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Films of 2012: Midnight's Children

An adaptation from the screen writer's (Salman Rushdie) own prize winning novel, which takes as together with a family's journey through the transitions of India from the end of colonisation to the partitioning of Pakistan. Colourfully presented with comedic flair in conveying a story of Indian history, with brilliant performances from its well selected group of actors/performers. A film that may make us understand why India is what it is today. 

Films of 2012: Beasts of the Wild

A brilliant raw production creatively presenting the life and struggle of people living in impoverished circumstances which focuses on the plight of a young girl named Hushpuppy and her father both realistically and strongly performed by non-actors. With their home called the 'Bathtub' sinking under water and the idea of frozen prehistoric creatures being unleashed due to the melting icecaps, some kind of reality depicting the rule of a misunderstood establishment in society is practically envisioned in a fictional world and child like tale. This US film feature which brings us a refreshing conceptual style in 'guerilla film making' has won both the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival and the Caméra d’Or in Cannes Film Festival. A must see.

56th London Film Festival winner of the Sutherland Award for the most original and imaginative directorial debut

Films of 2012: Reality

The subject of a reality show done in a feature film as already previously made by a UK production of the original Big Brother show meets zombies/horror/gore -is now perhaps old news and tired, like beating a dead horse. But this Italian production by Matteo Garrone gives it new light as he dwells on that fragment of human obsession, and desire leading to a state of madness. A tragic black comedy humorously played out with that distinctive Italian flair, the concept still works. More of a proper feature rather than mere euro trash, this film even bagged the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival'12.

Films of 2012: Anti-Viral

Common celebrity obsession has reached ridiculous extremes by which big companies produce and sell illnesses of celebs by capturing the virus and through science and technology reproduce such viruses for fanatics to buy and experience as the closest thing that a commoner could feel, and embody the well being or persona of their idols. Due to war between 2 big monopolies in this new bizarre industry, where the black market and espionage arises, a young employee of one this big companies (Syd) ends up in a twisted situation.  Canadian Screenwriter-Director Brandon Cronenberg lives up to his father's legacy and style as he debut's in the same spirit with an inventive vision almost ready to take on David Cronenberg's place in this particular genre in cinema. 

Films of 2012: Doomsday Book

Korean Directors-Screenwriters Kim Jee-woon and Yim Pil-sung finally comes up with the 3rd part of their anthology film revolving on the apocalyptic themes. As much as the ideas are quirky such as the existentialist Buddhist robot, the usual zombie out break and the meteor colliding with our planet... This long awaited production may objectively be more fitting for a TV Christmas especial, yet still amusing and more or less entertaining especially for the kids.


Films of 2012: Helter-Skelter

Daughter of Japan's celebrated theatre director, up and coming filmmaker Mika Ninagawa presents her take on Japanese pop culture after waiting for seven long years. Maybe reminiscent of a Ken Russell classic which in this case meets manggaNinagawa's 2nd feature film was quite overdone, and scatty with a never ending ending. Despite her supposed expertise in capturing significant and effective images as  she was after all formerly a professional photographer, unfortunately she fails to make things short but strong.  Nevertheless the film's lead Erika Sawajiri as Lilico the self obsessed twisted model-idol manages to somehow save the film by capturing as with her wicked charms and supported by the brilliantly camp/sarcastic Kaori Momoi as the ruthless manager. A few may have walked out in it's first screening as it opened the London Film Fest season, but I decided to stay and bare the entirety of this needlessly overextended feature.

Films of 2012: Compliance

US Director-Screenwriter Craig Zobel brings us his second feature film with a plot which may be intriguing for some and just annoying for others. How can Americans be so gullible to such phone hoaxes? Apparently as researched by Zobel, his film is based on true incidents that happened at least 70 times over a 10-year period across different parts of the USA in which a man simply calls a restaurant claiming to be a police officer and convince the fast food manager to aid in catching an employee who is accused to have stolen from a customer. The caller would lead the manager down a series of events where the usually targeted victim is a teenage girl -stripped search naked, spanked, and eventually assaulted sexually within the premises as directed by the caller. Frankly this for me was an outrage, I mean how stupid can people be to end up to such an extent from a mere phone call from nowhere with no ample proof of identity that the caller is indeed an officer of law with substantial evidence of the allegation! OK, you wound and got me all fumed up Mr. Zobel, well done. No wonder this film was most talked about in the Sundance Film Festival.

Films of 2012: In the Fog

How does one persist innocence with the allegation of betrayal. An atmospheric war movie that questions ethics and foregrounds on emotions done in simple narrative. This production in German-Russian-Latvian-Netherlands-Belarus by Director-Screenwriter Sergei Loznitsa strongly conveys soulful damage from war where a few different insights of different men are conveyed with honesty. This film was a prize winner in Cannes.

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