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Europa

Director – Haider Rashid – 2021 – Iraq, Italy, Kuwait – Cert. 12a – 75 m

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A young Iraqi migrant is hunted by mercenaries after he crosses the Turkish/Bulgarian border – out in cinemas and on demand on Friday, March 18th

A number of movies hang over this bold adventure thriller about Kamal (Adam Ali), a young Iraqi migrant who after crossing from Turkey into Bulgaria finds himself hunted by paramilitaries with guns and balaclavas. One is the gothic classic The Most Dangerous Game / The Hounds Of Zaroff (Irving Pichel, Ernest B.Schoedsack, 1932) in which the passengers of a luxury liner shipwrecked on an island find themselves in a deadly relationship with the big game hunter who lives there. The others are much more recent. Utøya July 22 (Erik Poppe, 2018) is a one take recreation of the Utøya teen camp Summer massacre in which kids attempted to survive a rampaging gunman while Son Of Saul (László Nemes, 2015) follows a Jewish worker-prisoner around a Nazi death camp.

The connection with The Most Dangerous Game may actually be coincidental rather than deliberate, since what inspired Rashid was stories of real life migrants’ experiences. The locations are a Bulgarian woods not a constructed Hollywood jungle set, yet it fits neatly into that lineage.… Read the rest

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Features Live Action Movies

Memoir Of A Murderer (Salinjaui Gieokbeob, 살인자의 기억법)

Director – Won Shin-yeon – 2017 – South Korea – 118m

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A K-thriller with a memorable premise: serial killer with Alzheimer’s suspects man dating his daughter is also a mass murderer – at the London Film Festival 2017 and London Korean Film Festival 2018

At the start of Memoir Of A Murderer, Kim Byung-su (Sul Kyoung-gu) walks dazedly out of a dark tunnel into a white, wintry landscape. Like so much in this convoluted South Korean thriller, that might be highly significant or symbolic, a metaphor, a journey, a state of mind. Or it might not. It’s undeniably a visually striking and arresting starting point. In the manner of frame stories or flashbacks in so many films, we return to this sequence towards the end. But it’s not clear at the start that this is a flashback, and it’s no clearer at the end when this scene recurs.

That’s indicative of some of the games screenwriter Hwang Jo-yoon (co-screenwriter of Park Chan-wook’s Oldboy, 2003) and director Won Shin-yun want to play with their audience. They’re plugging into a long cinematic tradition of films dealing with impossible memory and that peculiar subset thereof most notably represented by Memento (Christopher Nolan, 2000) in which a main character suffers from amnesia or memory loss.… Read the rest