It wasn’t intentional, but my viewing this week has pretty much focused on films from other countries (oddly all countries I have always wanted to visit):
“Hunt for the Wilderpeople” (Netflix, Kanopy, Prime) Kiwi filmmaker Taika Waititi directed, wrote and produced this comedy, adventure/fantasy tale set in New Zealand. I loved it and I think you will too. Most critics agree with me, but guess what–Richard Brody (The New Yorker again!!) is the only detractor. He found it cloying and predictable–my fear based on the promo and the reason I avoided watching it for a couple of years. But I urge you to–as I did–overcome your fear of cute kid actors and let me know what you think.
“My Father’s Violin” (Netflix) Brody hasn’t reviewed this Turkish tear jerker yet, but I suspect we may actually agree that this is “cloying and predictable”, complete with an “adorable” violin playing Turkish Orphan Annie. As in “Hunt” a relentless child services official makes life miserable for the central characters. But whereas Waititi’s social worker is a comic, over-the-top villain, “My Father’s Violin” official is cruelly bureaucratic. Lots of great Turkish music and food, make the film definitely watchable, just not fab.
“About Elly” (Netflix, Kanopy) Iranian Asghar Farhadi is one of my favorite filmmakers (“A Separation”, “Salesman”). While this is not his best film, it is still a compelling one. Billed as a mystery, the real story is about the underpinnings of relationships and ethical dilemmas particularly in the context of the Iranian culture. Superb acting, cinematography, and script. Highly recommend.