From the streets of present day Istanbul to 17th century Amsterdam, to Virgina during the American Civil War: this very first Film Talk is travelling both distance and time! Welcome to Film Talk I, where I will give you my honest, spoiler-free opinion on new films. Planning an evening out to completely lose yourself in fiction? With these compact reviews you will have all the information you need to make a well-informed decision. My brand new Cineville (a Dutch film organisation that supports independent filmmakers and cinemas) card is probably my best buy of the summer. Thanks to this cinema subscription, I got the chance to see Kedi, Tulip Fever and The Beguiled on the big screen this week. Let’s start off with some fluffy, adventurous cats in the very colourful city of Istanbul.
Kedi is a film about people, about love, survival. But mostly about cats. It follows a selection of seven individual stray cats, which are quite domesticated in some cases but ultimately free wanderers. The heartwarming, fascinating but also complicated relationships with ‘their humans’ (the people of Istanbul that take care of these stray cats) and their distinctive personalities are explored. This documentary-style film is a dream if you’re a cat lover, but also if you are interested in the relationships that can grow between humans and animals. I personally really enjoyed the aerial shots of Istanbul, and the interviews with the locals – they stood in dark contrast with my assumptions of it being a dirty, brown city.
Skip if: you hate cats | you don’t like documentaries
Go & see: for a heartwarming 1h20 minutes full of fluffy cats – with a variety of personalities
Tulip Fever has received mixed reviews so far – I personally was extremely attracted to the Golden Age Amsterdam setting of the film. As a Dutchie, I have been taught a lot about this very important era in our history. The whole story aside, it was very amusing to hear the English and American actors call each other Dutch names like ‘Jan’ and ‘Annetje’. A young orphaned girl is married off to a rich merchant. He wants to have their portrait painted and inevitably, the girl falls in love with the charming young painter. I very much enjoyed the film; I liked the different storylines, the narrator wasn’t a disturbing factor in my eyes and the ending was anything but predictable. Critiques like ‘a lack of chemistry’ between Sophia and Jan and ‘confusing storylines’ went amiss for me. It wasn’t the best film I’ve seen this year, but it was thoroughly enjoyed by the romantic historical nerd in me.
Skip if: you hate period dramas | you are not a fan of the forbidden romance theme
Go & see if: you are, just like me, a sucker for historical romance | you are interested in a film in a Golden Age setting
The Beguiled (also known as Les proies) is a remake of the 1971 version with Clint Eastwood under the same name. A wounded Union soldier is found by a group of young women at an isolated girls’ school in Virginia, which causes a stir in the household and ultimately leads to jealousy and unforeseen consequences. Sophia Coppola took on the task of directing this love game between isolated young women and a wounded corporal; she created with quite some contrasts. A Yankee corporal between Southern women, pastel-coloured dresses and a filthy leg wound, friendly sunlight shining through a dark forest. It’s a typical Coppola movie (if you’ve seen The Virgin Suicides and Marie Antoinette, you’ll know what I mean), it might not be for everyone but I sort of enjoyed it. The point of the film wasn’t completely clear to me, and I felt like there was a lack of back stories to some of the characters – I did think the acting was good and the story was interesting enough.
Skip if: you expect a fantastic remake | you are looking for a quick paced, rich-in-dialogue sort of film | are an eager film critic (50/50 you’ll either hate or love it)
Go & see if: you like a feminist production that explores interesting themes
Which films have you seen this week? I might go and see ‘IT’ this week… if I’ve got the guts.