A Londoni frfi – One night Maloin, a switch man at a seaside railway station situated by a ferry harbor, witnesses a terrible event. He is just watching the arrival of the last ferry at night from his control room on top of a high iron traverse from where he can see the whole bay. Suddenly he notices that the first of the disembarking passengers, a tall thin figure (a certain Brown as it will turn out later) leaves the harbor, but not on the usual route: after getting through customs, he goes around the dock and then withdraws into a dark corner, waiting. Opposite him, in front of the ship, another man soon appears and throws a suitcase towards the man on the shore. He goes and picks it up, then waits in an even darker corner for the other man to join him. When he arrives, however, they begin to quarrel and finally, in the course of the vehement fight, due to a hit that turns out to be fatal, the shorter one falls in the water and sinks, clutching the suitcase in his hand. Maloin is watching the scene, astonished. Finally, in a state of fear and shock, he opens the door of his control room, but the sharp and loud creaking sound disturbs and frightens away the murderer. Brown is forced to flee before being able to fish out the suitcase from the water. After the murderer disappears down one of the streets behind the harbor, Maloin cautiously climbs down from his cabin to the shore. When he realizes that there is nothing he can do for the victim, he dredges up the suitcase. He takes it up to his control room and opens it: it is packed with money. He is dazzled. He does not go either to call the police or fetch the murderer; he just stares at the pile of money. He simply cannot believe his eyes. Then, after meticulously drying and counting the banknotes, he hides the suitcase in his closet and locks it. At dawn, when his colleague arrives, he acts as if nothing had happened. He returns home on his usual route. Nevertheless, this path is not the same anymore.
Les chansons d’amour – Ismael (Louis Garrel, the Gallic version of the adorable young Hugh Grant), lives with Julie (Ludivine Sagnier). Alice (Clotilde Hesme), who works with Ismael, shares their bed and Alice’s affections. On a night of tragedy, Jeanne, unawares, hooks up with Gwendal (Yannick Renier), whose teen-aged brother Erwann (Gregoire Leprince-Ringuet) is the only one who can bring a shattered Ismael back to life, in the most romantic man-on-man love scene since Rupert Grave’s Alec Scudder climbed through Maurice’s bedroom window 20 years ago. With rain-slicked streets, coffee and cigarettes, references to a dozen French classics, a haunting score and the best balcony scene since “Romeo and Juliet,” this low-budget charmer, which has become a cult favorite in France with the under-25 set, is an “Umbrellas of Cherbourg” for the 21st Century.
Auf der anderen Seite – Nejat seems disapproving about his widower father Ali’s choice of prostitute Yeter for a live-in girlfriend. But he grows fond of her when he discovers she sends money home to Turkey for her daughter’s university studies. Yeter’s sudden death distances father and son. Nejat travels to Istanbul to search for Yeter’s daughter Ayten. Political activist Ayten has fled the Turkish police and is already in Germany. She is befriended by a young woman, Lotte, who invites rebellious Ayten to stay in her home, a gesture not particularly pleasing to her conservative mother Susanne. When Ayten is arrested and her asylum plea is denied, she is deported and imprisoned in Turkey. Lotte travels to Turkey,where she gets caught up in the seemingly hopeless situation of freeing Ayten.
Mogari no mori – The movie opened true to Kawase’s penchant for capturing moving air. Here, we see lush greenery on tree tops dancing to the motion of wind, and vast open fields where blades of grass sway back and forth when caressed by the breeze. It’s like watching a National Geographic episode of forests and greenery before the opening credits kicked in to start the film proper. I even suspected that M Night Shyamalan could have paid homage in his The Happening, which also had plenty of such shots put into it. The story tells of the relationship that formed between Shigeki (Shigeki Uda) and Machiko (Machiko Ono), the former an old man in an elderly home who has been aloof after the lost of his wife some 33 years ago. 33 years is an extremely long time, and to miss someone for that long, well, you know how strong his emotions are to his wife. On the other hand, Machiko is a staff at the same elderly home, but she too is grieving internally for the loss of her son, and her husband squarely puts the responsibility and blame on her petite shoulders.
My Blueberry Nights – Elizabeth’s heart is broken. For solace, she drops in late at night a few times at Jeremy’s diner for blueberry pie a la mode; they talk. Once, he watchers her sleep, her head on the counter. Abruptly, she leaves New York City to get away from her pain. She works a couple of jobs in Memphis. There, a heart-broken cop is drinking himself into oblivion, his ex occasionally showing up where he drinks and Lizzy works. Then, she’s in Nevada, working at a casino where she uses her savings (she wants a car) to stake Leslie, a busted gambler, in a high rollers’ game. After, Beth drives Leslie to Vegas where Leslie’s estranged father lives. Broken relationships. What about Jeremy?