At the finale of Robin Campillo's masterful Eastern Boys, the bourgeois, middle-aged Frenchman, Daniel (Oliver Rabourdin), has overhauled his relationship with the Ukrainian hustler Marek (Kirill Emelyanov) into something totally unexpected.
Cinema in the Gulf, the Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and all the surrounding countries that make up this region, is here to stay. But more importantly, it's here to develop, mature, expand and one day, overtake all other world industries.
It's a temporarily rainy early evening, late in the 48th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic and the partners of New York-based BorderLine Films -- Josh Mond, Antonio Campos and Sean Durkin -- are gathered in the lobby bar of the Grand Hotel Pupp.
This is a film of slant lights and gray finickiness that always recalls, in every slight gesture, both the inconclusive happy world outside and that of the youthful past, even as it threatens every moment to erupt into absolute darkness and hostility.
Since the beginning of the new year, I have heard again and again about the new work of Austrian film maker Michael Haneke, whose signature works includes "Funny Game," "The White Ribbon," and "Cache."
Shortland's film has an occasionally detached, whispery quality, as the camera focuses on the nature around Lore and her group. These Malick-like moments take us out of the story, for better or worse, depending on your point of view.
Perhaps the tension between compassion and brutality in Amour is born from the entanglement of invading physical illness with ageism (the effect is even more terrifying if it were completely unintended).
This year's expertly-run festival gave the indies room to breathe, focusing on the massive treasure trove of new talent from the Middle East, Africa, and beyond. Of course it wouldn't be Dubai without some outrageous parties.
Behold: the cerulean sparkle of the Cote d'Azur, the endless waft of chain-smoked Gitanes over the Croisette, the private yachts. Cannes. And its megaton line-up has arched the eyebrow of even the most indifferent cineastes this year.