Ayar is an ambitious work detailing life’s struggles that falls flat ahead of juggling what it wants to be.
I was really looking forward to this film. When we received our press release document with all the films that would be playing at Nashville Film Festival this one in particular caught my eye. I suppose I gravitate a lot to these stories because they are stories that are far too known in my community. Of course, the relevancy behind it dealing with the current COVID-19 pandemic made it more topical. All of that and more led for me to watch this film in my first few days of the festival.
Ayar is directed by Floyd Russ and written by Russ along with our two main actresses Ariana Ron Pedrique and Vilma Vega. The cast also includes Henry Foster Brown, Simon Haycock, Calliah Sophie Estrada, and Caeser Hartman. The film is magnificently shot by Corey C. Waters. Ayar looks at our titular character as she returns to see her daughter after years not seeing her during the height of lockdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of course, it’s not as easy as we think and Ayar needs to go through her own set of obstacles to be able to see her daughter. The film mixes narrative and a documentary style into it to create an ambitious directorial work in Russ’ filmography.
Ayar does not work most of the time and when it works is when it is not juggling the two types of films it is trying to present. The film includes some beautiful cinematography and a wonderful score by Victor Magro. The editing is jarring and is so difficult to pinpoint a pace it is trying to go for. The performances are solid but I feel like the strongest aspect is our story and the themes it presents. The concept’s ambition is really what makes this movie contrived in a sense. There is a lot that can be done if the film did not have to juggle so much. It does not work but that does not mean it was not a worthwhile watch because what we learn through the message of the film is important.
Overall, this film did not much to move my needle but it was a worthwhile watch from this wonderful festival.
Window Boy Would Also Like to Have a Submarine is an ambitious project that presents humane themes but does not work to capture itself coherently.
As we continue to the last international film featured in the International Lens program of Nashville Film Festival we make our way into an Uruguayan film about escapism. Now, this is where it gets a bit embarrassing for me. I am hopelessly in love with Latin American cinema. I love the films from this region where my ancestors are from and I have watched so much from the countries in said region. I have never seen a film from Uruguay or even knew about the work that they have producing there. I was looking forward to finally exploring Uruguayan cinema but also after reading the synopsis I had interest in watching this film.
Written and directed by Alex Piperno in his directorial feature debut and shot by Manuel Rebella. The film stars Noli Tobol, Daniel Quiroga, and Inés Bortagaray who most of the cast is making their acting debuts as well except for our main actress. Window Boy Would Also Like to Have a Submarine looks at a story that connects three different sets of people through a mysterious corridor that leads to a different place along with a mysterious shed in the Phillipines that is believed to be supernatural. Throughout the film’s runtime, we explore the lingering lives of our protagonists as they escape into other parts of the world. The film explores themes of love, escapism, and a stagnant life that leads to our window boy to want to travel into a different area to get away from his mundane life.
I would like to focus on the positives of the film first, for example, this film is beautifully shot and its color palette is beautifully muted. I love color grading like this because usually people don’t find such muted colors so beautiful. It is not like that in this film at all. Our performances are patient and really sell you on our characters. The concept is very interesting and so ambitious but that is where a lot of its problem surface from. The film crumbles apart through its high ambition and suffers from some very dragged out pacing. By the time we make it to the third act, it feels like we have been watching this film for three hours but we have not even passed more than half of that. I respect a lot of what is being tried here but if this could have been pieced a bit more coherently together there would be a strong film to find in here.
All and all, not everything has to be amazing and I am still very appreciative of being able to watch this. At least I was able to explore a corner of cinema I had not delved into yet so that is to me a win!
We’ve had the wonderful opportunities to conduct a lot of interviews so far at the Nashville Film Festival. This time Luis is joined Zack and Jeremy Frost of Frost Studios to discuss their short films, The White Hill Syndicate and Porch Pirates. Frost Studios discuss their films and the influences behind them. They talk about the score and soundtrack used in the film and about the performances. Watch the interview to find out about what these two excellent filmmakers are all about!
Angeliki Antoniou’s Green Sea is a worthwhile film filled with beautiful themes and a story about memories.
By now, if you haven’t noticed I love international cinema whether that is Latin America, Europe, Asia, or any other region that holds some sort of cinematic industry. I love being able to watch stories told through a lens I know nothing about. When it comes to these films they are usually crafted differently which interests me so much as a fellow filmmaker. I just can’t get enough of these movies and I wouldn’t stop watching them even if I tried. Of course, the next film I would discuss would be an international film so lets get to it shall we!
Green Sea looks at the journey of a woman going through a rough case of amnesia as she begins to work at a seaside restaurant where she expertly crafts food for customers. Throughout her time at the restaurant, she befriends people and enters the lives of those around her all while trying to recover her memories before she suffered this bout of amnesia. The film is written and directed by Angeliki Antonio and is inspired by the novel, Gia Na Dei Ti Thalassa by Evgenia Fakinou. The film stars Angeliki Papoulia (Dogtooth and The Lobster), Yannis Tsortekis, Tasos Palatzidis, and Meletis Georgiadis.
The film is a solid attempt from an interesting concept that works most of the time. One thing is certain about this film and it is that the cast works so well together. You can feel the chemistry between all of these people and every performance felt so genuine in this. Of course, Papoulia is marvelous in this role and has the viewer just invested in her character from the get go, My main problem with the film derives from the pacing which I felt dragged so much in the second act. Our first half of this film is so strong and once we hit the second half it is just not as strong. If we had spent just a bit more time in that third act instead of dragging out the first two we could have a really strong film on our hands. I also felt that a lot of what is being presented swiftly gets forgotten in the third act in order to wrap things up.
Overall, this is a very enjoyable experiences that explores beautiful themes such as love and friendship. I’m not sure when this one will be available to watch publicly but I would definitely recommend people to watch it!
52nd NFF (2021) Capsule Feature Film Reviews: Part 1
The 2021 Nashville Film Festival is coming to an end, and as to no surprise it has been an incredible experience; and I was only at the virtual event, imagine the in person experience. I want to thank the Nashville Film Festival committee for allowing myself and The Nerd Corps to join it, and although it hasn’t ended yet it’s still a grateful thanks. I’ll write an overall review of the event when it ends but I want to leave a couple of capsule reviews early for our viewers so they start to be interested in these upcoming films.
Now if you are not familiar with what a capsule review is it’s simple; it’s about a paragraphs worth of my opinion on certain films I’ve seen in the event without spoilers, using too much detail, etc. These are private/ payed for events and as a press visitor I am not allowed to speak of them in the forms mentioned above. Now on to these films!
The Murder Podcast
Directed and written by William Bagley, this isn’t what I expected looking at the name but it was not the worst thing I’ve seen. Its comedic tones were wacky and its supernatural wasn’t a Blumhouse production, but that isn’t a problem it just goes to show to never judge a book by its cover or synopsis. As I mentioned, the comedic tone was wacky but it works in favor of what I believe was meant by William and the overall film. It honestly reminded me of the older live action Nickelodeon movies I used to watch or even an AwesomenessTV film. Now it’s no jab, although it’s not my cup of tea it did give me a handful of laughs and not to forget it did have some great shots in the film.
The Murder Podcast = 1.5/5Stars
Directed by Roshan Sethi and written by Roshan Sethi and Karan Soni. Overall being the second film I watched I loved every aspect of it, not to mention the two main actor/actress duo. With an oversimplified synopsis by myself, it’s a film dealing with two characters being stuck together for 7 days with the COVID-19 lockdown at its peak start and everything about it works. The writing is amazing and the execution by the talents were 10 out of 10 giving this a romance drama, not the usual romantic comedy. The film is heart warming and I’ll be watching it again whenever it becomes available to the public.
7 Days = 5/5 Stars
Directed by Ori Segev & Noah Dixon and written by Noah Dixon. At first glance and viewing you would think this film was made under A24, but that isn’t the case. The cinematography is beautiful and incredible and like I said I’m surprised it isn’t a A24 film or a Neon film, as the pacing, lighting, frames, and story reminds me very much of them. One could say it’s even incredibly artistic or artisan for films with its use of color and lighting and the sound design works well to give more feel to the film. It’s just such a beautiful piece of art and I enjoyed my time watching and will probably rewatch in the future if possible.
Poser = 5/5 Stars
See You Then
Directed by Mari Walker and written by Kristen Uno and Mari Walker. The film tells a story of the characters without telling you a narrative of for either character, giving subtle nods at what each meant. Although the biggest was making sure you knew one character had gone through a transition, it gives insight into the Trans community which is lovely to see. The music and sound design is soothing to say the least but overall the story and the film itself reminded me of the Before Trilogy. The way the story is told isn’t all new but that doesn’t mean the story itself isn’t new. Although its pacing was like the said trilogy above, instead of leaving for hope and romance, this film works as if oil was left boiling and nearing the climax someone threw a cup of cold water in the pot, causing a huge spiraling fire. Nonetheless, it was a wonderful watch and although it felt a bit slow at times it was enjoyable.
See You Then = 4/5 Stars
Directed by Edson Jean and written by Edson Jean and Joshua Jean-Baptiste. The story is well written along with the tone and leading ending gave way to something we don’t see much of in film, the telling of the Latin culture coming to look for a “better” life in the US. Although some scenes felt like it was meant for a film, the writing wasn’t bad at all and its comedic timing and sass was nice to see. Its pacing did seem to fall off at times but what I believe to be the use of this was to give emphasis to the ending and character development. I was surprised to have it capture so many things immigrants come here to find only finding hardships most of the time and it was nice to see it shown to us, the viewers.
Ludi = 4/5 Stars
Hard Luck Love SOng
Directed by Justin Corsbie and written by Justin Corsbie and Craig Ugoretz. The film is nicely paced for its 1 hour and 40 minute runtime, and it tells a story without telling it directly to the viewers about the characters. Its nice tones and the main protagonist’s cheerful and nice personality sets up for a lovable character with a semi mysterious past. The music and its sound design is also a major help in the story telling and fits incredibly well to say the least. Although it’s nothing out of the ordinary realm it’s definitely a film for anyone wanting or looking for something new to watch once it goes to the public.