MSPIFF: Reviews of the rest

Il Divo glitters among duller bulbs like The Girl From Monaco, Just Another Love Story

Friday, April 17

THE GIRL FROM MONACO

St. Anthony Main, April 17 at 7 p.m. and April 19 at 7:15 p.m.

All that glitters is glum in Anne Fontaine's dramedy The Girl from Monaco. A middle-aged lawyer (Fabrice Luchini) is in the scenic country for a high-profile case that has him tracked day and night by a morose bodyguard named Christophe (Roschdy Zem). Then he meets a beautiful TV weather girl, Audrey (Louise Bourgoin), who soon has him head over heels in love. But Christophe has a history with Audrey and says any affair will only end in heartbreak. The locations are almost as exquisite as the luminous Audrey, but all the glamour can't make up for the tepidness of it all. Audrey is so flighty and careless that even those blinded-by-love types should be able to see through her. Any laughs are so infrequent that when the film transitions into a drama, viewers will hardly notice the shift. By the time the film takes a few Hitchcock-via-daytime-TV twists, most will wonder why Princess Grace would want to live in such a boring place. Andrew Newman

I'M GONNA EXPLODE

Rumba
Rumba

Details

MSPIFF Info

April 16-30, 2009

SCREENING LOCATIONS
St. Anthony Main: 115 Main St. SE, Mpls.; 612.331.4723
Oak Street Cinema: 309 Oak St. SE, Mpls.; 612.331.3134

ADMISSION
$10 ($9 online; discounts at box office for students and seniors). Visit mspfilmfest.org for prices for opening- or closing-night films, 5- and 10-movie packages, and all-access Gold Passes.

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St. Anthony Main, April 17 at 9:10 p.m. and April 19 at 10:10 p.m.

No, this is not a concert film from the early British punk era. But it is a sort of dark take on Ferris Bueller's Day Off, in which two incorrigible troublemakers, Roman and Maru, who attend an elite prep school in Mexico, fake their own disappearance. It's a fake because while their parents are wringing their hands in Roman's house after realizing they are missing, the young lovers are sniggering, making out, and getting drunk on the roof of the very same chateau. The film has some inspired moments, including a raucous, drunken birthday party and a scene in which the parents watch a video on missing children while Maru secretly watches, as well, from behind a couch. But Gerardo Naranjo's direction is sloppy and too dependent on improvisation—the actors aren't bad, but they desperately need a script. The hand-held camera work is also annoying, and there are constant blackouts that make no sense. But it can boast one thing—there are possibly more utterances of "man" than in all of Easy Rider. John Ervin

JUST ANOTHER LOVE STORY

St. Anthony Main, April 17 at 7:15 p.m. and April 25 at 8:15 p.m.

Adultery remains hazardous to your health in "psychological thrillers," even in Scandinavia, and even when your affair begins as a magnificent obsession. Schlumpy Jonas (Anders Bertelsen) stops short while driving and sends distraught stranger Julia (Rebecka Hemse) into a blinding, coma-inducing, memory-banishing crash. On an anonymous visit to the hospital, he's mistaken by her rich family for her sight-unseen boyfriend, Sebastian, acquired during backpacker slumming in Cambodia. Jonas clears up the misunderstanding, leaves a tasteful selection of flowers, and returns to his middle-class wife and kids...sorry, I've misread my notes. Make that: Julia awakens and romance blooms, while flashbacks to gunplay back East portend the return of the real, bad-news Sebastian (Euro-skeezy Nikolaj Lie Kaas). There's a good, painful moment of humiliation when Jonas quits his wife in a superstore, but Bertelsen's puffy sheepishness isn't involving enough to distract from the routine plot. Nicolas Rapold

Saturday, April 18

IL DIVO

St. Anthony Main, April 18 at 7:30 p.m. and April 20 at 6:45 p.m.

The final term of former Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti is brought to electrifying life in Il Divo, a tour de force of filmmaking and acting. Focusing on the period in the early 1990s when Andreotti fell from power amid accusations of corruption and Mafia connections, director Paolo Sorrentino films the story as a thriller to beat all thrillers. It melds two worlds: the elegant restraint of Andreotti's world with the brutal, violent, and frightening world of the Mafia. The settings are filled with soft lamplight, rich carpets, and ornate woodworks, but the frenetic editing and brilliantly eclectic soundtrack keep Il Divo a step ahead of other political dramas. At the center of it all is Toni Servillo's Andreotti, who is utterly fascinating. Servillo gives Andreotti a stoic appearance and unshakable public presence, only letting his lost and confused soul in through the cracks. But Andreotti is too smart to let anyone see his true feelings, and it becomes mesmerizing to watch him try to rescue his collapsing world without blinking an eye. —Andrew Newman

LION'S DEN

St. Anthony Main, April 18 at 8:30 p.m. and April 19 at 9:30 p.m.

Julia (Martina Gusman) comes home to find two men in her apartment—one dead, another barely alive. She's convicted of murder and sent to prison, where she gives birth to her son Tomás. Children are allowed to stay with their mothers until age four, and Julia, who was at first ambivalent about her pregnancy, soon embraces her role. This 2008 Argentinian film by Pablo Trapero offers an unflinching and gritty look into life in a women's prison. Although Julia lives in a cellblock with other mothers, there is still plenty of violence and manipulation to go around. She must adapt to her rough surroundings and does so mainly with the help of a new friend, and later lover, Marta (Laura Garcia). Over the years Julia evolves and becomes a hardened woman in order to survive, but she also has a fierce love for her son—and will go to any length to protect him, particularly from her own mother, Sofia (Elli Medeiros). Lion's Den isn't a pretty story, but it presents a terrific character study of a woman who discovers her true self under the most difficult of circumstances. Caroline Palmer

MUNYURANGABO

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