VIFF Film Reviews: Rose; The Unlikely Girl; Grabbers; I, Anna.

Rose (Drama, Poland, 94 minutes, director Wojtek Smarzowski). This one will tweak your anger meter. It’s 1944 and the German army retreats from Poland, leaving a trail of rape and murder behind them. This gives native Poles a chance to persecute the indigenous German-speaking Mazurians. That is, until the advancing Russian army displaces the Poles with their own practice of rape and murder. Amidst all this, Tadeus, a returning Polish officer, seeks to protect Rose, a Mazurian.

The Unlikely Girl (Drama-mystery, 96 minutes, France/USA, director Wei Ling Chang). Don’t come in late. Pay close attention from the start. There are four principal characters in this: Cécile, Luc, Matthieu and Jamie. Not all are what they seem. The final scene has Jamie crying on seeing the Place de la Concorde for the first time.

Grabbers. (Comedy-Horror, Ireland, 94 minutes, director Jon Wright). Remember how a bacterium felled the Martians War of the Worlds? This time the blood-sucking, many-tentacled aliens launch their invasion off the coast of Ireland. A major strategic error, given they are allergic to alcohol.

I, Anna. (Drama, UK/Germany/France, 93 minutes, director Barnaby Southcombe). Director Southcombe did not have to look far to find a lead actress for this mystery: his mother, Charlotte Rampling, is drama-perfect as the psychologically-tortured Anna. Gabriel Byrne comes across as a little too introspective for the hard-bitten cop he plays, but that plays well as the relationship between the two develops.

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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