Saturday started for me at 11am with moody Polish political thriller Warsaw Dark. Not my usual sort of start to the weekend, Warsaw was inspired by the death in 2001 of one-time Polish minister for sport, Jacek Debski. Thought to have been ordered by crime bosses, a prostitute called Inka was at the centre of the real-life story, represented here by Anna Przybylska as Ojka.
After the murder of a Polish official while in the company of Olka, the girl is taken hostage by a hitman and humiliated by him. At least I think he was a hitman, and he definitely seemed to be humiliating her. The problem here is that not much was explained, with the viewer left to piece together the mystery (I’m sure there was some mystery in there) while people talk at each other by the banks of a river by police. I’m afraid I don’t have anything positive to say about this one so I’ll move on…
Next up was Cadaver, a new South Korean horror flick that starts off following a group of medical students as they begin working on various dead bodies for research. Dark secrets from the past soon emerge, with gore being kept to something of a minimum. Characterisation is strong and their are fine performances and a often witty script. By no means a classic, Cadaver would be a fine watch on DVD.
Finally I watched a couple of short films in the DVD suite, having promised an ex-tutor of mine, Douglas Dougan that I’d check out Halfway Home and after hearing good things about Australian zombie short, I Love Sarah Jane.
Documentary Halfway Home introduces us to 34-year-old Melanie, a woman living with the knowledge she will die within ten years due to the effects of an autoimmune disease. Brave yet vulnerable, Melanie explains the fact that she cannot (or rather chooses not to) have children in simple words that will maje even the hardest heart wonder at the injustice that is happening here.
The thawing ice and the changing seasons shown around her Highland home make it clear that time is slipping by for Melanie and the filmmakers treat the story with simple compassion.
On the other side of the world, Australia has a bit of a zombie epidemic taking place in I Love Sarah Jane. Young Jimbo has a crush on local girl Sarah Jane and will do anything to get her attention, while in the garden her brothers taunt and attack a chained up zombie.
At times both funny and touching, this short is a feature film waiting to happen, a cutaway from a wider zombie plague that would be ignored by a Hollywood epic in favour of action scenes and big budget effects. If the YouTube link is still working you should be able to see the film below.
It was a fine, if slightly muted, end to a fortnight of mostly superb films that has left me tired and yet enthusiastic about many movies that I hope will one day make it to a wider audience. I’ll post in the next few days about my top films, in the meantime please check out something a bit different from Oz: