Me Too

At first glance, Me Too is a typical romantic comedy. Daniel meets Laura. She’s attractive, rebellious, and a little trampy. They hang out, have fun together, and he falls hard for her. The unexpected part is that 34-year-old Daniel has Down syndrome. While Daniel is definitely extraordinary—a college graduate who holds sophisticated conversations—he still has to deal with others’ perceptions of him. As Daniel and Laura grow closer, their emotions take them into unfamiliar territory.

Part of the pleasure of Me Too is watching two complex, playful characters on-screen—both Pablo Pineda and Lola Dueñas inhabit their roles completely and are dynamic together. But what this film beautifully realizes is the unconventional relationship between these two unlikely characters. It’s a bond that doesn’t compute from the outside, but for those lucky enough to see the details, it’s evident what makes these two shine when they’re together.

The Women on the 6th Floor

Paris in 1960. Jean-Louis and Suzanne Joubert are no longer exactly youthful. This stockbroker and his wife live a quiet, middle-class existence in an elegant tenement building. You might even describe their lives as dull – especially since the children have been packed off to boarding school. Things are a good deal livelier on the sixth floor of their building where all the female staff live. The most recent arrivals are ‘guest workers’ from Spain: six women of different ages from Burgos. Jean-Louis finds himself increasingly drawn into their world – a world that is so different to his own. The main reason for his fascination is Concepción, a mature but still attractive Spanish woman for whom this man, who is somehow greying both outside and in, develops a quiet passion. He also develops a genuine interest in her colleagues, and this sees him popping upstairs to the sixth floor with increasing regularity in order to enjoy the refreshingly different, friendly atmosphere that prevails. But the more he learns about this different world, the more difficult it becomes for him to return to his own marital home. Naturally, Jean-Louis’ behaviour arouses his wife’s suspicion and jealousy until finally, Suzanne throws her allegedly philandering husband out of their apartment. Her husband isn’t too concerned however because it just so happens there’s a room available on the sixth floor. And it doesn’t bother Jean-Louis in the slightest that the vacant room is in fact only a larder … [Synopsis courtesy of the Berlinale]

Broken Embraces (Los abrazos rotos)

A man writes, lives and loves in darkness. Fourteen years before, he was in a brutal car crash on the island of Lanzarote. In the accident, he not only lost his sight, he also lost Lena, the love of his life. Broken Embraces is shot in the style of a hard-boiled 40s and 50s American film noir.

Alleluia

Manipulated by an oppressive and jealous husband, Gloria runs away with her daughter and restarts her
life far from men and the world. Encouraged by her friend Madeleine, Gloria agrees to meet Michel via a dating website. Something happens between them at first sight. Michel, a small time, bottom
of the range crook is disturbed and Gloria falls hopelessly in love. Michel leaves out of fear but Gloria tracks him down and makes him promise never to leave her again. Desperate to save this love, she abandoned her daughter and decided to pose as Michel’s sister so he could continue his little scams. But jealousy gradually blighted Gloria’s life… [Synopsis courtesy of Director’s Fortnight]

Suzanne

Like the titular song by Leonard Cohen, Suzanne is ultimately about a state of mind, a study in finding a sliver of grace amongst the heaps of garbage life can throw at you. Suzanne is close to her family, but between her widower father and her quiet sister, she is the troublemaker of the bunch. Restless and quixotic, her forgiving family endlessly endures the consequences of her dreams, her whims, and her bad choices. Largely set in 1990s Marseilles, the story elliptically pogo-dances through 25 years of Suzanne’s turbulent life: childhood, early pregnancy, single parenting, and above all, her driving love for an aspiring bad boy. [Synopsis courtesy of COLCOA]

Volver

Revolving around an eccentric family of women from a wind-swept region south of Madrid, Raimunda (Penelope Cruz) is a working-class woman forced to go to great lengths to protect her 14-year-old daughter Paula (Yohana Cobo). To top off the family crisis, her mother Irene (Carmen Maura) comes back from the dead to tie up loose ends.

Talk to Her

Director Pedro Almodóvar tells a story of loneliness, intimacy, secrets, infidelity and the difficulty of communication between sexes. Typical of the Spanish director, Almodóvar puts the women in the middle of the action, however, it’s a male correlation that arises from the story.

I’m So Excited!

A technical failure (a kind of justifiable negligence, even though it sounds contradictory, but that’s what human actions are) has endangered the lives of the passengers on Peninsula Flight 2549. The pilots, hardened, experienced professionals are striving, along with their colleagues in the Control Center, to find a solution. The flight attendants and the chief steward are atypical, baroque characters who, in the face of danger, try to forget their own personal problems and devote themselves body and soul to the task of making the flight as enjoyable as possible for the passengers, while they wait for a solution. Life in the clouds is as complicated as it is at ground level, and for the same reasons, which could be summarized in two: sex and death.