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Films of 2012: A Liar's Autobiography

A superb animation written by a superb group of British Screenwriters Graham Chapman, David Sherlock, Douglas Addams, David Yallop, and Alex Martin with voices by Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Jones as themselves. Directors Bill Jones, Jeff Simpson, Ben Timlett successfully animates Graham Chapman's cod life story A Liar's Autobiography, subtitled The Untrue Story of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman. Quite an amusing variety of cartooning styles produced from fourteen different animation studios switching from one animation style to the next. The filmmakers achieves to appropriately place audio recordings of Chapman's readings from the book which effectively make it seem that Chapman was dubbing this film from the dead. A must see for Monty Python fans.

Films of 2012: You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet

A play within a play within a film. Veteran French Director Alain Resnais brings together a strong well known cast of French actors as well as a group of new faces to simultaneously in act 2 plays by Jean Anouilh. An experimental mix of melancholy, philosophy and intellect fused in two theatrical plays in a film which one can possibly either appreciate as a theatre enthusiast or dislike as a film enthusiast. Well excuse me for being the latter, I just had to walk out halfway towards the ending as i had to go to another screening of a more enticing feature film in world cinema. 

Films of 2012: After Lucia

One of Mexico's best offering in 2012 is a more subtle but moving drama in contrast to the previous year's sensational action thriller "Miss Bala"by Gerardo Naranjo. Director-Screenwriter Michel Franco's second feature explores miscommunication between a daughter and father relationship dented by the tragic death of the mother. As they both move to a new town to start a new life both still in grief setting them further apart. To make things worse, when the daughter Alejandra gets ganged upon with terribly escalated teenage bullying by practically the whole class which she partly suppresses and hides as self punishment for her guilt, she just disappears as not to further aggravate her father's anguish. The father Roberto finally snaps out of his immobilising depression for the loss of his wife and focuses on her daughter's disappearance and flips into a very dark extreme in avenging another loss of a loved one. 

Films of 2012: Easy Money 1 & 2

A collaboration of Swedish, German, and Danish Productions, 'Easy Money 1' was directed in 2010 by Daniél Espinosa. The fresh faced Joel Kinnaman playing the poor boy desiring to belong somehow in high society among Stockholm's young elite, ends up starting to embark on a dangerous and fast way to make money. 'Easy Money 2' was directed by Babak Najafi in 2012 where a much harsh and older looking Kinnaman comes out of jail from which he unexpectedly becomes good friends with his initial nemesis. More like a Hollywood blockbuster in Swedish with an international cast of lead actors who has all done well in convincingly portraying their characters. Two action packed films with good realistic stunts and effects. Altogether a gripping and captivating story line of a few lives with their own backgrounds intertwined in the dark world of the drug business, each with his own moving story to tell. 

Films of 2012: It Was the Son

Perhaps one of the best Italian (French co-produced) film in World Cinema this year following the likes of last year's previous Italian feature "We Have a Pope". A satirical family drama set in a poor neighbourhood of Palermo. Director-Screenwriter Daniele Cipri comically tells a story of distress and upheaval in a family impoverished and finally in the long run saved from their struggles by government compensation as the family's innocent little girl was accidentally shot. The father as brilliantly characterised by veteran actor Toni Servillo with the approval of the rest of the family members decides to buy a Mercedes Benz, then the real tragic twist occurs as pragmatically spearheaded by the family granny. Black humour at its best, a blunt and crude reality in your face in how people can end up being to survive. Simply brilliant.

Films of 2012: Love Story

New Zealand Director-Producer Florian Habicht goes to to New York courageously and spontaneously makes a film using the New Yorkers that he randomly meets in the streets to both help and guide him write his screen play and use as actors in the process. He takes on the role as lead actor with constant support and guidance from his German grandfather living in Germany communicating via Skype. Comes up with comical ideas and a touch of commercial flair like getting a Michael Jackson impersonator who is a midget. If Marlon Brando made butter popular in a sex scene, Habicht comes up with his own original idea getting his love interest to eat cereals with milk on his sunken chest. I must say the female lead whom he must have booked from a modelling agency is quite stunning and stylish. An endearing result.

Films of 2012: 10+10

Practically somewhat a Taiwanese Short Film Fest in one sitting. A compilation of varied works by 20 Taiwanese Directors who illustrate and share the ways of life, humour, beliefs, attitudes, behaviour, ideas, outlook and so on, of the Taiwanese people. Quite a comprehensive crash course on Taiwan's Culture.

Films of 2012: Short Stories

Russian Director-Screenwriter MikhailSegal stylishly gives us 4 fantasy stories which is a refreshing counterbalance to the usual dark works of his peers in Russian cinema today. The first story is of a wedding planner who can also plan the couples' future, the next is of political duplicity and petty bribery. The third is a librarian with witch like powers, and the final one is about the history of the Soviet Union intertwined with a middle aged man's sexual connection with a young woman who only loves animals and hardly knows of history. A great detachment to the current reality in Russian society today.

Films of 2012: Village at the End of the World

An inspiring documentary on a small remote village in Northern Greenland about to be cleared out as there's not enough inhabitants for the country's governing body to support. All 59 individuals are practically related to each other and dwell in this village as their ancestors did. Can they manage to keep their island in existence and how? British Director Sarah Gavrom takes us to witness everyday life in such harsh circumstances where the human excrement of the whole village is collected by one man, one house at a time in buckets, filling-in one container to then dump as theres no sewage system. Where hunting sea lions for food to share to everyone is the prime occupation for a man and hunting a white polar bear is a big prize of meat to be shared to all 59 settlers. And where the only teenager manages to meet other teens luckily through Facebook just has to leave somehow to bigger pastures and a better future. An eyeopening experience to us all who have the usual common amenities we take for granted.

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