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Mysteries of Lisbon-Movie Review 07/15/2012

Posted by Films to consider in Athens Panorama of European Cinema, Golden Globes, London Critics Circle Film Awards, Prix Louis Delluc, Raoul Ruiz, São Paolo International Film Festival.
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Mysteries of Lisbon (Portuguese/French) 2010
Based on the novel by Camilo Castelo Branco

Directed by Raoul Ruiz
Starring Adriano Luz, Maria João Bastos, Ricardo Pereira, João Arrais, Joana de Verona, and Clotilde Hesme

Among other wins and nominations:
WINNER, Best Film, Athens Panorama of European Cinema
WINNER, Best Actor (Luz); Best Actress (Bastos); Best Film, NOMINATED, Best Actor (Pereira); Best Actress (de Verona), Golden Globes
NOMINATED, ALFS Award, Foreign Language Film of the Year, London Critics Circle Film Awards
WINNER, Best Film (Ruiz), Prix Louis Delluc
WINNER, Critics Award-Best Film (Ruiz), São Paulo International Film Festival

Based on Portuguese author Camilo Castelo Branco’s popular 19th-century novel, originally published serially in newspapers, Mysteries of Lisbon generally follows the story of João (Arrais), a boy whose parents were forbidden to marry. Raised by Padre Dinis (Luz), a kindly priest, the teenage João wishes to know the truth about his parentage. The viewer soon discovers that no one is who they seem to be.

Some compare Branco’s lengthy (900+ pages) novel to those of Charles Dickens, and the length of the film (more than 4 hours) might cause many to give pause, so caveat spector in that regard. Director Ruiz skillfully weaves the novel’s sprawling diversions and intertwining stories, which include subtle humor and the occasional flight of fancy. I found the story, with its depiction of the customs and lifestyles of the aristocracy of that time period, interesting, entertaining, and touching at the same time.

257 min. Not rated. Suitable for teens.


Strangers-Movie Review 01/24/2012

Posted by Films to consider in Awards of the Israeli Film Academy, Emotional Drama, English/French/Hebrew/Arabic language film, Jerusalem Film Festival, Movies, Romance, São Paolo International Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival.
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Strangers (English/French/Hebrew/Arabic) 2007

NOMINATED, Grand Jury Prize, World Cinema-Dramatic (Tadmor & Nattiv), Sundance Film Festival
WINNER, Most Promising Actress (Azabal), Jerusalem Film Festival
NOMINATED, Best Actor (Levo), Awards of the Israeli Film Academy
NOMINATED, International Jury Award (Tadmor & Nattiv), São Paolo International Film Festival

Directed by Erez Tadmor and Guy Nattiv
Starring Liron Levo and Lubna Azabal

An unlikely couple meets when they accidentally pick up each other’s backpack on a train in Berlin. The attraction they have for each other seems destined to go nowhere: Eyal (Levo) is Israeli and Rana (Azabal) is Palestinian. As both get caught up in the fervor surrounding the six days of the 2006 World Cup Soccer finals, their passionate affair develops into something that changes their lives.

Despite the odds against Eyal and Rana’s relationship, Levo and Azabal manage to create a very believable couple. Not overly long itself, this film was based on a short version that previously won at Sundance.

81 min. Not rated. Adult themes and sexual content.