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Midnight’s Children-Movie Review 01/26/2014

Posted by Films to consider in Based on a novel, British, Emotional Drama, Fantasy, Genie Awards, London Film Festival, Movies, Valldolid International Film Festival.
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MIDNIGHT’S CHILDREN (British/Hindi) 2012
Based on the novel by Salman Rushdie

Screenplay written by Salman Rushdie et al.
Directed by Deepa Mehta
Starring Satya Bhabha, Shahana Goswami, and Rajat Kapoor

Check out wins and nominations on IMDB

The title Midnight’s Children refers to those babies born at the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947, the date that India declares independence from Great Britain. The children are born with special powers, with each individual having his or her own specialty. However, two of the babies are switched in the hospital, leading Saleem to be raised by wealthy parents instead of living a life of poverty. As changes occur in the political landscape, Saleem’s life also undergoes changes, but Midnight’s Children are always part of it.

A good movie that, considering the novel it was based on, could have been better. The first part was much better than the second part, which seemed rushed and less intriguing. Rushdie wrote the screenplay, as far as I can tell his only attempt at this. Deepa Mehta is known for his trilogy of films: Fire; Earth; and Water.

148 min. Not rated. Not suitable for children.

 

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Last Train Home-Movie Review *** 09/19/2013

Posted by dbinder in Asia Pacific Film Awards, Chinese language film, Documentary, Genie Awards, Movies, News and Documentary Emmy Awards, Sundance Film Festival.
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Last Train Home (Chinese) 2009 ***

Documentary film
Directed by Lixin Fan
Starring Zhang Changhua, Chen Suqin, Zhang Qin, Zhang Yang, and Tang Tingsui

Among other awards and nominations:
WINNER, Best Documentary Feature Film, Asia Pacific Screen Awards
WINNER, Best Documentary, Genie Awards
WINNER, Emmy Award-Best Documentary and Outstanding Business and Economic Reporting-Long Form, News and Documentary Emmy Awards
NOMINATED, Grand Jury Prize, World Cinema – Documentary (Lixin Fan), Sundance Film Festival

This documentary film illustrates the damaging effect of migrant work on several generations of a family. Changhua and his wife, Suqin, who work in the big city, try to return to their home in a rural area of China for the annual Chinese New Year holiday. The parents, who have lived away from home since their children were born, must join the throngs of others trying to get to the countryside at the same time. They will wait for expensive, crowded, and infrequent trains at the Guangzhou Train Station.

Director Lixin Fan has managed to capture some very honest reactions, especially from the rebellious teenage daughter who has also moved to the big city. We learn about the deplorable living and working conditions of the migrant workers, as well as why they left their home and who is left behind there.

Highly recommended.

87 min. Not rated. Suitable for teens.

 

Café de flore-Movie Review *** 03/19/2013

Posted by Films to consider in Atlantic Film Festival, Drama, Emotional Drama, French (Canadian) language film, Genie Awards, Highly recommended, Jean-Marc Vallée, Jutra Awards, Movies, Romance, Satellite Awards, Toronto Film Critics Association Awards, Vancouver Film Critics Circle.
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Café de flore (Canadian/French) 2011 ***

Written and directed by Jean-Marc Vallée
Starring Vanessa Paradis, Evelyne Brochu, Hélène Florent, Kevin Parent, and Marin Gerrier

Among other wins and nominations:
WINNER, Best Canadian Feature, Atlantic Film Festival
WINNER, Best Leading Actress (Paradis); NOMINATED, Best Director (Vallée); Best Motion Picture; Best Supporting Actor (Gerrier); Best Supporting Actress (Florent); Best Screenplay (Vallée), Genie Awards
WINNER, Best Actress (Paradis); Best Cinematography; NOMINATED, Best Director (Vallée), Jutra Awards
NOMINATED, Best Actress (Florent), Satellite Awards
NOMINATED, Best Canadian Film (Vallée), Toronto Film Critics Association Awards
WINNER, Best Canadian Film (Vallée); Best Supporting Actress (Florent); NOMINATED, Best Actress (Paradis); Best Director, Vancouver Film Critics Circle

Café de flore is a somewhat complicated story, the result of two intertwined, and seemingly unrelated, tales about love from different time periods. In one, in late 1970s Paris, a young woman struggles to raise her Down Syndrome son; in the other, a modern Montreal family copes with the parents’ split and the father’s new marriage.

I admit that for a time I mostly stuck with the film because of the great soundtrack, and the way the director beautifully juxtaposed scenes from the two time periods. Eventually the story did make enough sense to make the watching more than worthwhile.

Acclaimed actress Vanessa Paradis (who plays the mother in the earlier time period) is a popular French singer/actress who lived with Johnny Depp for a number of years (they have two children). I recently saw her in the just-okay French comedy Heart Breaker.

Café de flore is the only film credited to the remarkable, award-winning young Marin Gerrier, who portrays her son.

Highly recommended.

120 min. Rated R.