Thursday, 13 October 2011

LFF DAY 2: Around the world

On opening night, Fernando Meirelles and his cast traversed the red carpet in Leicester Square for the film 360, which travels across North America and Europe. Meanwhile, the festival is travelling all over the globe over the next 15 days. Here are a few highlights from day 2...

Dark Horse

dir Todd Solondz; with Jordan Gelber, Selma Blair 11/US ****
Todd Solondz takes another hilariously pitch-black exploration of human behaviour with a film populated by excellent actors playing seriously messed up characters. And it can't help but force us to look at how we interact with people around us. It centres on slacker Abe (Gelber) who has been pampered all his life by his parents (Christopher Walken and Mia Farrow) and hasn't a clue that he's actually a loser. So he pursues a depressed girl (Blair) with unnatural relentlessness. The comical disconnect between Abe's vision of himself and how everyone else sees him provides plenty of scope for dark humour, and Solondz never passes judgment on any of his characters. Which means we see a bit of ourselves in there too.


dir Dee Rees; with Adepero Oduye, Kim Wayans 11/US ***
Expanded from her Iris-winning short, Rees' feature debut is a bracingly original variation on the usual coming-out and coming-of-age movie, getting under the skin of its vivid characters in ways that are hugely involving. Set in inner-city New York, it follows boyish 17-year-old Alike (Oduye), a straight-A student everyone is worried about since she's hanging out with the "wrong" crowd: namely a group of lesbians. And when Alike's mother virtually forces her to hang out with one of her friends' daughters, things take a twist no one can predict - especially a naive 17-year-old. Alike's journey is thoroughly engaging, and Oduye's performance is stunning. So it's a bit frustrating that other characters are rather overplayed. Still, it's a powerful film that really gets us thinking.

The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975

dir-scr Goran Olsson; with Angela Davis, Stokeley Carmichael 11/Swe ****

By taking a journalistic approach from outside the USA, this film helps us see the turbulent events surrounding the Black Power movement in a new light. And it's powerfully relevant today... FULL REVIEW >

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