Hyderabad Film Club October, 2008 programme
At Sri Sarathi Studios preview theatre, ameerpet
304, Padmavathi Mansion, Gayathri Nagar,
S.R. Nagar (P.O.), Hyderabad – 500 038. Ph : 040-23730841
10-10-2008 6.30 p.m. : KOLYA
Friday (Czech Republic/1996/Color/93 mins.)
Dir. Jan Sverák
14-10-2008 6.30 p.m. : BAD FAITH
Tuesday (France/2006/Color/98 mins.)
Dir. Roschdy Zem
in collaboration with
Alliance Francaise of Hyderabad
23-09-2008 6.30 p.m. : IF YOU LOVE ME, FOLLOW ME
Tuesday (France/2005/Color/100 mins.)
Dir. Benoît Cohen
in collaboration with
Alliance Francaise of Hyderabad
25-10-2008 6.30 p.m. : THE SON’S ROOM
Saturday (Italy/2001/Color/95 mins.)
Dir. Nanni Moretti
(Czech Republic/1996/Color/105 ins.)
Director : Jan Sverák
Producer : Eric Abraham, Jan Sverák
Writer : Zdenek Sverák
Cast : Andrej Chalimon, Libuse Safrankova,
Ondrej Vetchy, Stella Zázvorková,
The adjectival baggage dumped upon Il Postino relocated to Kolya. Words such as “heart-warming,” “tender” and “deeply affecting” battled for the high ground with “emotionally honest,” “compelling” and “a heart melter.” For once international critics went soggy in unison. The movie won the Golden Globe and Oscar for Best Foreign Film, 1996.
It has a simple story and relies to some extent on whether seven-year-old Andrej Chalimon pulls it off. He plays five-year-old Kolya, temporarily abandoned by his mother, who ends up in the Prague loft of a 55-year-old bachelor. This man, Frantisek Louka, specializes in the cello and married women. He is proficient at both, but untrained in parenting.
At first, the prospect appeals him, interfering, as it does, with his sex life and seriously undermining the freedom of movement he has grown accustomed to during the Communist occupation. And that’s another thing. The boy doesn’t speak a word of Czech. He is Russian. The whole episode is a nightmare, brought on by his own stupidity.
In a moment of weakness, he agreed to an arranged marriage to a Russian girl for enough money to clear his debts and buy a small car. When his “wife” disappeared after their unconsummated wedding night to join her lover in Germany, leaving her son, Kolya, with an aged aunt, who inconveniently dies, the hapless Louka becomes officially next of kin and, therefore, responsible for the sniveling child.
You can imagine what Hollywood would have made of this. Zsenek Sverak is from a different intellectual base. He wrote the script and plays Louka. His son Jan is the director. Together, they have transformed a potentially sentimental disaster area into a film worthy of those adjectives.
Andrej, by the way, pulls it off with such conviction any fears of emotional dishonesty are dispersed. Sverak Snr is so good at what he does; he leaves the majority of Californian scribes standing. Kolya deserves its accolades by accepting the challenge of a simple idea and turning it into a work of universal humanity.
Reviewed By: Angus Wolfe Murray
THE SON’S ROOM
Director : Nanni Moretti
Cast : Nanni Moretti, Laura Morante,
This latest Nanni Moretti film opens as a portrait of a well-to-do provincial family, in a wryly amusing style instantly familiar from the director’s previous pictures: dad (Moretti himself) is a psychiatrist whos getting tired of having to deal with his patients’ collective boredom; mum (Laura Morante) works in an art gallery by day but still finds time to come home and bake cakes for her two children. The son, Andrea (Giuseppe Sanfelice), is a schoolboy with a taste for practical jokes and a curious losing streak in school tennis games which dad is trying to analyse out of him; daughter Irene (Jasmine Trinca) is the grade-A student, poring over obscure Latin texts with a pot-smoking boyfriend dad has his doubts about. Then, just over a half-hour into the film, something happens, a tragic bolt from the blue. The remaining hour follows what remains of such a close-knit family as they try to pick up the pieces and cope with the extra space that’s opened up around the kitchen!
In comparison with the slightly dubious manner in which grief was manipulated to become a motivating force in the American picture In The Bedroom last year, any emotions felt in The Son’s Room are a lot gentler, but no less keenly felt. Moretti is more interested in the subtle repercussions – the ripples which pass across the water – which arise in the wake of such loss: dad works up a conspiracy around the death, and drifts off during his patients therapy sessions to worry he’s putting clients needs before those of his own family; daughter picks a fight in her next basketball game and gets herself suspended.
As the title suggests, this is a film of private spaces, places of contemplation where one can break down or hide (secrets) from the world: bedrooms, changing rooms, the shrink’s office. Inevitably, the cracks start to reappear in public arenas (the basketball court, a dinner party, a letter written to one of the deceased’s friends) where the protagonists try to share or displace their grief. Only by letting an outsider into those private spaces – getting a different perspective on events – do the family start getting back to some kind of normality, albeit a normality filtered through the relentlessly questioning mind of a psychiatrist.
An elegant, impressively crafted film, The Sons Room manages to be both very funny and terrifically sad within its duration. Time, of course, is always cited as the great healer in situations as desolate and as delicate as this; one might say that ninety-nine minutes in Morettis company would be a fine way to help anybody at least some of the way through the longest and loneliest of nights.
mike McCahill on 2nd January 2003
(France/2006/Color/ 98 mins./Comedy)
Directed : Roschdy Zem
Cast : Roschdy Zem, Cécile de France, Pascal Elbé…
A Guess Who’s Coming for Dinner? for the 21st century.
This is a romantic comedy about faith, love and the difficulties combining the two.
When Jewish Clara discovers that she is pregnant with her Muslim boyfriend’s baby, they realize that they are going to have do the unthinkable: meet each other’s families.
IF YOU LOVE ME FOLLOW ME
(Qui m’aime me suive)
Directed : Benoît Cohen
Cast : Mathieu Demy, Romane Bohringer, Eléonore Pourriat, Julie Depardieu…
35 year old Maxime Maréchal is a brillant surgeon working in one of the best hospitals in Paris.
However, when he was nineteen, Max played guitar in a rock ‘n’ roll band, and he’s never been able to beat the excitement of cranking up his amp in front of an audience. Faced with a promotion one day, he decides to quit in order to put his old band back together.
Max and company have been breaking in a set of new material when wife Anna learns her husband has quit medicine to play rock and roll, and while she decides to support his new ambition, that’s not to say she thinks this is a good idea.