El Gort – Finally A Documentary That Said Something

I was at the premiere of Hamza Ouni’s documentary; El Gort, and it made me laugh, and got me emotional almost simultaneously. In almost 7 years of shooting, the Tunisian director covered the lives of two boys working on the hay trade in the city of El M’hamdia, in Tunisia, where his own father used to work. It was possibly felt like a kind of tribute to his dad, but it was even more perceived as a critic towards the Tunisian government.

Indeed, Hamza Ouni started his journey with those boys when Ben Ali was still president. He captured how hard it was for them to struggle and survive. Then, he moved to after the “revolution”, and finally, before and after the elections of October 2011. Did something changed? I’ll let you go and get the answer by yourself.

However, every character has this embedded idea of running away from Tunisia, to Italy principally, but anywhere would also fit them, to acquire a better standard of living. And this is not new, for years, young Tunisians dreamt of European countries, imagining them as heavens. Well, they are craving for opportunities, and the two protagonists even learnt some words in Italian, followed the French trends etc. And if they knew the hay business was so hard and was a shitty job, they wouldn’t have dropped school in the first place. Nevertheless, it is important to understand that money became a primitive need for them. Indeed, to support the family, to improve their lives, they needed to work the earlier they could, and that even though, they were exploited. Hamza Ouni, wanted to understand in a deeper way, their way of thinking and what pushes them to do one thing or another.

The protagonists are so real, and natural, they are full of joy despite their condition and you almost believe it’s a movie and they are actors, and you are projected into their world, hanging out with them. When the documentary comes to its end, you miss those guys, and that’s what was extraordinary, and what really surprised me. It’s no wonder the director won the price, during the 7th Abu Dhabi Film Festival, in the Documentary Competition, of Best Director from the Arab World, considering the fact that it was his first film.

In a nutshell, I never saw a Tunisian documentary this good, since I started getting interested in them, and I recommend this one, to not only Tunisian people but also everyone throughout the world. Big up to Hamza Ouni.

You can also find my article in here => The Pulse the online magazine of my University

Rush – To Feel More Speed

You love Formulas 1? You are familiar with Niki Lauda and James Hunt? You like speed and adrenaline? You like pizza? You like puppies? Okay I stop there. The idea is, no matter what are your tastes, Rush is movie everyone of you might appreciate.

Now, about those two guys;

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James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth), one blond good looking british, who would with one glance at his opponents cars, made them collapse like if they were wo
men.

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Niki Lauda (
Daniel Brühl) the other, a super smart Austrian guy,who knows more about how to make race cars reach their climax more than how to make women reach theirs.
Well, there is a story. They’d always been opponents, rivals, and their ultime battle was during the 1976 Formula One Season. High skilled, with an unbelievable determination, they dedicated their entire time, to racing, giving the best of what they got, and climbing the ladder little by little, during 1970 – 1976.

A gutsy movie, with lots of adrenaline! Yet, it is a historical, and really poignant one. The director, Ron Howard and his screenwriter Peter Morgan knew how to catch the essence of the rivalry between the two racers. Every elements are here: the well recalled event, the races, love, friendship, solidarity, humanity.
The important point to understand is, about their relationship. It is not only based on competition or hatred, not at all, it is about friendship, because they connected, and created links without being really aware of it. It was a game and just about two proud roosters, or more like two cheetahs. Success was in the chore of their competition, who will have THE WOMEN, the fastest CAR and win the GOLD medal? They had to finish what they started to be able to turn the page. Their story is amazing, almost fantastic; they completely dedicated 6 years of their lives, for their passion sure, but also and most important, to play together and prouve each other something like children.

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Rush is thrilling, exciting, two big figures interpreted on the screen, recreating events some of us never even heard of. The actors, Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl are outstandingly credible, moving and wild. They gave very hollywoodien performances paradoxically in a movie that isn’t felt like being a Hollywood product. The way its feel, what we experienced, the drama into the film, are making the whole difference.

Then, if I had to say few last things, this movie is a biopic driving you through 6 years of history in a rush. Put on your sea-belts, hold on to your seats, and enjoy the speed.

American Hustle – Change your mask

The american cinema this year has been great, surprising, with his mesmerizing love stories, poignant dramas, suspenseful crime films etc. And American Hustle continues on that wave.
David O. Russell loves to talk about his work on his film, and I can clearly understand why.

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Complete transformation of Christian Bale, as Irving Rosenfeld and Bradley Cooper, as Richie DiMaso. I have to say that every previous sexual attraction towards Bale vanished, thanks to his growing belly and baldness, though if you’re more a fan of the cute Cooper, his perfectly curly hair are not very sexy. However, this is the end of the 70’s, and men had weird tastes. Unlike the women of the movie, Jennifer Lawrence as Rosalyn Rosenfeld and Amy Adams as Sydney Prosser, who are breathtaking – and not only physically. Indeed, and that not only for the two actresses, they all done incredible performances and showed the best of their acting. Christian Bale was never so convincing in a style that he’s never done before, and that’s the power and peak of his acting carrer. Not to mention Jennifer Lawrence who is outstanding and changing the concept of the word “supporting” in supporting actress.

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Okay so amazing actors, now let’s talk content. American Hustle is based on some FBI event, and deals with the actions of two characters; Irving and Sydney, lovers and associates in con games. Indeed, they had a little growing business, gaining the trust of people, and also their money, by playing roles. Especially Sydney, who adopted in the movie, a “crime mask”, of an aristocratic english women named Lady Edith Greensley.
Nevertheless, Irving had his mask too, he cheated on his wife, Rosalyn, and had going on a business that nobody close, knew about.
Proof that in America, everything is possible, drop your actual personality, choose an other, there is plenty. The American Dream, the flourishing 80’s.
American Hustle sells some fantasies. Even if Irving and Sydney are unmasked in a first time by Richie, like magicians they have more than one trick in their pockets. That’s the kind of hope the country is dealing. Paradoxically, with the fact that the most honest and big hearted character is a politician.

Well, besides that, the movie is funny, a little crazy, vibrant and provides you a great time while watching it. It is certainly concentrated within the hands of the actors, and they are the ones giving the film this extraordinary strength and life, they enlightened it, and voodooed us.
Worth watching for the explosive cast and performances.

Her – If Love Was Conceived By Apple

It’s been a while now, since I saw a moving and beautiful love story on screen.

Spike Jonze offered me the possibility to re-experiment the joy and tears of a marvelous romance. Her completely overwhelmed and affected me.
Choosing Joaquin Phoenix as the poetic protagonist, heartbroken, having a hard time opening himself to other women, was the best investment Spike Jonze could do. This actor embodies sweetness, fragility and instability, he made those emotions, adjectives, physically visible. After watching Walk The Line, and reading the plot of Her, you can only think of Joaquin Phoenix as Theodore Twombly.
He writes letters for people based on souvenirs they send to him, and lives a bit by procuration. One day, as he was out, he bought an Operation System, which is basically giving your computer a voice and a false consciousness.
And, also choosing Scarlett Johansson‘s voice, as Samantha, the OS 1, was a fine choice. She doesn’t get on your nerves, and she makes you want to see her physically (even if you know the actress), it gets you deeper into the film, and make you share the frustration of both characters.

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That is what the movie is about. Set in a near future, where people are wearing 1980’s clothes, everything is computerized, wireless and you don’t need no keyboards anymore. Virtual love is in the chore of this world.
It is raising the issue of dating websites being more and more popular, but also the issue of anti-sociability, because of this growing technology preventing people to have physical interactions. It is futuristic but simultaneously it speaks to us by being already half implemented in our lives. And after directing movies made where people fall in love with robots, E.Ts or monsters, filmmakers deal now with falling in love with a simple voice. We could fall in love with Siri for exemple. And this is why I had to make the link between Apple and Her. Raising issues, but also opening the door of love and its incredible and vast possibilities.

The power of Spike Jonze is his exciting capacity to hypnotize the spectators and allow them to identify themselves to Theodore’s character, to truly get him. We empathize with him, we understand every emotion, feeling, behavior he has. And we fall in love with his story just like he falls in love with Samantha.
What could be seen as marginal, odd, appears to us, as normal, even obvious. Thinking, even for a second, that Samantha could be the one, is a proof of our implication into the movie, and how fast we adapted ourselves to the situation. A situation that contains familiar tones to everyone of us.

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The poetic evolution of the movie and of Joaquin Phoenix’s character, is the strength of Her. Theodore is leading us with him in this journey of love, he explores a new thing, a new possibility. The magnificence of the film, is its naturalistic tone, its naive sparkle, and the dialectic side of it, because, Theodore is rediscovering his world, rediscovering and learning about love, just like a child or a teenager would do.
Finding out about a new way of love, is exciting and even though we should be careful with it, he throw ourselves into the unknown and pray for the fall to be soft.

Her is a modern love story, that seems so close to what could happen nowadays. Let yourself be blown away by this romance, and don’t even try to hold your breath.

The Counselor – Savages n°2

I am not going to hide my huge deception.

Ridley Scott as a director, Michael FassbenderJavier BardemBrad Pitt, as actors, Cameron Diaz and Penelope Cruz as actresses AND YET, they found out a way to screw everything up. Even though, the two actresses are not really what I consider breathtaking ones, they could have been good enough to save a little bit the movie, but they preferred to choose the telenovelas style for Cruz, and the overplaying for Diaz. But the most disappointing thing, was Fassbender’s performance, which was astonishingly amateurish. It is, no questioning, his worst performance ever. The only thing he had been able to do properly, was to cry (he definitely knows how to do this). Also, I know now, which is the worst movie Brad Pitt ever played in.

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Now that I let out the biggest part of my discontent, let’s go deeper into the film.

The Counselor is another drug-traffic movie, combining a nice guy entering the wrong playground, romance, and action. However, for some mysterious reasons, Scott and Cormac McCarthy (the screenwriter), decided to add madness in all the characters, withdraw every credibility from them, and to give them long, and not very comprehensible dialogues, with neither head nor tales.
It strongly reminded me of what I thought of Savages (Oliver Stone), which regrouped a great cast, had a same kind of scenario and yet was a terrible mess.

The story is vaguely understood; there is this lawyer, known as The Counselor (Michael Fassbender), he is wealthy, madly in love with Laura (Penelope Cruz) who loves him back, and he seems to do great. Now, God knows why, he accepted to be involved in drug trafficking when his asshole of a friend, Reiner (Javier Bardem), talked about it.
Therefore, through endless dialogues, wanting to be philosophical, we get that “greed” is in center of the whole thing, that and the twisted human nature.

The problem, is the following: there is many characters, too many, and several plot twists, thus at some point, you’re lost, or you just gave up and let yourself drowned. Clearly the issue is that, the scenario is not logical at all, or at least not well sewed. The only thing that “mesmerized” me – and I found that a little creepy – is the unique scene of an elaborated murder (which I am not going to spoil).
The defective screenplay is even more lowered thanks to the actors, and their cruel lack of credibility in their acting. Bardem is just ridiculous, in his costume, with his haircut, and adopting this frenetic behavior; Fassbender pitied me; Diaz was maybe too overconfident and Cruz was useless. I may appear to be a little harsh, and it is probably because my expectations were higher, nevertheless, I am really not able to say if the movie was really pretentious or just another film where everybody wanted to laugh a little bit.

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Well, in a nutshell, what you remember when finishing the movie is: Fassbender’s crying, Diaz fucking a car, and a lot of logorrhea.