NashFilm52: ‘The Good Traitor’ Review

The Good Traitor is an interesting look into the life of Henrik Kauffmann that falls apart because of its uneven storytelling choices.

I adore my historical dramas especially as someone who is a major history buff, I can thank my brother for teaching me that. This film caught my eye because this was always something about World War II that interested me. I never thought that I would see a biopic on Henrik Kauffmann ever be made. Also, it was being presented in conjecture with the upcoming Nashville Jewish Film Festival which caught my eye while watching the introduction before the film. This was my last film of the festival but I did not want to end my coverage on such a negative note so I still have much to discuss.

The film is directed by Christina Rosendahl and written by her along with Kristian Bang Foss and Dunja Gry Jensen. The film stars Ulrich Thomsen, Denise Gough, Mikkel Boe Følsgaard, and Zoë Tapper. The Good Traitor looks at the life of Henrik Kauffmann who was the Danish ambassador to Washington DC during the beginning of the second world war. Kauffmann helped to sign the United States’ acquisition of Greenland in order to help his country of Denmark. Sadly, I cannot report back that The Good Traitor is anything other than a messy depiction of a flawed man.

This film is beautifully shot by the cinematographer, Louise McLaughlin. I actually do like Ulrich Thomsen’s quiet and patient performance. My main gripes with this film comes from its very clunky script. The film tries to juggle his personal affairs in his family life while also trying to remind the viewer that the nation of Denmark is occupied by the Nazis. Every time we somewhat get to the interesting fluff of the film it gets interrupted by having to go back to the lackluster depiction of his tumultuous relationship with his wife, Charlotte. A clunky script followed by an uneven pace that makes having to get through this film difficult. I also just could not get behind some of the performances other than Thomsen in the film. I did find the set design and overall production design of the film to be exquisite. You could tell that the team was dedicated to portraying the time period in Denmark accurately. Even though, I did not think highly of this film, I do recommend people watch it as it is discussing an important part of world history that easily helped the US’s involvement in World War II.

Watch The Good Traitor on Hulu and consider attending the hybrid Nashville Jewish Film Festival on October 14th.

NashFilm52: ‘Ayar’ Review

Ayar is an ambitious work detailing life’s struggles that falls flat ahead of juggling what it wants to be.

Courtesy of NashFilm

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.

NashFilm52: ‘Window Boy Would Also Like to Have a Submarine’ Review

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.

Courtesy of NashFilm

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!

Frost Studios Discuss Their Two Short Films and The Influences Behind Them

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!

NashFilm52: ‘Green Sea’ Review

Angeliki Antoniou’s Green Sea is a worthwhile film filled with beautiful themes and a story about memories.

Courtesy of NashFilm

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!