"Sundown" - Review by Antonio Lourenço, 17th August 2022 -5/5 STARS
Alambique

Directed by the Mexican Director: Michel Franco, in a continuous line between his previous film "New Order" and "Sundown", this Director, winner of a Silva Lion at Venice Film Festival, on issues of violence and the way violence inflicted on usually daily life is lived in this Latin American country. The Director explores this reality and the way in which a society manages to deal with and live and accept it, being part of their lives A movie that is something premonitory in relation to Democracy.

SUNDOWN starts with a close-up of a lot of fishes breathing in extortion, passing in an ellipse to a rich family on vacation on a beach in Mexico, apparently seems to us to be a couple Neil(Tim Roth) and Alice(Charlot Gainsbourg) and a daughter and son, living in a luxurious hotel on Vacances and enjoying the sun and sea. Using a somewhat language, the film absorbs us from the first to the last image, revelling little by little who in fact the characters are, which we initially imagined would have other family ties.

Beginning as a family drama ends up as a war movie. Neil and Alice are the fulcra of a family, along with the two teenagers  Colin and Alexa. Everything is somewhat enigmatic under the scorching sun of Acapulco. Meanwhile, Alice receives a phone call which will trigger hear a burst of tears, triggering the need to return home but an incident occurs to Neil and lying says he forgot his Passport, not leaving with them, returns to Acapulco city and changes to a more modest hotel, and begins an intimate and sexual relationship with a native girl. 

After which tensions, passions and attitudes will arise, condemnable and sensitive. But the film in a surprising subtlety, systematically reveals to us, who they really are, multimillionaire owners of slaughterhouses. The sun on the earth plays a key role, attacking in an almost aggressive way. Photography with an imperative to reflect two things: the emotional states of the characters and the violence prevailing around them. Neil hired a taxi and begin a relationship with a strange gang, drinking bear after bear and enjoying the beach. later Alice returns looking for Neil.

Michel Franco- (1979-México), has always dealt, after his film "After Lucia", which won ' A Certain Regard' prize in Cannes, with Bulling, dysfunctional families and social differences between rich and poor. After all,  the main interpreter is the actor Tim Roth. who had already acted in "Chronic" (2015), a strange and rare midle aged man who awaits (but knowing secretly) that his Sundown is approaching.

With the odour of death and illness, with a protagonist who seems to carry the anguish and introspective existential burden of something painful.

With sweeping landscapes, and looking at the horizon with Margaritas, the Director does not judge but presents and unfolds slowly, the script, with contemplative tracking shots and slow motion, focused on the main character, with a mask of enigmatic and suffering anguish, grabs the viewer, as in a puzzle, in whose only apparent desires, it seems to be enjoying the sands, the sea of the famous beach, sipping beer after beer and sunbathing in the scorching sun.

Not even a murder that happened in front of him moves or arouses his emotions or feelings in him.

When a speedboat, approaches the beach, it shoots at a point-blank range and kills a poor street vendor.

Michel Franco who at that time was going through a crisis in his 40s does not judge, but warns us morosely, about the country of the Aztecs full of attractions and gangs.

Always in the face of Neil's indifferent wandering who really is carrying the burden of a lifetime, sublimating that weight with drink and unbridled sex.

Only towards the end, it is secretly revealed his physical condition. The Director always criticised the hypocrisy of the privileged classes ( Albert Camus in "The Stranger") and thus anticipates Neil, one feels closer, also a final burst of tension and assault in broad daylight!

"Behind the Infinite Two Minutes" - Review by Antonio Lourenço, 14th July 2022 -4/5 STARS

Directed by Japanese: Junta Yamaguchi- 2020 -70 minutes a science film comedy, distributed by Vendetta Films.

It is a comedy that was exhibited in Fantaspoa. A Young man named Kato that lives right above a café gets a message on his Tv, showing his one picture, but it is two minutes ahead of time. His friends play around with it in a lot of situations. Time Travel will trigger paradoxical situations. Problems of money that belongs to some gangsters.

Donbass directed by Loznitsa. - Review by Antonio Lourenço, 9th June 2022 - 5/5 STARS
Midas Filmes

A film of 2018 consecrated at the Cannes Festival with the award for Best Director, in 'Un certain' regard's section.

It was filmed in the Donbass Basin dived Ukraine from Russia and didn´t premiere in several counties. It is certain that the film gained an increased and brutal topicality and hence the importance and relevance of its debut especially since Sergei Loznitsa's work has been regularly publicized, whose most recent highlight was the documentary State Funeral .

Indeed accumulating episodes of life in the occupied territories of Donbass by separatists and informal Russian troops.

LOZNITZA gives us a brutal portrait of the situation that has been going on there since 2014. Between madness and grotesque, mixing comedy and tragedy, inspired by real events although being a fiction film in Donbass unfolds episode after episode in which a character from one leads us to the next and so on. 

Opening in a makeup place with a full staged television report, the film takes us into a post-truth world where propaganda and lies have taken over everything.

Taken in eastern Ukraine, where a hybrid war mixes armed conflict, crimes and riots, perpetrated by separatist groups. War is called peace, propaganda is held up as truth and hate pretends to be love.

A journey through Donbass in a series of crazy adventures where the tragic and sometimes farcical mix of life and death. It is not a tale about a region, a country or a political system, but about a world lost in post-truth and false identities. It concerns us all.

Loznitsa shows in the film situations and episodes that may seem absurd like in the middle of a burlesque marriage scene followed by chairs and laughter, hearing the sound of Mendelson's wedding march.

In another scene, a guy with a written paper glued is beaten and insulted by a lot of people, who call him fascist. Bomb explosions follow and end with a strange attack on the people in the first scene, killing dozen unexpectedly!  

The Documentary "MATTI DA SLEGARE" - Review by Antonio Lourenço, 20th May 2022 - 5/5 STARS

Franco Basaglia, the main Agent who revolutionized the closing of 180 Asylums in Italy. As a result of which it has spread all over the world. As Director of the Psychiatric Hospital of Gorizia, he initiates reforms in order to transform the Hospital for the mentally ill into a healing community. In 1978 the government passed law 180 or Basaglia law, ensuring the closure of asylums and creating other services in the Community, such as, for example installing the mentally ill among the more than 3.000 vacant buildings, which turned out to be very beneficial in improving the condition of patients.

The Documentary "MATTI DA SLEGARE", made by several directors such as: Marco Belocchio, Silvano Agosti, Sandro Petraglia, Stefano Rulli-1975-140'minuts . Shot at the Psychiatric Institut in the communist province of Parma, the politic Mario Tommasini in order not to marginalize the mental patients, took people and by integrating them into society, instead of ostracizing them, so he come into contact with the famous director Bellochio who filmed this documentary with the cooperative he founded for this purpose. This film is above all a cry against the real tortures and abuses in the health systems, being analysed and experienced that contributes to the improvement of mental health.

We talk with Silvano Agosti one of the directors and also a filmmaker and philosopher, who highlighted above all a fight against real torture suffered before, in hospitals by the poor demented, who used to live locked up in prisons, sometimes for decades, as in one of the cases we have known for 35 years.  

GeorgetownReview by Antonio Lourenço, 29th March 2022 - 5/5 STARS
Pris Audiovisuais

Based on a true story, it is a portrait of middle-aged individual Ulrich Mott, of initially unknown origin, wearing a false mask of seduction and false charm as an authentic social predator, whose only aim is to approach and sneak into politicians and influential people, to obtain favours and profits, not caring about the feelings and others heartbreak, he uses all the tricks and calculations, typical of a Narcissist later escalating and resulting in a true Psychopath.

The film opens showing Ulrich Mott, wearing an Iranian uniform and commanding and saluting the soldiers in the desert, then moving on to a luxurious house in Georgetown where a lavish party with guests from the high circle takes place. Mott leads his wife of 90 years old Elsa Brett (Vanessa Redgrave), they are all seduced and surrendered to Mott's charms but with the exception of old lady Amanda's daughter (Annette Bening) who complains loudly.  

However, they both argue before heading out for a walk.

Everything about him is false and perverse, including Mott's ambiguous sexuality, which will be called into question, (once he said to Elsa: you smell like a coffin), latter she discovers Matt with another in the hotel bed!

The next morning an ending triggered abruptly after an angry discussion, the policy investigates... 

Directed and played by Christoph Waltz

Power of the Dog - Review by Antonio Lourenço, 15th March 2022 - 4/5 STARS
Nos Audiovisuais

This is a film with a thesis on toxic masculinity hegemony, a metaphor for westerns. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch a figure that concentrates all masculinity, with his brother George (Jess Plemons) and son Peter(Kodismit Macphee), shy and effeminate, the opposite of cowboys, they create cattle on the ranch that they both own. The soundtrack is something chilling, it will revolutionize the western style and its brutality. The film is not intended to have any climatic ending. The writer Savage as a gay man the plot and characters on his own experience. 

The action takes place in the year 1925 and the Burbank brothers in their ranch, in Montana, especially Phil creates fear around them, he meets a widow on another ranch Rose Gorden (Kirsten Dunst) they fall in love and married. Later Phil will treat Rose very badly, with bulling as consequence she becomes alcoholic. In another scene Peter is looking at pictures of naked men that he discovered in Phil's stash, later he also watched Phil bathing naked, after this incident, they establish a strange friendship and Peter in a moment of tenderness reveals to him that has found his father died from suicide, Peter dark and ambiguous intention, manipulating Phil to get rid of him, false sense of companionship, Peter is making a rope that will play a role in the end. We know that Phil promised protection to his mother and has medical knowledge that Anthrax bacteria in the dead cattle could kill!

In the end, Peter is seen reading the Bible- Psalm 22, inferring the power of the dog title name and that Rose or even Peter himself is darling being delivered by the poising plot.  

George got married with Rose.

Hero - Review by Antonio Lourenço, 5th March 2022 - 5/5 STARS
Alambique

Directed by Iranian Director Asghar Farhadi was awarded the Palme DÓr at Cannes, as well as nominated for the Golden Globe in the category of best foreign-language film.

Opens with superb photography of the Tombe of Xerxes. Set also in the historical city of Shiraz , we see Rahim the hero, in prison arrested for debts, having been denounced and accused a friend of the ex-brother in law. After having 2 days of provisional leave, he will try to sell a bag of golden coins, pretending that he had found it even though it was his girlfriend..

He gives the prison telephone number, generating a wave of admiration.

The Director always starts from a plot in which the characters will suffer the consequences of their errors, getting involved in a web of complications motivated by their mistakes. Putting also the spectators deeply involved. Meanwhile, someone doubts the veracity of Rahim. For Iranian honour and shame are crucial in their lives! 

Cyrano (2021) - Review by Antonio Lourenço, 25th February 2022 - 4/5 STARS
NOS Audiovisuais

A British-American film directed by the famous director Joe Wright and written by Erica Schmidt, based on the book "Cyrano de Bergerac" by the writer Edmond Rostand and a 2018 musical.

In this version, the great curiosity is that the usual Cyrano with a big nose deformation (one film was interpreted by Gerard Depardieu) but hear the protagonist is distinguished by his structure (Peter Dinklage) playing a genial poet (who others call freak) not the nose! He was enabled to appear before his beloved Roxanne (Harley Bennet) that nevertheless falls in love with his verses, which were spoken by a handsome friend that replaces Cyrano presence. I emphasized that the scenarios are fabulous, with stupendous aesthetic care, in each frame and also good photography. Concerning the singing voices since it is a musical and not an Opera, nice voice of lyrical soprano Roxanne, however, the voices men's are recited, with ugly intonation but not lyrical.

Some time ago we watched a play in the principal Thater in France: La Comédie Francaise the protagonist was Michel Vuillermoz, being Cyrano de Bergerac is one of the most famous plays for posterity, with dramaturgy by Emmanuel Bourdieu who went to directed five films and is also the author of three plays with mise enscène by Denis Podalydes.

Between dreamed reality, romance or imaginary tale, of pure romantic ideas and shadows, the suffering, the dark areas of reality, History and the fantasy of people invention and the contact with real. The solution in this film version is very creative to replace a Cyrano with a monstrously large, unhabitual nose into a being that was called ' a freak'!

Roxanne will be a symbol of those who loved in the other, especially, the spiritual side, more than the physical being something superfluous. Cyrano likes a D.Quixote who far from living the illusion, intends to submit reality to his perfect love, Knight of the sad figure!

Death on the Nile - Review by Antonio Lourenço, 5th February 2022 - 5/5 STARS
NOS Audiovisuais

Directed and starring by Kennet Bragnag in Hercule Poirot, based on the book by the famous police writer Agatha Christie (who wrote 33 books with this detective).

Starting with a prologue in the black and white scene in Belgium 1st world war, showing young solder Poirot in french, that is going to save the lives of his fellow, solving an attack, evidence from the outset insight and wit, out of the ordinary. The film then changes to colours with the detective displaying a large moustache that has a purpose (?),

after presenting as a detective to a sophisticated people that makes a cruise, always with impeccable clothing.

Fantastic photography with the actions passing in the magnificent monuments of Egypt. Meanwhile, several deaths happen and the suspects follow. There is an important and faraway temple where one of the actions happens ABU SIEBEL ( the complete monument was transplanted 300 meters above, stone by stone, in order to be saved from flooding).

Poirot perspicacity and deep gaze will solve the crimes.

Lost Ilusions - Review by Antonio Lourenço, 25th January 2022 - 5/5 STARS
NOS Audiovisuais

Directed by Xavier Giannoli

A period drama from the 19th century.It is a story of the young Lucien (Benjamin Voisin) who comes from the provinces, with great hopes, illusions and ambitions to enter aristocratic circles, as a poet for whom poetry was a religion, initially the sophisticated society will refuse him mocking for his poem "Daisies" and nicknamed him with the same name. 

Through a journalist(Vincent Lacoste) that introduced him to a newspaper milieu, and met another(Xavier Dolan) where publishing is a real business and the editor (Gerard Depardieu) doesn't even know to read.

Between a society that he discovers a world submissive to a law of profit and pretence and perverse human games! 

Lucien becomes the lover of an older aristocrat and letter with a boulevard actress who aspires to represent classic theatre -Racine, where the cheerleader will determine the acters that will be applauded or brooded, accordingly to who pays the most.  

Xavier Giannoli won the Palme d'Or for his short film, as well a César in 2006, in 2016 he directed "Marguerite"- Florence Foster Jenkins out of tone lyric singer, following in 2017 " La Apparition",

" Illusion Perdu" Adaptation of the famous masterpiece with the some name " Lost Illusions" writen by Honoré de Balzac( "La comedie Humaine").

It is a beautiful film , that even makes us immerse ourselves in it, forgetting its long duration of more than two hours!  

The Big Boss - Review by Antonio Lourenço, 23th December 2021 - 5/5 STARS
Pris

Comedy Directed by Léon Aranoa and starring Javier Bardem. Spanish film selected and nominated for the international feature film for the 94th Oscar.

In a subtle caricature of a Scale factory owner, who tries to show and practice an image of a fair boss, helping and empathizing with his employees like a father. In the meantime, it collects awards from the Regional Government.

what's going to go wrong is, that in addition to having hired a somewhat seductive intern, it's firing a former employee however, a drama  emerges, which will unmask the true perverse manipulative nature of the subject.

Xavier Bardem subtly interprets a satire, metamorphosing into the role of a patronage that feeds on corruption.

As far the Oscars, there is talk in other films, such as : "C'Mon C'Mon" by Mike Mills, with Joaquin Phoenix and "L'Évenemént" by Audrey Diwan. Let's wait looking forward!

Licorize Pizza - Review by Antonio Lourenço, 16th November 2021 - 3/5 STARS

The story of Alana Kane, 25 years old, and Gary Valentine(15 years old), crowing up, running around and taking place in California, San Fernando Valley, in 1973.

Written and Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson: Boogie Nights, Magnolia, There Will Be Blood (Silver Bear) , 2012 -The Master (Silver Lyon Venezia).

Stars: Alana Haim, Cooper Hoffman, Sean Penn, Bradley Cooper, Ben Safdie.

One dialogue: Alana asks: "What does your penis look like"?-Gary answers: "circumcised", Alana: "then you're fucking Jew". Romance, comedy, drama, some sexual material and some drug use.

Interweave several stories in the same plot-long takes through travellings use and sound and music. It's just a series of events unrelated to each other without getting anywhere, why is the movie called "Licorize Pizza"? 

Cinematic influences:: Stanley Kubrik, Blake Edwards, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorcese, Robert Altman, Jacques Tati, Sidney Lumet and Jonathan Demme.

DON'T LOOK UP - Review by Antonio Lourenço, 11th December 2021 - 5/5 STARS

This is a film that surprises us greatly, for many other happenings. Owing to a discovery by an astrologer (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his fellow (Jennifer Lawrence) about a big comet that will destroy our Planet within six months, causing the Universe to disappear. After informing the President(Merryl Streep) that give no attention to it. 

Throughout the film, we are seeing the raw and a lot of truths denounced, like the ever-widening gap between riches and the poor gap between riches and poor, all of which are reported with a sense of humour, the multiple alienations of current lives of the human drama, especially the manipulation, who initially are not taken into consideration. Portraying a President who will react and take action in accordance with polls and elections, forgetting human interests and only the cry coming from the deep soul of the astrologers warning of sociopaths, fascists between us and the quality of the pink magazines and television channels, the ilusion and false sedution to capture votes. 

An excelent direction of actors, making us vibrate intensly.  

Ghasideh Gave Sefid / Ballad of a White Cow - Review by Antonio Lourenço, 25th January 2022 - 4/5 STARS
Alambique

A Life portrait of Iranian women

By Directers: Behtash Sana Eeha and Maryam Moghaddam.

Is a Powerful portrait of a woman, in Contemporary Iranian society. Her life is turned upside down when she discovers that her husband was innocent of which he was sentenced to death, and executed. She will fight against a cynical and perverse system. Telling the story of those who suffer human injustices!

BENEDETTA - Review by Antonio Lourenço, 3rd November 2021 - 5/5 STARS

The 83-years-old Dutch director Paul Verhoeven active both in Netherlands and Hollywood will now premiere a highly controversial film "BENEDETTA"!

Director, screenwriter and producer, graduated from the University of Leiden his filmography covered 26 Films, of different kinds somewhat violent, erotic, satyrical and science fiction and dramas.

The best known: Robocop (1997), Total Reccal (1990). Starship Troopers (1997). Basic Instinct (1992), Turkish Delights (1993).

With his movie "Showgirls" he become.  a "Cult" having won also with this movie "The Golden Raspberry" award in addition to being nominated by others. 

Got a "Cesar" for ELLE (2016) a "Golden Globe",(2016) and "Saturno" (1987).

BENEDETTA (Virginia Efira) will only now appears, after two years of delay due to Verhoeven's disease and the Pandemic.  Tells the true story of a legendary nun set in the 17th century leaving in a Convent in Pescia, it was adapted from the book "The Life of a Lesbian nun in Renaissance Italy" by Judith C. Brown, inspired by the dramatic events that took place inside the Convent. It was considered by the director "a damned film. yes. made with honesty".

Benedetta, later mother superior, ho was possessed with mystical, visions with Christ, and arising with bloody stigmata, although it was self-flagellation,(later it was discovered that was self-inflicted) stressing human and special female sexual desire. after inviting a young brown girl (Daphne Patakie) with whom it comes to engage in a romantic relationship, voyeurism, sadomasochism, repression and rebellion against an obscurantist society. At that time the Church is going to investigate the fact of such "Miracles".

We can see in a scene a woman appears extracting some milk from her breast in presence of the Nuncio(Lambert Wilson) lubricious gaze(that was called to investigate). Every scene is surrounded by artistic beauty from the paintings, tapestry, to the furniture, creating a superb atmosphere, from the old masters. Cinema is endowed with a great cultural and psychological load! often understood as softcore, but wrongly because in Verhoeven there is a huge refinement and a great artistic beauty of scenes, especially that we should never confuse with the current trend, of other films, the abuse of erotic scenes for other purposes...  

At the premiere in New York, it happened a demonstration and protests against the film by a group called "America Needs Fátima"!

A movie that praises and fulfils the pleasure of watching the Cinema-the 7th Art! 

Bong Joon HO - Review by Antonio Lourenço, 7th August 2021 - 5/5 STARS

The authentic and original south Korean film Director, Producer and screenwriter, reveals himself in contemporary cinema, intelligent and emotional, sometimes with biting humour and emphasis on strong social components, raising questions and social inequalities, GENRE-MIXING, BLACK HUMOR, AND SUDEN TONE SHIFTS.

Considered one of the best directors, especially after winning Cannes Palma d'Or, in 2019. It addresses family and drama with contours of the psychological thriller and suspense. A journey in search of that point, metaphorical which can erase the traces of pain.

Bong shows the Korean actors, constantly eating (as they are endowed with excellent cuisine) and disabled young people also appear, by creating false and metaphorical situations in order to provoke violent actions, sometimes with blood, and using flashbacks between the plans, not revealing the happened crimes, he let us get involved and causing the spectators anxiety and some anguish and reflections, letter involved in the riddle, whose criminal is it (?).

FILMOGRAPHY

BARKING DOG NEVER BITE=Flandersui Gae- (2000) is a black comedy. We are advised at the beginning that "no animal was harmed during the filming.

MEMORIES OF A MURDER=Salinui Ghueck- (2003)- crime thriller (one of the best)! ,

THE HOST (2006)- the monster film,

Tokyo (2008), 

MOTHER=Madeo-(2009)- Corajouse mother to prove is sun was not guilt, 

"SNOWPIERCER (2013)- Science fiction action film, 

ONJA (2017)-a super pig,

PARASITA (2019)-Oscars 2020- Academy Awards: best picture, Best Director, International Feature Film and best original screenplay.

Snowpiercer: Science Fiction film, spoken in English. It was inspired by the comic strip "La TRNSPECENING". Review by Antonio Lourenço, 7th September 2021 - 5/5 STARS

All the action takes place in a dystopian future and is related to climate change.

The inability of human beings and groups to act, in the face of the unknown.

The experience almost ending with the world population, except for the inhabitants of Snowpiper.

An extensive railway engine, that circulates throughout the Planet, via a railway.

After the disaster, the train is divided into two social classes: the front occupied by the privileged class and the tail by the working and poor classes.

It was decided to organize a revolution in order to take control of the machine!

Instantly famous Review by Nuno Carvalho, 2nd May 2021

In Fake Famous, journalist and writer Nick Bilton carries out a social experiment that proposes to make three young adults from Los Angeles with no discernible talent illustrious influencers on Instagram, making them artificially "famous" in order to assess how their lives might change. An informative and enlightening documentary that questions the culture of appearance and the new "values" without so much value of the notorious new world of "notables" of social media. 

In times gone by, to achieve fame you had to have talent, unusual skills, intelligence, merit and a good capacity for work (and sometimes even sacrifice). Above all were famous people like actors, writers, musicians, people who distinguished themselves in their field by the merit of what they did. Fame usually ended up being a consequence of talent, of work that was recognised as being of value, quality or originality. Nowadays, and especially after the phenomenon of reality TV has definitively installed a new model of notoriety, you can be famous for nothing, without having done anything noteworthy to deserve it, without having any distinctive characteristic, but simply because you are "noticed" in any audiovisual space with good audience levels that favours media projection. And fame has also become the goal itself, fame for fame's sake, as in the myth of Herostratus (an obscure citizen of the ancient city of Ephesus who set fire to the Temple of Diana with the sole purpose of inscribe his name in history and become "famous", even if at the expense of the most infamous of acts).

This idea of the "banality of notoriety", in which it is enough to "appear" in a "channel" that allows visibility, has created popularity phenomena that are not sustainable for anything substantial, authentic vacuities fed by narcissistic vanity, a kind of beautiful packages with almost nothing inside, or the equivalent to advertising campaigns that are set up without there being any product or service really worthy of that name to sell and that are built from the outside in a kind of almost fetishistic dynamic of belief on the part of those who adhere to and believe in the "product" that end up creating reality – in a strategy somewhat identical to the "fake it until you make it", like a Pinocchio who wants and pretends to be flesh and blood so much that he ends up being it. In other words, you start with nothing, and with so much wanting and pretending you end up creating a reality that didn't exist. It's a bit like having a machine that produces money and being able to have a good life without the need to work hard – the reality of all that we can have and buy with it is very real. This is in fact what happens to the three influencers "forged" by the social experiment carried out in the documentary Fake Famous, the directorial debut of Nick Bilton, former technology journalist for The New York Times and Vanity Fair correspondent with published books on the effects of technology on human behaviour.

The aim was to test and verify to what extent it would be possible to artificially create an influencer. To do so, the director and his team randomly chose three people from Los Angeles (the city of dreams, where people go to try and achieve fame), after an advertised casting session with the question "do you want to be famous?" to which five thousand people responded and which was attended by four thousand (this alone shows that fame is the new gold of modern times). Three people were intentionally chosen who had very few followers on social media (namely Instagram, the digital platform favoured by influencers), and for whom fake followers, comments and likes were bought (on specific sites that sell these services), with the aim of observing how their lives would change.

With a trivial and average personality profile, and lacking the charisma necessary to be popular, these three people are going to follow very different paths. Dominique, a young aspiring actress who works in a clothing shop, starts receiving generous amounts of free products and invitations from brands to promote them, the calls for castings increase, and even the fact that she's perceived as "famous" becomes a supplementary aphrodisiac when she meets boys. It's a real game changer, literally everything in her life changes.

With the other two participants things go differently. Wylie, a personal assistant to a Beverly Hills real estate agent, ends up panicking and eclipsing himself under the pressure of the anxiety caused not only by the boom of likes and comments, but also when he begins to be questioned about the veracity of his followers (at one point, he is unmasked by an internet user who realizes that his "explosion" of popularity was leveraged by bots, advanced algorithms that simulate real followers). Chris, a designer and songwriter, ends up realising the falseness of that virtual world and concludes that he wants no part of it.

In a world dominated by image culture (but not always with visual culture) and by societies of spectacle, more and more people are evaluated by appearances and also "obliged", by the very laws of the market, to have significant acting talent (but what is life after all if not a big stage and all of us actors with various roles to fulfil and play?) However, as Fake Famous demonstrates, much of this valuing and demanding of fame is not only a huge hassle (sometimes it can be a lot of work not wanting to have a more ordinary job) but it ends up being futile, artificial and empty. And this becomes more evident when in the final part, filmed during the pandemic, many of the influencers continue to post images of luxurious, paradisiacal places when the whole world was locked up at home – the greater or lesser falseness of a lifestyle no longer matters (because much of the glamour is manufactured), but ethical issues are raised.

The truth is that in a time when it is increasingly important to defend causes and give good examples of life many influencers promote an ostentatious and consumerist lifestyle that, moreover, only serves themselves, and even ends up contributing negatively to the mental health of many people – it's easy for someone with a less strong psychological structure, especially if they are younger and less knowledgeable, to feel themselves losers and become unhappy with the (false) perception that almost everyone seems to have a fantastic life... Fake Famous dismantles this illusion, being very informative and relying on the intelligent, pleasant and empathy-generating presence of the director. Nick Bilton debunks a good part of the work of many digital influencers, who often turn out to be nothing more than teleshopping hosts. We could say that these bots are made for shoppin'...

"Fake Famous" is available on HBO

The story about Joseph Losey Review by Antonio Lourenço, 7th April 2021 - 5/5 STARS

Was an American Director, Producer and screenwriter, that studied in Germany with Bertold Brecht. Blacklisted in Hollywood, in the 1950's, he moved to Europe where he made their remainder of his films, mostly in the United Kingdom. Among successful, were the films with screenplays by the dramaturg Harold Painter. "The Servant" and "The Go-Between" (1971) , "Monsieur Klein", (with Alain Delon), won the César awards.

Losey was four times nominee for:

  • Both the Palme d'Or, (winning once);
  • The Golden Lion;
  • And two times Bafta nominee (with Nicolas Ray), school classmates. Beginning as a student of Medicine and ending in drama.

The writer Sinclair Lewis offered to Losey his first work, written for the stage: "Jay Hawker", to directing a theatre in New York.  Losey visited “The Soviet Union” in 1935, to study the Russian stage and a seminar on film, taught by the famous Sergei Eisenstein. Also met Bertold Brecht and the composer Hans Eisler. From 1946-47, he directed several plays on Broadway worked with Bertold Brecht and the actor Charles Laughton in the US. Losey went, with Both Losey and Brecht, in the House Un-American Activities Committee (anti-communist). After this, the following day he left US (the land of "Liberty")! At “The Maxine Elliot Theater”, he went on with the play "Life of Galileo". Again, with C.Laughten in the role. Losey's first feature film was a political allegory " The Boy With Green Hair"(1947). The Producer of Fritz Lang's classic "M" hired Losey to Direct a remake.

In 1946, he joined the Communist party. Meanwhile,  Howard Huges began purging it of leftists and Losey ask to release him of his contract and left for Italy, after one year returned. Stelled, in London, did his first film " The Sleeping Tiger"(1954) under the pseudonym Victor Hanbury, feared being blacklisted by Hollywood, based on the play by Harold Pinter's screenplay:

  • "The Servant"(1963) (forbidden by censorship in Portugal);
  •  "Accident"  (1967);
  • And "The Go-Between" (1971) with Britsh Academy Film award with Grand Prix Special du Jury of Cannes Film Festival (1967).

Joseph Losey films are naturalistic and Expressionism. Worked with the famous playwriter Harold Pinter on the Marcel Proust´screenplay, but died before. Note:  Marcel Proust wrote 7 books: "A  La Recherche Du Temps Perdu"(In Search of Lost Time ) considered one of the best's  20th Century writer.

In 1975, realized a film on Brecht's "Galileo" and follows "Monsieur Klein".

In 1979, filmed Mozart's Opera "Don Giovanni, shot in Italy. Following: "LA Truit" with Isabelle Huppert.(1982)Nominated Golden Venice Lion.

He died at his home, in London, on June 22 (1984), four weeks after completing "Steaming", that was made on the year after his death.

Note: Hollywood blacklist MacCarthysm make so many victims. Also, like one of the greatest screenwriters, called Dalton Trombo, who refused to testify before that American Activities committee and have to work clandestinely on major films.  

While England sleeps Review by Nuno Carvalho, 6th February 2021 

Written by Russell T. Davies (creator of Queer as Folk and Years and Years), It's a Sin, a five-episode miniseries from Channel 4 (available on HBO), centers on a group of friends living in a London apartment in the early 1980s, when the clouds of AIDS begin to loom on the horizon of the british gay community blown by the winds that bring bad news from across the Atlantic.

When 40 years have passed since AIDS was first recognized by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the US equivalent of the portuguese DGS), some fears and ghosts resurface that make us think of that era, if only because we find ourselves in the midst of another pandemic. Anyone who has lived through that era or read about it will recognize in It's a Sin, a Channel 4 miniseries that is available on HBO, some strange and unexpected parallels between the two epidemics, even though we are naturally talking about two very different situations.

However, just as there are coincidences between the coronavirus pandemic and that of the so-called “spanish flu” of 1918 (mainly in the fact that the second wave killed way more people than the first, and also because many people, just like now, relaxed their care due to fatigue), also the HIV/AIDS epidemic was initially marked by a lot of misinformation, rumours and speculations (as someone pointed out, fake news and conspiracy theories are not only a reality of the present time). However, although centered on the AIDS drama, It's a Sin is not just an “AIDS drama”, and that is also one of its assets – that it is not a one-tone song or a one-colour picture (the multiplicity of colours is always present).

But if the drama of 2020-2021 has as its main enemies a very fast virus and the stupid politicization that the far-right made of simple public health issues, the drama of It's a Sin, which covers a decade (1981-1991), has as its main antagonists the then mysterious virus that began killing gay men and the widespread homophobia (as we know, the press first called the disease "gay cancer", an expression that, despite the natural ignorance in the face of an unknown threat, was also unbearably homophobic and moralistic).

The story of this five-episode miniseries written by Russell T. Davies (creator of Queer as Folk), whose title comes from a well-known song by the Pet Shop Boys, centers on a group of friends living in a London flat in the early 1980s, when the AIDS clouds begin to loom on the horizon of the british gay community blown by the winds that bring bad news from across the Atlantic, while the rest of England sleeps (and will remain asleep for a long time to come, with the criminal complicity of the political establishment).

The first episode (which serves mainly the purpose of launching the characters, with the series gaining a crescendo of density and intensity from then on) begins with one of the protagonists, Ritchie Tozer (played by Olly Alexander, lead singer of the band Years and Years), aged 18, leaving his parents' house (who do not yet know that he's gay), on the isle of Wight, to go to London to study Law. Like the title of the Bronski Beat song that is part of the series' apt and accurate soundtrack, Ritchie is a typical smalltown boy who, as soon as he sees himself in the big cosmopolitan city, begins to freely explore his sexuality and flourishes in all its splendour. He is joined in the flat they christen Pink Palace by three other friends, in addition to Jill (Lydia West), his best friend and the only woman in the group: Ash (Nathaniel Curtis), a nice biracial teacher with whom Ritchie initially becomes involved, Roscoe (Omari Douglas), a construction worker who has defected from a conservative and religious nigerian family who believe he has been possessed by a demon (ah, the religious delusion, that great builder of bridges between men!), and Colin (Callum Scott Howells), a shy and more “square” but lovable welsh boy who works in a clothing shop, and who finds a mentor and friend in Henry (Neil Patrick Harris, in a brief but effective role), a kind and openly gay co-worker who has lived for 30 years with his boyfriend who will be forced by his family to return to Portugal when things start to go wrong (and, speaking of portuguese, and to give you an idea of the level of xenophobia in the days of thatcherism, at one point a portuguese man is referred to as “a bloody argie”, a derogatory english slang term that can be translated as a “damn argentine”). By the end of the first episode, the specter of the coming tragedy is already beginning to loom... 

Just as, in the current field of queer cinema, it is characteristic of the New Queer Cinema to portray its characters as ordinary people (flawed people, but also people with “a normal heart”, to quote the title of Ryan Murphy's telefilm of the same name based on Larry Kramer's play), so the characters in It's a Sin are portrayed as ordinary human beings (like common people, after all), with flaws, qualities, imperfections, talents, which is to say, with everything that characterizes a human being. They are neither pure angels nor evil demons, neither stereotypical villains nor idealized heroes, neither “unbalanced” poor things nor aseptic “normotics” or “monsters” with some form of supersanity or supersanctity – they are, of course, simply people (sensitive, indeed, and sometimes even fragile, without any of this being “wrong” or “abnormal”, quite the contrary!) And there may be a lot of existential pain and suffering caused by a terrible epidemic in this series with autobiographical echoes, but there are also many moments of glorious happiness. Because, after all, the true and worst “sin” is not to live our truths and not to try to be happy.

All episodes of ‘It's a Sin’, created by Russell T. Davies, and starring Olly Alexander, Keeley Hawes, Neil Patrick Harris, Stephen Fry, are available on HBO

"To the Stars" a movie of Martha Stephen Review by Antonio Lourenço, 24th November 2020 - 5/5 STARS

Lonely Iris, introverted girl, and friendless. And a new student appears, saving her in the constant bullying, loneliness and humiliation. 

The movie Director will cleverly profile their families. Iris repressive an religious parents with a passive father but Maggie, the new student, appears and becomes her only friend.

There's a certain atmosphere of mystery and doubt as to why they changed the cities. Iris has a psychosomatic reaction, but her "protector" will help to alter everything, creating a new creature, which was hidden inside her. 

Films of this complexity and analysis are not easy to make, but  they are the ones that define masterpieces.                                                                        

"Miss" (2020) of Ruben Alves Review by Antonio Lourenço, 12th October 2020 - 3/5 STARS

The French Film Festival kicks off in the middle of the pandemic with a program full of previews. Inaugurated with the film "MISS", with the protagonist the model Alexandre Wetter.

We warn you in advance that the Portuguese-French director Ruben Alves "Gaiola Dourada" (2013), is not concerned with knowing the sexual orientation of the protagonist.

Beginning with a 9-year-old boy, whose wish is to become Miss France, which is received with laughter by his colleagues. Years later, Alex, after losing his country, decides to run for the Miss France contest, hiding his male identity! With moments when he falters and loses self-confidence. A film full of glamour, filled with beautiful dresses by famous costume designers.

I Am Woman (2020) of Unjoo Moon Review by Antonio Lourenço, 1st October 2020 - 4/5 STARS

Based in the true story of the famous Australian/American singer, Helen Rubby, that composed and sang, a hymn to the fights for feminine rights. She was born in Melbourne, Vitoria, Australia. 

She married 3 times and the 2nd husband, Jeff Wald, became her manager, and with the support of him, reached a fantastic career. 10 times on top reached nº1, with her album. Helen comes from an Irish family. Now, she has dementia at 78 years old. Finished singing in 2002, and went to Australia, after singing in some musicals entered University and obtained a degree and practiced as a clinical hypnotherapist.

"I am a woman" A very good movie that absorbs us for almost 2 hours, don't lose it!


 

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