At Film Space on Saturdays at 7 pm
February is “The Month of Hard-pressed Women” at Film Space. March, “The Month of Disastrous Life.”
Film Space is to the right and in the back of the CMU Art Museum, in the Media Arts and Design building across from the ballet school. Showings are in a classroom on the second floor or on the roof, weather permitting. A contribution is requested in the donation box at the entrance – you should leave at least 20 baht. Well worth supporting.
At Film Space Saturday, February 20, 7 pm: Day Night Day Night / Jour nuit, jour nuit (2006) by Julia Loktev – 94 mins – US/ Germany/ France, Crime/ Drama/Thriller. StarringLuisa Williams, Josh Phillip Weinstein, Gareth Saxe, Nyambi Nyambi. Generally favorable reviews: 61/66 out of 100.
Rotten Tomatoes: Consensus: Day Night Day Night is a minimalist drama that refuses to indulge in stereotypes, making it all the more realistic and chilling.
Caution: What follows contains spoilers!
Studio description: A 19-year-old girl prepares to become a suicide bomber in Times Square. She speaks with no accent; it's impossible to pinpoint her ethnicity. We never learn why she made her decision -- she has made it already. We don't know whom she represents, what she believes in - we only know she believes it absolutely. The film strips the story down to its existential core. It focuses on microscopic movements, the smallest gestures, an economy of banal details. Inspired in part by a story in a Russian newspaper and playing off a history of Joan of Arc films, the film transpires on the girl's face. The minimalism of the face is confronted with the visual and aural noise of the city. Faith comes face-to-face with the possibility of failure. -- © IFC Films
Salon.com, Andrew O'Hehir: Day Night Day Night has captured viewers' attention around the world for its remarkable craftsmanship, technical command, and distinctive vision.
Reverse Shot, Kristi Mitsuda: I’d heard about Day Night Day Night before seeing it, which is to say, I already knew too much. I can only imagine the frisson of terror that must pass through the unprepared spectator when the realization dawns that the film’s young, decent-seeming protagonist, with whom she’s been positioned to identify, is an extremist targeting Times Square. But, foreknowledge or no, watching Julia Loktev’s bold first fiction feature (with the added, uncanny resonance, in my case, of seeing it projected in a screening room located within blocks of the depicted detonation site) is a harrowing experience. From the opening shot, in which we follow this stranger (played by neophyte Luisa Williams), staring straight into her ponytail, her disorientation becomes ours as her eyes sweep around an apparently unfamiliar locale. Amplifying the sound of her footsteps, the writer-director deposits us immediately into her shoes. What Loktev (a New Yorker herself) brilliantly, horrifyingly guides us to reckon with in Day Night Day Night are the ways in which the terrorist—considered the ultimate Other in our time, an abomination of humanity—is completely, ordinarily human. We can’t comprehend the reprehensible end goal but, moment after moment, we relate to her. This is what makes the movie so profoundly frightening: though she is willing to commit this heinous act, we recognize that we can, and in fact do, sympathize with her.
At Film Space Saturday, February 27, 7 pm: Maria Full of Grace / Maria, llena eres de gracia (2004) by Joshua Marston – 101 mins – Colombia/US/ Ecuador, Drama/ Thriller/ Crime. StarringCatalina Sandino Moreno, Virginia Ariza, Yenny Paola Vega, Johanna Andrea Mora. A pregnant Colombian teenager becomes a drug mule to make some desperately needed money for her family. Rated R in the US for drug content and language. Reviews: Universal acclaim: 87/83 out of 100.
Rotten Tomatoes: Consensus: In a striking debut, Moreno carries the movie and puts a human face on the drug trade. Winner of the Dramatic Audience Award at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, two major awards at the Berlin Film Festival and six awards at the Cartagena Film Festival, Joshua Marston's Maria Full of Grace follows a bright, gutsy young woman on a life-changing - and life-threatening - journey. The film sweeps us along on its heroine's unpredictable odyssey from Colombia to New York, weaving a gripping narrative of risk, determination, and survival. Confronting crises that test her to the very core, Maria finally emerges at the threshold of a new future, one that will be defined by what she wants rather than what she rejects. Pausing at that threshold, Maria makes her choice and moves forward, carried by her grit and grace.
Maria Full of Grace made its world premiere in Official Competition at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Dramatic Audience Award.
Chiang Mai Mail, Mark Whitman: A masterly debut by Joshua Marston called Maria Full of Grace. This searing portrait of the life and travails of a Colombian young woman tricked into being a drug mule was one of the best films of the current, dying decade.
March is “The Month of Disastrous Life” at Film Space.
At Film Space Saturday, March 6, at 7 pm: Tôkyô sonata / Tokyo Sonata /トウキョウソナタ(2008) by Kiyoshi Kurosawa – 120 mins – Japan/ Netherlands/ Hong Kong, Drama. Generally favorable reviews: 80/81 out of 100.
Rotten Tomatoes: Consensus: J-Horror director Kiyoshi Kurosawa turns successfully to dramedy and gives a unique (and specifically national) perspective to the universal subjects of family and identity.
Best known in the United States for bizarre and unsettling horror films like Pulse and Cure, Kiyoshi Kurosawa ventures away from that category with Tokyo Sonata. Of course, Kurosawa is incapable of directing a straightforward picture, and Tokyo Sonata is no exception. Retaining the same masterful control over mood and atmosphere that he has displayed throughout his career, Kurosawa infuses this family drama with an underlying tension that permeates the film even during its most humorous moments. The story concerns a Japanese businessman, husband, and father of two, who unexpectedly loses his job. Unable to break the news to his devoted wife, he dresses up every morning and pretends to go to work, instead wasting the days away with a former classmate who is also unemployed. Although they aren't aware of his contradictory behavior, his family begins to disobey him nonetheless. His teenage son enlists in the Army in order to fight for the United States, while his adolescent son goes behind his back to take piano lessons. The longer his charade goes on, the less control he has as patriarch, creating an even deeper divide between him and his family. With Tokyo Sonata, Kurosawa has produced one of his most original and accomplished works. Equal parts social commentary and situational comedy, Kurosawa's film also feels like a thriller, thanks to the exceptionally atmospheric work from cinematographer Akiko Ashizawa and composer Kazumasa Hashimoto.