Leeds Film Festival 2010: Day 15

Kosmos (Tur/Bul) (imdb)

Deep in the winter wilderness of a remote corner of Turkey, a man, perhaps deliriously happy, or maybe hysterically upset, tramps and stumbles noisily through the deep snow. Finding himself in a remote village, he stops for a while at the riverside, only to see the body of a child floating by, followed at the other side of the river by a frantic mother. He drags the lifeless object from the current and holds him so tight, arms and legs are flung in all directions. Miraculously, to the mothers' great relief, the boy stands alive, but the man is exhausted and sobbing in the snow.

Earning respect and hospitality from Yahya, the father of the boy, and hypnotising the local cafe crowd with his strange, prophetic talking, the man finds offers of both work and accommodation, but he is only passively interested. Walking through the village with childlike wonder, proclaiming love in it's simplest sense for the women he meets, and trying to help those he comes across in need. As the bombs and gunfire of civil war thunders continuously overhead, the man becomes the great hope of the poor and needy, and the target of suspicion for those looking to capture whoever it is who has started stealing from the local shops at the same time he arrived. The cold, derelict village full of old buildings and dying citizens both reject him and look to him for salvation. But the man cares not for these things, his forlorn and weathered face only lighting up when he finds a kindred spirit in Yahya's daughter, a girl who seems to see the world as he does, and fly on the wind.

Kosmos has me divided. To it's credit, the religious allegories are a mysterious and seductive form of storytelling, and the whole story as a clever circularity to it that you will not see until the end; the man himself is a strange enigma, unpredictable like a feral animal, and forever reacting abnormally to the situations that come his way. Once the film was over I found myself reviewing the film more positively than during it's 2 hour length.

Unfortunately, the film's ability to make me put on rose tinted glasses the moment the credits roll, wasn't quite enough to get over just how bloody annoying the man was, or how random things were inserted into the film and then were casually dropped, as if they were no longer needed because some mystery message were being transmitted on a frequency that only you couldn't hear. Kosmos is a deeply flawed, but beautiful work with flashes of brilliance and frustration in equal measure. I wanted to enjoy it so much more. 5.5/10

All That I Love (Pol) (site)

Janek and Kazek are brothers in ATIL, a punk band singing anarchic songs as they practice in an abandoned caravan. They are still at school, and they're close to graduation. It's the early 80's in an unstable East Germany. Martial law has been instigated, and their father is a soldier in the Communist party. It's fair to say there's a little bit of tension in the air.

We centre in on the life of Janek in particular. Though a nutter on stage, he's still a shy boy when it comes to the ladies, and consequently Besia, who has taken a shine to him, has to do all the work to get him to make a move. Besia is the daughter of a prominent member of the Solidarity movement, a growing civil unrest that is attempting to subvert the government. Understandably, father is less than happy for her to go around with the son of a commie. When Besia's father is taken as a political prisoner by the communists, she finds herself unable to reconcile her relationship and withdraws, not wanting further contact. Janek faces a time in his life where a number of tough and uncertain decisions have to be made, just as the world changes and crumbles around him.

Though the themes in the film have plenty of potential for conflict, much of it is unrealised, most of the enjoyment coming from the brief periods of joy or victory that the band has against their increasingly restrictive oppressors, some of which are less obvious than others. Ultimately, ATIL relies completely on the smaller concerns within a larger problem, and thus failed to completely hold my attention. 7/10

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