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9.06 (Igor Sterk, Slovenia, 2009)

This film is part police thriller, part psychological thriller - but sometimes films that mix genres can rise up and become stronger sum of its parts, on this occasion the formula is a bit muddled by not deciding what whether to be a police thriller or a comment on the isolation of a middle-aged divorced policeman who only sees his children on weekends from his terrible ex-wife.  The downward spiral the cop plummets into when he starts to endorse the identity of the man who has been killed, speaks of obsession, rebirth and restarting.  There is definite potential here for an excellent social commentary, but the slow pace of the film (even at 71 minutes) is a little bit unsettling when some action may have been more a requirement.
HERE I AM (Balint Szimler, Hungary, 2009)

This quaint little short feature is shot in winning monochrome, Viktor walks the street seeking friends and something, much like the rest of us. There is a Jim Jarmusch feel to the work (reminiscent most of 'Coffees & Cigarettes), he asks a guy to come along on a date in case the conversation goes awry, he asks a pizza delivery driver for a lift back to a mate so he can pay it.  Films such as this has an uneviable grip on the viewer, drawing them in and keeping hold of them.  Whilst the ending is all of a sudden, and leaves you wishing for more time with Viktor, that is the lot of such short feature films, they wish to have something to say but instead say all they can which leaves us with the worrying running time.
BEDWAYS (Rolf Peter Kohl, Germany, 2010)

Reminiscent of US mumblecore efforts but with a more direct inclination towards theatrical works, with characters standing in spotlight as they are asked questions about their characters.  The film follows the rehearsal period for a film that Nina Bader wants to shoot about love and sex; bringing her friends to play the roles - the film soon asks questions about fiction and reality, as the boundaries between them slowly become ever more blurred.  The director herself thinks of sex not as an emotion, but is clamouring for an authentic depiction of love. The use of Hans and Marie leads to this mixing of emotions.
With an almost other-worldly soundtrack, itself mixing between metal goth and sytnthetic ambience, which does not know whether to support the action or distract you from the comment taking place.

Brave in its depiction of raw sexuality and sex taking place among individuals, it does have some good comments of the director as manipulator of the situation - creating and erasing - not just in keeping with a unique vision that might be detrimental to personal relationships.

Suffers from the same problems as mumblecore (example, Alexander the Last) where there are sometimes too much talking or what could be considered monologuing, which stifles the fluidity of the film that it has struggled to create.
INCREDIBLY SMALL (Dean Peterson, US, 2010)

This sweet little piece follows an uncompatible couple as they move into a small apartment in a block with an intruding neighbour, Tom (Alex Karpovsky) who belittles Amir (Stephen Gurewitz) with his eyes on Anne (Susan Burke).  Amir looks too young for Anne and is a 23 year old sculptor without having sculpted anything, whilst the neighbour cooks, likes wine and is a lecturer at a university.

Peterson co-wrote the script with Amir, and the use of the apartment as a major stepping stone in the couples relationship is brilliantly done, using the claustrophobia of the location to great effect with the couple learning new things about each other and themselves.

There are moments of humour and wit underlined by the crippling realistation that maybe the perfect couple are just not that perfect for each other. Fans of Andrew Bujalski's work will warm to it, and it has a real chance of finding a wider audience with its universal storyline of love and learning.

The 2010 London Raindance Film Festival website is at:
Jamie Garwood

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