Tuesday, September 2, 2014

CINEFILES: The latest from IFC Films!

Posted By on Tue, Sep 2, 2014 at 7:09 PM

Young & Beautiful, from IFC Films.
  • Young & Beautiful, from IFC Films.

When it comes to the best in indie film, one doesn’t usually have to look further than IFC’s monthly slate of releases. From desperate romances and coming-of-age stories to offbeat horror and unsung foreign erotica, IFC proves in spades that there is something for everyone outside the confines of the cinematic mainstream.

Kicking off with a pair of unique tales of terror: With Proxy and Blood Glacier, IFC’s commitment to the darker side of indie film comes through in its IFC Midnight line. The maternal shocker Proxy stars Alexia Rasmussen as a woman who, in a sudden act of violence, loses her baby in the eighth month. When she starts attending a support group to deal with the loss, however, that’s when things get really dark and creepy. It's an atmospheric, chilling nod to the fears of motherhood, in the vein of classics like Rosemary’s Baby.

On the other hand, Blood Glacier is a fantastically fun environmentally conscious monster flick from Germany about a gaggle of scientists at a climate-observation station in the Alps who find a gooey red liquid free-flowing from said glacier. Apparently, thanks to global warming, this liquid is unleashed and has a rather terrifying effect on the local wildlife, culminating in a horror film that manages to mix bloodcurdling creature-feature tropes with a slick dose of dark comedy, all with a pretty effective message about saving the Earth.

From saving the Earth to saving one’s self, Hateship Loveship is a drama that means well enough, featuring Kristin Wiig in a mostly ill-advised dramatic turn as a quiet housekeeper who goes to work for a grizzled old man (Nick Nolte) and his granddaughter, who is still reeling from the death of her mother. When a prank goes wrong, forcing Wiig to open up, it leads to an inspired finale that's kind of too good for a film that otherwise is pretty paint-by-numbers indie fare.

Far from paint-by-numbers is Patrice Leconte’s A Promise, based on the novel Journey into the Past by Stefan Zweig. Featuring torrid romance set in the Downton Abbey-esque world of beautifully lush pre-World War I Germany, a young bride (Rebecca Hall), bored of her older hubby (Alan Rickman) falls for his younger, more dashing protégé (Richard Madden), leading to predictably tear-jerking results.

And as wonderfully charming a picture that A Promise paints of romantic infidelity, it is easily undone by the one-two sucker-punch of the underworld of lust that is featured in the French film Young & Beautiful from Swimming Pool’s Francois Ozon. In a breakout role, Marine Vacth is a 17-year-old prostitute who, while seeing numerous older gentlemen for various sexual exploits, remains maddeningly blasé throughout the whole affair, leading the viewer to wonder exactly what is her game. The erotic mystery is both a coming-of-age film and a dark portrait of this girl’s inner-workings, all filmed with a classy, watchful eye.


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