It’s Moscow, 1981. KGB spy Sergei Grigoriev (played in a brooding, layered performance by filmmaker Emir Kusturica) has decided to leak documents to the West that would compromise his own country. He has his motives. Pierre Froment (Guillaume Canet from Ne le dis à personne) is a French engineer working in Moscow. He has no connection to espionage, until his boss draws him into a delicate game. Grigoriev will pass the documents to Froment, who will relay them to French intelligence. Divulging proof of how deeply the KGB has infiltrated the West, the Russian hopes to precipitate an American reaction, and with it the collapse of the Soviet Union. [Synopsis courtesy of TIFF]
Recorded at Sydney’s Opera House in October 2010 during Simply Red’s farewell tour of 2009-2010, the aptly named Farewell is a CD/DVD set that captures Mick Hucknall in fine nostalgic form. There are no surprises, either in song selection or in his band’s impeccably smooth approach, but comfort is the point of the whole affair: it’s one last chance for fans to hear those songs again. For anybody who isn’t a fan — or got off board somewhere around the time when Stars turned Simply Red into sensations everywhere but the U.S. — this will hardly be cause for re-evaluation, but Farewell does celebrate everything that made Mick Hucknall into an international superstar.
The second half of the 1990s in Belgrade. Three childhood friends are becoming adults, trying to find themselves in the chaotic whirlpool of events. Within a period of 48 hours their lives change completely. The film tells three separate stories, but all intertwined. Bogdan is the aggressive leader of a Belgrade skinhead group. His anger is largely caused by an abusive father (played by Emir Kusturica). Kale is the last living member of a famous gangster clan, their motto being “Better to live one day as a king than a thousand years as a slave”. Count is a graffiti artist who is battling his ghosts from the war by drawing a whirlpool which he believes will suck out all the dark shadows from his past. Director’s statement: “If, while swimming in a river, a whirlpool catches you and starts pulling you down – don’t fight it. Dive in deep and let it pull you to the bottom. It’s the weakest there and maybe you’ll make it. All those who lived in the Balkans during the 1990s felt the strength of being in a whirlpool-like state. We were sucked into it against our will, and even today we can’t seem to get out”. [Synopsis courtesy of Warsaw Film Festival]