Zhenia (Alec Utgoff), a survivor of the Chernobyl disaster, is a masseuse with almost magical abilities. He can move objects telekinetically, is proficient in hypnosis and his hands can either heal his clients or kill them. Zhenia travels to a large Polish city where he finagles a resident permit and offers his massage services to those living in an upscale gated community. The wealthy residents live sad existences in their generic and cookie cutter community. They’re plagued by broken marriages, insolent children and sheer boredom. Zhenia mesmerizes his new clientele. He’s handsome, mysterious, patient and a perhaps a little radioactive.
Written and directed by Malgorzata Szumowska and Michal Englert, Never Gonna Snow Again/Sniegu juz nigdy nie bedzie is a hypnotic and mysterious drama that gently touches upon some big themes. These include anti-immigrant sentiment, prejudice, income inequality and global warming. Utgoff delivers a solid performance as the elusive Zhenia. The film offers moments of stunning cinematography and is light on the fantastical elements. It can be a bit difficult to follow or to understand the main character’s motivations. Watching Never Gonna Snow Again is like taking a ride down a gentle stream. There’s no rush to get anywhere. Just enjoy the ride.
Fans of Stranger Things will recognize Alec Utgoff who plays the lead role of Zhenia. Never Gonna Snow Again was Poland’s submission to the 93rd Academy Awards for Best International Feature Film.
Never Gonna Snow Again is distributed by Kino Lorber and opens in theaters and virtual cinemas on July 30th. Visit Kino Marquee for more details.
Marcos (Carlos Portaluppi) is a nurse working the night shift at a private hospital. He takes pity on the patients who have no chance of survival and secretly euthanizes them so they can die in peace. He’s able to commit his crime unnoticed until the arrival of a mysterious new nurse Gabriel (Ignacio Rogers). Marcos’ quiet existence is about to be thrust into utter chaos. Gabriel is a charmer, seducing the other night nurse Noelia (Lorena Vega) and ingratiating himself to upper management. But Gabriel is also killing patients and does it both with ill intentions and inhumanely. When the rise in patient deaths becomes noticeable, it’s time for Marcos and Gabriel to come face to face in a battle for survival.
Director Martin Kraut was inspired by a 2012 story about two Uruguayan nurses who were caught euthanizing patients. In an interview Kraut says:
“I am interested in investigating what happens when doctors and nurses know there is no chance of survival yet they must keep the bodies alive while they can: Keeping patients on life support or alive is also a very important and profitable business. This fact coupled with the immense power that some nurses like Marcos have while working the night shift, and who devote their time to the care of others in those conditions, can lead them to extreme situations.“
La Dosis is a restrained psychological thriller with a terrific slow build. The tension sneaks up on the viewer as the two nurses must confront their secrets. It does a great job exploring the toxic social dynamics that occur in a hospital environment between nurses, doctors, patients and management. There is an LGBTQ element to the story that isn’t explored enough to make any sense. It lacks in some character building, especially in regards to the main character Marcos. Overall, the direction, the performances, the moody lighting and slow build make this one to watch.
Kudos to whoever designed the movie’s poster because it not only captures the essence of the story and the dynamic between the two main characters, it’s also amazing how one eye can seem to belong to both men at the same time. Amazing!
La Dosis is distributed by Samuel Goldwyn Films available on demand and on digital.
In the tight-knit community of Saint-Adeline, Quebec, a scandal is quietly rising to the surface. The town is still reeling after a major tragedy five years earlier. 13 year old Magalie (Emilie Bierre) is navigating the aftermath of her father’s death, high school, dance classes and her secret relationship with “Taz”. When Magalie collapses during dance rehearsal, she’s brought to the hospital where the doctor informs her mother Isabelle (Marianne Farley ) that Magalie is pregnant. Everyone thinks that Manu, the young Mexican immigrant being fostered by Chantal Grégoire (Judith Baribeau) and her husband, Mayor Jean-Marc Ricard (Paul Doucet), is the father. But not all is as it seems. Magalie refuses to reveal the identity of the father, which comes at a great cost to her well-being.
Directed and co-written by Jeanne Leblanc, Les nôtres is a solemn yet powerful social drama. It explores the indestructible nature of small communities, anti-immigrant sentiment and social power dynamics. It’s fascinating to see how Emilie’s pregnancy causes relationships to fray. It can be an uncomfortable movie to watch especially due to its subject matter. However, once you start watching the film, you won’t be able to step away. Recommended.
Les nôtres is distributed by Oscilloscope Laboratories and is available in select theaters and on demand.
Legend has it that Undine, a water nymph from European mythology, transforms into a human when she falls in love. However, if the man of her desire betrays her, he must die. Writer and director Christian Petzold retells the Undine myth against the backdrop of modern day Berlin. Undine Wibeau (Paula Beer) is a historian specializing in the history of Berlin’s urban development . Right before one of her lectures her boyfriend Johannes (Jacob Matschenz) breaks up with her to pursue a relationship with another woman. Undine knows she must kill Johannes, and even tells him so, but soon becomes distracted by another man. Christoph (Franz Rogowski) is a professional diver who attends one of Undine’s lectures. Their first meeting almost cost Christoph’s his life but Undine saves him and they soon fall in love. However, Johannes is soon back in the picture and Undine is soon faced with her cursed destiny.
“If you leave me, I have to kill you. You know that.”
Undine is a quiet and sometimes peculiar retelling of a classic myth. It is light on fantastical elements and instead focuses on modern day realism. Paula Beer plays the mystifying Undine Wibeau with such skill. Beer’s Undine is haunting, mysterious, and beautiful; an enigma who will enchant viewers. It is so easy to get caught up in the film’s love story. Patient viewers will be rewarded generously.
Undine hits select theaters June 4th and will also be available on digital and VOD platforms.
“I’ve always believed in the power of words… I used to be black… now I’m high melanin.”
Set in Rio de Janeiro some time in the future, Executive Order/Medida Provisória follows Antônio (Alfred Enoch), a young black lawyer seeking reparations from the government for Brazilian citizens descended from African slaves. In retaliation, the corrupt government offers an alternate: social reparation in the form of repatriation to Africa. At first this is offered as a voluntary option and advertised on television and presented to local communities. When it meets with resistance from black citizens including Antônio, his cousin André (Seu Jorge) and his wife Capitu (Taís Araújo), the government quickly changes the offer to an executive order. Martial law ensues to force anyone with “high melanin” back to Africa and the trio must find a way to fight back.
Directed by Lázaro Ramos,Executive Order/Medida Provisória is a harrowing drama that explores race relations and political corruption through a dystopian lens. The plot lacks cohesiveness but overall the film is fairly effective as a thriller. Fans of the Mexican dystopian thriller New Order/Nuevo Orden will definitely want to check this one out.
Executive Order/Medida Provisória at the virtual 2021 SXSW Film Festival.