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Rams (2015)

In these types of icelandic films one gets used to frozen wastes; isolated farmhouses; and feuding neighbours or families. And the brothers were typical: not getting on with each other; (dog who carried messages between the two of them was a very humorous touch); in competition with each other. However, having had their sheep slaughtered due to disease, they both decided to head for the mountains with the remaining Ffw sheep which one brother had hidden in his cellar.

Disaster struck; the sheep died and one brother died in a dreadful thunderstorm but having being reconciled with his brother. So a somewhat happy ending!

Finely filmed and acted by the two brothers and supporting cast but the stars of the show were definitely the sheep!


Las Acacias (2011)

From the opening shots of the sunlight filtering through the trees; the smoke of burning timber in one corner and the arm of the trucker smoking a cigarette through the open window of his truck, one realised that this was no ordinary film.

First of all, there was no music in the film – only the sound of the gears of the lorry loaded with logs; noises from the road outside; the intermittent conversation between Ruben and Jacinta whom he was taking to Buenos Aires and the noises and smiles of little Anahi as they travelled along.

Suspense was kept up over nearly two hours of cinema as they journeyed between Paraguay and Argentina and as Ruben, Jacinta and little Anahi get to know each other.At first Ruben was quiet and withdrawn as was Jacinta but as the journey progressed Ruben was won over by the smiles of the little baby and eventually by Jacinta.

They learnt something of each other’s background: Ruben had a son whom he had not seen for 8 years; Jacinta worked for the same employer as Ruben and she stated “Anahi had no father.” All very puzzling! They stop various times over the journey: to feed and to change the baby; wash and eat and eventually arrived at Jacinta’s cousin’s house where she was met by all her relatives.

Saying goodbye, Ruben plucks up courage and suggests Jacinta join him on his next trip.

The acting done a lot of the time by just glances was superb and the part played by the little baby was absolutely delightful.

A wonderful, unusual film!


Vodka Lemon (2003)

A few comments about last night’s very memorable film beautifully filmed In those snowy wastelands where vodka was, no doubt, essential!

Many humorous touches in this film: at the opening the disposal of false teeth to enable the playing of the musical instrument; the lugging of huge items through the snow; for sale at the roadside for knock down prices; the cranky bus and singing driver; to name but a few.

Sensitive touches as well in the visitation of nina and hamo to the graves of their loved ones and their eventual relationship; the beautifully filmed wedding with the wedding feast with all its colour and the striking image of the band playing their different instruments against the backcloth of the snowy hills; the emptying of the house and
The thaw arriving and the departure of hamo and nina sitting and playing the piano hopefully to start a new life together.

Tragic touches – the musical daughter of nina who was working as a prostitute (very poignant picture of her walking through the snow having been rejected by one of her clients) and the shooting episode between the two brothers.

Against the white of the landscape the interiors were sparse, colourful and warm and one should mention the mysterious galloping horse often seen!

Film sleeping aids nicely rounded off – opening with hamo lugging his huge piece of furjniture through the snow on his own and ending with the couple playing the piano at the same place.

A delightful evening’s entertainment.


Life, Animated (2016)

I am so pleased I made the effort to come and see “Life Animated” last night.

I did not realise it was based on Ron Suskind’s real account of the life of his autistic son, Owen, but what a wonderful and very poignant film it is!

I thought the mixture of actual film footage, Disney cartoons, and black and white line drawings worked so well in telling the story of Owen’s life. He was a 3 year old boy who became silent and unable to communicate but eventually, his family discovered his love of Disney animated films and communicated with him through his love of these films; there was joy when his parents discovered this; there was humour in Owen’s “Disney film club”; happiness at his eventual graduation and gradual independence.

Without the help of his parents, teachers and doctors he may not have emerged as such a fine young man. I felt the film pointed out the worth of the lives of all of us. We all rely on parents, teachers, friends who could help us to be the people we desire to be.

A thought provoking evening!

Many thanks Screen St Ives.