Monday, February 9, 2009

PIFF Day 3

Saw two good films today. First, Tricks (Poland) is a low-key but delightful story about a young boy and his sister living in a quiet provincial town. The boy spends much of his mental energy thinking up ways to trick fate into reconciling him with the father he never really knew. His relationship with his sister is sweet without being sticky, and the film sustains a consistent whimsical tone throughout. Though not as imaginative and more realistic, the film reminded me a bit of "Amelie." (7)

Nominated for a best foreign language Oscar, "The Baader Meinhof Complex" (Germany) chronicles the rise and fall of the Red Army Faction (RAF) a left-wing militant group that pursued an international terrorist campaign in the 1970s. Having just seen "Hunger" yesterday and "Chicago 10" and "Milk" a few months back, this film reinforced my sense of astonishment over the extent and breadth of the social upheavals of the 1970s. The film begins with a depiction of the police brutally attacking peaceful street protestors, something that continues to shock and amaze me, and then follows the course of the movement. It conveys a sense of the radical left in post-World War II as a reaction to the complacency of the Nazi generation. Though there are lots of personalities and thoughts to keep track of, the film keeps you up to speed and doesn't bog down. Good work (though not one of the best five foreign films of the year). (7)

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