Thursday, November 11, 2010
Note: Times have been revised to reflect the EU’s current thinking, but based on past experience you might be wise to get there an additional ten minutes earlier for the second film of the evening, and twenty minutes for the third. The authorities are saying the sound of the movies is too loud and runs too late into the night.
Title/Original Title/Country/Category/Director/Length/Festival Synopsis/My Comments
Original Title: Poker
Director: Sergiu Nicolaescu
Principal Cast: Horatiu Malaele, Vladimir Gaitan, Valentin Teodosiu and Jean Constantin.
Length: 112 mins
Four boys start neglecting school to meet in a hidden location and play poker. As time goes by, their poker game becomes more serious, while at the same time bringing them closer as friends. Now that they are grown-ups, Claudiu, Titel, Horia, and Marcel are known as the resourceful politician, the surgeon who knows people, the adventurous gangster, and the millionaire architect. Behind their normal day-to-day activities the boys hide serious, money-making businesses. Their last “match” reveals that each of the four friends has a secret plan the others don’t know about and soon their traditional poker game turns into a ridiculous bluff.
IMDb viewer: The eternal and fascinating Romania
This is not one of the best movies that Romanian cinematography has produced. However, it does have the name of long standing director and actor Sergiu Nicolaescu attached to it, which is probably the reason for the high revenues that it is producing.
I believe that most viewers will find at least a few elements in the film that they can relate to, whether it is the strong friendship between the main characters, the politics, or even the game of poker.
The best part about the movie is the manner in which it portrays the social politics of Romanian "elites.” The conversations between the main protagonists are disgustingly appealing and they apply to most politicians across the world.
The worst part about the movie was, in my opinion, the chaotic style of some scenes that is specific to Nicolaescu. The audience got lost in some of the conversations and I personally felt a bit disoriented during the quick succession of camera angles at times.
Original Title: Kickoff
Category: Cheerful documentary
Director: Hüseyin Tabak
Awards 2010 - Diagonale Festival of Austrian Film: Youth Jury Prize for Best Young Talent Film, Audience Award
Length: 94 mins
The Homeless World Cup is an annual, international football tournament, uniting teams of people, among them the homeless, asylum seekers, former alcoholics, and drug addicts. Kick-Off is a documentary that follows the Austrian team as they prepare physically and mentally for the tournament in Melbourne, Australia, in 2008. The film tells the stories of these determined individuals as they regain feelings they lost a long time ago: respect, pride, self-confidence, and a renewed zest for life.
Eight people from the streets of Austria getting their second chance in life by competing at the Homeless World Cup in Melbourne. The street-soccer championship for homeless people, asylum seekers, former alcoholics, and drug addicts. None of them will earn money in this competition; it's about much more than that: a chance to play themselves their way back into life. Soccer gives them back feelings they lost a long time ago: respect, pride, self-confidence. And renewed zest for life. Perhaps, above all, renewed zest for life.
The Heretic (2005)
Original Title: Maestro Deglierrori, Il
Director: Pietro Maria Benfatti
Principal Cast: Tobias Moretti, Remo Girone, Robert Stadlober, Lino Capolicchio, Melanie Berton, Gianni Musy, Luigi Maria Burruano, Ernesto Mahieux.
Length: 105 mins
The Heretic is a story of the life of Cecco d'Ascoli, who lived between the end of the 1200s and the beginning of the following century. A man of science, teacher of medicine at the Bologna University, he was forced to stop teaching in 1325 after he held lectures on the ‘commento alla Sfera del Sacrobosco'. Accused of heresy by the Inquisition, he was condemned to death in 1327.
Il Maestro Degli Errori (The Master Of Errors, by Pietro Maria Benfatti, June 3, 9:30 pm, Carlton) transplants courtroom drama to 14th-century Florence, where it follows the travails of heretical Bolognese court astrologer Maestro Cecco while making debate over the finer points of Catholic doctrine seem somehow sexy.
Manila Bulletin: “Il Maestro Degli Errori,” which also goes by the English title, “The Heretic,” revolves around Cecco d’Ascoli, a scientist, poet and teacher of medicine who stood firmly by his beliefs even if it meant being convicted of heresy, thus, his death at the stake in 1327.
Director Pietro Maria Benfatti captured the era of Inquisition when personal agenda and connections could seal the fate of a suspected heretic. This way, the viewer understands why despite Cecco’s sound defense of astrology and predestination, he was still convicted of practicing witchcraft and unorthodoxy.
By Sergiu Nicolaescu
IMDb viewer, Gheorghe Popescu from Romania: This is iconic Romanian director's second comedy and a social satire
In the history of Romanian cinema, Sergiu Nicolaescu's name stands for "prolific, highly commercial, and professional.”
At the age of 80, the director launched in April his latest production, which is also his second comedy in a long row of action and historic films. Poker is a cinema adaptation of Adrian Lustig's theatre play with the same name, and focuses on four male friends, representatives for the social canvas: a doctor without a moral conscience, an unscrupulous politician, a chief of the local mafia, and a businessman who made a fortune in America. Nicolaescu says the subject is "more contemporary than ever and reflects the political reality perfectly," even if it had to be delayed due to other director's projects.
Poker looks at immorality and intrigues in politics, hinting at the fact that contemporary Romania is a day to day jungle where strings are pulled by those in power, so everything turns into a poker round, where those who have the right aces in their sleeve can win.
Born in April 1930, Sergiu Nicolaescu is a Romanian film director, actor, and politician. He is best known for his historical movies, such as Mihai Viteazul (1970, released in English both under the equivalent title Michael the Brave and The Last Crusade), Dacii (1966, Warriors), Razboiul Independentei (1977, War of Independence), as well as for his series of thrillers that take place in the Kingdom of Romania, such as Un comisar acuza (1973, A Police Inspector Calls). He is one of the most popular film directors in Romania. Nicolaescu's debut as a director was in 1962 with the short film Scoicile nu au vorbit niciodata (Shells Have Never Spoken). His first feature film was the 1966 French-Romanian co-production Dacii (Les Guerriers). Nicolaescu continued his film-making career by directing a large number of movies and also starring in many of his own movies.
By Hüseyin Tabak
Cineclub: The Homeless World Cup is an annual, international football tournament, uniting teams of people, among them the homeless, asylum seekers, former alcoholics, and drug addicts. The teams take part in a once in a lifetime opportunity to represent their country and change their lives forever. None of them will earn money in this competition – it’s about much more than that: a chance to play themselves back into life.
Director Hüseyin Tabak
Kick-Off is a remarkable documentary that follows the Austrian team as they prepare physically and mentally for the tournament in Melbourne Australia in 2008. The film tells the stories of these determined individuals as they regain feelings they lost a long time ago: respect, pride, self-confidence, and a renewed zest for life.
To find out more about this project visit www.homelessworldcup.org
Hüseyin Tabak, born in 1981 in Germany, discovered his love for film making at the age of 13: with his father’s camera he filmed Street-Soccer-Tournaments. After gaining practical experience in more than 20 film and TV productions in Hamburg he enrolled in 2006 at the Department of Film and Television (Film Academy Vienna) of the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna (http://www.mdw.ac.at/?pageid=144). Already his first short film, "Cheeese,” about a Kurdish family during the Iraq War in 2003, produced in 2008 at the Film Academy Vienna, received international praise. More information on Hüseyin Tabak (in German only) at http://oe1.orf.at/artikel/231243.
Trailer can be seen on YouTube here.
For an extended article on the film and its production, see here. The article starts: “Director Hüseyin Tabak, a student at the Vienna Film Academy, accompanied the Austrian team for the Homeless World Cup 2008 during training for the tournament and to the event itself in Melbourne. In his first documentary film for the cinema, Kick Off, he recorded the way the men from the bleaker side of life played their way back into a semblance of normality.”
The Heretic / Il Maestro Degli Errori (2005)
By Pietro Maria Benfatti
Manila Film Festival: Il Maestro Degli Errori (The Heretic, Pietro Maria Benfatti, 2005) goes back all the way the 14th century. The movie is essentially a courtroom drama, the case being tried the alleged heresy of one Cacco d’Ascoli, a court astrologer who dared to teach things that went against Church doctrine.
The story is concerned with the life of Cecco d'Ascoli, who lived between the end of the 1200s and the beginning of the following century. A man of science, poet and astrologer, professor of medicine at the Bologna University , he was forced to stop teaching in 1325 after he held lectures on the "Commento alla Sfera del Sacrobosco". Accused of heresy by the Inquisition, he was condemned to death in 1327.
The director, Pietro Maria Benfatti, was born in 1954. In the 80s, he worked as Pupi Avati's assistant director in a number of films and attended directing and screenplay workshops . He worked as Giuseppe Piccioni's assistant director in 'L'elisir d'amore" and directed the play "La Diana Schernita" with Maurizio Di Mattia. He carried out research on a famous astronomer who was persecuted by the Inquisition in the 14th century, and drew a screenplay from it titled Leretico Il maestro degli errori, which was awarded by the Prime Minister's Office - Department of the Performing Arts. However, the resulting movie was only shown abroad and never in movie theaters in Italy because of economic/legal problems linked to production.