Sunday, February 2, 2014

'Recent Raves' by Claire Denis, Jia Zhang-Ke, Abdellatif Kechiche, Asghar Farhadi, Jem Cohen & Clio Barnard | Paolo Sorrentino's "The Great Beauty", Ben Wheatley's "A Field in England" & Alain Guiraudie's "Stranger by the Lake" at SIFF Cinema: Feb 3 - Mar 31

New Monday night encore screenings of notable films which received brief showings upon their release. So far, the first couple months look to be the best thing SIFF has going for it in 2014! This series of Recent Raves beginning with Abdellatif Kechiche's divisive, corporeal, adaptation of "Blue is the Warmest Color", Jia Zhang-ke's blending of his usual documentary aptitude with a newfound flare for bloodletting in "A Touch of Sin" and Jem Cohen's study on art history, the social landscape of the city and the act of observation itself, "Museum Hours". The series also features a personal highlight of last year; the mining of the European economic crisis to perfect effect as the setting for Claire Denis' darker-than-dark Noir thriller, "Bastards". There's also Ralph Fiennes' debunking of Victorian values in "The Invisible Woman", and Asghar Farhadi's return after 2012's much lauded "A Separation" with another dose of familial melodrama set within nuanced social, gender and class commentary, "The Past". Speaking of drama utilizing mechanics derived from neorealist cinema, Clio Barnard’s "The Selfish Giant" is a great new entry from the UK, as much about social class concerns as it is the life of it's wayward young protagonist. Also on the calendar for the coming month, Ben Wheatley returns after the great Occult crime thriller of "Kill List", with a unique and sinister vision of Olde Albion set during the 17th Century Civil War in "A Field in England" and Richard Linklater's 'Jesse and Celine' trilogy of films, "Before Sunrise", "Before Sunset" and "Before Midnight" are being screened as a triple-feature. Romance of a darker, inverted nature can be found in Alain Guiraudie's exploration of desire without limits, his "Stranger by the Lake" is an eerie, troubling, almost Hitchcockian thriller charged with seduction and threat. And just in time for the Oscars, a weeklong run for the highlight of SIFF's Cinema Italian Style series, a film ranked by Sight & Sound as among the best the year had to offer and given Film of the Week treatment by Jonathan Romney in the pages of Film Comment, Paolo Sorrentino's "The Great Beauty" returns thanks to it's current Academy Award Nomination.