The Force at work / La Force en action

The Force at work / La Force en action
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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

FANTASIA a few intriguing titles.


Fares Fares, left, and Nikolaj Lie Kaas in A Conspiracy of Faith, directed by Hans Petter Moland.
A CONSPIRACY OF FAITH

Directed by Hans Petter Moland, A Conspiracy of Faith is an excellent thriller featuring Department Q, "a dead-end division dedicated to long-unsolved cases". The team, Carl Morck (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) and Assad (Fares Fares) are determined to solve an eight year old mystery that begins when Department Q receives a mysterious message in a bottle written in blood. The other members of the team are Rose (Johanne Louise Schmidt), and their captain, Jacobsen (Soren Pilmark). 

This title intrigued me very much. I had not known that A Conspiracy of Faith was the last installment of a widely successful trilogy: The Department of Q Trilogy, that is inspired by a series of books under the same heading. All my colleagues had seen the movie when it screened at the Fantasia Festival and loved it! Of the movies I saw during the festival, this was the second one that intimated at what God might be. Humans cannot avoid the subject of God even if in the end they decide not to believe in Him like Carl, who thinks it is psychotic to believe in God, or to be devout like his Muslim partner Assad. What I saw is that Assad did not quote scripture when describing the source of his faith, but he described a joy at being connected to something bigger than mundane every day life. The two characters voice the contemporary discussion going on in the world concerning God and faith as their investigation of missing children and possible homicide is related to a mysterious religious sect. The villain, JohannesPal Sverre Hagen), is a handsome well dressed young man who ingratiates himself into the lives of his future victims through the church where they worship. A well-structured well-timed movie that keeps the suspense on from the start.

Ty Hickson as Sean in The Alchemist's Cookbook by Joel Potrykus
THE ALCHEMIST'S COOKBOOK

The Alchemists Cookbook is a title that intrigued me because I have read a lot on the subject from various perspectives. Famed psychiatrist and author Dr.Carl Jung investigated the link between the unconscious, dreams and the symbols of Alchemy and the scientific giant Sir Isaac Newton was fascinated by it also. Writer Director Joel Potrykus explores the subject through a character that is fed up with societal madness, Sean (Ty Hickson) and chooses to isolate himself in the forest to make gold by enchantment. An interesting note on our present culture: contrary to past alchemists, Sean's book of magic are store bought. In the past people were killed for owning such sacrilegious books. The slow moving feature is an accurate enough portrait of the fate of many alchemists throughout history: they were solitary, became destitute and perhaps suffered from mental issues. Magic is a slow process. Cortez (Amary Cheaton) is the only outside help Sean is getting and he meets with a tragic fate. In the end we don't know if magic happened or if the lead character has simply lost his mind.


Kwok Yik-sum, Mak Tsz-yi and Fish Liew in Lazy Hazy Crazy by Luk Yee-sum
LAZY HAZY CRAZY

I was intrigued by Lazy Hazy Crazy because it deals with young girls coming of age in modern Hong Kong. Not so long ago coming of age meant you would explore sex a little then get married. Which is not to say that this is what happened but it was the expectation that is now being shattered by evolving cultural values. To say one is open about sexuality in all its diversity is one thing but the reality is that we are more than sexual. Our sexual behavior has consequences albeit not all dangerous or bad. Here the young women try to meet their financial obligations through prostitution all the while they are in high school and each one of them is in love with the basketball star, Andrew (Tse Sit-chun).

The film was written by Hong Kong screenwriter Luk Yee-sum. The principal characters are Tracy (Kwok Yik-sum), the shy bookish girl, Chloe (Mak Tsz-yi) part-time prostitute and Malaysian transplant and fellow prostitute Alice (Fish Liew). They spend the summer rooming together. The film is youthful and colorful with all the heartbreak that accompanies romance. In the end, the girls are stronger and more individualistic as only modern women can be. In a way, it answered the questions I had about the theme of the movie.

The Festival is now over and the winners will be on the web site soon. Highest honors Prix Cheval Noir for the best movie went to  TRAIN TO BUSAN .

What a great Festival!

-LENA GHIO



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