Rust and Bone (French: De rouille et d’os), Dir. Jacques Audiard, 2012.
Stunningly beautiful, moving and incredibly real, Rust and Bone, a film depicting an amateur bare knuckle street fighter who becomes sexually involved with a disabled whale trainer whilst trying to provide for his young son. As the title suggests it is a film about bodies and their limitations: the ways in which they interact with one another physically, either sexually, aggressively or dependent on one another. A fantastic watch.
In Darkness (Polish: W ciemnosci), Dir. Agnieszka Holland, 2011.
At times a little on the slow side, In Darkness is the true story of a Polish sewer worker Leopoldo Socha, who when the Nazis brutally invade the Jewish ghetto in his town of Lwow takes a select few into his care in the sewers. Initially as a financial arrangement, his relationship with those in his care soon becomes far more than just an extra earner, risking his and the lives of his family to keep these people alive. It is both a moving and eye opening story for survival, yet would be a fairly generic holocaust drama were it not propped up by Robert Wieckiewicz fine performance as Socha.
Hierro, Dir. Gabe Ibanez, 2009.
Criticised for being too similar to The Orphanage by the same production company, Hierro similarly is about a mother whose young son goes missing, and her determination to find him. However, this does not share the same supernatural aspect of The Orphanage, instead this plays upon the far more real fears of a parent. It is not just the motif of the birds that gives this psychological thriller a Hitchcockian feel. As a mother, flitting between obsession and nightmares of insanity and delusion, pursues the whereabouts of her son on the remote Canary island of Hierro, we share her fear and loneliness, manifesting in a hugely disturbing and distressing film.
The Art of Getting By, Dir. Gavin Wiesen, 2011.
In a similar fashion to The Perks of Being a Wallflower, this film is about an angsty teenage boy who finds a kindred spirit in a good looking, alternative girl at his school. Despite struggling with motivation to do homework, George (Freddie Highmore) has little really to be angsty about in his middle class New York life, and puts in an often cringeworthy and slightly lame performance in what is quite a weak and predictably written film. Watchable but ultimately forgettable.