Review: Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy

Written and directed by Ryûsuke Hamaguchi, an unexpected love triangle, a failed seduction trap and an encounter that results from a misunderstanding, told in three movements to depict three female characters and trace the trajectories between their choices and regrets. Starring: Kotone Furukawa, Kiyohiko Shibukawa, Katsuki Mori, Fusako Urabe, Aoba Kawai, Ayumu Nakajima, Hyunri and Shouma Kai.

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Review: Money Has Four Legs

Written and directed by Maung Sun, co-written by Ma Aeint, a young film director, has to overcome tough realities in order to direct his debut film. Starring: Okkar Dat Khe and Ko Thu.

Money Has Four Legs sets a charmingly everyday atmosphere which is consistent throughout, its style is humble and earnest. This film’s sense of humour is clear right from the opening, it starts out on a casually funny, awkward and realistic note. It’s used spontaneously and naturally as to not clash with the film’s sincere sadness. It pits artistry against poverty, determination versus realistic expectations and experience.

Maung Sun’s directorial style matches perfectly with the tone of the story, it’s down to earth, committed to showing the unglamorous side of filmmaking. The colour palette is somewhat muted, the movement and shot choices have a simple but strong quality. Its relatability is compelling, and refraining from moving into something stylised was a clever choice.

It moves at a fairly slow pace which becomes more noticeable as time goes on. When its story gets more complicated and dangerous, the tone doesn’t at all change, missing out on the opportunity to adapt and intensify. It does make use of a great score which adds a dose of tension but it’s sadly still fairly minimal. It also loses its way in its final act, making a few too coincidental choices to retain its otherwise strong realism.

Okkar Dat Khe brings a very familiar director character, obsessed with his artistic integrity and with a swollen ego but still manages to hold a certain charm. His over confidence surprisingly doesn’t make him any less easy to watch as he gets little moments to show he has kind qualities and a larger personality. Ko Thu plays the classic bumbling sidekick, he doesn’t take anything seriously and drinks too much, so you know he’s bound to add some trouble into the mix. It’s again a similar character as what we’ve seen before but Thu adds his own spin.

Money Has Four Legs is a humble, honest and realistic portrayal of filmmaking. It has a natural comedy and a quirky charm. The story starts to slip in its latter moments, making too easy choices and missing out on capitalising on the intensity it calls out for. Maung Sun has created a piece of extremely consistent filmmaking but sadly that lack of variety starts to gradually let the film down. It misses out on a more lasting impression, even if it does have a good point to make about the nature of filmmaking, on a shoestring budget, under invasive producers, while trying to provide for your family.

Verdict: ✯✯✯

Reviewed as part of London Film Festival 2021

Review: Brother’s Keeper

Written and directed by Ferit Karahan, co-written by Gülistan Acet, Yusuf and his best friend Memo are pupils at a boarding school for Kurdish boys, secluded in the mountains of Eastern Anatolia. When Memo falls mysteriously ill, Yusuf is forced to struggle through the bureaucratic obstacles put up by the school’s repressive authorities to try to help his friend. Starring: Samet Yildiz, Ekin Koç, Mahir Ipek, Melih Selcuk, Cansu Firinci, Nurullah Alaca, Mert Hazir and Mustafa Halli.

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