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Michael-Movie Review 08/25/2012

Posted by Films to consider in British Film Institute Awards, Cannes Film Festival, Drama, Dublin International Film Festival, European Film Awards, German language film, Markus Schleinzer, Movies, Psychological Suspense.
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Michael (Austrian/German) 2011

Directed by Markus Schleinzer
Starring Michael Fuith and David Rauchenberger

WINNER, Best Actor (Fuith), Dublin Film Critics Award, Dublin International Film Festival
WINNER, Vienna Film Award-Best Feature (Schleinzer), Viennale
NOMINATED, Sutherland Trophy (Schleinzer), British Film Institute Awards
NOMINATED, Palme d’Or (Schleinzer), Cannes Film Festival
NOMINATED, European Discovery of the Year (Schleinzer), European Film Awards

Don’t mistake this for the 1996 movie starring John Travolta as the archangel Michael!

Trying to come up with a word to describe this film, I bow to so many other reviewers and use the word chilling. It’s definitely a case of caveat spector, with subject matter that is not easy to portray or to watch. But sometimes a reminder is needed that monsters such as the title character exist in this world.

Michael (Fuith) is a mild-mannered but decidedly odd insurance agent who is secretly holding a ten-year-old boy prisoner in his house. Michael leaves clues by his weird behavior but no one heeds them.

Director Schleinzer lets the viewer fill in many of the blanks along the way, which leads to a restrained telling of a difficult story and a very effective ending. The film includes what I thought was the scariest version of the song “Sunny” I can imagine.

96 min. Not rated (not suitable for children)


Tulpan-Movie Review *** 09/04/2011

Posted by Films to consider in Asia Pacific Film Awards, British Film Institute Awards, Cannes Film Festival, Comedy, Kazakh/Russian language film, Light Drama, Movies, Sergey Dvortsevoy.
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Tulpan (Kazakh/Russian) 2008

*** Highly recommended.

Among many wins and nominations:
WINNER, Un Certain Regard, Cannes Film Festival
WINNER, Best Film; NOMINATED, Achievement in Directing (Dvortsevoy), Asia Pacific Film Awards
WINNER, Sutherland Trophy, British Film Institute Awards
WINNER, Muhr Award, Best Actor (Kuchinchirekov), Dubai International Film Festival
WINNER, Feature Film Award, Montréal Festival of New Cinema

Directed by Sergey Dvortsevoy

Starring Askhat Kuchinchirekov, Ondasyn Besikbasov, and Tulepbergen Baisakalov

On the desolate Hunger Steppe in Kazakhstan, Asa (Kuchinchirekov) is looking for love and learning to be a shepherd. He gets questionable advice from Boni (Baisakalov), his good friend, who has gold-capped teeth and a fun-loving attitude toward life.

Asa is living in very close quarters with his sister Samal and her family, including her three endearing children; Samal’s husband Ondas (Besikbasov) is equally determined to see Asa set up his own household. Prospects are limited. The mysterious (and never seen) Tulpan is the only young woman in the region available for marriage, but she reportedly doesn’t like Asa’s big ears.

In this very funny, joyous, and touching story, viewers get an up-close and personal look at life on the harsh steppe, to the point of seeing sheep as they give birth and even get CPR of sorts from their human caretakers. A very worthwhile film and highly recommended.

100 min. Not rated. Younger kids might not want to watch some of the animal scenes.