Hollywood's International Watch List 2008
We've seen the Black List that consists of the favourite scripts from Hollywood Executives, well this list is similar in that it's described as an unofficial list of the American film industry's favourite foreign feature and short films from the past year.
Like the Black List this is compiled from a number of executives and their assistants, but this one is for films, not for scripts read. Surprisingly it reveals a great amount of intelligence and good taste out there, wish it showed more in their output.
The list comes through the excellent Quiet Earth, and has a few good surprises. It's compiled from fifty people, so that allows you some comparison with the amount of votes each film has been getting.
Let the Right One In
I missed this at the EIFF this year and it really pained me, especially when the film I watched was running late because of it's star, and it wasn't that good after all. Let the Right One In turned out to be a big film and is already being considered for a Hollywood remake - not that this is a sign of a great film.
It tells the story of a young boy who is continually bullied at school and has no friends, until a young girl his age arrives and befriends him. She's a strange creature indeed, and that turns out to not be a metaphor, for he's befriended a vampire.
I'm told that this is perhaps the most horrific horror that a couple of my friends have seen, and that makes me want to see it even more.
Lucie is found nearly catatonic having suffered an incredible amount of abuse. She recovers, slowly, and meets Anna, a woman who has endured similar horrific abuse and survived. They become friends and together rebuild their lives. Some fifteen years later and Lucie still hasn't truly overcome the effects of her torture, and when she finds the family whom she believes may have been responsible for her torture, she and Anna begin a terrible downward spiral.
Before the Fall
I've seen a few trailers for this and it looks very intriguing. The world is told that it has three days to survive before a comet hits Earth. No one can stop it, there is no nuclear deterrent or team of wannabie heroes, it's all going to be over. So the film concentrates on a small family in Spain and how they deal with their past and their very short future. Throw in the return of a strange man from their past who has been released from prison and you have a microcosm of what the world is suffering, pain and chaos.
A bleak film that looks at the modern day crime families in Italy, based on the non-fiction book that has resulted in the author going into hiding due to the threats on his life for the expose.
The story of a detective who is also a pimp on the side that is trying to track down what has happened to several of his girls who have apparently disappeared. He discovers that the man they were all with when they disappeared is seeing one of his girls, so he utilises his old detective skills to try and track him down, and ends up tracking down a serial killer whom the police can't find.
Waltz with Bashir
The writer/director of the film has a recurring dream of being chased by twenty-six vicious dogs, and when he talks with a friend about it they realise that it's connected to their past when they were in the Israeli army and fighting in the first war with Lebanon. However he has no recollection of what happened in the war so he sets out to try and discover by interviewing his old friends.
Jean-Claude Van Damme plays an ageing on screen action hero who is losing his fame status and even his direct to video roles are being stolen by Steven Segal. He's in a messy divorce and losing just about everything he has. As he enters a bank to cash a cheque he's caught up in a real bank robbery and must decide whether to be a hero or one of the hostages.
A man enters into an affair to escape his loveless and unexciting marriage, but his life soon becomes very exciting as his lover offers him the chance to escape with her husband's crime money. He agrees and engineers a plan to steal it which all goes terribly wrong, however they both manage to make it out the other end, and then the blackmail letters arrive and they've no idea who's sending them.
Maze Prison in Northern Ireland, 1981. The infamous H-Blocks is where Irish republican prisoners are on the Blanket and No-Wash protest. It is a living hell for both prisoner and prison officer as the H-Block leader, Bobby Sands, pursues various tactics to help his fellow republicans re-establish their political status. In order to create real change, Bobby leads a Hunger Strike to protest for special category status for republican prisoners.
A young car-jacker moves up through the ranks of crime in South Africa and becomes a real-estate crime boss trying to stay clear of the cops that are chasing him and a vengeful drug lord.
Two young friends living on a rough estate outside Dublin are regularly abused by their parents. After the latest beating they both escape into the city centre and try to survive on their own for one night.
An unorthodox teacher and the struggles he faces with his mixed class, both of race and of nature, from the studious to the troublemakers.
The Good, the Bad and the Weird
The Kim Jee-Woon film about three Korean men who meet on a train. The Good - an infamous bounty hunter with an incredible shot, the Bad - a merciless gang leader with a huge ego, and the Weird - a gifted but unpredictable bank robber. They team up and fight everyone from local gangs to the Japanese army while trying to uncover a treasure hidden in a mysterious map.
Alex Rivera's low budget science fiction film which has received praise and criticism for in equal measure. It features a world where people stay in and connect through a virtual world, even to work, and three people are drawn to each other through this virtual world and begin to connect in real life outside the confines of the virtual society.
The story of a man who is trying to escape his past and start his life again as a village constable, however the past just won't stay hidden and life has a habit of throwing curve balls in his path.
The Song of Sparrows
Karim is an ostrich wrangler in Tehran who travels to the city to buy a new hearing aid for his daughter, however there he's mistaken for a taxi driver and begins to transport businessmen around the city changing his life and desires. However an accident leaves him unable to work and he begins to see the error of his ways.
A man is wrongfully imprisoned for murder in communist Bulgaria. During his term the country is transformed by the coup leaving the totalitarian Sofia of the 1960's. He returns to society in a totally different world and has to deal with an entirely new world.
In the future the world has changed, unknown structures have fallen upon the planet, changing the skyline forever. The starships are called The Rocks and never showed any sign of life, until now. Scientists have discovered that they are emitting a signal that they interpret as being a countdown, a countdown that ends today. Knowing that the end of the world is coming, the film focuses on a couple who are trying to get together during the last few hours of the countdown.
Of Cats and Women
A woman who is consumed by jealousy kidnaps the cat of her ex-lover and his new girlfriend.
Christmas Trees who are mistreated once a year rise up to take their own revenge.
I Love Sarah Jane
A love story of a boy and a girl who live in different worlds, and bullies and zombies who stand in the way.
The Rain Horse
A tense stand-off between a man and a horse.