Manchester International Film Festival 2016
To start our final day at MANIFF 2016, we saw Trouble on Wheels, a Turkish comedy adventure about self reflection, friendship and love.
Kudret has always lived life by the book. Until, that is, his routine is turned upside down by a succession of surprise events. Kudret jumps into his much loved car and sets off for Antep on a journey that will take him from one end of the country to the other. As he clocks up the miles, he makes a bunch of new friends. But at the same time, everything that could possibly go wrong with the car goes wrong and everyone who could possibly go after Kudret and his crew goes after them. By the end of the marathon trip, Kudret will have discovered both the value of true friendship and the delights of living without rules.
Trouble on Wheels is a more light hearted film for the festival, providing welcome comic relief from the drama and thrillers, without stepping too far over the slapstick line (which I hate). This film is fun, a bit weird, and a bit stupid, but at it’s heart still has a story about a character we want to see succeed.
A Beautiful Now is a psychological drama about a thirty something professional dancer who teeters on the edge of reality.
A group of five friends reunite for one night to save beautiful dancer, Romy (Abigail Spencer), who was at the center of their former circle. As the night progresses they struggle with their past relationships and finally truths are revealed as Romy, who has barricaded herself in the bathroom, tries to put the pieces of her life back together. This thrilling journey into the mind of a woman teetering on the edge of letting go ultimately asks “if your life flashed before your eyes- would you like what you see?” and reveals a gripping story of how the past shapes who we will become.
A Beautiful Now has all the pieces needed to be a gripping drama, an unstable lead, a group of friends with secrets, and their past is more complicated than it first appears, but for me, this film fell short. I never like to dip straight into the drama without first getting to know my characters, and it’s here where I felt like this film missed a trick. It failed to make me care about any one of them, and because of this, I became bored with their tales and their consequences. I simply cannot care about how something has affected a character, if I don’t feel a connection to them, and this film for me lacked that connection.
Next up is Audition, a documentary following an experimental casting, where 100 actors are whittled down to just two, who get to act out the final scene.
What is real love? New York filmmaker Matt Herron spent over 15 years peeling back layers of expectations and disappointments to uncover the raw essence of this inescapable emotion through his powerful new award-winning film, Audition. Set in the midst of a real-life acting competition, this cautionary narrative within a documentary takes us on a provocative journey into the heart of one of the most profound questions most of us will ever face.
At that start of this film I didn’t like it, but by the end, I loved it! The only problem being that this film left me wanting so much more, and I think that it could have given it to me. The documentary follows the process of casting a lead couple over the course of a week, starting with 100 actors, and finishing with just two. The footage flips between acting scenes and back stage footage, building up to a climactic final scene, with high tension both on and off screen. I loved the juxtaposition of the on screen chemistry and off screen strain as the documentary progressed, but I really wish that we had been shown more from behind the scenes, and from the actors when they are not actually acting. Despite this, I would recommend this film to anyone looking for an interesting and insightful documentary drama.
Audition won the award for Best Edit
Finishing off the weekend for us was There Should be Rules, a Swedish coming of age drama.
Mia and Mirjam are 14 year old best friends. Besides each other, they also have Karl, their super smart friend who knows almost everything. They live in a quiet town, but as long as they have each other life is tolerable. But one day, Per enters their lives. Per is a single, 35 year old man. Per and Mirjam begin a secret affair. Mia can hardly believe it’s true, Mia and Karl begin what they call a “detailed reconnaissance mission”. By mapping out Per’s life they hope to confront the married man and in turn get their best friend back into their sacred circle. But things don’t go as planned.
There Should be Rules is a tale of young women, struggling with puberty, divorce, alcoholic parents and love affairs with men more than twice their age, and most of all, the struggle of maintaining friendship through these troubled times. Mia is the stand out character, a 14 year old girl that any teenager could relate to, who sees herself as sidekick to her friend, and can’t understand why Mirjam is the one getting all the attention. While not a breakout hit, There Should be Rules is a nice Indie film to end the weekend with.
There Should Be Rules won the award for Best Actress (Anna Hagglin)
And here ends our weekend at MANIFF 2016, we had an amazing time, and saw some outstanding films. The full list of winners are;
Best Student Film – Mast Qalandar
Best Music Video – Leo Stannard ’19’
Best Experimental Film – O – A film shot through a water lens.
The MMBF Rising Star Award – Divij Roopchand
Best Animation – Hey Deer
Best Documentary Short – A Conscious Dream
Best UK Short – Break
Best International Short – Debris
Best Music/Score – Vince Giordano – There’s a Future in the Past
Best Edit – Audition
Best Cinematography – Kidnap Capital
Best Production – Despite the Falling Snow
Best Screenplay – Psychoanalysis
Best Actress – Anna Hagglin (There Should be Rules)
Best Actor – Salim Kechiouche (Thugocracy)
Best Documentary Feature – Art Bastard
Staff Pick – West of Redemption
Audience Award – Dennis Viollet – A United Man
Best UK Film – Made in Taiwan
Best International Film – Psychoanalysis
Best Director – FG KO (Thugocracy)
Best Feature – Thugocracy
Film of the Festival – Thugocracy
There were also special mentions for Sleeping Dogs for Student Film, All Rise for documentary feature, Lunar Orbit for Edit, Dennis Rodman’s Big Bang in Pyongyang for Director, Claire van der Boom (Broke) for Actress, Penn Badgley (The Paper Store) for Actor, Sing for your supper for Screenplay and Rumble and Fire for UK Short film.
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