Vibrant, kinetic and beautifully shot, Soul Kitchen is the newest offering from award-winning Turkish-German director Fatih Akin, a dynamic picture that hits the ground running and never slows down, with life relentlessly throwing punch after punch at its central characters.
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Following in the footsteps of Philippe Claudel’s recent French drama about an ex-convict’s readjustment to civil life I’ve Loved You So Long (2008) and Lee Chang-dong’s South Korean take on the tragic aftermath of a kidnapping Secret Sunshine (2007), Troubled Water (DeUsynlige) is a challenging and deeply humanist work that deals with many themes comprising the essential foundations of the modern psyche.
An excellent performance from Jean Dujardin in the lead role and the film’s outstanding soundtrack choices alone make 99 Francs definitely worth watching, but Kounen’s masterful direction seals the picture’s reputation as an unmistakable must-see for fans of European and experimental cinema.
Cédric Klapisch does not disappoint with Paris. Though not quite a new francophone masterpiece, the film offers a welcome meditation on themes that have long pervaded European cinema.
With its uniquely Scandinavian atmosphere of eerie moroseness permeating every shot, Terribly Happy (Frygtelig lykkelig) is the work of a talented auteur, an artistic triumph that sets itself apart from like-minded films by focusing on the quality of the experience it delivers rather than settling for cheap thrills.
With plenty of action, a story built around a flying vintage car and presentation bordering on magical realism, Black Lightning (Chernaya Molniya) appears to have all the makings of a modern classic, yet neither the superfluous special effects nor the production budget of $8 million manage to save it from falling flat on its face.
A work on the order of such masterpieces as Se7en (1995), Silence of the Lambs (1991) and Memories of Murder (2003), I Saw the Devil is likely the most complete revenge story you’ll ever see.