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Chmout Review

Chmout - Rami Aidamouni poster

Chmout (8/10)

Chmout retells a century old real-life story of sorrow and heartache in just 450 brief seconds. This short film by Rami Aidamouni, alongside being inspired by his family’s own tragedy, is actually narrating the story of hundreds of others whom can truly relate it.

This is the kind of films that aims to deliver a certain message to whomever is watching it. It is a story commemorating the memory of 3 innocent souls that left us way before their time.
I salute director Rami’s need to honor this story that now, because of this film, will live on in the minds and souls of every spectator.

Watch this movie on LIFF VOD Platform

Synopsis:

Gaby, a 20 years old man and his brother and sister, accompanied by tow friends, decided to accept an invitation for a party in a village called “Chmout”. But they didn’t knew that this decision will lead them to somewhere they never thought of…

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The beach house by Roy Dib

Rate 8.5/10

“No one chooses anything. We are all born slaves.” Now this is something to think about.

One of the best aspects about this film is that it can be interpreted in many ways. It is, for instance, an emotionally packed story hidden behind a sheer layer of metaphorical dialog and symbolic gestures.

“The Beach House” tackled numerous intense subjects and themes ranging from sexual exploration and freedom to the devastating void that fills one’s life, as well as many more such as mental health and the importance of Art and Music.

Moreover, alongside the profound story are some extremely complicated and twisted characters. Each character was created to leave a lasting impact on the spectator because despite the boldness of their actions, they are still relatable. They are just a reflection of real-life people with similar stories and hardship.

These intricate and fascinating characters were portrayed by a cast of extremely talented performers such as Rodrigue Sleiman, Julian Farhat, Sandy Chamoun and Nesrine Khoder. Each one managed to add his own personal touch to his character and the end result was nothing short of breathtaking!

In addition, there is something about “The Beach House” that just radiates hope despite the somewhat grim and uninviting vibe that dominated the entire story.

Needless to say, “The Beach House” is a revolutionary homage to the Arts and sexuality in an environment that deemed it to be provocative or immoral. This film should not and must not go by unnoticed!!!

Also, a huge nod of respect goes to Roy Dib, because he made sure that this film also showcased and highlighted the work of extremely talented modern Lebanese artist. While some consider these paintings or sculptures as only props to fill in some void, they actually translated an intertwined relationship between the The Beach House’ story and its deeply rooted connection to the arts.

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in-the-mood-for-love-review

In the Mood for Love Film Review By Dima Saqfalhait

“You notice things if you pay attention.”

Set in 1962 Hong Kong, In the Mood for Love (2000) by Wong Kar-wai demands the viewers’ full attention from its very beginning, as one tries to work out how the story will unfold, only to have their expectations reversed, every single time. 

Two couples move on the same day to the same building, in two apartments right next to one another. Some of their belongings get mistakenly swapped by the movers, which gives the impression, early on, that the two couples are not that different from one another. Chow Mo-wan and Su Li-zhen both have spouses that work late, or outside the country, most of the time. As a result, they are nearly absent in the film. Chow and Su though occasionally cross paths at the noodle shop as they pick up their dinner, only to eat it separately and silently in their own rooms. Naturally, you would think it’s the ideal (for lack of better words) context for adultery, no? But, it is not what you think.  It is indeed a film about adultery, but not in the usual sense, nor from the common perspective. Both characters disdain cheating, which is a paradox that holds the film together and makes it the more intriguing. Especially as they find out they are both cheated on, surprisingly, by the same perpetrators. 

“Feelings can creep up just like that. I thought I was in control.”

Yet, feelings do naturally evolve between them too, despite their platonic relationship. So how will they respond? The film’s strength lies not so much in its witty dialogue (although its sparse dialogue is quite brilliant) but rather in its ability to express so much love, without using the usual tools to express it. As Roger Ebert puts it so eloquently in his review of the film: ‘when you’re holding back and speaking in code, no conversation is boring, because the empty spaces are filled by your desires.’ Whether he meant the desire of the characters or those of the viewer, both certainly apply here. 

The film makes quite an active participant of the viewer, in an attempt to piece together the story. So much of love can be understood by glances, frame composition and mise-en-scene, colours, and even the relation between one shot and another. With a colour palette that is predominantly red and black, the film is all about romance and unfulfilled desires. Partitions and mirrors are also an important motif throughout the film, as they constantly show characters accompanied by their own reflections, giving an impression that there’s more going on in the scene than what is visible to the eye. 

You put so much of yourself in the film, and you are rewarded by a journey to a world that is so different yet strangely relatable. When I first listened to the film’s soundtrack on Youtube (way before watching the film) I was completely struck. It’s an enchanting tune that made me feel so much: nostalgia, yearning, unfulfilled desires, loneliness, and most importantly it made me feel love. Remarkably, the film left me with the same exact feelings. So if you plan to watch the film tonight, you’ll be up for a sweet treat. 

For more film quotations and recommendations, you can follow Dima Saqfahait’s Instagram account @cine.words

#film #review #inthemoodforlove

Heaven_Without_People_Lucien_bourjeily

Heaven without people Directed by Lucien Bourjeily. Is a Lebanese film that deserves all the recognition it’s getting from Netflix !

Rating 🍿🍿🍿🍿🍿- Fantastic

Follow Sam The Critic on Instagram @samthecritic

#movie #review #Heavenwithoutpeople #Lucienbourjeily #lebanese #lebanon #films #farahshaer

End of the century Review

End of the century Review 8.5/10

“If I could figure out a way to remain forever in transition, in the disconnected and unfamiliar, I could remain in a state of perpetual freedom.”

You know this unfavorable feeling of dissatisfaction that always lingers deep down your soul? The very same feeling that you cannot seem to name or describe? End of the Century masterfully translated this nameless sentiment into a heart-wrenching motion picture that I am sure will leave all spectators in a state of complete confusion and heartbreak.

Nowadays, it is rare to find a film that truly captures the raw and unfiltered essence of intimacy in a non-sexual or demeaning manner. End of the Century is one of those rare and pure experiences. The first act of the movie, despite being in complete silence, is still an immersive opening that immediately draw one’s attention to the subtle acts of being alone and wandering!

But this narrative’s forte is definitely in its open-ended final act, in which the viewer is left to draw his own conclusions from was presented to him. The ending blurs the thin line that separates fiction from reality. You can say that the movie goes back and forth between two very different yet intertwined themes: Sex/Love and Memory (the memory of what is and what could have been).

Moving on, the two-lead protagonists were complicated just enough for us to truly sympathize with them and understand their motives and actions. People all over the world could easily relate to their story, even if there’s no connection. In other words, these two characters are a reflection of their actions and their long-lost memory and regrets.

Juan Barberini and Ramon Pujol’s performances were mind-blowing to say the least. They managed to give such an honest and vulnerable performances than one cannot simply overlook.

All in all, End of the Century is an honest testimony for love and endurance in the face of time and memory.

I highly recommend it.

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Une Photo, Un Hotel et Elle by Steven Khattar

Une Photo, Un Hotel et Elle (8.5/10) “Every time you walk away, I pray twice you wouldn’t leave. But what’s the purpose of praying for a story with a heartbreaking fate? “
And just like that, these seemingly insignificant words when placed together, translated a 15 minutes love affair filled with passion, lust and heartache.
The beauty of “Une Photo, Un Hotel et Elle” is deeply rooted within the agonizing stares of the protagonists and the secrets they all share.
The vulnerability of Patricia Nammour’s performance was hypotonic to say the least. There’s something about her character that makes her feel so real. It’s impossible not to feel for her. Rodrigue Sleiman’s performance was honestly dripping with sex appeal and lust. The connection between these two actors was breathtakingly electrifying and sentimental.
Moreover, this film had a certain kind of atmosphere that just captivates one’s attention right from the very beginning. Perhaps, this theme of adultery and infidelity is just as interesting as the story it took part of!!
Needless to say, go and watch it immediately!

Watch this movie on LIFF VOD Platform

les rendez-vous de paris Review LIFF

Les Rendezvous de Paris (1995) by Éric Rohmer

I am lucky today as it happens that the first film I’m writing about is my new favourite film. I never had a favourite film before (there seems to be way too many good films out there!) but this one ticks all boxes: Neat cinematography, mind-provoking dialogue, decent performance and a heart-warming setting. What more can one ask for?

I.

“I got off the metro, saw you and just had to talk to you. One has exceptional encounters, when they’re least expected. While traveling, at the end of the holidays, or when having an urgent appointment. That’s my bad luck, but also my good luck, because it gives me courage.”

Les Rendezvous de Paris (1995) by Eric Rohmer is a French romantic film that is based on “chance encounters” in Paris. It shows three different stories of young people in love. The stories feel very realistic, yet are magical in essence, as they rely heavily on fate. Isn’t fate the best ingredient for love after all?

II.

“I don’t want to be surrounded by other lovers. I want us to be alone.”

The film shows a picturesque Paris, yet not a touristy one. In its river, alleys, artist studios, museums, parks, cafes and even student dormitories, you get the impression that you’re taking a sneak peek into stories of true Parisienne couples. You get to zoom in and out on different stories, yet you’re constantly reminded that there are more stories, way beyond the camera’s focus. 

III.

“If I ignore women who aren’t interesting, then I have to approach those who totally fascinate me.”

How much of love is intentional and how much of it is up to fate? This is one of the several philosophical questions you’ll find yourself asking after the film is over. I suggest watching the film with company (a Zoom call can also work). 

So to sum up, if you have a heart for love and a mind for intriguing conversations, this film is the one for you. Personally, I think Richard Linklater’s Before Sunset (1995) has nothing on this one. Seriously, do I need to go on any further? 

For more film quotations and recommendations, you can follow Dima Saqfahait’s Instagram account @cine.words 

#movie #review #ErikRohmer #LesRendez-vousdeParis

The Rite of Summer - le sacre de l'été

Le Sacre de l’Été (9/10)

LIFF’s best feature foreign fiction winner ‘The Rite of Summer’ ‘Le Sacre de l’Été’ is simply a genuine ode to self expression and freedom amidst a society filled with conformity and underground secrets.

Kostia, a young Parisian dancer, tries to put on a show that brings together his two passions: dance and French variety. The relationship created between him and his dance teacher will teach him to assume his homosexuality.

The thing about this highly recommended french feature is that it never, not for once, felt unoriginal. From start to finish, i was literally immersed in a universe of subtle yet intertwined sets of emotions, sheer authenticity and just a plain and totally realistic story.

The film tried to explore numerous themes at once such as homosexuality, individuality, self expression, freedom, love, loss, mental health… to name a few. This diversity, in my opinion, created a much needed emotional impact within ‘Le Sacre de l’Été’ already interesting and captivating storyline.

To continue, Adrien Stoclet (whom also co-wrote this film) and Jeff Decaux delivered such an authentic and vulnerable performances. In other words, it was totally obvious the amount of hard-work and dedication that they have put to portray their deeply complicated characters with such an ease and agility.

But what makes this film stands out is that, without even knowing, it took me on an adventure filled with beautiful French music, subtle life lessons and eye catching sceneries.

Which brings me to the cinematography, director Briac Ragot surely knew how to create a, both, visually and sonically impressive feature film. A film in which each scene and each capture recited a different story.

The Rite of Summer/Le Sacre de l’Été is an unapologetically honest cinematic movement that screams authenticity yet vulnerability!
I absolutely loved watching it.

Watch this movie on LIFF VOD Platform

BIRDS OF PREY review

Birds of Prey review

BIRDS OF PREY (8/10) It’s open season on Harley Quinn when her explosive breakup with the Joker puts a big fat target on her back. Unprotected and on the run, Quinn faces the wrath of narcissistic crime boss Black Mask, his right-hand man, Victor Zsasz, and every other thug in the city. But things soon even out for Harley when she becomes unexpected allies with three deadly women — Huntress, Black Canary and Renee Montoya.
Talk about MAJOR GIRL POWER!!
If you are looking for an extremely extravagant, over-the-top superhero flick with some bad-ass action sequences and killer references regarding feminism and heroism, then let me the one to tell you that BIRDS OF PREY is the perfect choice for you.
The thing that captivated me directly from the beginning is that despite being an anti-hero kind of films, it still held a lot of profound meanings and metaphors. Behind all the rage and the killings and the ever-so-beautiful fireworks, BIRDS OF PREY is a love letter to modern day feminism and the power of each and every woman in this man-made world.
In addition, the action/fight sequences were seriously choreographed to perfection. I was mind blown by the amount of hard work and dedication that was put to produce such level of excitement and visual satisfaction (which also included the amazing visual and graphics).
Acting wise, Margot Robbie is seriously a force to be reckoned with. Her personal interpretation of the lethal Harley Quinn is something to witness. Her gave her absolute best and its nothing short of genius and admirable.
Ewan McGregor and Chris Messina as the main antagonists in this story was a great choice. They both did a remarkable job in portraying their characters.
In a nutshell, everyone delivered amazing performances which helped in setting a nice flow of events.
Generally speaking, BIRDS OF PREY is an extremely enjoyable and entertaining film that just delivered what it promised. Fun, fun and more fun!!
I highly recommend it!!

Fight Club Review

Fight Club a 1999 Drama/Thriller by the legendary David Fincher a must see !

Rating 🍿🍿🍿🍿🍿-Must see

Follow Sam The Critic on Instagram @samthecritic

#movie #review #fightclub #bradpitt #edwardnorton #igtv #mustsee #instagood #1999

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