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Reviews for october 22nd, 2008




Fear(s) of the Dark

Directed by various artists.


In French with subtitles. Six directors, Blutch, Charles Burns, Marie Caillou, Pierre di Sciullo, Lorenzo Mattotti and Richard McGuire, come together to make black-and-white animated segments depicting their visual and aural interpretations of fear. Only three of the six segments generate true feelings of freight while others mostly fall flat, which, of course. The creepy and frightening segments include a sci-fi one by director Charles Burns which shows an insect invading into the body of a woman, which, in turn, makes her violent. Thereís also the segment by Blutch who depicts vicious dogs killing people. Their owner, a Spanish nobleman, looks quite scary as are his dogs, of course. Finally, thereís the very claustrophobic, psychologically horrific segment by Richard McGuire which has a man trapped in pitch-black inside a haunted house. He can only see by the use of candlelight. Unfortunately, the rest of the segments lack the scare factor of those other three segments. On a positive note, the 2D and 3D animation looks quite impressive and imaginative in all of the segments.Fear(s) of the Dark doesnít have any real surprises nor will any of its images haunt you, but at least some of them will send momentary chills down your spine. Number of times I checked my watch: 3. Released by IFC Films. Opens at the IFC Center.



Stranded: I Have Come from a Plane That Crashed on the Mountains

Directed by Gonzalo Arijon.


In Spanish with subtitles. This compelling and poignant documentary focuses on the experiences of 25 Uruguayan men who initially survived a plane crash. On Friday the 13th of October, 1972, 45 young men, most of them rugby players, flew in a plane that crashed into the Andes Mountains in Chile. Just 16 of those men ultimately survived the many brutally cold, grueling, harrowing days before their rescue two months later. Instead of merely interviewing the survivors and using them as talking heads, director Gonzalo Arijon wisely recreates their ordeal through the use of stylish visual dramatizations that immerse you right into the intense moments of the menís desperate struggle to survive. Their accounts of what they went through are so vivid, articulate and detailed that those scenes donít have dialogue nor do they require any. Some of those moments feel quite disturbing, especially when they discuss how they were forced into cannibalism in order to survive. If youíve watched the Hollywood action/drama Alive from 1993, youíll have a general sense of how they survived, but thereís nothing more captivating and moving than hearing it from the actual survivors themselves and to feel the palpable emotion they express through their words. Much like Touching the Void, Stranded, at a running time of 126 minutes, never drags and manages to be an emotionally powerful and gripping documentary. Number of times I checked my watch: 0. Released by Zeitgeist Films. Opens at the Film Forum.





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