Cert: 15 Year: 2013 Length: 122 mins Language: French
Cinema Handout (PDF 85KB)
Score: 76.1% Attendance: 77
OK, we admit it; we saw Mads Mikkelsen was the star and couldn't resist it. After his amazing performances here last year in, first, "A Royal Affair" and then in "The Hunt" - two very different roles - we wanted to see him play the dashing hero. This role isn't quite what it looks like though. Michael Kohlhass is a Robin Hood-like creation, forced to fight back after facing unfairness and tragedy. So far, so good. But the key to this film is not the fight back, but the morality of this.
Kohlhass is a well-to-do horse trader, plying his trade in the sixteenth century Cévennes mountains of central France. He comes to a bridge where a local Baron illegally takes two of his horses as a tax before allowing him to cross. What follows is Kohlhaas' attempts to get them back, first legally then by raising a small army to fight the local government. Is he justified, or just a terrorist? Should he worry more about the consequences, or is Right always worth fighting for?
Mikkelsen is ideally suited to this role, with his quiet power driving the action and reacting to the moral dilemmas. We also see a small role for Denis Lavant ("Holy Motors") as a preacher trying to talk Kohlhass into stopping. Arnaud des Pallières has made a few films before, but this one is the first to really get noticed. It was nominated for the Palme D'Or at Cannes (albeit with an outside chance of winning), but he may be one to watch in the future - "Taking key influence from filmmakers such as Akira Kurosawa in its action, Ingmar Bergman's 'The Virgin Spring' (1960) in its setting and Andrei Tarkovsky in its satisfying depth, 'Michael Kohlhaas' is a sombre and brilliantly-realised period revenge drama, armed with a lurking muscularity" - John Bleasdale, CineVue.
Papadopoulos and Sons is a delightfully charming comedy which deserves to reach a wide audience
Ben Keightly, Britflicks
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