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Features Live Action Movies

The Good Boss (El Buen Patrón)

Director – Fernando León de Aranoa – 2021 – Spain – Cert. 15 – 116m

***1/2

With a prestigious business competition coming up, a factory boss must keep the judges from stumbling upon his personal and corporate dirty laundry – out in cinemas on Curzon Home Cinema on Friday, July 15th

Any day now, the local committee will descend upon the Blanco Scales factory to see if the business should receive the prize money for an upcoming good business award. No-one knows exactly when they are likely to turn up, though, least of all Blanco (Javier Bardem) himself. So, clearly everything needs to be in good order to impress the judges when they turn up. Which should be fine, because Blanco prides himself in looking out for his work force and the company is one big, benevolent, happy family.

Except that it isn’t, because although Blanco sees it that way, the reality is that he only cares for his workforce insofar as doing so will enhance their productivity. He fires dissatisfied employee Jose (Óscar de la Fuente) who promptly sets up camp outside the factory gates – on land Blanco doesn’t own so he can’t evict him – and proceeds to chant anti-Blanco slogans on a daily basis.… Read the rest

Categories
Documentary Features Live Action Movies

Giraffe

Director – Anna Sofie Hartmann – 2019 – Germany, Denmark – 82m

****

On MUBI from Thursday, August 6th. As part of a series of films from the 2019 Locarno Film Festival.

There is a beautiful, lengthy shot of a giraffe at the start. Beyond that, it’s hard to know why it’s called that. No doubt we’re meant to construct our own ideas as to why this might be so.

Leaving that aside, this is a curious film, part drama, part documentary. Some of the time, you’re not exactly sure which of the two you’re watching.

A link is being built between Denmark and Holland that will require the demolition of numerous 19th Century farmhouses in its path. It falls to ethnologist Dana, 38 (Lisa Loven Kongsli) to compile a record of these houses and the people who lived in them before they are gone forever. The premises vary from derelict to maintained with occupants about to move out.

Going through one of the derelict farmhouses, Dana discovers the diary of one if its occupants and starts reading. The woman lived alone but had occasional romantic visitors, a compelling tale – for Dana at least, since it seems uncannily to mirror her own existence.… Read the rest

Categories
Features Live Action Movies

The Human Condition Trilogy (Ningen no joken, 人間の條件)

The Human Condition I: No Greater Love (Ningen no joken: Dai 1 hen)

Director – Masaki Kobayashi – 1959 – Japan – Cert. 15 – 208m

The Human Condition II: Road To Eternity (Ningen no joken: Dai 2 hen)

Director – Masaki Kobayashi – 1959 – Japan – Cert. 15 – 181m

The Human Condition III: A Soldier’s Prayer (Ningen no jôken: Kanketsu hen)

Director – Masaki Kobayashi – 1961 – Japan – Cert. 15 – 190m

*****

The following review originally appeared in Funimation UK.

Jeremy Clarke on a live action Japanese classic.

The main reason Masaki Kobayashi’s extraordinary trilogy The Human Condition has been scarcely seen in the West is its daunting nine hours plus length. That’s no longer the case thanks to its UK release on DVD and Blu-ray.

The trilogy’s three constituent films released two in 1959 and one in 1961 clock in at over three hours apiece which makes it long by any standard. Ostensibly three films spread over three discs in the new release it is to all intents and purposes one very long movie helpfully broken into six numbered parts of roughly equal length. This big screen cinema release viewed on a home cinema platform today stands up well alongside many contemporary TV mini-series.… Read the rest