- Kynodontas (Dogtooth, Giorgos Lanthimos, Greece, 2009)
- Fish Tank (Andrea Arnold, UK, 2009)
Here's a director with something to say, and a novel way of saying it. We've read stories in the paper of parents who have locked their children up for years, decades even. How do they get away with it, we ask ourselves. This film explores that scenario, with middle-age, middle-class parents struggling to keep a lid on their three twenty-something children. The film is sparse, interspersed at times with the unexpected, including violence.
Fulfilling the sexual needs of three adults is a logistic nightmare, and the film treads that ground also with restraint, but increasing horror. The significance of the film's title becomes evident at the rather brutal but ambiguous ending. This is a disturbing film, that affected me for some time as I walked the streets after the screening. It's also one of my favourites.
I'm over social realism. Let me re-phrase that; I'm over Ken Loach-style social realism. You know, the foul-mouthed kids on the housing estate, the booze, the drugs, the sex, the violence. There's nothing wrong with Fish Tank, but it feels like a road we've been down so many times before. Arnold puts a couple of spins of her own into the story, especially the one where our teenage protagonist takes a young girl into dangerous territory, with the audience teetering on the edge of their seats. There's also some great dialogue (such as the younger sister's profanity). But I still felt for most of the film's duration (and the 120+ minutes felt very long), "so what?".