VIFF 2011 Reviews: Nainsukh; My Piece of the Pie; Happy People, a Year in the Taiga; Flamenco, Flamenco.

Nainsukh. India/Switzerland, 96 min.

The work of Eighteenth Century Indian artist Nainsukh is commemorated by masques, performed in the ruins of castles and mansions. Very pretty, but baffling to the western viewer who is ignorant of Indian art.

My Piece of the Pie. France, 104 min.

The aptly-named France attempts suicide when she learns that Parisian bankers have put out of business the Dunkirk company that employs her. In search of work to support her three daughters, she commutes to Paris and gets a job as housekeeper for the very man who snuffed her company. For most of this enjoyable movie, we wait for her to discover who her employer is. But when she does, we get a lame ending that seems to have been tacked on by a junior producer.

Happy People: A Year in the Taiga. Germany, 94 min.

Werner Herzog produced, co-directed and narrated this thorough doc about the lives of native Siberians scratching a living from the snow-covered forest, so you are not going to entertain your friends by recounting the funny bits.

Flamenco, Flamenco. Spain, 101 min.

Flamenco purists will love this new offering from Carlos Saura (Carmen, Blood Wedding, Tango). Although the film, which features two dozen performances by Spain’s star flamenco singers, dancers and musicians, will not be to every one’s taste, it is certainly worth a viewing for the startling virtuosity of the performers. These guys can really play guitar. And clap? Don’t get me started on the clapping.

About aharmlessdrudge

Way back during the late Bronze age -- actually it was the 1950s -- all of us in high school had to take a vocational test to determine our interests and, supposedly, our future careers. I cannot remember the outcome, but I do recall one question that gave me pause. "If you were to win a Nobel prize, would it be in literature or in physics?" I hesitated over the question: although I enjoyed mathematics and science more than English class, I did have a couple of unfinished (and very bad) novels hidden away at home. I cannot remember what I chose back then, but the dilemma followed me to university, where I switched from mathematics to English and -- after a five-year stint in journalism -- back to mathematics. I recently retired as a professor of statistics. Retirement. What a good chance to revive my literary ambitions. I have finished a novel -- more about that in good time -- and a rubble of drafts of articles about mathematics and statistics is taking up space on my hard disk.
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