Movie Diary 1/4/2023

Another set of movies watched for an upcoming film festival jury – offered without much comment, in the spirit of not tipping my hand.

Alcarras (Carla Simon, 2022). Picking peaches in sunny Spain, an annual activity shadowed by the fact that this farm family is about to lose their land and their livelihood after a couple of generations. The actors, seamless in their chemistry, appear to be performing on screen for the first time.

Klondike (Maryna Er Gorbach, 2022). In 2014, at the Eastern edge of Ukraine, an absurdist standoff emerges when Russia begins its invasion. Not at all the tone, nor the calculated visual style, you might expect from the subject.

Holy Spider (Ali Abbasi, 2022). Set in Iran but shot in Jordan, the movie is a fictionalized take on a real-life serial killer who murdered female sex workers as a religious mission – and found popular support because of that. Zar Amir-Ebrahimi won the Best Actress prize at Cannes this year.

Return to Seoul (Davy Chou, 2022). A young woman, born in South Korea but raised in France by adoptive parents, undergoes a series of life-altering encounters after coming to Seoul for vacation.

War Sailor (Gunnar Vikene, 2022). Large-scale Norwegian production about two sailors drawn into World War II, and their increasingly harrowing experiences being far from home.

Kalev (Ove Musting, 2022). As the Soviet Union is collapsing, the Estonian basketball team makes its run in an annual Soviet tournament – an activity that has various athletic and political reverberations.

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