Wadjda is a film by a female Saudi director about a young girl growing up and her quest to get enough money to buy a bike. It’s moving and very cleverly drawn portrait of daily life in Saudi Arabia. It was all shot on location with the director having to work inside a van and communicate by walkie talkie to avoid breaking the male-female interaction laws that are so subtly explored in this film.
Very interesting, if hard to watch, documentary about the deaths of over a million Indonesians accused of being communists in the 60s and 70s after the military coup in 1965. The film maker asks of a few of the gangsters at the heart of the killing to talk about and recreate the deaths. They move from light-hearted, jovial recollections of murder and rape to a recognition and some understanding of what they did and how the world will view it.
The credit sequence is quite breathtaking and I’d be very interested to know how it has played in Indonesia, the film implies the government is still strongly linked to the gangsters today.
Link: The Act of Killing
Film about the enormous overreach of companies asking users to sign up to click through licenses before using websites and apps. Clever page written as if it was a set of terms and conditions itself.
Link: Terms and Conditions May Apply
Wonderful documentary about one of the greatest living sushi chefs: Jiro Ono. The film manages to talk about craft, gastronomy, sustainability, inheritance, loss, rivalry, family, prestige, cognitive decline and much more but with the lightest of touches. You’re almost not aware of what you’ve seen until you’re thinking about one of those subjects after you’ve watched it. It is wrapped in a layer of sumptuous visuals so well composed that you could watch it silently and still be totally captivated.
Link: Jiro Dreams of Sushi
Beautifully touching and funny film about a New Zealand kid called Boy whose father comes home from prison. Boy has to reconcile his perfect image of his dad with the bumbling fool who turns up.
I struggle to understand how a director of a low budget film like this can find an amazing actor like James Rolleston and get such a good performance from him and yet Hollywood films are still stuffed with children who act as through they’re reading from autocues.
A profile of Terrance Malick, the director of Tree of Life, the best film of 2011. He has attempted to lead a normal but private life while being a much lauded Hollywood director. That’s resulted in endless speculation and the making of a legend.
Link: Terrance Malick – Hollywood Bigfoot