the two actresses are seen conversing with each other in split screen, swapping stories of nightmare shoots and sharing their most mortifying experiences of being naked on set.

                            The pace picks up as soon as they begin working on the movie at hand. Dalle, who is ostensibly directing the project but is at odds with her producer, skulks around the studio trailed by a camera. Gainsbourg receives upsetting news from home that's not resolved before it's time to shoot. She and Abbey Lee, who's also in the cast of the movie within the movie, are hit up with creepy offers of roles in another project even while they're struggling to stay focused on the chaos of this one. 

                            By the time the two of them and the model Mica Argañaraz are strapped to stakes and ready to burn, the flames are the least of their worries. Noé, switching back and forth from split screen, finds ways to contrast the devastation in the fake movie village with the hectic mundanity of costume changes, finally getting to a point when the film that's being shot—titled "God's Wrath"—seems more frenzied and genuine than the backstage action.

                            Noé foreshadows this climax with an on-screen quote attributed to Dostoevsky, about the apparent ecstasy epileptics experience before a seizure. (Epileptics, as usual with Noé, should stay far away from this movie.) There are other quotes throughout the film from directors Noé presumes to call simply "Jean-Luc" and "Rainer W.," among others. The end credits only list first names, too, and feature such nonstandard film crew jobs as "incantation," "mystification" and "execution." In that sense, this larky goof, even now that it's been unveiled and hyped, manages to preserve a bit of mystery.




                            Original: https://www.rogerebert.com/cannes/cannes-2019-the-lighthouse-lux-aeterna
                            By: Ben Kenigsberg
                            Posted: May 19, 2019, 9:21 pm

                            • Entertainer
                            • Thumb rocketman

                              Here is Chaz Ebert's third video dispatch from the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, followed by a transcript of the video ...


                              The festival this year has been slow on gossip but strong on films, just the way I like it! One of my favorite films thus far is from director Ken Loach, already a two times winner of the Palmes d'Or. His latest, “Sorry We Missed You” is a commentary on the new “gig” economy, and how large corporations are selling the dream of freedom through self-employment while actually trapping their workers in a cycle of longer hours, less pay, and no benefits. The story follows Ricky, a man who has worked his whole life but wants something better for his family, so he decides to become a franchise delivery driver for PDF, a package delivery service similar to UPS. But instead of finding freedom with his time and freedom from debt, he’s required to work crazy hours with unrealistic expectations. This has a spiraling effect on his family, all played by wonderfully compelling first time actors.

                              This is a very timely story, told with the authenticity that Loach is known for. I admired his attention to details. You can tell he did his research on the lives of a White Van man as they are called in England. He also made the family life relatable, and the problems confronting their children believable. These working circumstances may be new to you, but you’ll surely recognize these characters and the pressure they are under to merely stay afloat while working themselves into the ground.

                              "Les Miserables" is another strong film in competition this year … so strong in fact, that it was just purchased for distribution by Amazon streaming. The film takes place in Montfermeil, the same neighborhood where Victor Hugo set his world-famous tale. But in this story, created by first-time director Ladj Ly, we follow three modern-day policemen through this same troubled neighborhood. Tensions are high between the residents and police, and get even worse after the botched arrest of a young teenager.

                              Although he wrote this story 5 years ago, it sounds as if it was ripped from the pages of a Chicago, or New York, or Rio newspaper. And yet there are very place-specfic factors. I love films that immerse you in the culture and customs of another place. "Atlantique" ("Atlantics"), directed by the first Black woman, and the first African woman in competition - Mati Diop, does just that. Set in Senegal West Africa, we’re treated to glimpses of local weddings, engagements, night clubs, and religious customs while we follow the relationship of two young lovers - Ada and Souleimane along with the forces, including mystical ones, that pull them apart as well as those that try to bring them back together. And here, the ocean is a character that calls out to Senegal's young men to leave to find a better future in Spain.

                              Brazilian competition entry, "Bacarau," is another strong contender with cultural significance that transported me to another space. It takes place just a “few years” into the future. But that’s just enough of a separation from present day reality to make this story enthralling. A small, rural village loses its matriarch while it battles the local heavyweight politician about water rights. In the midst of this, the town finds itself under attack from forces that are hard to even understand. This may not sound compelling, but this is definitely a film that will keep you guessing and it’s never boring. And although it is set in the future, it also brings to mind the harsh political situation in present day Brazil.

                              Out of competition, a number of good films also played early this week, including "Rocketman." Director Dexter Fletcher does an outstanding job of depicting the early life and career of Elton John. But I was unprepared for the sadness and heartbreak of his life that went into the creation of these famous songs. The flashy outfits and outlandish stage persona are shown as a mask designed to hide Elton John’s shyness and insecurities. But if you like his music, you’ll like this film. The acting is superb from the actors who play Elton as a young boy to Taren Egerton who plays him as a man, Bryce Dallas Howard as his mother, Jamie Bell as his songwriting partner of 50 years, Bernie Taupin, and Richard Madden as his lover and manager, John Reid.

                              “Bull” is a film playing in Un Certain Regard by first-time American director, Annie SIlverstein. It’s the story of a teenage girl, Kris, who is being raised by her grandmother while her mother is in prison. She wants to do the right thing, but she hardly knows what that is and gets into trouble by breaking into her neighbor's house as she is hanging with the wrong crowd. Her neighbor is an African-American bull rider who introduces her to that circuit, and her dream becomes to earn money on the local rodeo circuit. The easy-going naturalness of the characters in this film reminded of the recent festival hit The Florida Project.

                              Also playing the Un Certain Regard section is the animated film "The Swallows of Kabul." It’s a very serious, often tragic story about how a man's consciousness can evolve, from throwing a stone at a woman in the square, to imagining freedom for a woman wrongly imprisoned. The animation actually heightens the impact and works well to bring the audience into this very specific culture. And the fact that the film was directed by two women made me feel as if each and every character was well rounded and fully realized.  

                              That’s all for now, but many more interesting films are coming up, including "Pain & Glory" from Pedro Almodovar, Jessica Hausner’s "Little Joe," and the Chinese thriller “The Wild Goose Lake.”

                              in the meantime, continue to follow us at RogerEbert.com/Cannes for our daily written reports from Barbara Scharres, Ben Keningsberg, and others, along with our regular video reports.

                              Au revoir!




                              Original: https://www.rogerebert.com/cannes/cannes-2019-video-3-sorry-we-missed-you-les-miserables-rocketman-and-more
                              By: Chaz Ebert
                              Posted: May 20, 2019, 4:00 pm

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                              The 2018 Polish film “Cold War,” which was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film and Best Director Oscars, is a melancholic story about two star-crossed lovers struggling with their passionate but problematic relationship. Since they first met, they cannot help but be drawn to each other. But then they are also reminded of how incompatible they are from the beginning, and their tumultuous relationship is further complicated by the harsh social/political environment that surrounds them. 

                              The story of the movie begins in Poland 1949, as we see a musician/ethnomusicologist named Wiktor Warski (Tomasz Kot) and his close colleague Irena (Agata Kulesza) traveling around rural regions for folk music research. While they diligently pay attention to any kind of folk music they happen to encounter, their accompanying government official Kaczmarek (Borys Szyc) is not particularly engaged, and there is a wry moment when the camera slowly moves to show him paying more attention to what he is eating now than a poignant folk song sung by a little girl.

                              Later, Wiktor and Irena get the full support from the Polish government because the Polish government wants to induce national pride via folk music, and they come to manage a national institution for folk music along with Kaczmarek. They commence an audition for numerous young people eager to further develop their musical talent, and that is how Wiktor encounters Zuzanna ‘Zula’ Lichoń (Joanna Kulig), a plucky lass who impresses him a lot with not only her beauty but also her personality.

                              When Wiktor approaches her, Zula does not resist while also reminding him that she is not an innocent girl at all. She pretended to be a peasant girl during the audition although she actually came from a city, and was once arrested for stabbing her father a few years ago. She gives Wiktor a short but straightforward description of what happened between her and her father, and it's incidentally the most amusing line in the film.

                              Thanks to Wiktor and Irena’s efforts, their singers and dancers successfully do their first public performance in Warsaw, but then face a big change demanded by the Polish government. They want to concentrate on folk music as before, but the ministry of culture demands that they should focus more on delivering political messages to their audiences. As a result, their public performances become more political, as reflected by a big picture of Stalin during one public performance scene, and Irena is not so pleased about that as shown from her wordless exit at that point.

                              Wiktor initially goes along with this disagreeable change, but then Zula confides to him that she has been reporting on him to Kaczmarek because she had no choice from the beginning. When he goes to East Berlin along with others a few years later, he confides to Zula that he is going to escape to West Berlin, and he suggests that she should go along with him. But she eventually decides not to elope with him because, despite her love toward Wiktor, she is not so sure about whether she can be happy outside the Iron Curtain.

                              image

                              After settling in Paris, Wiktor lives with more freedom than before, but he still finds himself yearning for Zula even while being in a relationship with another woman. When Zula happens to come to Paris, he anxiously awaits her until she finally arrives, and they are happy to see that they remain attracted to each other as much as before, though she is soon going to leave Paris. When he later comes to Yugoslavia to see her again, he is forced to go back to Paris because of his current status as an exile not so welcomed behind the Iron Curtain. This leads to a heartbreaking moment for Zula, who cannot help but notice her love’s absence.  

                              Several years later, Zula visits Wiktor again, and she decides to live with him in Paris. They have a rapturous moment of bliss together as confirming their love to each other, but, alas, it turns out that they cannot live together well in spite of their love. Feeling unhappier than before, Zula argues with Wiktor at one point for a rather trivial matter involved with her song, and that eventually culminates in a painful moment which leads to their bitter separation. Wiktor subsequently regrets, but Zula already goes back to Poland, and he comes to make a fateful decision in the name of love, which only causes more misery and unhappiness for both of them.  

                              Considering the scope of its story in terms of space and time, the movie, which is partially inspired by the real-life story of the parents of director/co-writer Paweł Pawlikowski, could be as sprawling as those epic drama films by David Lean. Instead, it briskly hops from one moment to another, and I came to admire its economical storytelling more when I revisited the film. Although there are frequent condensations and ellipses in its narrative, its individual moments are organically strung together to give a simple but dynamic portrayal of the romantic relationship between its two main characters, while we often observe them from a distance. 

                              In addition, the movie is quite impressive for its seemingly plain but impeccable mood and style, created by Pawlikowski and his cinematographer Łukasz Żal, who were respectively Oscar-nominated for Best Director and Best Cinematography (the movie lost to Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” (2018) in all of its three categories). They deliver a number of exquisite scenes to behold for their stark but crisp visual beauty. As he did in Pawlikowski’s previous film “Ida” (2013), Żal shot the film in black and white film of 1.33:1 ratio, and the frequent emphasis on the space above the characters in the film conveys to us the palpable sense of oppression around them.    

                              image

                              In case of the movie's soundtrack, it utilizes various music styles ranging from folk music to jazz and rock ’n roll, and a number of music performance scenes in the film are handled with care and precision. While “Dwa serduszka” powerfully functions as a recurring theme song throughout the film, there are also other memorable moments including the exuberant dance scene featuring “Rock Around The Clock,” and I especially like the appearance of a certain famous classic piece by Johann Sebastian Bach at the end of the film, which adds extra poignancy to the story.

                              Above all, the movie is steadily anchored by two strong performances at its center. While Joanna Kulig, who previously played a minor supporting role in “Ida,” is simply superlative in her soulful performance, Tomasz Kot, who looks as dashing as required, complements his co-performer well with his equally charismatic performance, and their scenes always spark with their natural chemistry. Deftly filling their archetype roles, Kulig and Kot effortlessly move along the ups and downs in their characters’ relationship, and are also bolstered by a few substantial supporting performers in the film including Borys Szyc and Agata Kulesza, who was unforgettable as the frigid aunt of the heroine in “Ida.”     

                              In short, “Cold War” is another stunningly elegant work from Pawlikowski, and it's definitely worthwhile to watch for many reasons including its detached but haunting romantic story. As a restrained arthouse film depending a lot on moods and nuances, the movie requires patience at first, but its many sublime moments will mesmerize you nonetheless. You will appreciate more what is masterfully achieved by Pawlikowski and his cast and crew, while also reflecting a bit on that complicated thing called love.




                              Original: https://www.rogerebert.com/far-flung-correspondents/that-complicated-thing-called-love-on-pawel-pawlikowskis-cold-war
                              By: Seongyong Cho
                              Posted: May 20, 2019, 4:00 pm

                              • Entertainer

                                Thumb enter2

                                “I know it is coming, and I do not fear it, because I believe there is nothing on the other side of death to fear … I was perfectly content before I was born, and I think of death as the same state.” — Roger Ebert

                                Inaccessible as mortality itself and as jolting as a bullet to the back, Gaspar Noé’s “Enter the Void,” which made its Cannes debut ten years ago this month, is a science fiction movie, but it isn’t worried about what exists outside our world. It isn’t concerned with aliens or spaceships. It’s about what we’re all obsessed with—pretending to live, refusing to die, and latching onto any ersatz empathy just for the sake of hope. It isn’t an optimistic film in its depiction of the afterlife, but that’s entirely the point—and that’s what makes it sort of beautiful.

                                Writer/director Gaspar Noé has been a staple of the New French Extremity movement since the turn of the millennium. His debut feature, “I Stand Alone” (1998), was a cauldron of rage centered on a man so seething the audience had to strain to see his humanity. “Irreversible” (2002) existed in the same narrative universe but was thematically adjacent more than anything else. They were neck-deep in social nihilism, drowning in the worst of human nature. But while they were each an hour-and-a-half of vitriol, “Enter the Void” acts as the answer to that: a nearly three-hour dissociation of living, dying, and repeating, all from an atheistic view.

                                Noé has regularly disagreed with the concept of a higher power and life after death. This isn’t too surprising given how antitheist his films are, and while “Enter the Void” is much more spiritual than his other films, it’s also much more accepting of death. That may sound depressing in theory, but Noé is so comfortable in his beliefs that there’s little room for depression. Here, death is not sad. It’s nothing to fear, or hate, or cry about. It simply is.

                                image

                                “Death is an extraordinary experience,” Noé told the Irish Times. “I believe that. No one can really tell you what it is like because once you’ve experienced death, you are done. But it only happens just once in your life. By its nature it is extraordinary. If you are suffering or in pain, death is the best thing that can happen. I’m annoyed by a culture in which death is always considered something bad.”

                                “Enter the Void” revels in death right away by treating it like a breath of fresh air in a world hogtied by plastic. First, the film dives into its opening credits, an assault of flashing words and staccato techno music. It’s hypnotic, sure, but it also feels like a game of chicken between the viewer and a case of epilepsy. Just as we adjust to the anarchy, it dies. Cut to black.

                                Now we’re in a first-person point of view. We are Oscar (Nathaniel Brown), an American drug dealer and addict living in Tokyo. We talk with our sister Linda (Paz de la Huerta) on a balcony overlooking a world of neon and, after she leaves, smoke some DMT. Then a phone call interrupts the trip: it’s Victor (Olly Alexander), an acquaintance asking for some more drugs. But he can’t pick them up, so we need to bring them to him.

                                We oblige just as there’s a knock on the door—is it the police? No, it’s just Alex (Cyril Roy), a friend who’s lent us his copy of The Tibetan Book of the Dead. We head over to Victor and discuss the afterlife and reincarnation, and despite being in one of the most populous cities in the world, it never feels like we’re in more than a bubble. We’re itching to pop out of it.

                                We part ways with Alex and eventually find Victor in a bar. He’s crying. “I’m so sorry,” he says—and then the police swarm in. We run into the bathroom, try to flush the drugs, and pop!—the police shoot us through the door. We keel over. We die. Slowly, oh so slowly. And as we finally leave our body, we take the perspective of our spirit as it floats around the city, reliving our past memories and seeing our death’s aftermath. The first-person perspective becomes third person when replaying memories, and an over-the-shoulder framing motif carries an uncanny degree of separation from our own body. It’s a piggyback ride with our eyes on our back, right by the angel wings that never come to be.

                                Over the course of the journey, we remember that Linda’s and our parents died in a car crash while we were small kids. Foster care put her in a different home and, in accordance with a childhood pact we made to never leave each other, we started selling drugs to help Linda to move to Tokyo. But we got more and more into drugs. We needed more and more until more was never enough. Just maybe if we can find a second life, we can get just that: more.

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                                Noé may find death to be happy if anything, but that’s something Oscar can’t bring himself to believe. His fatal flaw is what keeps him from passing on.

                                Truthfully, “Enter the Void”’s climax is Oscar’s death, only 25 minutes into the 161-minute film. It would be the inciting incident in most films, but here it caps off the part that’s grounded to reality. The film then dives into science fiction and becomes unstuck in time for its remaining 136 minutes, and as our protagonist searches for reincarnation, Noé approaches his arc with the detachment often seen in the sci-fi work of Tarkovsky and Kubrick. The idea of living, dying, and repeating until breaking the cycle is fundamentally spiritual (and specifically Buddhist), but it’s also a genre staple. From “2001: A Space Odyssey” to “Solaris” to “Under the Skin,” the concept is divorced from theism. It’s a form of atheistic spiritualism that Noé treats as sci-fi, like a drug-fueled melodrama as told by "2001"’s star child. 

                                In a September 2010 interview with Den of Geek, Noé said that he partly based the film’s premise on a theory that our brains contain limited amounts of DMT, which are unleashed during death. This was later echoed in a September 2018 article from the BBC that documented the reported similarities between DMT trips and near-death experiences. Combined with the languid pacing and psychedelic aesthetics, “Enter the Void”’s internalized sense of humanity feels just as elusive as the unknown encounters of “2001” or the personified dreams of “Solaris.”

                                As we do stumble out of the film, it ends with a rebirth. Could it be Oscar’s eventual reincarnation or could it just be a stoner’s dream that he had while dying? Was he trying to assign some sort of meaning to his life or was it actually there? If there was no latent purpose, is it better or worse for his life to reset? What if there is a latent purpose? Would the real damnation be an end to all emotions and the end of all life?

                                Whether Oscar’s life had meaning doesn’t matter because he couldn’t give himself to the possibility of it not. In the world of “Enter the Void,” it’s as good to cease to exist than it is to live and suffer.




                                Original: https://www.rogerebert.com/balder-and-dash/enter-the-void-and-the-inhuman-condition
                                By: Matt Cipolla
                                Posted: May 20, 2019, 4:02 pm

                              • நூல் : ஆரியர்க்கு முற்பட்ட தமிழ்ப்பண்பாடு

                                ஆசிரியர் : கா. கோவிந்தன்

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                                Original: http://freetamilebooks.com/ebooks/aariyarkuku_murpatta_tamizhpanbaadu/
                                By: admin
                                Posted: May 20, 2019, 1:01 am

                                ஆரியர்க்கு முற்பட்ட தமிழ்ப்பண்பாடு – வரலாறு – கா. கோவிந்தன்
                              • நூல் : என் வாழ்வு

                                ஆசிரியர் : அறிஞர் அண்ணா

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                                மின்னஞ்சல் : sraji.me@gmail.com

                                வெளியிடு : FreeTamilEbooks.com

                                உரிமை : Public Domain – CC0

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                                Original: http://freetamilebooks.com/ebooks/en_vaazhvu/
                                By: admin
                                Posted: May 20, 2019, 4:48 pm

                                என் வாழ்வு – நாவல் – அறிஞர் அண்ணா
                                • The BrewEstate

                                  Although different Indian state governments have been taking steps to curb drinking, India still expects high growth in consumption levels of alcohol to an average rate of 8.9% annually. Out of all the alcohol options available in the country, beer has been emerging as the dark house and it’s expected to grow more rapidly. Moreover, this is the best time for microbreweries in India as extinct flavors are being reinvented and new styles of beers are being brewed.  Delivering brewed beer at affordable rates, an array of innovative groundbreaking microbrewery startups have come up with innovative flavors, events and marketing strategies to drive customer traffic to breweries.

                                  Out of all the emerging microbreweries in India, The Brew Estate is the dark horse which has out beaten all.  In the microbrewery business since 2015, this is one of the most popular breweries in the country, especially in the northern part of India. In such a short span of time, they’ve gained enough accolades and appreciation to register their emergence in the microbrewery sector of India. In fact, no brewery in North India pushes more or thinks outside so many boxes. A class apart, their craft beer always sticks with you long after the hangover is gone.

                                  This ever-expanding brewing company began with the founder, Arundeep Singla, who had a passion for craft brewing. In 2010, he founded, Rock & Storm Distilleries, and started the operations with the installation of its first manufacturing plant in the Sangrur district of Punjab, the idea of which came after his experiences and learning during his post-graduate in professional accounting from Australia. Dynamic, daring and a go-getter—these words are revolving around the concept of the microbrewery culture and translating it into The Brew Estate, the first Microbrewery of Chandigarh. In those days, brewing small-batch beer involved challenges, mainly because of the scale of the industry at the time. Ever since its inception in December 2015 at Sector 26, Chandigarh, the brewery has seen tremendous growth. Its army of new modern outlets is loaded with hi-tech innovations, new seating areas, and décor; evolving every day to cater to new tastes with fresh ingredients and innovative flavors with modern cooking techniques. The brewery is known for takings risks by experimenting with different flavors to produce flavorful, unfiltered, quality, and small-batch craft beers, which made them the undisputed leader in the brewery sector.

                                  With the growth that The Brew Estate has shown in just a few years, it has surpassed the microbrewery mark to become one of the most popular breweries in the country. However, their modesty continues as they credit their success to obliging staff and loyal customers.

                                   

                                   

                                  The post Emerging Microbrewery in India appeared first on The Brew Estate.




                                  Original: https://www.brewestate.in/emerging-microbrewery-of-india/
                                  By: admin
                                  Posted: May 20, 2019, 7:08 am