Endorphine (Canada-2015-Drama) d. Andre Turpin

This is new film out of Quebec from director Andre Turpin , whose previous feature: In Crab Dans La Tete , was Canada’s submission to the Academy Awards for Best Forgein Language Film at the 75th Academy Awards. As a cinematographer, he is a two-time Genie Award winner for Best Cinematography, for Maelström at the 21st Genie Awards and for Incendies at the 31st Genie Awards,and a five-time winner of the Jutra Award for Best Cinematography, for Maelström, Incendies, C’est pas moi, je le jure!, Un crabe dans la tête and Mommy.

Endorphine is a visually stunning drama,with superb cinematography and editing. With a story revolving around a central character Simone, the film cuts between different times and places in her life.

The first time she appears is as a traumatized 12 year old, suffering  guilt from the death of her mother. Then she is seen again in mid-life,compulsively following the life of her neighbour and possibly trying to prevent her death. Her third appearance is as a mid-60’s researcher giving a lecture on the theory of time, and its meaning to human existence.

The main actress of the affair is Sophie Nelisse, who was the youngest receipient of the Actra Award for Best Actress for the film: Monsieur Lazar. She excels in a difficult role, as her character has ptsd and sociopathic tendencies, with little dialogue to help flesh out her character. Add to that the overall complicated nature of the character, as she is represented over the course of many years, and these different time periods seem to effect and intertwine with each other, in keeping with the films focus on the nature of time and the fluidity of movement between past,present, and future.

A challenge for this film was with the editing , and it is a credit to the post-production team and editor that the film seems to seamlessly flow through the various stages of Simone’s life-switching back and forth almost effortlessly.

The story is a bit of a head-scratcher,but well worth digging into, and  the movie may deserve a second viewing to really appreciate the full nature of the plot and storyline. For a drama that explores the nature and meaning of our time here on Earth, could the films heroine’s struggles and questions be much different than our own?

The Stare (Japan-2015-Horror) d. Koichiro Miki

A new Japanese horror flick screened today ,and I was a little wary after the disappointing showing of: Creepy earlier in the week.  However The Stare, based on a novel by writer Shinzo Mitsuda, was a pleasant surprise. In it an young assistant director at a TV station becomes involved in a mystery surrounding the death of a young man, and the terrible realization that his death is the result of an ancient curse that emanated from a submerged Japanese village. And this real-life fairytale will threaten to kill all others to dare to approach the forsaken town.

The curse is rather simple and effective, as if you are to happen to catch the stare of the mysterious guardian of the village, you wil be followed by and surrounded by its stare, which will haunt you into an early grave.

The lead role is played effectively by J-Pop singer and Japanese Idol: Tomomi Itano. I believe she sings the End Credit song as well, if I can interpret correctly what the Japanese distributor mentioned after the screening. A cool concept for a film and a effective delivery make The Stare hard to look away from…

 

The Ardennes (Belgium/Netherlands-2015-Crime/Drama) d. Robin Pront

This is the director Pront’s directorial debut, after  being involved in the production of the critically accalaimed: Bullhead. A “buzz-film” at TIFF 2015, The Ardennes revolves around two brothers  played by Jeroen Perceval (Dave) and Kevin Janssens (Kenneth)who both share a shady past , and a love for the same woman.

The woman’s name is Sylvie, and she is the heart and soul of this rather grim affair. Veer Baetens is excellently cast in the part. Baetens in an actress best know for her appearance in the 2013 movie: Broken Circle Breakdown, a role that won her the award for Best Actress at the European Film Awards.

As Sylvie tries to move forward and turn her life around, her gains are tragically erased by the downward spiral that in initiated upon the release of Kenneth from prison.

A terrific looking film this is:)  The noirish lighting and cinematography paint an appropriate picture for this story of  family loyalties gone astray, amid the rainy and grey Brussels streets, and the forested winter terrain of the Ardenne hills.

And there is no sound of music at the end of this film for our characters. There is only a lonely,dark death knell to be heard amidst the falling rain.

The Ardennes

Tomorrow is another day for a few films and maybe a visit to some film market stalls, or a museum, time will tell…

 

 

 

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