Year: 2020

‘The Father’ seeks to confront what’s thought impossible

‘The Father’ seeks to confront what’s thought impossible

“The Father” (“Bashtata”) (2019). Cast: Ivan Barnev, Ivan Savov, Margita Gosheva (voice), Tanya Shahova, Hristofor Nedkov, Boyan Doychinov, Nikolay Todorov. Directors: Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov. Screenplay: Kristina Grozeva, Decho Taralezhkov and Petar Valchanov. Web site. Trailer. It can be easy to get stuck. And it can be even easier to allow ourselves to stay stuck. Indeed, in such situations, we can readily convince ourselves that we’re trapped by conditions that can’t be changed, irretrievably ensnared by what cannot be altered. But is that really true? It may be possible to shift our circumstances, but it can take some effort to do so, as a mourning father and son find out in the new Bulgarian dark comedy-drama, “The Father” (“Bashtata”). Losing a parent can be traumatic enough in itself, but, when the circumstances are compounded by additional complexities, the situation can become that much worse. So it is for Pavel (Ivan Barnev), a successful, middle-aged Bulgarian advertising photographer who travels from his home in Sofia to the remote countryside where he grew up to be with his aging eccentric father, Vasil (Ivan Savov), when his mother, Valentina, dies unexpectedly from a minor operation. However, his gesture of familial support and ...
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This Week in Movies with Meaning

This Week in Movies with Meaning

Reviews of “Balloon” and “One Last Deal,” as well as movie recommendations for stay-at-home watching, are all in the latest Movies with Meaning post on the web site of The Good Media Network, available by clicking here ...
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‘One Last Deal’ examines how to go out on top

‘One Last Deal’ examines how to go out on top

“One Last Deal” (“Tuntematon mestari”) (2018). Cast: Heikki Nousiainen, Pirjo Lonka, Amos Brotherus, Stefan Sauk, Jakob Öhrman, Pertti Sveholm, Kristoffer Möller. Director: Klaus Härö. Screenplay: Anna Heinämaa. Web site. Trailer. When we come into the home stretch of our lives, we hope to settle our accounts, make amends and, one would hope, make a splash while we still can. But that process may prove challenging, especially if we’re loaded down with baggage, have difficulty making changes and come up against unexpected obstacles. Can we persevere under those conditions? That’s the test put to an elderly businessman looking to wind up his affairs in the new Finnish drama, “One Last Deal” (“Tuntematon mestari”). Aging, ailing Helsinki art dealer Olavi Launio (Heikki Nousiainen) is contemplating retirement but with a definite sense of regret. He’s never achieved the success that he had hoped to attain, mostly selling second-rate pieces from the estate sales of deceased widows with less sophisticated tastes. His cluttered, shabby-looking gallery is filled with unsold works, many of which receive only minimal interest from would-be buyers (and then only from those who are looking to bargain the prices down from what Olavi’s asking). What’s more, Olavi’s business practices are sorely ...
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‘Balloon’ charts the flight to personal freedom

‘Balloon’ charts the flight to personal freedom

“Balloon” (“Ballon”) (2018 production, 2020 release). Cast: Friedrich Mücke, Karoline Schuch, David Kross, Alicia von Rittberg, Thomas Kretschmann, Jonas Holdenrieder, Tilman Döbler, Ronald Kukulies, Emily Kische, Antje Traue, Till Patz, Ben Teichmann, Elisabeth Wasserscheid, Peter Prager, Nadja Engel. Director: Michael Bully Herbig. Screenplay: Kit Hopkins, Thilo Röscheisen and Michael Bully Herbig. Web site. Trailer. It’s difficult to stifle our natural tendency to be ourselves, free of the restrictions that limit our personal growth and development. However, efforts to realize the potential behind that can be thwarted when hindrances are intentionally placed before us, keeping us from moving forward. That can become particularly frustrating and burdensome when we allow it to happen, further slowing our progress and perhaps eventually leading to discouragement. Nevertheless, it is possible to overcome such obstacles and live out the life we were meant to experience, a story inspiringly portrayed in the new, fact-based German political thriller, “Balloon” (“Ballon”). Life under authoritarian East German rule at the height of the Cold War was pervasively difficult, sometimes perilous, for the majority of its citizens. The nation’s secret police – the Stasi – were virtually everywhere, intrusively spying on the public in myriad ways, even for seemingly mundane activities, and ...
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This Week in Movies with Meaning

This Week in Movies with Meaning

Reviews of “The Truth,” “To Dust” and “Babyteeth” are all in the latest Movies with Meaning post on the web site of The Good Media Network, available by clicking here ...
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‘Babyteeth’ explores the choices of an uncertain future

‘Babyteeth’ explores the choices of an uncertain future

“Babyteeth” (2019). Cast: Eliza Scanlen, Ben Mendelsohn, Essie Davis, Toby Wallace, Emily Barclay, Andrea Demetriades, Eugene Gilfedder. Director: Shannon Murphy. Screenplay: Rita Kalnejais. Play: Rita Kalnejais, Babyteeth. Web site. Trailer. If you were up against your own mortality, how would you spend your time? That question might be a little easier to answer for someone who’s somewhat on in years and who has the benefit of a wealth of life experience to draw upon. But, for someone lacking such insight, that decision might be a little more difficult to make; you know you want to get something in under your belt with the time that remains, but the choices may not be readily apparent, given that you’ve never been through them before and that you don’t know how long you have. Some of those choices might even appear questionable or objectionable to onlookers and those who care about you, options that could be roundly discouraged. Nevertheless, you move ahead anyway, as best you can and as best as you see fit, a journey that might prove to be a joyful ride, a rocky road or perhaps both, the kind of challenge faced by an adolescent living under such circumstances in ...
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