4 new films are capsule revuewed here. The festival runs from Feb 12th- 15th and free for youth. Check website.
COCOON (KOKON)(Germany 2020) ***1/2
Directed by Leonie Krippendorff
Girls just want to have fun… as the Madonna song goes. German director Krippendorff’s new film takes her protagonist Nora out of her cocoon to experience life as this coming-of-age story shows. Nora, a Berlin teen is bored. A silent observer most of the time, she is always tagging along instead of participating— at parties, at school, at the pool, on rooftops. She drifts around the housing blocks of Berlin’s Kreuzberg district with her big sister and her friends, where everything she sees seems to fade in the summer light. Nora has her own way of looking at the world, and when she meets Romy, she realizes why. Director Krippendorff’s use of the cocoon is also hilarious. In one scene a caterpillar escapes from the jar Nora’s collection. “If another escapes, I will kill it,” says Nora’s sister as they share the same bedroom. Nora comes off her and transforms into a beautiful butterfly, metaphorically speaking. Krippendorff’s breezy film is an honest ode to the joy of youth and self-discovery. The film also bravely deals with the issue of discovering one’s sexual orientation.
DEATH OF NINTENDO (USA/Philippines 2019) ***
Directed by Raya Martin
Raya Martin’s warm homage to puberty and adolescence, set in 1990s Manila, follows a quartet of teens as their relationships, lives and bodies change. Director Martin chooses Paulo, the cutest one among the teens as his lead character. Paulo is interested in the new girl in town Shiara, who he tries to get more information from with the help of Mimaw, the girl in his group. Trouble is that Mimaw is herself interested in Paulo while always dressing up as a tomboy. Director Martin includes other factors that influence the lives of the kids like the frequent earthquakes. ghost hunting in the local cemetery, basketball, and of course video games like Nintendo. The film also gives the audience a good look at suburban Philippine life. The film is breezy, light and easy going, reflecting the joy and exuberance of youth.
MY NAME IS BAGHDAD (Meu Nome e Bagda)(Brazil 2020) ***
Directed by Cars Alves de Souza
A teen film about female abuse as seen from the eye of an independent female teen. The film begins with her, her name is Baghdad, at a party she attends with her sister. While accompanying her to the toilet, a boy covers her mouth to prevent her from screaming, and pushes his body on her, against a wall. The film goes back to the events that lead up to the party. It turns out that both are skaters at the local skater park. The film follows Baghdad who lives in Freguesia do Ó, a working-class neighbourhood in the city of São Paulo, Brazil. Baghdad skateboards with a group of male friends and spends a lot of time with her family and with her mother's friends. Together, the women around her form a network of people who are out of the ordinary. When Baghdad meets a group of female skateboarders, her life suddenly changes. She and her new group of skater female friends confront her attacker at the park. Director de Sousa’s film freely moves among the characters though the female abuse part, though central to the film’s theme seems to come out of the blue. Grace Orsato gives a fresh look to her main character which makes the movie.
THE NIGHT OF THE BEAST (LA NOCHE DE LA BESTIA) (Colombia/Mexico 2020) ***
Directed by Mauricio Leiva Cock
This low budget teen film, NIGHT OF THE BEAST, set in Bogota, Colombia follows two young teens friends. Awkward that they are as heavy metal fans, they are good buddies, going about in the film wearing an AC/DC and the other an iron Maiden T-shirt. Nothing much happens as the camera follows the two on their unexciting routines around their lives. But the spark comes one evening, the night of their lives of the NIGHT OF THE BEAST when they plan to attend a heavy metal concert, with a live performance by Iron Maiden. But something happens to make their evening more exciting. But not in a good way. They get robbed of their tickets. They desperately try to reclaim their stolen Iron Maiden concert tickets, in Mauricio Leiva-Cock’s heartwarming film that shows friendship, youth and obsession.