EL DESTIERRO | THE EXILE ( 2015) Dir.: Arturo Ruiz Serrano; Cast: Joan Carlos Suau, Monika Kowalska, Eric Frances | Drama | Spain | 88 min.
Arturo Ruiz Serrano’s directorial debit is an uneasy and sometimes unsettling film set during the Spanish Civil War. It features – literally – a ménage-à-trois between two Fascist soldiers and a young Polish woman fighting for the International Brigades.
Theo (Suau) and Silverio (Frances) have the arduous and gruelling job of guarding an isolated mountain outpost in a remote, primitive stone hut. One day, Silverio, a burly macho, finds Zoska an injured Polish woman in the mountains and brings her back into the hut where it emerges that she is fighting for the Republicans. After saving her life by stopping her bleeding to death from a gunshot wound, Silverio then tries to rape her – but is prevented when Theo’s intervenes. But Zoska eventually sleeps with Silverio, but somehow falls in love with Theo, whose virginity appeals to her desire to be sexually in control. After Zoska succeeds in seducing the earnest young man (while Severio is asleep), the trio settles down to a peaceful co-existence. This tranquil state of affairs is interrupted when one of the soldiers, delivering food parcels, spots Theo and Zoska half-naked. Jealous, he verbally abuses her whereupon Theo intervenes. Silverio more or less stands by, his macho image brought into question: he would have allowed her rape but he somehow finds this violent confrontation unacceptable.
Serrano’s study of soldiers away from the battlefield provides an inventive moral counterpoint to the usual subject of wartime. Watchable enough, it is hard to find EL DESTIERRO credible: there are too many over-simplifications that stem from the male characters: Theo and Silverio clearly represent polar opposites on the moral compass, but they feel like caricatures. And Zoska’s only function is to be with the men and do the washing, in a poorly underwritten female characterisation. One suspects that Serrano wanted to show that loves conquers all, even in the time of war, but he has failed miserably: his debut is implausible, and sometimes downright sordid. DoP Nicolas Pinzon creates an evocative romantic mountain idyll, but the narrative lets him down.
EL DESTIERRO | OPENING NIGHT GALA | THE 5TH MALLORCA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL | 3 – 12 NOVEMBER 2016
TOUR DE FRANCE (2016) | Dir: Rachid Djaidani | Cast: Gerard Depardieu, Sadek, Louise Grinberg, Nicolas Maretheu | 95min | Drama | France
Rachid Djaidani’s buddy road movie feels like an attempt to wave an Olive Branch in a France very much divided by recent terrorist unrest. And Gerard Depardieu has gamely volunteered to give the project credibility as the central character Serge, a raddled and mildly cantankerous widower who honours his dead wife with a painting trip round the Gallic coast, tracing the steps of her favourite artist, the maritime painter Joseph Vernet. His voluble chauffeur on this freewheeling creative odyssey is French-born Arab musician Far’hook (Sadek), and a cheesy but nourishing friendship blossoms between the pair that ultimately has Serge rooting for the rapper in the final redemptive scene that takes place at Far’hook’s hip hip event in Marseilles.
Once on the road, Far’hook is far from the angry hoodlum he would us believe in his punchy hip-hop lyrics. More of a puppy dog than a rottweiler, he emerges a metaphor for the marginalised youth of France, documenting the seaside séjour on his mobile and striking up a flirty friendship with a girl they meet along the way (Louise Grinberg). Meanwhile, painting serves as both a tribute to his wife and therapy for the ‘loss’ of his own son ‘Bilal’ (Nicolas Marétheu) who left home to become a Muslim and found his way into music.
TOUR DE FRANCE however corny, is a cheerful tale of racial diversity. Very much about the healing and unifying power of music, it serves as a well-intentioned balm to pour over his country’s troubled times.
TOUR DE FRANCE | CLOSING NIGH GALA | THE 5TH MALLORCA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL | NOVEMBER 3-12 2016
NARRATIVE FEATURE COMPETITION
Luca Tanzt Leise, Director: Philipp Eichholtz (Germany)
After years of depression Luca reinvents herself with the help of new friends.
Nirgendwo, Director: Matthias Starte (Germany)
A stranger in his own life, Danny reluctantly returns to his childhood home after his father’s sudden passing. He rediscovers his hometown as a summery paradise.
Anna’s Life, Director: Nino Basilia (Georgia)
Anna a single mom is forced to take four jobs to support herself and her autistic son, she decides to leave Georgia but it’s easier said than done. Director will be in attendance.
A Heavy Heart, Director: Thomas Stuber (Germany)
A former East German boxing champion working as a bouncer and debt collector reflects on life when he is diagnosed with ALS.
Pura Vida (After Words), Director: Juan Feldman (US)
A librarian facing a mid-life crisis travels to Costa Rica in search of enjoying life to the fullest.
Kiss Me Kill Me, Director: Casper Andreas (US)
While confronting his unfaithful boyfriend, Dusty blacks-out. When he comes to, his boyfriend has been murdered and he’s the prime suspect. Director will be in attendance.
Parasol, Director: Valéry Rosier (Belgium)
Holiday time, a Mediterranean island. The determination, no matter the cost, to make things change. Nostalgia for a past that never existed.
Bittersweet Days, Director: Marga Melià (Spain)
Julia rents a room to Luuk. Their cohabitation will make them rethink their lives: are they living the way they really want to? Director will be in attendance.
Where to Miss?, Director: Manuela Bastian (Germany)
We follow Devki’s story, as it tell us why Indian women find it difficult to free themselves from their traditional roles.
Dusky Paradise, Director: Gregory Kirchhoff, (Germany – Made in Baleares)
After the death of his parents a young man travels to Mallorca to live in their house and look after their turtle.
Director in attendance.
Autumn Fall, Director: Jan Vardøen (Norway)
Ingvld entangles herself with two men, it is a very dangerous journey.
Buddymoon, Director: Alex Simmons (US)
Jilted groom David is convinced by his best man Flula to continue with his planned honeymoon. Lead actress Lilith Stangenberg in attendance.
Hotel Problemski, Director: Manu Riche (Belgium)
For the refugees of the multinational residential centre somewhere in Europe, this black comedy reveals their daily stuggles and laughs.
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE COMPETITION
Oasis: Supersonic, Director: Mat Whitecross (UK)
An in-depth look at the life and music of Manchester-based rock band, Oasis <http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?
The Karamazoffs (A walk on the SoHo years), Director: Juan Gamero (Spain)
In the 1960s, New York’s SoHo was occupied by artists from around the world, The Karamazoffs, a group of Barcelona artists relive their experience during those wild years in SoHo.
In Europe’s shadow, Director: Florian Schnell (Germany)
Human rights activist Elias Bierdel commentates throughout the film and meets refugees from different countries and activists.
De Lola à Laila, Director: Milena Bochet (Spain)
From mother to daughter the film shifts to a reflection about female emancipation, fight, movement and cinema.
The Key to Dalí, Director: David Fernández (Spain)
Tomeu L’Amo, a Majorcan scientist and artist bought an unknown painting in an antique shop 25 years later, he tries everything to get it certified as a real Dalí. Cast&Crew will be in attendance.
THE MALLORCA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 3-12 NOVEMBER 2016