Mill Valley Film Festival 2011 – “The Forgiveness Of Blood”, “Heritage”, and “What Happened Here?”

Movie: The Forgiveness Of Blood

Director: Joshua Marston (Maria Full of Grace)

Showtimes: Thu. Oct 13, 2011, 4:00pm @ Sequoia Theatre – Mill Valley (Tickets)

Sat. Oct 15, 2011, 12:15pm @ Sequoia Theatre – Mill Valley (Tickets)

Being a teenager is never the easiest of things, especially when your family is involved in an escalating land conflict resulting in your father taking part in a murder, along with the subsequent consequences of such an act.  In this case, it’s Blood Law, which means the males of the family are under house arrest until the conflict is settled, which could take years, and if they leave the house they could be shot on sight.  The first thing that struck me about this film is that modern-day Albania has some screwed up laws.  The second thing I noticed was that all the elements that go into a film being a worthwhile outing (script, acting, sound, costume, and photography) were spot on, making The Forgiveness Of Blood an uniquely claustrophobic coming-of-age drama. – Adam Cuttler

Reviews for Heritage and What Happened Here? after the jump

Movie: Heritage (Księstwo)

Director: Andrzej Baranski

Showtimes: Thu. Oct 13, 2011, 8:45pm @ Smith Rafael Film Center – San Rafael (Tickets)

Fri. Oct 14, 2011, 8:45pm @ Smith Rafael Film Center – San Rafael (Tickets)

I will admit that the main reason I selected this film is because I am very fond of the Polish film industry.  The film did not disappoint me.  It was well shot on black and white, and the acting is sometimes good (though sometimes leaves something to be desired.) The plot is interesting, the locations are interesting and often satirical, and character development is good. The ending, though, seemed to reveal that the main idea of the film is that the world is shit, Poland is shit, and humanity is shit.  Very curmudgeonly.

However, occasionally the main character’s life and background, as he tried to find his way through poverty, corruption, and an aristocratic notion of a glorious past, seemed to parallel that of modern Poland itself, and that shined through the darkness of this very pessimistic piece.

Movie: What Happened Here?

Director: Rob Nilsson

Showtimes: Sat. Oct 8th, 2011, 9:00 PM @ Smith Rafael Film Center, San Rafael (Tickets)

The film “What Happened Here?” should have rather been titled, “What Is This Film About?”.  It takes us on a confused and uncertain journey through the village where Trotsky is from, the hometown of Mr. Nilsson, and through portions of history to arrive at… well, no real conclusions at all.  I found this film to be a bit of a mess.  However, the moving and deep interviews with the people who knew Trotsky, or suffered through the Stalinist Ukrainian famine, made it worth a watch, even if the rest doesn’t seem to be coherent.


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