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Features Live Action Movies

Saint Omer (Saint-Omer)

Director – Alice Diop – 2022 – France – Cert. 12a – 122m

*****

Researching a proposed book, an academic visits Saint Omer to attend the trial of a woman who murdered her own 15-month old baby – out in UK cinemas on Friday, February 3rd

Holding her baby, a woman walks into the sea.

University lecturer Rama (Kayije Kagame) plans to write a book based around a court case at the Saint Omer criminal court. Her head is full of memories of her mother, with whom her relationship could, at times, be tense. She takes the train to the town, which is in the Northernmost part of France, near the border with Belgium. The Senegalese defendant Laurence Coly (Guslagie Malanda) – the woman seen at the start of the film – is accused of the murder of her 15-month old child Elise.

In her defence, Coly, who has confessed to the murders, claims to have been cursed, that she herself therefore isn’t the party responsible for the killing. Her courtroom testimony unpacks her relationship with her separated parents: she lived with her mother but never really got on with her since they had little in common, while her father paid for her school tuition as he wanted her to study law.… Read the rest

Categories
Features Live Action Movies

The Road To The Race Track (Gyeongmajang Ganeun Kil, 경마장 가는 길)

Director – Jang Sun-woo – 1991 – South Korea – Cert. 18 – 138m

*****

An academic returns to Korea expecting to hook up with the woman student with whom he lived in Paris, and they meet up, but she now repulses his physical advances part of a strand of films celebrating actress Kang Soo-Yeon (1966-2022) from LKFF, the London Korean Film Festival which runs in cinemas from Thursday, November 3rd to Thursday, November 17th

As soon as R (Moon Sung-keun) arrives at the airport in Korea, he makes contact with J (Kang Soo-Yeon) and they get a room together, but she confounds his expectations by fending off his attempts at physical sex with her. This wasn’t what he was expecting, since she seemed willing enough when they lived together in Paris. He is desperate to have sex with her, but instead she offers to drive him first to the bus station and then to his home town, where he is reunited with his wife (Kim Bo-yeon), kids and extended family.

Whatever affection he once had for his wife has long since evaporated, and he callously repulses her attempts at intimacy in the bedroom. Brief scenes between the husband and wife punctuate the remaining narrative, the wife becoming increasingly hostile.… Read the rest

Categories
Features Live Action Movies

After Yang

Director – Kogonada – 2022 – US – Cert. PG – 96m

****1/2

In the distant future, a couple must come to terms with the loss of the eldest child, actually an A.I. purchased as an ethnically programmed companion for their adopted South East Asian daughter – SF mystery drama is on Sky Cinema from Thursday, September 22nd

Memory is one of the great themes of cinema because when you point a moving image camera at someone, you capture and preserve their moving image for posterity. (Something similar happens when you record the sound of someone’s voice. Or even if you write down their words on paper, a simpler, more primitive form of recording.) Memory is also one of the elements which defines us as human beings.

Full marks, then, to director (actually writer, director, editor) Kogonada for taking the short story Saying Goodbye To Yang by Alexander Weinstein and expanding it into a feature. As described in the parlance of the distant future world in which this is set, Yang is a technosapien (i.e. a robot), a purchased elder sibling of a family comprising father Jake (Colin Farrell), mother Kyra (Jodie Turner-Smith) and daughter Mika (Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja).

Mika is adopted, and her ever so Hollywood liberal parents – he a white man who has built a business around his passion for tea, she a black woman who is a hard-working, highly motivated high-flier in a demanding corporate business that’s never really defined – are concerned that she connect with her South East Asian heritage.… Read the rest