All Around the World: Foreign Film in 2013 (Part 4)
Calvary – John Michael McDonagh (Ireland)
Since they’ve come into the international film scene with the Oscar-winning short film Six Shooter, the Brothers McDonagh have been a welcomed breath of fresh air to the Apatow minion dominated comedy scene. Six Shooter was by Martin, not John Michael, but the two share the similarly wicked sense of humor and even though they seem to be in an odd/even year cycle, I sort of think of them as a single entity in my head. In a shocking selection of casting, Brenden Gleeson has been tasked with playing something of the inverse of his hooker-looking, IRA-assisting good guy cop in Calvary, where he plays a genuine do-gooder priest who fights back against the evil element of his small sea side town.
The Day of the Real Perfect Plesiosaur – Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Japan)
I love Kurosawa more the further away from horror he gets and this sounds like it’s pretty far away from the likes of Pulse and closer to his Un Certain Regard winning family drama Tokyo Sonata. The film is based on a novel about a neurosurgeon who “dives into the subconscious of his comatose lover” to find out why she attempted suicide. Whether that is literal, like Innerspace where the surgeon shrinks himself down and enters her body in a small craft of science, or not remains to be seen, but its an interesting premise either way. As a Cannes veteran, there is a good chance this will be announced as a competition film in the next few days (but I’m always wrong about stuff like that). Anyway, please God let it be a modern emotional Innerspace. Please.
It’s hard to talk about this film knowing my mancrush Louis Garrell was supposed to play Laurence, a transgender award-winning novelist living in Quebec, but had to back out when he had a scheduling conflict. The role was taken over by Melvil Poupaud who I don’t really know much about, let alone have a mancrush on. But Dolan can do as he pleases to my emotions after he proved his worth with Heartbeats, which didn’t quite reinvent the love triangle idea, but came at it from such a fresh place that it almost made it a new, separate genre from the Pearl Harbor order of tripe. The one thing I’m not sure I’m on board with is the 4×3 aspect ratio Dolan shot the film in (just as I’m not with Larrain’s No, or Kelly Reichert’s Meek’s Cutoff).
Can A Song Save Your Life? – John Carney (Ireland)
Keira Knightley stars in this follow up effort from Once director John Carney. Set much in the same world of music and sitting on stoops, it will be interesting to see if Carney can bring the same subtle, handcrafted romance feel without involving the short-lived but special couple of Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, who radiated warmth in the chilly Dublin air in Once, as well as animating the film beyond the realm of normality with their sweet songs. It’s not that often that we buy actors as musicians for whatever reason — even when they’re actually in bands, as Keanu Reeves and Scarlet Johansson have proven over the years. So can we buy Keira Knightley as a musician, or will she always be the tomboy with the wonderfully sly grin that we met in Bend it Like Beckham? It’s a big chance Carney has taken here I think, but it’s one he’s earned after Once.