This week, on the 🎇200th Episode🎇 of the FilmWonk Podcast, Glenn and Daniel venture out into the world to check out a trio of dramas with an accidental common theme of violent revolution. First, we visit Athena (new on Netflix from director Romain Gavras), in which a Parisian tower block is under police siege and burning for answers and justice following the murder of a 13-year-old boy by three unknown men wearing police uniforms. Then we return to the wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey world of Iranian director Shahram Mokri (who directed previous FilmWonk favorite Fish & Cat) for a Mobius strip of interconnected timelines all intersecting with the Cinema Rex fire, a real-life arson and disaster which caused hundreds of deaths and led (among other events) to the Iranian Islamic Revolution of 1979 – that film is Careless Crime, and it is newly available for rent. And finally, we head to the watery delta of Saloum for an absolutely raucous African neo-Western (called a “southern” by its Congolese director Jean Luc Herbulot), as a trio of badass, Senegalese mercenaries hide out amid a thwarted escape from a military coup, navigating the strange and violent waters of a mysterious river town (new on Shudder) (01:24:21).
May contain NSFW language.
FilmWonk rating (Athena): 7/10 (Daniel), 8/10 (Glenn) FilmWonk rating (Careless Crime): 6 out of 10 FilmWonk rating (Saloum): 8.5 out of 10
[02:32] Review: Athena
[25:01] Spoilers: Athena
[36:02] Review: Careless Crime
[58:59] Review: Saloum
[01:12:24] Spoilers: Saloum
Netflix released an amazing featurette on YouTube about the making of Athena – well worth a watch if you want to see how its many elaborate tracking shots, stunts, and pyrotechnics came together.
This week on the podcast, Glenn and Daniel return to the Seattle International Film Festival to take on a trio of international selections. They start in 16th century feudal France, to watch Mads Mikkelsen lead a shockingly boring peasant uprising, then head over to Iran to watch some of the most technically and narratively innovative filmmaking they’ve seen this year, and finish up on the rooftops of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. We keep the spoilers light in this episode, and at least one of these films – seemingly shot in a continuous two-hour take, is well worth seeking out (37:26).
May contain NSFW language.
Age of Uprising: The Legend of Michael Kohlhaas: 3/10
Fish & Cat: 9/10
Remote Control: 6/10
(00:00): Age of Uprising: The Legend of Michael Kohlhaas
(11:46): Fish & Cat
(28:30): Remote Control
Due to the accelerated production schedule for our SIFF reviews and relative obscurity of these films, there is no music in tonight’s episode.
Apologies in advance for all name pronunciations. We think we did well with the French, okay with the Iranians, and terrible with the Mongolians. If anyone knows for sure, shoot us an email.
The cinematographer behind Fish & Cat, Mahmoud Kalari, also shot the brilliant Iranian film A Separation, which we reviewed on the podcast, and highly recommend.
CORRECTION: We mentioned the party-rewind sequence from the 2002 film, The Rules of Attraction, but mistakenly referred to the character of Sean Bateman (James Van Der Beek) as a younger version of Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) from American Psycho – the two characters are actually brothers. The sequence we mentioned is not available on YouTube, but the film also featured an innovative use of split-screen and motion-control rig technology – that sequence is available here.
We mentioned our upcoming SIFF screening of Alex of Venice, which is neither Italian nor French, but rather is an American film directed by and starring Chris Messina (alongside Mary Elizabeth Winstead as the title character). This film is Messina’s directorial debut, and as far as we know, it takes place in the United States.