Be it an unforgettable, personal documentary about the Cambodian genocide or a heartbreaking story of forbidden love between two men, you can’t miss these films!
Bees Make Honey
Honey (Alice Eve) hosts a gathering for her high-society friends in an attempt to help solve her husband’s murder.
You may remember Alice Eve from high profile films such as Star Trek into Darkness and Men in Black 3. If you also thought it was a pity that such a talented actress doesn’t have a more prominent role, we couldn’t agree more. Bees Make Honey puts her forward as a clear leading lady in a role that exercised her versatility. She employed her comedy chops, showcased herself as a mysterious, sultry femme fatale as well as a sharp, independent woman. The director Jack Eve was inspired by Baz Luhrmann’s over the top, extravagant visuals set within a noir comedy. Historical accuracy (refreshingly) doesn’t bother him – he doesn’t shy away from drag queens, Jamie XX and F-bombs.
Bees Make Honey is a wild, fast-paced ride – both a murder mystery and a comedy set in the 1930s during Honey’s annual Halloween Costume party. This time, she hasn’t organized it for fun at all: unbeknownst to her guests, she is determined to discover who murdered her beloved husband exactly one year ago. Covertly, she invites a Police Inspector as well all the potential suspects. He’s in for a lot of surprises throughout the night where he can’t trust anyone, not even the woman who hired him…
Watch if: you love sharp, fast-paced, witty dialogues and strong female characters, if you are a fan of Baz Luhrmann
Enemies of the People
The Khmer Rouge slaughtered nearly two million people in the late 1970s. Yet the Killing Fields of Cambodia remain unexplained. Until now.
You’d expect that a journalist who lost his mother, father and a brother in the Killing Fields of Cambodia during the brutal Khmer Rouge regime would want to use his influence for justice, maybe even revenge. Instead, Thet Sambath simply sought the truth about the killers who took lives of almost a quarter of the Cambodian population. The result is chilling to the bone and you may find yourself feel both disgust and empathy for the people who have committed unspeakable crimes.
Sambath has dedicated 10 years of his life to what he calls “the project”. Every weekend, he left his wife and children at home to slowly gain the trust of former members of the Khmer Rouge, not admitting they have turned his life upside down. In some cases, he waited years for the confessions of people who barely know why they killed. No matter where in the regime’s hierarchy they were, the answer always is: “It was an order.” Sambath is the first journalist who got Nuon Chea, second-in-command to Pol Pot, to openly speak before he finally had to face the court. But perhaps the stories of ordinary people living side by side with families they have ruined are somewhat more devastating. In a particularly distressing moment, we watch Sambath casually asking a nervous man to show him the technique he used to slit throats of hundreds. Astonishingly, they both smile throughout the demonstration: what a testament to his dedication to truly understand.
Enemies of the People received numerous accolades including the Special Jury Prize at Sundance and holds a 100 % rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Watch if: you want to learn more about the Cambodian genocide, you’re interested in history
Bekim and Anita are getting married. Their calm life is disturbed by a visit of Bekim’s long gone friend Nol – or is he just a friend?
This one might break your heart. The Marriage is set in Kosovo, slowly recovering from the 1999’s Kosovo War. So is Anita, whose parents have disappeared years ago and their bodies have never been found. Her and Bekim are supposed to get married soon: they seem to be in a stable, committed relationship, although you somehow don’t find yourself rooting for them. Perhaps because we meet them, there are no sparks – they’ve been together long enough to become companions more than passionate lovers. The status quo is shaken when Bekim runs into an old friend Nol, except… Anita has no idea about neither the turmoil inside her soon-to-be husband nor the fact that the two men still feel strongly about each other. Slowly, the attention shifts from clueless Anita to Bekim and Nol’s secrets. One needs to understand that Bekim’s reluctance to completely surrender to his desires can’t be simply defined as cowardice – not in a country where homosexuality is a taboo. Yes, he could revolt against a traditional trajectory of a life his family envisioned for him, but that would mean losing everything.
In a particularly beautiful and unusually raw flashback from the time of war, young Bekim and Nol discuss that they’ve never felt so complete as with each other. “If the Serbs weren’t killing us, I would always want to live like this,” admits Nol. As Bekim notes, they wouldn’t be safe anyway. “War or not, my mother would execute us first,” he says before they jokingly conclude that hatred towards homosexuality is the only thing that could unite Serbs and Albanians. Sadly, even years later, this fear seems to guide his life…
Watch if: you are in indie geek, European cinema lover, interested in LGBT topics
The discovery of life on Mars places a robotic expedition and a manned mission in a race to the Red Planet. On the way, we discover that love – biological, spiritual, and even mechanical – can flourish in all kinds of ways.
Mumblecore-ish comedy using rotoscope animation, set in space, starring Mark Duplass? Sounds like an indie geek’s dream, and we can confirm it lives up to any (quirky) expectations you might have.
It’s 2015. The president is a cigar-smoking cowboy, and the U.S. competes with European Union (and its robot) to discover life on Mars. Charlie Brownsville (Mark Duplass), a famous spacewalker, is bitterly aware of how expendable he is on this mission – especially when he compares himself to his colleague Casey Cook. She is an excellent astronaut who dreams to be the first person on Mars, joined by Hank Morrison, melancholic, bored billionaire who secretly funded the trip to the Red Planet. They are constantly monitored by TV: one more reason for Charlie to work on upgrading his standard jumpsuit. Plus, there might be some feelings for the beautiful Casey involved, and let’s face it: is there a more romantic way to show them than using your urine to write a love note on the surface of Mars? 🙂 Admittedly, you need to truly pay attention to enjoy the hilariousness of the film’s dialogues: the low-key jokes won’t slap you in the face, but it’s pure joy to “discover” them.
For those wondering about rotoscoping animation: you may remember it from films such as A Scanner Darkly or Waking Life by Richard Linklater. The actors performed their parts and are perfectly recognizable as their animated selves: the footage is merely traced over. It works brilliantly for a low-budget film set in space, as it allowed for the creation of original settings without blowing a fortune on special effects. Spoiler alert: Martians are really cute!
Watch if: you’re a mumblecore fan, indie geek, lover of low-key comedies
Bob Dylan Hates Me
The director Caveh Zahedi has been through quite a journey, as he has documented throughout his films that revolve around him. Quite literally, as he usually narrates them, stars in them, and uses his real experiences to an extent of re-enactment. In this short, funny film, the director reminisces two meetings with his childhood idol, Bob Dylan. Animated Caved (narrated by the director) was brave enough to approach the legendary singer-songwriter even in his own house: understandably, he wasn’t too pleased. Judge for yourself, but the film’s title may not be an exaggeration 🙂
This animated short by Caveh Zahedi was included in the Official Selection of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and 2016 International Film Festival Rotterdam. On an unrelated note, also check out his film I Am a Sex Addict, a winner of Gotham Award for the Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You, chronicling his (now cured) obsession with prostitutes.
Watch if: you are an indie geek, festival goer, Bob Dylan fan
Do you love exploring the world of cinema? Watch original films at Filmzie, along with people with a taste just like yours. Join today!