Animals (Spain: 2012): Love and Death gets a Cool Treatment

Animals (2012)

Animals (2012)

Marçal Forés’s high school drama about a young man discovering his sexuality caught between surreal childhood fantasy and Romantic adolescent angst falls short of leaving an emotional impression. You’ll remember it as the sad movie about the boy with the yellow bear, but it’s too fixated on teen-aged death fantasy to feel genuine.

Rating

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NYAFF 2015: What We’re Looking Forward To

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NYAFF; The 3 I’m Seeing (l-r): Aim High in Creation (Australia: 2013); Maruyama: The Middle Schooler (Japan; 2013); The Eternal Zero (Japan: 2014)

The New York Asian Film Festival runs from June 27 – July 15 this year. I usually try to go to a few of the offerings. I generally like their program as it focuses more on popular films coming out of Asia and doesn’t limit itself to whatever broad critical acclaim brings us film festival tedium. The Asian films that European critics Love are seldom the ones that keep me engaged. One criticism I have of the festival is that “Asia” is narrowly defined as Japan, Korea and the China zone. Sure that covers 1.5 billion people, but there are other countries with robust film industries that are worth a peek. But for what it does, it usually has a line up of films that are worth seeking out.

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Review: Still the Water (Japan: 2014): A teenage love story for adults

Still the Water (2014)

Still the Water (2014)

Naomi Kawase’s Still the Water accomplishes something rare: a romance about young people that is clearly targeted to a more sophisticated adult audience that doesn’t rely on melodramatic tropes.  The nuanced characters, verdant natural scenery and rich themes could make this a film worth watching, but it is marred by pacing issues. I wouldn’t blame you if you checked your watch now and again. 

Rating:
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