Thursday, March 23, 2017

CUT TO BLISS (Directed by Moree Wu) ***

Geometric  circles and sharply lined triangles frame fashion figures in an abstract manner. High colour accents the collage aspect of this 2-minute animated film.  A graduate thesis creation from the filmmaker. (Screened at FIFA)

FEMMES ARTISTES (Directed by Claudia Müller) ***

Katharina Grosse goes around the environment putting huge splotches of paint everywhere. Even her bed is not excluded from being painted.


 Filmmaker introduces us to several female artists whose work is on the cutting edge of surrealism and absurdism. Grosse recreates mini-mock ups of some of these artists works inside a small doll-house type wall. These women are radically inventive and most courageous. (Screened at FIFA)

MALI BLUES (Directed by Lutz Gregor) *****

MALI BLUES presents four exceptional musicians who, with their music, fight for a new awakening in Africa. These are the musicians in the diaspora. They recount their personal angst, their own amazing stories of courage and the will to fight radical Islamism and those who hate.

Fatoumata Diawara – AfroPop’s shooting star, who tells in her singer/songwriter ballads of life as an African woman, and of obsolete tradition. One touching scene is when she returns to her village in mail and sings to a group of women about the horrors of female circumcision.

Bassekou Kouyaté – the griot and Grammy-nominated world musician integrates traditional African instruments into modern rock music.

Ahmed Ag Kaedi – his rough and rocking Tuareg guitar riffs tell of a longing for the desert.

Master Soumy – the rap singer, voice of Mali’s young generation, whom corrupt politicians listen to alike.
 (Screened at FIFA)

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

WHO IS ODA JAUNE (Directed by Kamilla Pfeffer) ****


A close up intense interview with artist Oda Jaune. She paints women in rather grotesque poses and mutilated features. She’s an interesting woman whose art is truly exceptional.

 Honest and gentle, Jaune remains true to her feelings and her own mysterious process of painting. She is preparing for a Paris exhibition.  She is a successful painter. (Screened at FIFA)

LINE BY LINE (Directed by Hauke Harder & Viola Rusche) *

What is sound space. As the cello plays long dark notes, we see the composer Ernstalbrecht Stiebler being rowed by a gondolier in a boat down some tree-lined wild river that looks like the Bayou. 

He explains his views on slowness, space, resonance and emotion referring to Mozart – his favourite composer and other  masters. This is a pretentious film of intellectual doublespeak. (Screened at FIFA)

AYAHAM AHMAD- THE PIANIST OF YARMOUK (Directed by Carmen Belaschk & Günter Attein) *****

Forced to leave his refugee camp, Ayham, a great pianist ends up in Damascus where bombs force him out of Syria. He misses
Yarmouk where music became his gift for children and his way of living in the refugee area.

 He makes his treacherous journey, ending up in Germany where he wins the Beethoven award for his contribution to refugees through his music. Ayham is a great man, a great composer whose love of life can not be killed though everything around him is. (Screened at FIFA)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

REZA DERAKSHANI - The Breeze at Dawn (Directed by Macha Tsarenkov) ***

This 8-minute film showcases multi-talented painter, poet, musician and performance artist Reza Derakshani invites us into his house and studio in Austin, Texas.

His world is one of abstract and ethereal connections expressed in his colourful art. A lonely soul, Reza feels his uprootedness contributes to his depth. The many places he has lived and worked, including Iran, United States and Italy, have played a major role in shaping his work. As the artist prepares for a retrospective exhibition at the State Russian Museum in Saint Petersburg, he outlines his artistic vision, stressing the importance of freedom of expression. (Screened at FIFA in Montreal).