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Manchester International Film Festival 2016

Manchester International Film Festival 2016

Kicking off our Saturday at MANIFF2016 is Northern Limit Line, a war drama based on a true story, the film depicts the incident known as the second battle Yeonpyeong.

MANIFF 2016 Northern Limit LineBased on the true story that is known as the second battle of Yeonpyeong, this epic war film tells the journey of some of the young soldiers who fought and died in the battle. The battle took place in the yellow sea on 29th of June in 2002, against the backdrop of the 2002 world cup finals, when two North-Korean vessels broached the Northern Limit Line and fired at the South-Korean patrol boat named ‘Chamsuri 357’, killing six men and leaving 18 badly injured to fight for their lives.

While the film was highly recommended in South Korea, North Korea lambasted it, saying it was a distorted view of events. There is a stark contrast in the film between the light hearted introduction of the characters, the heart warning growth they undertake, and the surprise attack they are then faced with. Footage at the end of the film of the funerals of the real sailors who were killed in the battle, only serves to highlight how true this story is. For me the film did start to drag a little at the end, but overall we really enjoyed this one, as it had a great balance between action, drama and comedy.

Another great thing about this film is how it came to be funded. After initial investors backed out, a third of the budget was raised through crowd funding by 7,000 individuals, including 23 members of the 2002 South Korean football team, who’s matches and progress in the 2002 World Cup play a big part in the sailors lives, and their support for the team features heavily in the film!

All Rise is the only documentary of the festival we managed to see, and follows passionate law students as they battle to win the Jessup International Moot Law Court Competition.


How are international disputes resolved through dialogue? All Rise brings this complex question into sharp and personalized focus, through the stories of six passionate international law students competing in the Jessup, the largest simulated court proceeding of its kind. Against the backdrop of the dramatic world championships in Washington, DC, this moving film lays bare the tragedies, triumphs and transformations that are unique to this tournament.

Diving into the compelling stories of our protagonists, we see six unique sides of the Jessup story – six young people struggling against hardship, poverty, war, and inequity – but we also see a shared story of passionate scholars overcoming unimaginable pressure to persevere in one of academia’s most rigorous challenges. Some crumble. Some thrive.

As we follow seven teams, from Uganda, India, Israel, Palestine, Jamaica, Russia and Singapore, and their lead team members, from vastly different backgrounds, we see the pressure and internal struggles that these students face during their mission to bring home the trophy. It was interesting to see how these student developed over the course of filming, especially in terms of their own struggles, and not just those relating to the competition.

Finally we managed to squeeze in something a little different, and were delighted with MANIFF 2016’s animated shorts selection. Two stand outs for us were Hey Deer and Nudinits – Tickled Pink. Hey Deer follow a frustrated Deer who perseveres to keep his home in order, despite the efforts of an unknown force, seemly determined to ruin his hard work night after night. The Nudinits was out favourite, a knitted short jam packed with adorable knitted creatures, outstanding attention to detail, and more sexual innuendo than you can manage. Director Sarah Simi tells us that she has hopes for The Nudinits to become a series, and if it does, we will definitely be tuning in.

The film Hey Deer was awarded Best Animation

The Manny was an outstanding German comedy and a very welcome addition to our long day at MANIFF 2016.

MANIFF The NannyClemens (Matthias Schweighöfer) has very little time for his kids. He has been working on a big development for the City and the contracts are almost ready to sign. Just a few remaining tenants will have to vacate their apartments and construction can start. When Rolf (Milan Peschel) loses his apartment in the building, he vows vengeance and goes undercover as a male Nanny for Clemens’ kids. His plan is simple: Sabotage. Yet he did not reckon that Clemens’ kids Winnie and Theo would be so well prepared. They have made it a sport to drive any new nanny out of the house immediately. And they know no mercy when it comes to their weapons of choice and Rolf must learn that being a Nanny is far from easy – at least in this family. But while Rolf tries to save his home and neighbourhood, he unwittingly becomes the saviour of an entire family.

A brilliantly funny film, with a story about two families coming together. You cannot help but love Milan Peschel’s Rolf, and adore how he impacts on the life of a broken family. We really enjoyed this film, it has a feel good attitude, packed with laughs and a happy ending, just what we needed.

We finished our second day at MANIFF 2016 with Thugocratie.

Sam, a thug, is out of jail. He’ s having a go at a crime free new life. He attempts to get closer to his estranged kid and tries his faulting best to maintain a glimmer of hope within an inner city existence. Caught up by his past and Wedged between mobsters and corrupt cops, Sam makes a string of difficult decisions, and struggles in his personal pursuit of a better world for himself and his child.

MANIFF 2016 ThugocratieSam is the film’s anti-hero, and you cannot help but root for him to get the break he needs to start a better life for himself and his son. A solid French thriller in a drug underworld setting, Thugocratie was a great finish to our day.

While we enjoyed Thugocratie, it wasn’t one that really stood out for us over the course of the entire weekend.

Thugocratie won the awards for Best Direction, Best Actor (Salim Kechiouche), Best Feature and Film of the Festival

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