Tuesday, October 21, 2008

London Film Festival: Black Sea + Down on the Street

Still from The Black SeaThis year's LFF has not yet really caught fire for me, unlike last year's which featured some very memorable films. This year one finds a lot of biopics (Oliver Stone's W, Steven Soderbergh's Che, Uli Edel's Der Baader Meinhof Komplex) plus the odd attention-grabber (Quantum of Solace??!!! Why, why, why?).

Anyway, on to a small, European film called Black Sea (dir Federico Bondi), almost a two-hander, really, with Gemma, an elderly Italian widow, taking in a new carer, Angela, who is from Rumania (see pic). Predictably, they start off in conflict and then slowly warm to each other. But, really, there is very little dramatic tension: Angela is just so darned nice from the off, while Gemma is bitterness personified. It's really Gemma who has to make the character journey. The film moves extremely slowly and the last quarter is when things happen, as they travel to Angela's hometown to look for her missing husband. Overlong but with beautiful performances by the leads.

Also viewed: shorts programme Down on the Street, billed as "the lives of young people around the world" but which really should be subtitled: stupid boys with guns. And drugs. The exception was Midnight Lost and Found (dir Atul Sabharwal), a delicate tale of two lonely souls trying to reach out to each other across barriers.

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