EIFF 2012: Girimunho, Pusher and Mirage

The 66th Edinburgh International Film Festival boasts a mind-boggling amount of films, with seventy-six UK premieres in its midst of one hundred and twenty-one new films from fifty-two countries. It was only fitting, then, to start the Festival with the Brazilian GIRIMUNHO.

Touching in parts, but never truly affecting, Clarissa Campolina and Helvecio Marins Jr.’s borderline documentary centres on embracing life before death and how we cope when those we love are no longer around.

With very strong improvisational checkpoints used throughout, there is a lot of fun to be had in watching two octogenarians having a good old gossip on the doorstep or losing themselves to the beat of the drum-heavy music that is so very fundamental to the film’s heartbeat. We feel as if we are peeking into the lives of others from the shots through open doorways, but it is in its most simplest moments such as preparing dinner that the film really finds its magic.

Although religious undertones are hinted at, the film never becomes too heavy, but relishes in taking its time to do as it pleases (which will not be to everyone’s taste) just like our leading lady.

 

Luis Prieto’s PUSHER remake may have Nicolas Winding Refn on executive producer duties, but this is drug dealing for a whole new generation. Though it is clear to see this version has come along at the right time and will undoubtedly find its market amongst the fast paced and easily satisfied portion of the public, PUSHER is rather miscast and suffers from a patchy and sometimes laughable script alongside its odd relationship between Richard Coyle’s Frank and Bronson Webb’s Tony that never quite sits right.

But that isn’t to say there is no fun to be had along the way and those who haven’t seen the original films will find it easy to be sucked in during times of peril or tension that are so well assisted by Orbital’s score. The fundamental issue (aside from script) is that while Richard Coyle may be engaging and interesting to watch by the final stretch, you never fully buy into his brutal capabilities. It also doesn’t help that the relationship between him and Agyness Deyn’s Flo is lacking the drama it needs to reward the final scene, leaving it all a little flat.

A fairly enjoyable way to spend an hour and a half, Prieto’s version owes most of its enjoyment to Zlatko Buric revisiting his character from the original trilogy, Milo.

 

With more troughs than peaks, Yang Jung-ho’s MIRAGE boasts two exceptionally brave and impressive performances from its two young male protagonists that are possibly too good for some of the film’s childish and supernatural ideas. However it is very easy to see how a lot of the integral myths and fairy tales are lost in translation, able to speak far more to a South Korean audience.

Surprisingly brutal in parts, MIRAGE will catch you off guard when it comes to your emotional participation in what it has to say about the effects of bullying. In fact, this film seems to share more with the likes of CHRONICLE than it may initially suggest, making it hard to pigeonhole as it touches on a lot of genres including drama, adventure and the supernatural.

MIRAGE may leave you rather dizzy in places with its constant jumping between time zones and worlds, but you will be willing to invest in its sporadic madness for the chance to watch what happens between these two young boys in such an unhappy environment.

Pint-sized freelance film journalist. Editor of iamnotwaynegale.com, Reviews Editor at The Hollywood News and contributor to others. Awaiting a Hardy/Hiddleston/Cumberbatch/Fassbender/Gosling team-up.

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