Rock’s Report From The 58th SF Intl Film Festival: David Oelhoffen’s “Far From Men” & Rick Alverson’s “Entertainment”

Far From Men

FarFromMen_Filmpage_476x286Far From Men is a western dealing with once tried themes of fraternity and the resilience to live, but please don’t let that deter you from seeing a well crafted, sparse film. Starring Viggo Mortensen as Daru, the main protagonist, and Reda Kateb as his new side kick, Mohamed, the film takes place during the Algerian war and is a loose adaptation of the story, “The Guest”.

This subtle (and for majority of the film, atmospheric) movie paints a picture of brotherhood, loyalty, and youth with all its lack of experience. This film reaches what modern cinema has seldom achieved, and you only experience it if keen to director David Oelhoffen‘s subtle brushstrokes. His juxtaposition of sparse natural landscape with modern soundscapes thrusted me you into his world.

If you take this movie for granted as another simple form of entertainment then you are doing yourself a disservice. From the opening shot to the last you are able to be sucked into this beautifully photographed Moroccan-Algerian dessert, as I’m sure John Ford would no doubt agree. It is in this world where we are faced with our ourselves, just as these two protagonists were. Both men thrust upon each other by fate, and as fate would have it the two must choose their own destinies, which neither they, nor their past, could have written.


Remaining Showtimes for Far From Men:
Tuesday, April 28th, 3:30pm (Kabuki)


EntertainmentEntertainment is likely going to end up being a cult phenomenon, without my vote. Why you may ask? Because people who majored in existentialism at college are going to have a field day with this. This film caters to a young pretentious crowd, and like all pretentious people it rests on its laurels and forces you to look when really no one cares.

I understand that I might not be this film’s target audience, and I’m totally okay with that, yet there are still so many things to like about this film, such as its color, framing, acting, and story. Sadly, its own hum drum rhythm brings this wonderful movie to a crawl though. One scene in particular is when our tragic hero is walking down a flight of stairs. I get it, he’s walking into his demise and this is shown via an extra wide and extra long shot, but the extra frames of him just walking made the novelty of this vanguard movie wear thin. It’s too smart for its own good and hampered by its monotonous tone.

By definition, Entertainment is platonic comedy: Guy looks for exit of cave, we laugh because we see him bumbling around, etc. In its execution, this movie works. It reverses what we should laugh with, not at. This is not a difficult film to watch, and definitely should be seen, because all in all this movie is urging us to get away from the simple ways we tell a story (albeit I’m going kicking and screaming) and view cinema from a new POV. And that, to my lil’ directing soul, is entertainment.



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Categories: Reviews


  1. The 58th SF Intl Film Festival: Day 6 – David Oelhoffen’s “Far From Men” | - April 29, 2015

    […] good for both these movies – which my fellow Filmbalaya mate Rock can personally attest to (read his review here) – so really the choice was sort of a no […]

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