Matt Micucci continues his reports from the 56th BFI London Film Festival with a look at It’s All So Quiet and The Last Impressario.
It’s All So Quiet – Nanouk Leopold
As implied in the title, all is quiet and hushed in Leopold’s film about a middle aged farmer living in the Dutch countryside with his ill elderly father, whom he is forced to take care of. Here, we follow his attempts at renovating his stale and monotonous life of isolation as well as the re-discovery of homosexual feelings he has kept repressed and fought against all his life.
The pace of the film is widely unhurried, and this choice seems to respect the natural pace dictated by Helmer, the lead characters, and his lifestyle. This choice of realism can be quite demanding for some but ultimately proves to be rewarding. Of course, the experiment would have failed had it not been for the recently deceased Jeroen Willens, who carries the weight of the movie on his shoulders with a solemn intimate performance that also serves as a final testimony to his talent.
The Last Impressario – Gracie Otto
A documentary on the life and time of Michael White, a renowned and groundbreaking theatre and film impresario who is also regarded as a London trend setter and a lover of social gatherings and parties. The Last Impresario is part of a number of biographical documentaries presented at this year’s London Film Festival.
Despite some structural difficulties, which particularly seems confusing in its beginning, it picks up and ends up being quite an interesting portrayal about a man who essentially made his fortune by refusing to grow up and dreading old age. The sadness of this tale, of course, is that in the end this common tragedy caught up to him, and Gracie Otto interviews him as a man weakened by a stroke and side effects of his lifestyle, living among the memories of his pictures and memorabilia of a time gone by.
Big names such as Naomi Watts, John Waters, John Cleese and Kate Moss give great contributions that help uncover the intimate side of ‘the famous man you have never heard of’.