Movie Diary 12/2/2019

A few more from Filmfestival Mannheim-Heidelberg, where I was on the FIPRESCI jury.

Ohong Village (Lungyin Lim, 2019). A hotshot who went off to Taipei to find success (with mixed results) returns to his seaside village, where the family oyster-farming business is fading. Shot in 16 mm. with fat saturated colors, this movie has something to look at, even if it spins its wheels a little much.

The Missed Round (aka El Piedra, Rafael Martínez Moreno, 2018). From Colombia, a story about a much-battered boxer who’s been known to take a dive for money. The arrival of a boy claiming to be his biological son threatens to turn the movie soft, although it doesn’t go entirely the way you expect. Lots of grit, lived-in places, and especially lived-in faces.

Fabulous (aka, and more precisely, Fabuleuses, Mélanie Charbonneau, 2019). Not sure what this Canadian crowd-pleaser is trying to do, with its story of a vapid online Influencer who influences our susceptible heroine. Whatever it is, it’s slickly done.

The Cotton Wool War (Marília Hughes, Cláudio Marques, 2018). An adolescent girl goes to Brazil to stay with her grandmother, who was once a serious, dedicated actress. The lackluster approach keeps this one from reaching the potential of some interesting ideas.

New Skin (aka La Meu, Alix Gentil, 2018). A young woman returns to her French-Spanish family home after abandoning the place years before; resentments continue. Some disastrous casting issues are a problem here.

Luciana – Land Blood and Magic (Gigi Roccati, 2019). In the south of Italy, a complicated situation involving property and exploitation leads to death. There’s also a young woman who is either touched in the head or blessed with second sight – whichever, it’s a problem the movie can’t solve; there’s something here that feels applied rather than organic.

The Unpromised Land (Victor Lindgren, 2019). From Sweden, a story about two teenage girls, one a Rom immigrant, the other an unworldly local. Maybe a little more of a concept than a movie, although some of the people onscreen are compelling.