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Dapascha’s Back With More Rotterdam Reviews! TIMES AND WINDS, MO MERCY FOR THE RUDE, And THE HOST!!

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here. Here’s one of those festivals I would like to go to some year. In fact, I think I’m going to start asking Harry to send me in some official capacity next year. It sounds like the perfect combination of programming and city, and I’d love to check it out. Today’s spy is a lucky man, indeed:

Hey guys, Thanks for posting my stuff... here's more! My bike has not been returned. Damn! Luckily I am already in posession of a new, hopfully more trusworthy steed, so with only minor delays I still managed to make most of friday and saturday. Sunday I overslept and spend the rest of the day in a dysjointed haze of befuddlement. First screening on friday was SYNCHRONIC - DIACHRONIC GEEGAWS, a live performance by Bruce McClure. By using three 16mm projectors running short loops of film consisting of strobing simple geometric shapes, or merely white screens, and playing around with the projectors themselves (adjusting brightness, speed, focus, and sometimes moving the projectors around), McCLure managed to create hypnotic and abstract statements about the very basic properties of cinema: light and sound. The soundtrack was formed by mixing three tracks together, a very basic pulsating grungy noise, each track synchronized to the speed of one of the projectors. Being played in the same theater as thursday's THE WHITE HOUSE, the audience could once again lay back in beanbags to enjoy this very cool experience. No drugs necessary, no headphones this time either. Earplugs, perhaps. Very cool. The evening program consisted of two debuts, BODY RICE, by Portugese director Hugo Vieira da Silva, and NO MERCY FOR THE RUDE by Park Chul-Hee from South Korea. BODY RICE is a slow, contemplative film about two young German delinquent girls who are sent off to Portugal to enroll in a resocializing program. Katrin and Julia meet up with a local, Pedro, and only seem to be mildy interested in anything during outdoor raves. Da Silva has little interest it seems in classical narrative, and instead seems to focus more on presenting a certain state of mind. So there's little dialogue, scenes that are more tableaus than actual storytelling moments, and an overall dreadful fealing of apathy. BODY RICE isn't a happy film, but then again, these girls aren't very happy either, and in that aspect the film succeeds. The catalogue calls it a 'sort of existential film in that weird eighties way', which fits very well. I liked the film, and if you're into watching young people standing, sitting or preferably lying around smoking cigarettes saying and emoting next to nothing, you might too. There were many walkouts though, so the hardcore nouvelle vague-ness isn't for everyone. A movie that definetely is for the aintitcool crowd is the Korean NO MERCY FOR THE RUDE. First time featurefilm director Park Chul-Hee made a film that fits perfectly in the festival's Rotterdämmerung program. The story is about a nameless killer, played by an enthusiastic Shin Ha-Kyun (SAVE THE GREEN PLANET!) who is saving up for an operation to cure the fact he is a mute. Only refered to as 'Killa', he would prefer to be a matador, but since there are no bulls in Japan, this is, alas, not an option. Instead he kills his victims in true matador style: with honour, grace, and a sudden and resolute stab in the heart. And ofcourse, he only kills the rude, impolite and otherwise unhonourable people. In his spare time, he hangs out with a group of fellow somewhat alternative assassins to swap stories. Things sort of seem to work, but complicate when he meets a girl and unexpectedly ends up with a homeless kid to take care off. The film is loud, stylish, funny and bloody, yet also has sincere dramatic themes and moments, in that strange genre-bending way that only Eastern Asian films seem to be able to do. While not being very original with it's 'assassin with a social defect' hero or even it's mixing of violent action, drama and comedy, NO MERCY FOR THE RUDE is nevertheless a highly entertaining film that looks great and has cool characters and actors who play them well. The director said in advance the film was about the difficulties of communicating in the modern world, and made a passionate plea for more respect for people with speech impediments. Saturday was a working day, but also a day to see two more films. First up was TIMES AND WINDS (BES VAKIT) by Turkish director Reha Erdem. It's a universal coming of age story, set in a small peasant village in rural Turkey. The film is structured around the five daily moments of prayer in Islamic religion, and the call for the faithfull to come and worship, broadcast from the minaret that plays a starring role in many of the film's beautiful shots, but religion does not dominate the narrative. Instead, the film focuses loosely on the process of growing up of a few of the town's kids. Just about to fully enter puberty, they struggle with some of the same things that everyone is familiar with. A kid has a crush on his schoolteacher, the son of the iman feels his younger brother gets the better of the attention of his parents, so secretly he wishes his father was dead. Religion plays a big role in their lives, but in a similar way it does to many religious-by-namers in the West. It's there, you go to church, you say your prayers, but you also acknowledge the fact that you still have a free will that you actually put to good use, and sometimes to the test. The quietly epic cinematography makes full use of the natural surroundings on location, and the director also makes damn sure he gets the most out of that Galaxy-crane he managed to get a hold of. Music (not specifically written, alas) by Arvo Pärt (lots of Te Deum, is nice!) secures the deal on this great film. The evening finished off with yet another showstopper from the Rotterdämmerung program: Korean favourite THE HOST by Boong Joon-Ho. Already reviewed and praised plenty on this site, I'll keep it short. There's not much to add really, but to say that this is indeed the real thing: a fun, gory, exciting, family-oriented, dramatic, intelligent ride with a truly excellent Free Willy-Meets-Predator-Monster (you ain't seen nothing if you've just seen the trailers…) that again, in Eastern style, shamelessly tosses cliches and different genres in a feature and comes out clean and smiling at the end of a dirty sewer in Seoul. Man. Cinema. Ain't it cool! mzl dapascha
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