Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sunday at EUFF - Day 4

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Note: Times have been revised to reflect the EU’s current thinking, but based on past experience, you might be wise to give each time after the first film of the evening an additional 10 or 20 minutes earlier starting time.



Title/Original Title/Country/Category/Director/Length/Festival Synopsis/My Comments


6:00 PM

Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff (2010)

Original Title: Camaraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff

Country: U.K.

Category: Film Documentary

Director: Criag McCall

Principal Cast: Jack Cardiff, Martin Scorsese, Kirk Douglas, Lauren Bacall, Charlton Heston, Richard Attenborough, Kim Hunter.

Length: 90 min


Cameraman illuminates a unique figure in British and international cinema, Jack Cardiff, a man whose life and career span nine decades of cinema history and whose credits stretch to over one hundred movies. The word "Legend" is all too frequently used in Hollywood, yet Jack Cardiff's story surely proves him truly worthy of that title. Jack was awarded an honorary Lifetime Achievement Oscar in 2001. He died aged 94 in April, 2009.


Cole Smithey: Essential viewing for fans of the cinematographer's craft, Craig McCall's fascinating documentary about one of the greatest cameramen of all time is a film to be cherished. Jack Cardiff began his film career at the age of four in 1918 as a child actor. By the time he was a teenager Cardiff was working as a camera assistant, and in 1939 he operated the camera for his first feature film "Main Street of Paris." Cardiff's bountiful work with Michael Powell and Emeric Pressberger, beginning with "The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp" (1943), allows Cardiff to exhibit his virtuosic camera abilities that intuitively know how to take full advantage of the Technicolor technology he helped usher in with "Wings of the Morning" (1937), the first feature film shot using the process. Hearing Jack Cardiff tell stories from his amazing career working with actresses like Marlene Dietrich and Marilyn Monroe is a golden opportunity for any audience, regardless of their sphere of interest. Jack Cardiff was an accomplished painter and his passion for art informed his uncanny ability to work quickly to achieve visual compositions of supernatural beauty and light. "African Queen," "War & Peace," "Black Narcissus," and "The Red Shoes" are just a few of the visually stunning movies from Jack Cardiff's resume that are referenced in this entertaining look at a true master of the cinema. Unforgettable.

7:40 PM

Heaven’s Heart (2008)


Original Title: Himlens Hjärta

Country: Sweden

Category: Drama

Director: Simon Staho

Principal Cast: Mikael Persbrandt, Lena Endre, Maria Lundqvist.


Awards: 2009 – Guldbagge Awards: Best Supporting Actress

Length: 95 mins


Lars and Susanna have been married for twenty years. They love each other dearly and together they have created a secure, happy life with well-paid jobs, a large house, two cars and a daughter who is about to move away from home. Life has turned out just as happily and comfortably for Susanna’s best friend Ann and her husband Ulf, who will also shortly be celebrating their twentieth wedding anniversary. One evening when the two couples are having dinner together, Susanna tells the others about an adulterous colleague. The story provokes strong reactions that cause a dramatic showdown among the two couples - and turns their lives and marriages upside down.long time ago: respect, pride, self-confidence, and a renewed zest for life. A stripped down, four character chamber drama that ventures into familiar territory with a decidedly cool head, Simon Staho’s Heaven’s Heart details a marital breakup with nuance and insight. Focusing entirely on two middle-aged, married couples as they confront adulterous impulses, the film begins with an extended dinner party sequence that firmly sets both the tone and the plot. Very quickly, the austere, minimalist world of Heaven’s Heart becomes a battleground over the meaning of marriage.

    Initially the film recalls Scenes From a Marriage, as it dissects its characters’ slow decline as they move from the point where they seem made for each other to the point where you marvel that they’ve managed to stay together for years. Here, though, existential concerns are so downplayed that comparisons to Bergman aren’t especially apt. More accurately, Heaven’s Heart feels like Liv Ullman’s Faithless. No particularly weighty themes are present to distract from the topic at hand. Instead Staho opts to recount the dissolution of the marriage in exacting detail, focusing on minute psychological shifts and moral betrayals.



9:20 PM

Prank (2009)


Original Title: Tréfa

Country: Hungary

Category: Drama

Director: Péter Gárdos

Principal Cast : Tamás Lengyel, Lóránd Váta.

Awards: 2009 - Budapest Hungarian Film Week

Best Director: Péter Gárdos

2009 - Ourense International Independent Film Festival, Special Mention

Length: 94 mins


It is 1912. In a small town's parish school run by priests, the pupils are overcome by a strangely overwhelming rowdiness, leading them to come up with outrageous pranks. The school welcomes a new teacher, Father Weigl, who is aghast at his colleagues' liberal approach to the excessively bad behavior of the teenage pupils. Father Zoltán, the former master, pays less and less attention to the events taking place all around him. His younger brother, deafened in a boxing match, was on his way to Boston for surgery at Father Zoltan's urging. The brother was aboard the Titanic, which collided with an iceberg. The official report on the injured and casualties is yet to be released.

All Movie Guide, Mark Deming: Doubt and discipline run headlong into one another in this period drama from Hungarian director Péter Gárdos. It's 1912, war looms on the horizon, and Father Zoltan, a priest who is one of the masters at a boy's boarding school, is struggling with doubt as he questions his faith. Zoltan is also edgy as he waits to learn if his brother, who was a passenger on the Titanic, died during the ship's disastrous maiden voyage. Zoltan is dealing with an especially troublesome group of new students, many of whom have become fond of playing practical jokes on one another as well as the staff, with misfit classmate Szebeni receiving more than his share of abuse. Father Weigl is a new member of the faculty who has been hired to teach physical education; Weigl is a stern taskmaster who tolerates no disrespect from the boys, and when he decides that the mischief at the school has gone too far, he deals with his charges with an iron hand. However, Weigl's determination to punish the youngsters goes too far, with disturbing consequences. Tréfa (aka Prank) received its North American premiere at the 2009 Chicago International Film Festival.




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