Kedi (2017) • Movie review
As soft and warm as a kitten
Kedi is a cat fancier's dream, but this thoughtful, beautifully filmed look at Istanbul's street feline population offers absorbing viewing for filmgoers of any purr-suasion..
'Young Torless' • Cruelty of Man Is Explored
A great psychological and philosophical treatise on how normal, well-to-do people, can turn themselves into "torturers and sacrificial lambs," as Torless himself states..
The Killing of a Sacred Deer
Movie Review
With uniformly great performances throughout the cast and Lanthimos’ stunning eye for detail and composition, this is one of the most unforgettable films..
Until the Birds Return (2017)
My characters are at a turning point in their personal lives, yet they are not and do not want to be actors for change. In the 1990s an unprecedented civil war left 200,000 dead in Algeria, and tens of thousands..
The Divine Order (2017)
A hilarious comedy that hides ill-concealed discomfort
Petra Volpe continues to talk to us about women, and does so by turning the spotlight on a somewhat inglorious episode
Iranian filmmaker Cannot attend stokholm film festival
The acclaimed Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof has been denied exit from Iran and will not be able to attend the Stockholm International Film Festival..
WINDOW HORSES • A Canadian film about Iranian Poetry
A young Canadian poet with Chinese and Persian parents travels to Iran to perform at a poetry festival. Ann Marie Fleming’s..
A Look at “My Brother Khosro”
An intelligent movie dealing with a pain, a pain that without any pessimistic approach is part of a pain of a family, one of whose members has a mental problem..
ON THE BEACH 2017
'This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang but a whimper.' These lines from T.S. Eliot's poem The Hollow Men appear at the beginning of Nevil Shute's novel On the Beach, which left me close to tears..
Al Berto: A Biopic about the life of Portuguese poet
Liberty was there for the taking, but people had not been taught to be free and were not sure exactly what to do with it. Al Berto was ready for Sines, but Sines wasn’t..
Houman Seyyedi talks to CWB
I knew Houman Seyyedi as a very talented actor until I learned about him as a film director and then came the big suprise. After watching the four movies that..
Pouran Drakhshandeh talks about Under the Smoky Roof
Last Thursday, was the opening night of 'Under the Smoky Roof', a social drama directed by Pouran Derakhshandeh at the Fine Arts Theater, Los Angeles..
12 European films awarded At The Warsaw Film Fest
The Polish event’s Grand Prix went to the Chinese feature To Kill a Watermelon. Danish film The Charmer by Milad Alami won Competition 1-2 prize..
LOVING VINCENT (2016)
The final mysterious days in the life of Vincent van Gogh are the subject of investigation in this formally daring work, seven years in the making, that marries live action performance to..
Never Let Me Go
With Never Let Me Go, Mark Romanek has delivered a graceful adaptation that captures the spirit of the Ishiguro novel -- which will be precisely the problem for some viewers..
Interview • Milad Alami
SAN SEBASTIÁN 2017: Cineuropa chatted to Swedish-Iranian filmmaker Milad Alami, whose feature debut, The Charmer, is currently taking part in New Directors at San Sebastián..
Wild (2014)
Mini-Odyssey of a broken character
'I’m going to walk myself back to the woman my mother thought I was.' Powerfully moving and emotionally..
An Iranian film director
On the country's censorship

How does censorship work in Iran? The FRANCE 24 Observers team is publishing a two-part interview about censorship and Iranian cinema..
Mountain | Monte (2016)
Now, at 70 years old, Amir Naderi is a true international filmmaker. After "Mountain" (made in Italy) he is now ready to come home to US and start all over again. "It is just the beginning,"..
10th Annual Iranian Film Festival - San Francisco
Welcome to the 10th Annual Iranian Film Festival – San Francisco. This year, the festival presents 40 films from Iran, USA, Italy, France, Canada..
Shirin Neshat • Interview
VENICE 2017

Iranian artist Shirin Neshat remembers an iconic figure from Arab music on the big screen in Looking for Oum Kulthum, a film in competition in the Giornate degli Autori
VENICE 2017 • Interview
Emre Yeksan's The Gulf

“We live in a period of slow decay, and the smell won’t go away any time soon.” Emre Yeksan’s feature debut, The Gulf, has been premiered in the International..
Video Essay Explores
Orson Welles’ ‘F For Fake’

Most cineastes associate Orson Welles with films like “Touch of Evil” and “Citizen Kane.” But his 1974 oddity, is worth seeking out for those who wish to dig..
‘MOTHER! • VENICE 2017
7 Things to Know About

Darren Aronofsky's 'Mother' centers on a couple whose relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence...
Shirin Neshat • VENICE
'Looking for Oum Kulthum'

“story of an Iranian woman filmmaker, living in exile, who dares to make a film about an iconic Arab singer without being Arabic herself,” Neshat said in her first..
VENICE 2017 • Orizzonti
'Oblivion Verses'

Iranian filmmaker Alireza Khatami is presenting his debut feature Oblivion Verses in Orizzonti at Venice, where Cineuropa spoke to him about fantasy..
VENICE 2017 Competition
'Human Flow'

Artist Ai WeiWei is in the Venice competition with this documentary shot in 2015 and 2016, uncovering the growing crisis of displaced people across the..
Asghar Farhadi begins filming 'Everybody Knows'
The two-time Oscar winner is shooting this European co-production in Spain, with a Spanish-speaking cast headlined by Javier Bardem, Penélope Cruz..
The Song Of Scorpions
Anup Singh’s ambitious third feature stars Golshifteh Farahani and Irrfan Khan, following an independent woman as she struggles against hardship and treachery to remain true to her own instincts..
Tokyo Sonata :: Movie Review
An adventurous work both disturbing and ultimately moving. Kiyoshi Kurosawa's first domestic drama is music to general audience's ears..
The Homesman (2014)
A genuine art film
"The Homesman," despite the title, is about women. Women are the center of the action, women drive the action forward, women are not only damsels in..
MONSIEUR IBRAHIM :: Movie Review
Tender but never sappy, Monsieur Ibrahim brings two people of vastly different age and background together in ways that are touching, and telling..
The Innocents (2016)
'The Innocents’ is a profound meditation on a forgotten moment in history. Lou de Laage shines in Anne Fontaine's provocative historical drama. When Anne Fontaine’s “The Innocents” made its..
VENICE 2017 :: Venice Days
Samira Makhmalbaf named as jury president for Venice Days 2017. The Iranian actress and director will chair the jury made up of 28 young viewers from..
NETWORK (1976)
It's never been more timely
Criticised by some at the time for a certain naivety and lack of subtlety, this remains one of the most devastating condemnations of the media's urge to..
Woody Allen & his New Orleans Jazz Band at the Copenhagen Jazz Festival
The iconic filmmaker and clarinet player Woody Allen joins the international headliners at the Copenhagen Jazz Fest
Death And The Maiden
A thought-provoking piece
"Death and the Maiden" is said to be based on events in Chile, but it could take place in any of the many countries where rule is by force and intimidation..
'Insyriated'(2017)
Gripping from start to finish

This nerve-wracking study of life in Damascus won an Audience Award at Berlinale. Hiam Abbass holds together a household under siege in..
Ali & Nino (2016)
A fascinating story of two young people in love who found themselves between East and West cultures during World War I and Civil War when young democratic Azerbaijan Republic got squashed by..
Dangerous Beauty (1998)
Venezia's Hidden Treasure

Based on the true story of Veronica Franco, a well-born Venetian beauty who deliberately chose the life of a courtesan because it seemed a better choice than..
The Polygon People
The Documentary
A First look at the ‘most nuked place on Earth’ where Soviet Union detonated 456 bombs over the course of 40 years. A look at the way locals’ lives were..
‘When God Sleeps’ (2017)
winner of the Golden Heynal

The best music documentary film and hence the winner of the Golden Heynal award at the 57th Krakow Film Festival, by the decision of the Jury under the..
Cannes 2017 • Awards
And the winners are...
Ruben Östlund’s The Square wins the Palme d’Or. Pedro Almodóvar’s jury divided its prizes across a generally deserving spread of films..
Retrospective • Dustin Hoffman • The Graduate
Dustin Hoffman turns 80 later this year, the Irish Film Institute (IFI) takes the opportunity to celebrate the work of Dustin Hoffman, on the occasion of..
Mohammad Rasoulof's
Goodbye | Be omide didar
Another superb piece of work produced in Iran. Let's pause for a minute and reflect on just how difficult it is to get these movies made..
A Master's Final Frames
Cannes 2017

Movingly presented at the largest cinema in Cannes, the Iranian auteur Abbas kiarostami's final film may be the most experimental ever shown at the..
Iranian filmmaker wins major prize at Cannes
Iranian auteur Mohammad Rasoulof's bleak drama "A Man of Integrity" won the Un Certain Regard competition at the Cannes film festival on Saturday..
Kantemir Balagov's 'Closeness' at Cannes
A social realist debut from Kantemir Balagov is an intense film influenced by the Dardenne brothers. For the Un Certain Regard selection at Cannes..
Cannes’ FIPRESCI Prize goes to (Beats Per Minute)
The international critics have crowned Robin Campillo’s film BPM (Beats Per Minute); Closeness and The Nothing Factory also awarded..
The award winners of the Cinéfondation unveiled
Student films from Belgium, Iran and France, awarded at the Cinéfondation. The jury of the Cinéfondation, chaired by Cristian Mungiu, has handed prizes..
The Golden Eye goes to 'Faces, Places' at Cannes
The film by Agnès Varda and JR has won the award for the best documentary screened across the various Cannes selections this year..
'They' (2017)
Movie Review • Cannes 2017

A minor-key portrait of an identity crisis. Jane Campion executive produced Iranian-born director Anahita Ghazvinizadeh's debut feature..
Susan Sarandon talks film and politics • Cannes 2017
In the run-up to the screening, Sarandon, who was named an ambassador for the beauty brand last year, sat down with WWD to talk film..
Loveless (2017)
Cannes 2017 • Movie Review

Such a haunting experience that it remains absorbing even when it doesn't go anywhere. Russia has always been a cold and dreary place in the cinema of..
Get Out (2017)
With the ambitious and challenging “Get Out,” Jordan Peele reveals that we may someday consider directing the greatest talent of this fascinating actor and writer..
Karim Moussaoui
Interview • Cannes 2017

Cineuropa met up with Karim Moussaoui to discuss his first film 'Until the Birds Return', presented in the Un Certain Regard section at the 70th Cannes Film..
Alejandro Jodorowsky's 'Endless Poetry' (2016)
Alejandro Jodorowsky's 'Endless Poetry' is the most accessible movie he has ever made, and it may also be the best. It's Felliniesque and moving..
The Other Side of Hope
Movie review

Five years after Le Havre, Finland’s deadpan morose-romantic master delivers the second part of a prospective ‘dockyard trilogy’ with this..
Lerd (2017) • Cannes
Interview with M. Rassoulof
Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rassoulof represents Iran at the Un Certain Regard competition section of the 70th Cannes Film Festival with his latest film ..
Arnaud Desplechin talks about 'Ismael’s Ghosts'
CANNES 2017: French director Arnaud Desplechin talks about Ismael’s Ghosts, which was screened out of competition at the opening of the 70th Cannes Film..
Happy End (2017)
Cannes Film Festival
First Clip from Michael Haneke’s ‘Happy End’ Features a Very Unhappy Dinner Party. After all, this is the director behind such films as 'The White Ribbon,' 'Amour..
Vanessa Redgrave Sparks
'The Loves of Isadora'

Karel Reisz' biographical portrait of Isadora Duncan stars Vanessa Redgrave as the famed modern dancer, who gained notoriety for her revolutionary..
Wild Tales (2015)
An inventive Argentinian film
Argentina’s “Wild Tales” comes as such an extraordinary surprise. Perhaps the best multi-story feature this reviewer has ever seen..
Noureddin Zarrinkelk
Life Achievement Award

A tribute to legendary Iranian/American animation director, writer and illustrator. Born on April 10, 1937 in Iran, Zarrinkelk founded the first school of Animation..
"The Idea of a Lake"
By Milagros Mumenthaler
Finding inspiration in the true story of a woman whose father disappeared during the civilian-military dictatorship in Argentina..
Tehran Taboo (2017)
First animation in Critics’ Week

In his animated drama, the German-Iranian filmmaker paints a dark picture of the metropolis, a city of prohibitions..
The Day Will Come
London Film Festival 2016
Based on real stories from a boy home called ‘godhavn’, where lots of boys were victims of violent and sexual abuse and medical experiments...
Respiro (2003)
The Critics' Week Grand Prize Winner at Cannes 2002

A cheerful, life-affirming film, strong in its energy, about vivid characters ; using mental illness as an entertainment..
Southside with You (2016)
Barack and Michelle Obama's First Date
A mostly-true account of the first date between Barack Obama and his wife Michelle. A look back on a fateful..
History of the Festival de Cannes
A NEW FESTIVAL IS BORN

The first edition of the Festival was originally set to be held in Cannes in 1939 under the presidency of Louis..
Hidden Reserves:
Immortality, but at what price?
Vienna in the near future. An insurance company has created a system in which people do not even have a right to..
Slavoj Zizek's
The Pervert's Guide to Ideology

You don't have to share Slavoj Zizek's materialist philosophy to find his analyses of culture and movies witty, insightful..
The Birth of a Nation
Biblical passion and Cheesy emotion
Nate Parker’s heartfelt account of Nat Turner, the slave who led a rebellion in 1830s Virginia, is conventionally paced..
Graduation (2016)
A Study of Grubby Bureaucratic Compromise

Graduation marks yet another well-written and powerfully acted look at morality and societal decay from..
Incendies (2010)
A Powerful, Disturbing film
Adapted from the 2003 play by Wajdi Mouawad, twins Jeanne and Simon leave Canada for the Middle East to fulfill their mother’s final wish..
Spotlight (2015)
The Power Of The Press

The true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese..
Before the Flood (2016)
An Inconvenient Truth
Here is a heartfelt, decent, educational documentary about the most important issue of our time – climate change – presented by A-lister Leonardo DiCaprio..
I, Daniel Blake (2016)
Winner of the Palme d’Or

I, Daniel Blake marks yet another well-told chapter in director Ken Loach's powerfully populist filmography. Returning to filmmaking after saying..
"Razor’s Edge: The Legacy of Iranian Actresses"
A look at the often controversial role of women in Iranian cinema during the secular period from the 1930s to the Islamic Revolution in 1979..
Afghan Film Festival
12-21. April 2017

After much planning and inspirational talk, we can finally unveil a special cultural event on Danish soil: Afghan Film Festival in Copenhagen..
Bahman Ghobadi's
‘Rhino Season’

Produced by Martin Scorsese, this is the first film Ghobadi has made in exile. The work of a great talent marshaling all of his powers as a cinematic storyteller..
Dying for a Song
"Art is education, art is existence, its everything"

A documentary about the musicians being persecuted for raising their voices against political, cultural or religious..
A Simple Plan • Review
A Frozen Setting Frames a Chilling Tale
"You work for the American Dream--you don't steal it." So says a Minnesota family man early in "A Simple Plan," but he is..
Macon Blair’s
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What's delightful about Macon Blair’s movie is how consistently the film challenges our worst assumptions..
Blue Jay (2016)
A trip down memory lane
Meeting by chance when they return to their tiny California hometown, two former high-school sweethearts reflect on their shared past..
Paterson (2016)
'I breathe poetry'

Set in the present in Paterson, New Jersey, this is a tale about a bus driver and poet. The film adds another refreshingly unvarnished entry to..
To Walk Invisible (2016)
A serious Brontë biopic
We finally have a biographic film that feels modern, in that it takes into account all we now know about the lives of the Brontë sisters, and throws away old..
Ixcanul (2016)
Life doesn't regenerate without untameable fury

You can sense the director's respect for his subject in the movie's unhurried dramatic rhythms, its grounding in..
A Man Called Ove • Review
Swedish Oscar nominee for Foreign Language Film for Oscars 2017, tells the familiar story of the curmudgeonly old man whose grumpy life is brightened by forces beyond his control..
Oscars 2017
Foreign language Oscar nominees decry 'climate of fanaticism in US'. The six directors in the running for this year’s foreign language Oscar have issued a joint statement blaming..
Berlinale 2017 • Awards
The 2017 Berlinale awards have just been announced. Ildikó Enyedi’s Hungarian drama 'On Body and Soul' won the Golden Bear for best film at the Berlin Film Festival on Saturday...
A Quiet Passion (2016)
The story of American poet Emily Dickinson from her early days as a young schoolgirl to her later years as a reclusive, unrecognized artist. This poised and painterly rendition of the..
Maren Ade's Toni Erdmann
The clash of personalities
Toni Erdmann pairs carefully constructed, three-dimensional characters in a tenderly funny character study that's both genuinely moving and..
Tom Ford's 'Nocturnal Animals' (2016)
Well-acted and lovely to look at, Nocturnal Animals further underscores writer-director Tom Ford's distinctive visual and narrative skill...
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A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove (2016)
Swedish Oscar nominee for Foreign Language Film for Oscars 2017

Odie Henderson, rogerebert.com
September 30, 2016

A Man Called Ove's winsome sincerity -- and Rolf Lassgård's affectingly flinty performance in the title role -- keep it from succumbing to excess sentimentality. --Rotton Tomatoes

'everything in this life is linked. Everything. Either we die or we choose to live.'

“A Man Called Ove” tells the familiar story of the curmudgeonly old man whose grumpy life is brightened by forces beyond his control. These forces take the guise of a much younger person who provides a sense of purpose for the old hero.



A film like this rises or falls not only with its central performance, but also with its ability to engage the viewer’s emotions in a credible, honest fashion.

Movies like this tend to get dismissed as “manipulative” because audience sympathy for the protagonist is at least partially elicited by flashbacks to a litany of tragic or unfair past events. But all movies are manipulative by default; the effectiveness of that manipulation is the more valid measurement to inspect. On that scale, “A Man Called Ove” is a morbidly funny and moving success.

Adapting Frederick Backman’s Swedish best seller, writer/director Hannes Holm doesn’t veer too far from the storytelling structure we’ve come to expect. Instead, he tweaks expectations with the way he presents the material, and his grip on the film’s tricky, tragicomic tone is masterful. For example, several flashbacks are cleverly presented as the “life flashing before one’s eyes” moments triggered by the suicide attempts of Ove (Rolf Lassgård).

Ove is a widower whose daily visits to his recently deceased wife’s gravesite end with his verbal promise to join her in the afterlife. His failures of self-annihilation are due more to bad timing than botched attempts—he is constantly interrupted by neighbors or some distracting event going on in his housing complex. Priding himself on his reliability, Ove feels compelled to stop killing himself to address each interruption.

Keep in mind that the black humor in this situation doesn’t arise from any mockery of Ove’s pain over missing his spouse. That is presented as real, understandable pain. Instead, the humor comes from Ove’s stubbornness as a creature of habit. Perpetually enforcing neighborhood rules nobody cares about nor adheres to, Ove can’t resist the opportunity to scold those who violate them. Yet, for all his crabbiness, there’s a level of selflessness inherent in Ove’s character, a trait he finds infuriating yet he begrudgingly accepts.

His wife, Sonja, played as a young woman in the flashbacks by Ida Engvoll, sees this in the younger version of Ove (Filip Berg), and the much older Ove acknowledges it after much bitching and griping. It’s almost as if Sonja is sending him interruptions from beyond the grave just so he can have an excuse to complain to her like he’s done every day since her passing. This compulsive adherence to routine will keep Ove distracted.

Also distracting Ove is the new, young family who moves next door to him. They start off on the wrong foot by crushing his mailbox while ignoring his sign about not driving in the area, and the noise from their young kids is a major annoyance to the childless Ove. Though the husband is originally from the area, his pregnant wife Parvaneh (Bahar Pars) is of Iranian descent and new to the country. It is she who constantly irritates Ove while simultaneously endearing herself and her family to him. Many of his suicide attempts are interrupted by her, and their eventual father-daughter style bond is often predicated on Ove’s opinion that his help is required because he thinks her husband is an idiot.

“You survived struggle in Iran, moving here and learning a new language, and being married to that idiot,” Ove tells her after taking up the task of her driving instructor, “driving a car should be no problem!” Of course, she can’t drive it wherever Ove has those “no driving” signs everybody else ignores.

Admittedly, “A Man Called Ove” throws everything but the kitchen sink at poor Ove. There’s a shocking death early on that haunts him (and us), and he is the recipient of several slights by higher ups at work and in the government. The marriage between the shy Ove and the jovial Sonja is full of love but fraught with personal tragedies. There’s an almost Job-like mercilessness to some of the fates that befall him, yet the film never dwells on them. Instead, they’re presented rather stoically and serve as a means for us to understand why Ove is who he is. This is a movie that softens its hero by giving him a cat, which sounds syrupy until you see how jacked up and scraggly this cat is. “He likes to shit in private,” says Ove to Parvaneh. “Please give him that courtesy.”

One gets the sense that the novel (and the award-winning film version) is so beloved because Ove represents a Scandinavian everyman who saunters on no matter what life throws at him. His admirable resilience toughens like leather, and his love of Saab and hatred of Volvo plays like a beautiful in-joke aimed straight at the hearts of his compatriots. That rivalry even costs him a friendship, though that same friend’s subplot also presents Ove angrily battling the unfeeling agents of bureaucracy that caused him such agony as a young man. Holm pulls everything together in a well-crafted, satisfying package that is nicely balanced between comedy and pathos.

As Ove, Lassgård gives one of the year’s best performances. He’s well supported by the other actors (and the aforementioned cat), but this is a rich, complex performance that is both funny and moving. It would have been easy to just let Ove coast by on his amusing grouchiness, but Lassgård lets us see so deeply under that protective exterior. We feel as if we’ve walked a mile in Ove’s shoes and absorbed his catharsis as our own.


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