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Monday, February 9, 2009
BESSON'S NAME BOOSTED IN CREDITS?
APPARENTLY A LAST-MINUTE ADDITION PRIOR TO BERLIN SCREENING
A Film Addict blogger named Katchita provides more information about the Berlin discussion that followed the screening of Rie Rasmussen's Human Zoo last Thursday, and suggests that Luc Besson's participation may have been in name only... Here is what Katchita wrote:

The post-film environment smacked of conspiracy, into which the audience sank with palpable satisfaction. Prior to the screening, Berlinale staff indicated it wouldn't be followed by a Q&A as they didn't believe the director was present. Afterward, however, the supporting male actor, Nick Correy, jumped on stage and angrily denounced Luc Besson, much of the time without a microphone, until one belatedly surfaced, the Berlinale crew all the while indicating that scheduling didn't allow for a Q&A. He talked about obstacles to the film's financing and production, then Rasmussen showed up very briefly on stage, after which they both took it outside the theater. Their message was that, short days before the Berlinale, a non-disclosure agreement had been signed and Besson's name had, from complete absence, been elevated to a prominent place on the credits, this being the first time a film with his involvement had been chosen to open the Berlinale Panorama. Interestingly, IMDB has nothing linking him with this film as of this writing. Outside, the press swirled around and I thought to myself, this film will be a hit. We'll see, but with a beautiful, angry and talented actress/ex-model-cum-director/writer at the center of an artistic controversy, it has all the elements. Run, don't walk, to see this film. The screening today was not even sold out; the final one is next Saturday evening and I can't think of a better way to spend Valentine's Day.

RIE: "GIRLS LIKE SHOES"
Daniel Schieferdecker at jetzt.de caught up with Rasmussen in Berlin. Asked about the sex and violence in her film, Rasmussen says that she is concerned with aspects of reality, and that she naturally shows sex from a female point of view. Schieferdecker later suggests that the focus on shoes in the film only confirms old cliches about women. Rasmussen, tickled that Schieferdecker noticed this, states plainly that "that is not a cliche, that is a fact: girls like shoes."

MORE REVIEWS...
A couple more reviews of Human Zoo have popped up-- here are some links and excerpts:

Film Addict Katchita:

The film was not perfect, with a couple of confused plot twists that may have been due to either over-writing, over-editing or a combination of the two. But when I see this sort of energy in a director's first feature film, that's something to which I play close attention.

Not for the faint at heart, Human Zoo takes up the sociopathy of betrayal, in the context of love and war. Writer/director Rie Rasmussen also plays the main character, a woman of mixed Serbian-Albanian parentage narrowly saved from rape or worse in 1999 Kosovo by a man who is, aside from a quirky feminist streak, strictly psychopathic. During her subsequent time with him in the anarchic mafiadom of Belgrade, the camera returns to her wrist wounds from the war. She worries them open again and again; we see quiet drops of blood, richly red, artistic, fall onto an etched glass bowl in one scene, contrasting with some of the more effective portrayals of violence I've seen in recent years in the cinema. We observe the betrayal of nearly every norm of decent society as Rasmussen rages at this world of ours. It's a particularly female form of rage, and I, for one, think it's about time the world take note.

Ray Bennett at the Hollywood Reporter:

The film demonstrates that Rasmussen has much to offer as a filmmaker although it's too uneven to be called a success. The Belgrade scenes are performed in the local language and are entirely convincing but the sequences in Marseilles are done in English and suffer greatly for that.

Rasmussen holds the screen credibly but while Corey is a hunk and gets to frolic with Rasmussen in some very explicit sex play, he's a lightweight compared to [Nikola] Djuricko, and the stilted English dialogue leaves even the wonderful [Hiam] Abbas (The Visitor) stranded.


Posted by Geoff at 7:55 PM CST
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