A good, solid day of 4 films, each interesting starting off with Amador from Spain directed by Fernando León De Aranoa. There was a dark humour running through this one, though at the same time portraying a sense of fragility and dilemma. Centering on a woman making sense of where she’s at, moving between her partner’s world of trying to make ends meet and that of the old man she looks after. Everyone was keeping secrets of different sorts, though they were handled gently, without overwrought explosions. Ultimately, it was about making decisions or having them made for you. It ended well and not quite in the way I expected.
Second movie of the day, was a documentary from the UK called Project Nim, directed by James Marsh. The focus of this piece was a 1970s experiment in the US on attempts to raise a chimpanzee as a human being, teaching him sign language along the way. This was an intriguing piece, though tinged with sadness, as we follow Nim from a young baby chimp though to his death 27 years later. The experiment was within the context of a strong nature-vs-nurture debate that was current in that period. Nim was definitely at home with human folk, and was stuck between his and their world. Ultimately however, he was an experiment and treated as such, going through several types of facilities dependent on the prevailing funding environment. This in turn, affected his behaviour and his ability to engage.
Third movie was an impressive piece from Iran entitled Jodaeiye Nader Az Simin (A Separation) directed by Asghar Farhadi. Charting the ramifications of a loss of temper and the effects on the surrounding people. This was a powerful work that conveyed a sympathetic sense of each person involved as well as playing into the larger issue of class. It’s also about secrets and the difficulty of being honest, though there was a march of logic throughout. Thoughtfully portrayed and well handled. I think this one of the best films so far.
Final movie of the evening was from one of my favourite German directors, Tom Tykwer with a film called Drei (Three). It was good to see Tykwer in form with this piece focussing on a couple who have been together for many years, happy with each other yet both end up having an affair with the same man. There was a nice humour running through it, though it could be a little at corny at times, particularly the ending. Interesting uses of both music and visual display, playing with multiple shots on screen in an effective manner. For the most part, it was a joy to watch; full of verve and style.