Film Review: OCTAVIO IS DEAD! (Canada 2018

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Octavio Is Dead Poster
Tyler tries to discover the father she never got the chance to meet in this stirring psycho-sexual ghost story, exploring themes of gender and sexual identity.

Director:

Sook-Yin Lee

Writer:

Sook-Yin Lee

Sook-Yin Lee, best known as the actress in the hit HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH directs this odd film produced and starring Sarah Gadon who broke into fame with David Cronenberg’s COSMOPOLIS.  Gadon plays,

Tyler the daughter of an obsessive over-spirited mother (Rosanna Arquette).  She decides to leave her mother for Stelton City (Ontario’s Hamilton standing in for the city) to learn about the father she never met.  She discovers his ghost, trapped and unable to escape his apartment. They forge an uneasy bond, but by communicating with him, and learning about his tumultuous and secret past, Tyler discovers new ways to engage with the world, to seek love in unexpected places, and to explore life in new and unfamiliar territories. 

 Love is discovered in death!  She falls for the cute blonde student that had an affair with his father, who she learns left both her mother and her because he was gay.  The supernatural angle fails to blend with the coming-of-age drama.  Nicely shot, but the film fails in that it leads nowhere and turns terribly annoying with Lee’s attempt to create a moody atmosphere.  

 

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Full Review: LES GARDIENNES (France/Switzerland 2017) ****

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The Guardians Poster
Trailer

Women are left behind to work a family farm during the Great War.

Director:

Xavier Beauvois

Writers:

Xavier Beauvois (screenplay), Marie-Julie Maille (screenplay) | 2 more credits »

 

(Spoiler Alert: Last paragraph in bold italics.  Skip this last paragraph though reading it will not spoil the film’s impact.)

Director Xavier Beauvois (director of DES HOMMES ET DES DIEUX, 2010 last seen as an actor playing Vincent in Clare Denis’ LET THE SUNSHINE IN) returns with a World War 1 historical drama about women looking after the farms when the men are send out to fight during the great war.  It stars Nathalie Baye in a dramatic but controlled performance as Hortense, a strong willed woman and matriarch of the Pardier family who manages the family farm.   The film is based on the novel by Ernest Pérochon and written by Xavier Beauvois, Marie-Julie Maille and Frédérique Moreau.                     

Beauvois’ film like his previous film moves at a leisurely pace with an authentic period atmosphere of rural France.  The film plays out like the waiting of the war to end.  The farm chores like ploughing the land, harvesting the crops, milking and driving the cows help in the creation of rural farm life.

The story is told from the points of view of both Hortense and Francine (Iris Bry), the new female farmhand (known eventually as the best farmhand in the region) that Hortense hires to help in the harvest who she eventually keeps on. 

The film is a handsomely mounted period piece of World War I told during the period from 1916 the war’s start to 1919 the year after it ended.   It is a story that needs ti be told – of

the devastation of war as examined from many angles

the absence of men

– the change of characters of the fighting men when they return from war (I do not recognize him: says one of the women of hr husband)

the hardship of those fighting and also of those not fighting in the war

shortage of the essentials like food  (as the camera pans a field of corpses in the film’s first image)   

as well as modernization had on a typical farm family in France. 

The women of the Pardier farm, under the deft hand of the family’s matriarch, Hortense must grapple with the workload while the men, including two sons, are off at the front.  Her husband, daughter and grand-daughter remain with her.  Romance and trouble brews when Francine and the grand-daughter fall in love with the same man, Georges (Cyril Descours).  Director Beauvois also shows the erotic sex scene is necessary to show the passion between the two lovers.

Beauvois use of close ups and editing especially the switching of the camera shots of the different faces (Hortense, Georges, the Americans, Francine) is masterfully demonstrated in the film’s best segment after harvesting.

The film is also quick to point out that there are equal casualties on both sides.  Clovis (Olivier Rabourdin) returning from furlough to the farm points out that Germans are like the French at war – ordinary men.  One nightmare segment has Georges screaming in the middle of the night when he dreams of killing an enemy with a knife, only to pull of the dead man’s h]gas mask to find himself looking at his own image.

The film also benefits from Michel Legrand’s grand musical score. 

LES GARDIENNES proves (like CASABLANCA and LES PARAPLUIES DE CHERBOURG) that not living happily ever after with ones true love can also make an unforgettable love story.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsdDm-mcczQ

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Happy Birthday: Joel Edgerton

Festival Reviews

joeledgerton.jpgHappy Birthday actor Joel Edgerton

Born: June 23, 1974 in Blacktown, New South Wales, Australia

THE THING
dir. Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.
Stars:
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Joel Edgerton
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dir. Lucas
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dir. Lucas
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Happy Birthday: Frances McDormand

Festival Reviews

francesmcdormand.jpgHappy Birthday actor Frances McDormand

Born: June 23, 1957 in Chicago, Illinois, USA

Married to: Joel Coen (1 April 1984 – present) (1 child)

Raising Arizona
1987
dir. Joel and Ethan Coen
starring
Nicolas Cage
Holly Hunter
Miller's CrossingMiller’s Crossing
1990
dir. Joel and Ethan Coen
starring
Gabriel Byrne
Marcia Gay Harden
DARKMANDarkman
1990
dir. Sam Raimi
Starring
Liam Neeson
Frances McDormand
FARGOFargo
1996
dir. Joel and Ethan Coen
starring
William H Macy
McDormand
SwingersAlmost Famous
2000
dir. Crowe
starring
Billy Crudup
Kate Hudson
WONDER BOYSWonder Boys
2000
dir. Curtis Hanson
Starring
Michael Douglas
Holmes
THE MAN WHO WASN'T THEREThe Man Who Wasn’t There
2001
dir. Joel and Ethan Coen
Cast
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James Gandolfini
Burn After ReadingBurn After Reading
2008
dir. Joel and Ethan Coen
Starring
George Clooney
Brad Pitt
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Happy Birthday: Joss Whedon

Festival Reviews

josswhedon.jpgHappy Birthday writer/director Joss Whedon

Born: June 23, 1964 in New York City, New York, USA

Married to: Kai Cole

SerenitySerenity
2005
dir. Josh Whedon
starring
Nathon Fillion
Gina Torres
sexyTHE AVENGERS
2012
dir. Joss Whedon
See over 100 pages of photos and videos!
MOVIE POSTERMUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING
2013
dir. Joss Whedon
Stars:
Alexis Denisof
Amy Acker
tv POSTERAGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. TV SHOW PILOT
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Created by: Maurissa Tancharoen, Jed Whedon, Joss Whedon

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