Thursday, 3 December 2015

As the year rockets towards a close I've seen some wonderful previews of films to release around Boxing Day or early in the New Year. Films like Suffragette, and The Danish Girl. But for now we have to make do with some of the more modest offerings that are out there, though I'm still desperately trying to play catch up to see those I've missed. (There IS a life outside of the cinema, you know!)  

Director: Christian Petzold
Length: 94 mins
It’s June 1945, the end of the war. Auschwitz survivor Nelly (Nina Hoss) returns to Berlin to look for her husband Johnny (Ronald Zehrfeld) who believes his wife to be dead, and is after her inheritance. Here’s the twist: Nelly has suffered a facial injury and has undergone reconstructive surgery, such that she looks pretty good, but not enough for Johnny to recognise her. He suggests Nelly pretend to be his dead wife (well, she is!!) and they can go after the money. Hoss and Zehrfeld play their roles well, and the film looks fabulous. It has in fact won a heap of awards but for me there are fatal flaws in the plot that render the whole thing unbelievable. 

Maybe worth a look!

For a full review from Chris Thompson (with whom I totally agree):

By the Sea
Director: Angelina Jolie Pitt
Length: 132 mins

This is a tricky one to review. It could cynically be seen as a vehicle for the star couple – a million miles away from the action of Mr and Mrs Smith, but something emulating the style of 1950s European arthouse cinema, all moody looks, artfully framed shots, long silences, and plenty of marital angst. Ex-dancer Vanessa and writer Roland head to a French coastal village to try to revive their flagging marriage. It’s obvious something is seriously wrong, and Vanessa won’t let Roland near her. We constantly get moments of insight into Vanessa’s disturbed brain, but what she is remembering we only discover near the film’s conclusion. Things spark up when the couple meet Lea and Francois, a honeymooning pair in the adjoining villa, whom Vanessa and Roland take to observing through a spyhole in the wall. This film is erotic, stylised, self-conscious in parts, but something about it succeeds, and a welcome addition is Neils Arestrup as Michel, the local bar owner.

Worth a look!

For a full review from Bernard Hemingway:


  1. I thought Phoenix was a lot better than that and engrossed myself in the study of what Germany and all its inhabitants were like directly after the war. On this level, it totally worked for me.

    By the sea .. well that was something else! great scenery and photography but the characters and storyline left me cold! I simply didn't care two hoots about them at all!

  2. Thanks for these responses Roberto. I love that we all see the films differently and I think everyone's view is valid!