films seen
average score
Alive and kicking


Elisa & Marcela

Elisa y Marcela
2019 / 118m - Spain
Drama, Romance
Elisa & Marcela poster

A rather basic arthouse drama. The clean and crisp black and white cinematography is the star of the film and deserves some accolades, but beyond that, there isn't all that much here. It's a fairly standard story about a same-sex relationship that isn't accepted by the world our protagonists live in.

Read all

The film is based on a true story and there are some remarkable details that make the story stand out. But these footnotes never add much to the emotional weight of the film and the structure remains all too familiar. Two people meet, fall in love, but society won't have none of it and persecution follows.

The cast is decent but nothing more. The soundtrack is pretty standard arthouse fare too. A piano here, some string work there, but never truly present. And even though the film looks absolutely stunning, there is also some very cliché imagery (like the close-ups of flowers in the rain) that could've been left out. It's definitely not a bad film, but it's a little too expected and familiar.

Map of the Sounds of Tokyo

2009 / 109m - Spain
Drama, Thriller
Map of the Sounds of Tokyo poster

This certainly looked a lot more interesting on paper. I haven't seen too many non-Japanese directors fare well in Tokyo (I can only think of Michael Arias), Isabel Coixet is no exception. For a film that refers specifically to the soundscapes of a city, the sound design is simply disappointing.

Read all

The plot revolves around David, a Spanish man who owns a wine shop in Tokyo. He comes into contact with Ryu, a solitary girl who lives two separate lives. While Coixet adds some thriller and crime elements, the film focuses on the peculiar relationship between Ryu and David, keeping it well within the drama niche.

Kikuchi is clearly the star of the film, but somewhat of an obvious choice. The rest of the cast is less interesting. The cinematography is nice but not really tuned into the look of the city, the soundtrack is nonsensical and lack atmosphere. A real shame, as the film did have potential, the direction just isn't strong enough.

I'm a big fan of anthologies, and this project sounded very promising on paper. Seventy renowned directors give their vision on the future of cinema. With just one minute per short, there isn't much time to make a point, but it's disheartening to see how few of them even managed to stick to the topic.

Read all

The saddest part was that many of the short didn't even deal with the future, but openly referred to or praised the medium's past. There's also a lot of doom and gloom, with some very basic visions of people not caring enough about arthouse cinema, or playing movies on their phones. Your typical old-man-yelling-at-cloud stuff.

There is only a small selection of directors who seem to have understood the brief, and they struggle to make the most of their limited runtime. What remains is a complete mess, with most shorts looking like they were made on people's afternoon off, and hardly anything that stands out. A disappointment.