Friday, December 20, 2013

Cinemanila Day 3

Yes, I know. What happened to Day 2, you ask? Unfortunately, there was technical difficulties and a lot of the screenings lined up for Day 2 were cancelled and replaced by films I have already seen. There were still technical difficulties in Day 3 but I still managed to see two films.

The Missing Picture
directed by Rithy Panh

One man recounts his experience under the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia. I've been to Cambodia and visited a lot of museums and learned a lot about it from the source. It's a story that's been told cinematically several times before but this one is unique in that it presents its re-enactments through a combination of shots of dioramas of clay figures interspersed with archival footage direct from the source. It's TECHNICALLY a documentary but its unique presentation elevates it into something that's almost poetic. It doesn't quite reach the greatness that it could have but it's still a beautifully mounted, heartfelt film that simply must be seen. (***1/2)

Neighboring Sounds
directed by Kleber Mendoca Filho
Oh, God. I loved this film. The synopsis doesn't do it justice and the over-two-hour running time may scare some people away. It's a multiple-storyline multi-character film about a middle-class neighborhood in a city in present-day Brazil. The film is basically a glimpse into the lives of the characters in the area. Some funny, some sad, some just a little weird. I don't want to say anything else because one of the pleasures of the film is discovering the characters and taking a peek into their lives. I was completely enraptured. Such a wonderful, wonderful film. I highly recommend it. (****)


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