Hamptons International Film Festival 2012
Hamptons International Film Festival 2012 - Film Reviews by Belle McIntyreFor 20 years HIFF just keeps getting better, going from strength to strength and is trulyinternational. Every film that I saw was from a different country. All were engaging and
compelling in different ways.
Piazza Fontana: The Italian Conspiracy is a twisty story of political intrigue, corruption
and betrayal involving the bombing of a bank in Milan during the turbulent years of the
late 1960s and 70s culminating in the assassination of Aldo Morro. The central
character is an idealistic and moral police commissioner who gets dragged into the
messy business of factional intrigue, cover-ups and double dealing when one of the
suspects in the bombing dies in police custody. It doesn’t end well for him.
Balibo is an Australian fact-based film about the Indonesian invasion of East Timor told
from the vantage point of Robert East, a semi-retired Australian political writer
persuaded by Jose Ramos-Horta, a charismatic East Timor activist (who eventually
became the first president) to come to East Timor to run the news bureau. In the
process he becomes obsessed with discovering what happened to five Australian
journalists who disappeared while covering the invasion. It is an adrenalin-laced story
of brutality and nasty politics. It doesn’t end well for him.
Inch’Allah, a Canadian/French production takes place in Israel and Palestine. It begins
with the suicide bombing by a young Palestinian woman seen through the eyes of
Chloe, a young, idealistic Canadian doctor who lives on the Israeli side of the West
Bank and has to cross that fraught border every day to administer to her patients in the
Palestinian refugee camp. The story cuts backward and forward in time to reveal the
events which led to such a desperate and shocking act. It is a jarring and terrifying
journey for Chloe who has been able to see the realities of both sides of the conflict,
have empathy for both and be powerless to do anything but attempt to alleviate the
suffering caused by all of it which seems totally intractable. It doesn’t end well for her.
A Royal Affair is the Danish entry for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. It is a
gorgeous period piece, beautifully filmed with wonderful actors. A British princess,
Caroline Mathilde is wed to the demented king of Denmark, Christian VII but embarks
on a dangerous love affair with the king’s physician/confidant. They are initially
attracted to each other by their passion for the ideals of the Enlightenment writers and
thinkers. This is more threatening than their amorous passion in a feudal Denmark,
which is being governed by the venal and self-serving aristocracy on the backs of the
peasantry. When they attempt to initiate reforms, the aristocracy rises up. Much
chicanery, betrayal and plotting ensues. Things do not end well for them.
Refuge is a small, no-budget intimate, sensitively handled family story about three
siblings who have been suddenly and without warning abandoned by their parents. The
eldest is obliged to drop out of college after her first year to come home and be both
parents for her troubled brother and sister. Their isolation in a rundown house in a
working class neighborhood is gradually breached by a down-on-his-luck drifter who is
picked up at a bar by the beautiful Amy He refuses to settle for a one-night-stand. And
he turns out to be better news than his initial appearance would have suggested. The
characters are wonderfully idiosyncratic and well-drawn. And things end well for them.