The Salient International Film Festival Diary Part 4

by / 08/08/12

FROM UP ON POPPY HILL
Dir: Miyazaki
Reviewed by Adam Goodall

Goro Miyazaki’s second chance to win our hearts, Poppy Hill is a nice slice-of-life drama set in post-war Japan, and I use ‘nice’ in both the complimentary and pejorative sense. It’s a harmless, slight story with perfectly likable characters and some attractive landscape paintings, but it all amounts to very little at the end – it’s a low-stakes affair that resolves its conflicts with a minimum of fuss and never lets its characters really take a life of their own. All in all, a pretty disposable entertainment.

The Verdict: B-

AMOUR
Dir: Haneke
Reviewed by Adam Goodall

Even someone as ill-versed in Haneke’s work as me (I’ve only seen The Piano Teacher and The White Ribbon) could tell you that there’s a pretty good reason why Haneke doesn’t have a reputation as a renowned humanist. But now we have Amour, with its tale of an elderly couple trying to weather the infirmities of age and illness with dignity, to shake up all our preconceptions of a man whose work up to now has almost solely focused on the cruelties we inflict on each other. Haneke’s steady, cold visual style gives centre stage to the two nuanced, unfathomably sad central performances from Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva and to Haneke’s own sensitive, remarkably human script, and they knock it out of the park. It will move you.

The Verdict: A

 

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