|Being in a cult means using a lot of Napisan.|
The Sound of My Voice
Two journalists go undercover to make a documentary on a cult headed by Maggie (Brit Marling, who could well be my new Julie Delpy in terms of writer/actor awesomeness), who claims to be from the future. I loved the latest Batman-and-Brit film The East, so was looking forward to this one because cults! And while the film certainly is intriguing and Marling's performance suitably intense, it ends up being frustratingly fizzly overall. Many factors aren't fleshed out enough to really make the intended ambiguity "work" (especially the journalists' reasons for investigating the cult in the first place, and the connection between Maggie and the girl she claims is her mother). It's unusual for me to say this, but it needed to be longer! Still, Brit Marling: one to watch.
Three kids, for all intents and purposes abandoned by their mother, hook up with drug dealers to raise some cash. This is totally going to go well. I was obviously drawn to this one because abandoned children in the countryside, and there's quite a lot of Huck Finn goodness into the deal. While it's not going to set your world on fire, The Giants is enjoyable in a leisurely kind of way, and the boys are very realistically drawn in their naive posturing and domestic incompetence. While the ending is oddly unresolved in narrative terms, it does make a conclusive emotional point.
La Haine (Hate)
Three rough-cut dudes (Jewish Vinz, African Hubert and Arabic Said) spend their dead-end days wandering around aimlessly in a low-rent Parisian suburb (a friendship interestingly based on class rather than race). In the aftermath of a riot between other disaffected youths and police, they learn that one of their friends has been put in hospital by the event, and Vinz vows to get revenge on the cops if he eventually dies. I chose this to watch as I saw someone on Facebook talking about how the film introduced them to French rap music (which I am very fond of), and there is indeed some excellent toons in La Haine. Also an unexpected extended dance sequence! Excellent. While it wears its anti-violence/racism message on its very 1990s sleeve, the characters are sympathetic and individual enough to make La Haine much more than a cliched "a Jew, an Arab and a black guy walk into a bar/riot" kind of tale.