Posts Tagged ‘Tallinn film festival’

Driving Mum (2022)

Wri|Dir: Hilmar Oddsson

Hilmar Oddsson offers up another tale of Icelandic family strife and dysfunction, a black comedy very much along the lines of his fellow countryman Grímur Hákonarson’s dour and determined tale of sibling rivalry set in a farming community, Rams.

Although here the drift is towards melancholic fantasy, it’s a brave and bracingly impressive feature proving Icelandic cinema to be one of the most offbeat and ingenious in the magnetic north.

Þröstur Leó Gunnarsson cuts a dismal figure as A son whose existence is diminished by the maternal force that gave him life – and we feel for him. His indomitable mother (Kristbjörg Kjeld) is the classic monster matriarch – feared and yet revered in equal measure and he finds himself trapped by her influence.

This son, his dog and his deceased mother – the ultimate back seat driver – take to the road in a final surreal cross-country journey. Sardonic is the watchword as long-discussed funeral plans are finally put in motion in a grim valedictory voyage. Although dead, mother still dominates from beyond the grave as a gaunt and ghoulish physical presence to ensure her wishes are followed to a tee.

Óttar Guðnason creates a saturnine sense of place with his stark black and white cinematography providing a bleak and baleful backcloth to Jon’s rumination on an unfulfilled existence and his lonely life. Revenants from his past include a solitary female figure, a group of karaoke revellers and a recurring carnival motif.

Reality occasionally rears its head in the understandable queries he receives from people he meets along the way, and this contrast between the mundane and the ephemeral provides the piece with its vein of tragi-comedy.

Although his dead mother remains tight lipped and stoical, her wishes become real-time in-car conversations that really need no voice; they are seared into Jon’s unconscious like some macabre maternal spell that bizarrely echoes from the other side. MT

IN CINEMAS FROM FRIDAY 1 MARCH | GRAND PRIX winner at Tallinn International Film Festival 2022

River of Desire (2022) Tallinn Film Festival 2022

Dir.: Sergio Machado; Cast: Sophie Charlotte, Rômulo Braga, Daniel De Oliveira, Gabe Leone, Coco Chiarella; Brazil 2022, Romantic thriller 107 min.

Brazilian writer director Sergio Machado started his film career as assistant to Walter Salles and went on to win the Youth Award at Cannes in 2005 for his feature Lower City. After success with credits in TV, documentary and commercial video his latest drama River of Desire is a passion-fuelled waterside ménage-à-quatre based on Milton Hatoum’s “Farewell Captain”. Machado’s well-structured script is sadly let down by the overtly male gaze of the graphic sex scenes and a melodramatic tele-novella ending.

The story centres on three brothers Dalberto (de Oliveira), Dalmo (Braga) and Armando (Leone) who get along amicably in the house they have inherited from their father after his wife left with a Gringo. But when the Dalberto is joined by his beguiling new wife Anaíra (Charlotte) the dynamic shifts as masculine desires are unleashed and – inevitably – family tragedy ensues as the three find themselves in love with the same woman. One day Dalberto’s work takes him up the Amazon river from Brazil to Peru Anaira becomes lonely and despondent and looks to the other two for her entertainment.

Machado’s intriguing character drama is suffused in the vibrant colours and sensuality of this sweltering tropical paradise that plays on the hormonal rush of the remaining siblings once their brother has gone upstream. Anaira is playful and naive, and has no idea what reality has in store for her in this watchable thriller which makes fabulous use of its Amazon locations. AS


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