Karlovy Vary 2018: ‘I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians,’ Brilliantly Speaks Truth to Power

This review is by our guest writer, Redmond Bacon.

The Germans have a word for acknowledging their Nazi past. Known as “Vergangenheitsbewältigung,” it literally means “coming to terms with the past,” describing the process by which the country tries to learn from the mistakes it made during the 30s and 40s, most significantly the Holocaust. This process makes Germany quite a unique country, as no other major nation-state can claim to have gone through quite the same amount of personal soul-searching.

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This dream of awakening her home country of Romania is the mission of Mariana, an artist who wants to put on a reenactment of the Odessa Massacre of 1941 in which between 25,000 to 34,000 Jews were either shot or burned to death by Romanian troops. I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians, is named after a quote that was used to justify the process. According to her, its a part of history glossed over by Romanians, who prefer to remember the time they joined the Allies three years into War. A pertinent clip from the Romanian film The Mirror, released in 1994, shows just how deep the distortion of history goes, displaying Ion Antonescu — the Romanian leader — as a sympathetic character who only “deported” non-Romanian Jews, instead of killing them. This is a blatant lie and something that Mariana is determined to deconstruct.

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Karlovy Vary 2018: ‘Miriam Lies’ Is a Harsh yet Necessary Coming of Age Story

In Latin America, there is no event more important for young girls than the quinceañera. Families will save up every extra penny to make sure that the celebration is a lavish affair, welcoming the girl’s progression into adulthood with a whole lot of pomp and circumstance. For Miriam (Dulce Esther Rodríguez Castillo), however, her 15th birthday is loaded with dread, as she has a secret that she doesn’t want the rest of her family to know about.

She has a boyfriend named Jean-Louis, who she only knows from chatting online. One day, she goes to meet him at a natural history museum, but upon seeing his face, something holds her back. She doesn’t talk to him, and runs away, explaining to her mom that he didn’t turn up. At first, this seems like natural shyness, but it slowly becomes clear that it’s because he’s black. The resulting film is a piercing tale that functioned both as a well-worked character drama and a seething critique of a racist society.

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Karlovy Vary 2018: ‘Jumpman’ is a Very Different Kind of Superhero Movie

The corrupt heart of contemporary Russia is mercilessly exposed in Jumpman, a savage look at a society that has lost its way. Telling the story of a boy who uses his rare ability to feel no pain to jump in front of cars in order to blackmail their owners, Ivan I. Tverdovsky has created a savage exposé of a world in which nothing matters other than the pursuit of capital.

It starts with Denis (Denis Vlasenko) being dumped at an orphanage. As he grows older, he gets diagnosed with congenital analgesia, which means that he doesn’t feel pain in the same way other people do. This ability to withstand intense physical pressure makes him a favourite with the fellow boys, who tie him up with a hose and pull it on from either side to see how long he can last. Then one day, his mother (Anna Slyu) returns to the orphanage and takes him back to Moscow. Once there, they devise their dastardly money-making scheme.

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Karlovy Vary 2018: Tradition is Fatal in Turkish Drama ‘Brothers’

This review is by our guest writer, Redmond Bacon.

Tradition is meant to bind us together, but when those customs are based in violence, those binds can be a noose, choking us into a cycle of bloodshed. This is certainly the case in Turkish drama Brothers, which displays the devastating effects of living by ancient customs.

It starts with the seventeen-year-old Yusuf (Yiğit Ege Yazar) in a juvenile detention centre near the tail-end of his sentence. He is a quiet and brooding boy, with a constant chip on his shoulder. He seems always on the verge of anger, almost starting a fight over a mistimed football tackle. One day he is released on probation and picked up by his brother Ramazan (Caner Şahin), who believes a good way of celebrating is by buying him a prostitute. This pretty much sums up the perpetual misunderstanding between the two, who cannot find a way to truly relate to one another.

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Karlovy Vary 2018: ‘Profile’ Excellently Depicts the Dangers of the Internet

This piece is written by our guest writer Redmond Bacon.

We all know that being online is dangerous – with sexual predators, fraudsters, and racists on Twitter always waiting around the corner – but have you ever tried signing up to join ISIS? This is the conceit of Profile, which displays what happens when a journalist is willing to risk absolutely everything for the sake of getting a good story. Told entirely from the screen of a British reporter’s laptop, the resultant movie works both as a great thriller and a thematically rich investigation into the nature of ISIS, reporters, and the dangers of social media.

Amy (Valene Kane) is a journalist researching ISIS recruiters who have been known to find women to join their mission online. They look for Western converts as they are seen as sexually desirable by the death cult, and can be sold as sex slaves for a lot of money. To start with, she makes a new Facebook profile. She aptly names herself Melody Nelson after the famous Serge Gainsbourg song, which is famously about a predatory man seducing a young teenager. After sharing videos of ISIS footage on Facebook, she gets a friend request from a man named Abu Bilel Al-Britani (Shazed Letif). Ostensibly using him to get material for her article, she finds herself getting drawn in further and further, until there is a very real possibility she might head off to Syria herself.

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Karlovy Vary 2018: ‘To The Night’ Fails the Talents of Caleb Landry Jones

This piece is written by our guest writer Redmond Bacon.

Caleb Landry Jones was everywhere last year, playing supporting roles in movies as diverse as The Florida Project, Get Out and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Displaying such a great range, with every character wholly different, his own moment in the spotlight has been well overdue. Sadly, for him, To The Night, which sees him play a trauma victim suffering from psychotic episodes, will not be the movie to catapult him to leading man status.

He plays Norman, a man who survived a deadly fire as a child which killed his parents. Now he is a father himself, living in an atelier-like apartment with his girlfriend Penelope (Eleonore Hendricks ). Its hard to say what exactly he does as a job, although it looks like he might be an artist — creating a model of the house that his parents died in and the opening scene showing him at an exhibition. He is in desperate need of help, his psychotic breakdowns leading to him smashing up the apartment and even raising his hand to Penelope. Its not a pretty film to watch, and he is not an easy character to like.

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Karlovy Vary 2018: ‘Panic Attack’ Is the Perfect Way to Exorcise Your Inner Cringe

This piece is written by our guest writer Redmond Bacon.

Have you ever been confronted with a sudden moment that threatens to upend your life forever? Everything might be going swimmingly, but you never know when a brief revelation, mistake or threat can suddenly turn everything upside down. “Panic Attack” is the ultimate exploration of this theme, telling six intercut stories of protracted moments that will make you cringe right up until the end. If you have ever done something you look back on and go “Oh god why!” then “Panic Attack” is the perfect way to exorcise those demons. It’s probably not as bad as what these people go through.

The film telegraphs its sense of cathartic gloom straight from the beginning, starting with a radio host blowing his brains out. Then, in no particular order, we are shown: a couple on a plane with an annoying fellow passenger, a wedding caterer who is being blackmailed, a webcam actress hiding her profession from her friends, a young boy suffering from some extra strong cannabis, and a woman painfully meeting up with her ex. I’ll leave most of the description there as to tell exactly what happens in each segment is to ruin the fun of discovering it yourself.

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