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Zettel Film Reviews » Europe/World cinema

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Shun Li and the Poet – Andrea Segre – Simply a delight

Tweet   Shun Li and The Poet – Andrea Segre Like a glass of pure, fresh, home-made lemonade: with a hint of sweetness and a satisfying tang of fresh lemon on a sweltering hot, oppressive day – this delightful little gem refreshes one’s aesthetic palate, touches the soul and lifts the spirit. It is simply […]

Antichrist, Lars von Trier’s bleak but masterful vision

Tweet Antichrist – Lars von Trier Wittgenstein said he always found Freud worth reading – for thought-provoking psychological ideas. He expressed no interest in Freud’s work as the basis for a therapeutic regime. As ever, this is both clear thinking and wise. In Antichrist, Lars von Trier tempts us to become as entangled in Freudian […]

Il Divo – the extraordinary life of Giulio Andreotti* – an essay

Tweet Il Divo – Paolo Sorrentino (2008) Shakespearean in content, operatic in tone, writer director Paolo Sorrentino’s Il Divo (the extraordinary life of Giulio Andreotti) is a masterly work. Richly textured and at times demanding, Sorrentino’s film is a profound study of power, and its irresistible affects on men who possess it and those drawn […]

Slumdog Millionaire – a chicken tikka masala of a film

Tweet Slumdog Millionaire – Danny Boyle Slumdog Millionaire is like a shot of bad tequila – feels great as it goes down then begins to burn at your gut and eventually makes you feel queasy. ‘Slumdog’, for it already has an abbreviated nickname; is a nice, naïve, pacy little romantic fairytale knocked up inexpensively by […]

The Reader – compassion not forgiveness: a moral dilemma

Tweet The Reader – Stephen Daldry This is a morally complex film: which probably explains why it has polarised critical opinion. The Reader demonstrates better than any recent film I can remember, the vital importance of what the viewer brings to the artistic experience – both to the quality of that experience and the value […]

Gomorra – death as the price of a life you choose

Tweet Gommora – Matteo Garrone Thomas Hobbes, 16th Century English philosopher once described human life without government, state authority, as “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.” Garrone’s award-winning film occupies a Hobbesian world: neither his Direction nor Maurizio Braucchi’s screenplay, based upon Roberto Saviano’s whistle-blowing book Gomorra (2006), make any attempt at a coherent narrative […]

Lemon Tree – Etz Limon: Palestine/Israel – allegory and metaphor

Tweet Lemon Tree – Eran Riklis At the very heart of this quiet, dignified film is a performance by Israeli-Arab Hiam Abbass of such power and stillness that it not only draws us into the pain and mental anguish of poor Palestinian widow Salma Zidane, but also resonates with the ancient Israeli/Palestinian conflict for which […]

The Pianist- Essay: aesthetics, ethics and the Holocaust

Tweet The Pianist – Roman Polanski Films with a Holocaust setting pose acute and unique problems for critical and aesthetic analysis. In no other context of human behaviour are important distinctions between moral and aesthetic judgement so disturbingly blurred. The Holocaust stands apart as the most appalling of all examples of man’s inhumanity to man […]

Motor Cycle Diaries – youth, idealism, fun, adventure, self-discovery

Tweet The Motorcycle Diaries – Walter Salles Friendship, self-awakening, and indignation at injustice, are at the heart of this empathic and deeply felt film. The real journey through fifties South America of Ernesto, later ‘Che’, Guevara and his friend Alberto Grenado is engaging, funny, moving and redolent of a rare sense of humanity. The film […]

Sophie Scholl – courage to celebrate and cherish

Tweet Sophie Scholl – Marc Rothemund True heroism, like martyrdom, must be imposed by fate, not sought. This is a profound moral principle that exercised Joseph Conrad in Lord Jim. Again, Robert Bolt’s Sir Thomas More in A Man For All Seasons does everything he can to avoid his looming martyrdom – except sacrifice his […]