Thursday, 29 October 2015

Fandom Friday: Halloween Specials

I wasn't going to do this Friday's post, simply because I couldn't think of any 'specials' to include in the list. But then I thought, maybe Halloween episodes will surfice instead. 

1. Community season two - Epidemiology
This was a hilarious episode. The Dean buys cheap meat that was left over from the Army, but its actually contaminated, causing those who eat it to show zombie like symptoms and eventually start biting people. The Greendale 7 are among the last to survive, leaving Troy to save the day just as the Army arrives on the scene. Loved this episode as it sort steps a little further out from the 'normal' Greendale and becomes more fantastic.

2. American Horror Story: Freakshow - Edward Mordrake
I know Freakshow wasn't the season fans were expecting but it start off brilliantly, including having a superb Halloween special featuring a real life character who, in the show, is part of myth and supersition amongst circus folk. I though these two episodes were two of the best, not only did it give a backstory to the main carnival cast but it also gave us a majot twist on what we all thought was the main villain, Twisty. He was terrifying, but nothing compared to Dandy.

3. Brooklyn Nine Nine season 1 - Halloween
I loved this show almost immediately and couldn't stop laughing through this episode. The mixture of the bet between Holt and Jake and the side plot about Amy hating Halloween, while everyone is wearing costumes is just great. This episode also had some brilliant lines.

4. Agatha Christie's Poirot - Halloween Party
One of the more sinister episodes (and novels) as the story begins with the murder of a child. The first murder takes place at a children's Halloween party on the actual night and in true form its in a huge country home. Poirot is not present at the event, but his good friend and authoress, Mrs Oliver is. I do like the stories when these two work together as its almost as if Christie is solving crimes with her creation. 

5. The IT Crowd series 1 - The Haunting of Bill Crouse
Not sure if this is technically a Halloween anything, not even 100% sure it aired around October, but oh well theres an air of Halloween about it. Jen goes on a terrible date with Bill Crouse. To avoid seeing him again, Moss tells him that she's dead. Unfortunately, the lie works too well, spreading around the office until everyone believes Jen is actually dead. When I first saw The IT Crowd, I was laughing constantly, with the later series not so much. Nothing can beat those first 6 episodes of gold. Pure brilliant British comedy that could and thankfully will never have an American version.

Thursday Movie Picks: Halloween Edition: Ghost Movies

Don't forget to check out what Wandering Through the Shelves picked, the blog that started Thursday Movie Picks.

1. Blackbeard's Ghost
Family friendly Disney film about a blood thirsty pirate ghost who haunts a inn by the coast run by a group of little old ladies. They're trying to raise money to save the inn from being torn down when Dean Jones' out of towner arrives and releases Blackbeard's ghost which happens to be the amazing Peter Ustinov. Slapstick comedy commences, with invisible happenings, fights with no one and the excessive use of a wire. It's amusing but I have to admit, I laughed a hell of a lot more when I was 10 years old. 

2. Beetlejuice
This will and rightly so will be on many a-list. The ultimate (apart from Ghostbusters) ghost film as Beetlejuice is one of the best creations to come out of Tim Burton's head and Michael Keaton himself. I do love Keaton and this is one of Burton's classics. Of course it does make me weep a little inside when I think if the trope Burton has created lately. Beetlejuice is a bio-exorcist and a really hope he materialises in time to stop and squash these rumours about a sequel. It doesn't need one dammit.

3. Blithe Spirit
Adapted from Noel Coward's classic play, a play that I almost featured in at my local am-dram society. I was to be Edith the maid. Yes. That's not a big role but who cares. Alas the play never happened because the lead actress was pretty useless and never learnt her lines. Anyway, on with the British classc 1945 film where novelist Charles, invites an eccentric 'medium' Madame Arcati to conduct a seance. Unfortunately the result is appearence of the ghostly form of his first wife, Elvira who only he can see and speak to. It's a light comedy and is very terribly British which I like as it makes all the would be dramatic moments controlled and even more amusing. 

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

October Watch List

Man Up
 First off, I love both the leads. Simon Pegg because of Spaced, mainly and from there onwards. Lake Bell is awesome. I loved her debut, In A World... as she wrote, directed and starred. She is actually one of the very few American actors I don't mind putting on an English accent, mainly because she does it so naturually. The story is fun too plus you get to see bits of London, Southbank, my favourite place AND Waterloo which I see almost on a weekly basis, something thrilling about that. The poster pretty much says it all, right time, right place, wrong date. Two people are on a blind date but she's not the right person but it turns out they are a perfect match. Its funny, I laughed quite a few times which is usually rare with rom-coms. I have faith now that the gener might get better. Fingers crossed. Oh yes, Simon Pegg does cry in this film. He does that quite a bit. 3/5

The director, Anton Corbijn, used to be a photographer, he has an excellent eye, which is what made his debut Control so well done and beautiful to watch. The subject here is blurred between two people, James Dean and the photographer who helped make him an icon, Dennis Stock. Stock wants to be famous himself or at least be able to make credible art not just movie stills. He meets James Dean, played pitch perfectly by Dane DeHaan, by chance at a party before he got the role of a lifetime in Rebel Without a Cause. James is looking for a friend, so it seems, but Dennis wants to make art. The film is set 7 months before James Dean died and although its not addressed at all, no major hints, just subtle things, this event we all know happens looms over the entire film.

Its not about James Dean, its actually about Dennis Stock but Dean, like always, steals the attention. It's an odd subject for a film. I wish we saw more of the photographs than just at the end in the credits. Throughout we see how they were made and how the people felt at the time which was interesting, but the film dragged a bit too much. DeHaan was definitely the film stealer here. 3/5

I do like Shakespeare but I am more of a fan of the comedies rather than the tragedies. I studied Macbeth at school like many others and we saw countless versions of it, good and bad. I've not seen any of the Macbeth films apart from a filmed stage version. This film is both visually striking and beautiful at the same time which is an odd way to describe this violent play. This is how this story was meant to be seen. Everything from the cast, the costume, the setting and the beyond amazing scenary. 'Be bloody, bold, and resolute' can illustrate the mind and motive of Macbeth. I'm hoping most know the story of Macbeth, a play where the protagonsits (that's including Lady Macbeth) are evil and not people to cheer for. But if not, rather than me ruin it here, seek it out, maybe just a summary somewhere, but its best discovered in a book first then play then film. Sound snobby but I think its needed. I've seen a few Shakespeare plays without being familiar with the text and not enjoyed it as much at all. 4/5

I did have a lot more to discuss about this film but the film festival was a big distraction. I will add more later, hopefully.

The Martian
When this was first announced I wasn't too keen on watching it. If I saw it, I saw it. The trailer looked good but again, I wasn't too bothered. My friends were more keen than me. Having watched it, it was everything I expected, feeling an ache the whole way through, scrabbling around in my seat at the more difficult scenes, not enough Sean Bean. But it was a brilliant film, Ridley Scott has emerged from the Russel Crowe obsessed darkness, dusted off his alien suit and come up with an adaptation of the novel of the same name that is beyond the spectrum of the definition of survival. There are too many things to mention is a short paragraph, so forgive me if I ramble. After an expedition to Mars is cut short by a disaster, Astronaut Mark Watney is thought to be dead and the rest of the crew of Ares lll leaves to go back to Earth. But Watney is alive. To survive Watney oragnises the food rations he has while trying to gain contact with NASA. When NASA work out that Watney is alive through satalite pictures of the planet, they kick into action.

The film poses many questions, some being difficult to face. Do they save this one man for sake of billions of dollars? Do they ask a crew of 5 to risk their lives for the sake of one man? It sounds harsh but when you're watching the film, you start to see things from everyone's point of view, NASA, the engineers, the crew of the Ares lll but with Watney, its different. The scenes with just him are brilliantly done and the fact that Watney the Botney, he's a botanist, is that he has a winning spirit that is unparalleled with any other survivor. He doesn't sit around at any point, apart from one scene where he's watching Happy Days, he is always working, whether it is growing potatoes on Mars, writing out long messages to communicate with NASA or trying to fix a broken window on the hub. He is the key to all of the film. The intense scenes that I found myself squirming in my seat involve being stranded in space and floating around hoping to be caught. I find those scenes stressful. But that aside, its a great film, with a brilliant cast and core. As I said, Ridley Scott is back everyone! 4/5

After watching The Martian I threw myself at another nail biting story that I didn't realise was based on real events. Of course, we do not know for sure what happened on the mountain smmit which depicts those who lost their lives, but my god it felt real. A complete tragedy and loss of life all for the sake of climbing an impossible mountain. The climbers, leaders and followers alike ask the question 'why do they do this' and  they answer 'beacuse it's there'. You can apply to this literally anything though, why do we do these things? Because we can. Because we want to. Because we need to. All the climbers have their own reasons for being there and we only get an insight to a few in depth, such as expedition leader Rob Hall and Beck Weathers, an experienced climber and author of one of the books that the film takes its knowledge from. The gruelling conditions that these climbers put themselves through are painful and in some cases heartbreaking, especially for those who you know died on the mountain. This film could easily put classed as a disaster film as nature is the cause of all the problems but there something about the people involved in this tragedy that makes it an true life story (and it is with added cinematic touches). It is an emotional film. And views are incredible. 3/5

Crimson Peak
'Beware of Crimson Peak'. This is the hook that got me in the trailer, after seeing the beautiful gothic images of course. I thought I could handle ghost films, but I was hiding under my scarf during some bits of this film, as my friend, he had his jacket covering his face. Like cowards huddled under a blanket for safety we were spooked, but, we both agreed after the film, there wasn't enough ghost bits. The film location, set and not to mention the beautiful costumes are all visually amazing. These create an excellent introduction to Del Toro's gothic setting. The story is a little too predictable but the hidden secrets which our heroine Edith discovers upon arrival, are sinister enough to scare the hell out of you. The ghosts, when we do see them, are spirits, twisted and disturbed or wonderfully dressed all with a smoke like presence that I haven't seen before. These ghosts are elegant and actually bring warnings to help the living and it is the living that should be feared. You know, that old chestnut. But despite the predictable story and lack of ghostly bits, the film has enough atmoshpere and Tom Hiddleston to keep me watching. Technically a three person show who all show they're strengths is slightly different roles from previous ones, makes it interesting to watch (enough though you know the out come). 3/5

I was in two minds about this film. I've read so much about and yet these articles and reviews barely give anything away. I understand why but I can't agree with everything I've read. The part Emily Blunt plays, Kate Macer, was originaly meant for a male actor. To be honest, the part is gender neutral. But I'm glad Blunt was cast otherwise there would have been no women in the film. That is pretty bad. Macer is an FBI agent brought in on a mission by the CIA and army. The purpose was to collect a senior member of the Mexican cartel back to the USA. We all know as much as Macer does and that is barely anything. She is literally there to observe. It's irritating. Aside from the uncomfortable tension throughout that does build up to an event that both brilliant and terrible, that irritating feeling haunted me throughout the film. It was a good thriller but like Macer, I was annoyed at the lack of information provided and the feeling of being left in the dark was mutual. The scenes between Blunt and Benicio del Toro are some of the best scenes, no matter how short, in the film. They seem to be wary of each other and even at some point trust each other but ultimately they both have their own stronge principles that go against each other. I gave it a higher rating originally but I switched to lower as I though I gave it higher only because of Blunt. But overall it needed a little more light on the situation. 3/5

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Blind Spot: Cinema Paradiso

Although I picked Cinema Paradiso to be in my list, I have a confession to make. I have actually seen the first 20-30 minutes of the film. It was back in yesteryear, in Italian class, I was sitting at the front of the class nearest the door, it was a terrible place to be. As it was nearly the end of that term, not sure if it was Spring or Summer, but our teacher, who spoke to us in Italian produced Cinema Paradiso and then in English said we would watch this film instead of doing work, as a treat. I hated the film. This was mostly due the fact the TV was practically above me and the subtles were so small. Even though this film has been raved about, one so many awards (the film actually starts with a list), I have avoided it.

Now that I have seen it all, my attitude has changed as how could I hate a film that celebrates those who love film.
The tag line on the poster pretty much expresses what this film is about. A picturesque village with many 'characters'. A beyond beautiful friendship. A heartbreaking love story (with no resolution by the way). And of course the cinematic love of films projected throughout.

At first I wondered where I would watch the film. I had bought a few on my list to watch but as Cinema Paradiso was the one film I wasn't too keen to watch, I didn't want to have it on my shelf. But Netflix came the rescue. After watching the film, I take back everything I said about it. But you can see how watching a film at the wrong time or wrong place can either ruin or cause false enjoyment.

Toto lives in a picturesque village in Italy where he is a choir boy at church, attends the local school and like all the other villagers attends screenings at the run down cinema in the town square. After Toto sneaks into a screening where the priest decides what scenes have to be cut, mostly kissing scenes, he strikes up an unlikely friendship with the projectionist, Alfredo. He teaches him how to work in the projection booth at the cinema and helps fuel Toto's love for film. 

His mother disapproves at first, still holding on to the belief that her husband survived the war and waiting to come home. When Toto hordes bits of film at home, it causes a fire almost killing his sister. His mother forbids Toto from seeing Alfredo. But the true friends strike a deal. Toto helps Alfredo pass his school tests (he was going to night school) and Alfredo teaches him. 

After a tragic accident involving the cinema going up in flames, Alfredo is badly injured and left blind. Toto takes over. A newly wealthy resident in the village restores the cinema and takes over. Toto works as the projectionist. He falls in love with a local girl who comes from a wealthy family in the town. They enjoy a few months together until she is forced to go away for the summer. They reunite for a short time and there where they share the cinematic kiss in the rain. But Toto is called up to complete his military service. He never sees her again.

Upon returning to the town, Toto finds things are different but the same. Alfredo urges him. To leave and seek a better life in Rome. He tells him not to return, don't give into nostalgia. He tells him do something he loves. 

Years later, an older Toto, now a successful filmmaker, receives a call from his mother telling Alfredo has died. Having not been back to his hometown for 30 years, he returns. It's different. The squareis filled with cars, the Cinema Paradiso is run down, closed because no one goes anymore. But at the funeral, Toto sees all the people from his past. It's an emotional scene as he acknowledges them all with a simple nod of the head, but it means a lot.

Toto rewatches footage he filmed in his youth including a film of the girl he fell in love with and hasn't forgotten. He returns to Rome and in the final scene, he watches the film Alfredo left him. It's a reel of all the scenes that were cut, all the kissing, love and affectionate scenes from all the films. This moves Toto to tears of joy that his old friend has kept this for him all these years.

It's a beautiful film with a simple story and unfortunately a back dub. It was in Italian but that dub was quite bad. Overlooking this, the film, for me, was about finding a true friend and staying true to something you love. In a way the blip of a love story in the film rather spoilt this emotional journey but I suppose it was needed to give Toto a push to leave. The winning paring in the film is obviously Alfredo and Toto (young and old). The two don't act like father and son but friends, piers and that's a combination that is not often portrayed on screen, at least not in happy way.

The passing of time is dramatic but is not over the top. Fashion is different but it's the attitude of the people that is different. The fact the priest has to approve a film taking out all the affection and love, whereas by the 60s, films showing naked women are screened. The one element that is consistent, are the people of the village. The cinema brings people together and creates a bond with everyone, even at the end when the cinema is torn down.

The love of film is the main theme that I can resonate with. Sometimes there is no reason to love film. It's about story, it's about community, it's about the magic and escapism, but what it comes down to is something you can share with a great friend. Brilliant film and I'm so glad I gave it another chance otherwise I would have missed out on all those moments of cinematic bliss.

To see where it all started and for an excellent insight to film, have a look at The Matinee and have a look HERE for more Blind Spot posts from other bloggers.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Fandom Friday: Halloween Costumes

1. Log Lady from Twin Peaks
My friend (using my cardigan) actually dressed up as The Log Lady one year for a Uni party and he looked pretty good, all he had was some red glasses, my big woolen cardigan and a log oh and his stare. I can try and top this but if I do go all out it will probably be the most unsexy costume ever. But then again Halloween isn't about that is it?

2. Agent Carter
This would be my dream costume to waltz into work or a party as Peggy Carter. But this would also be very expensive to pull off. Plus I'd need that red hat. It's all about the hat.

3. Velma from Scooby-Doo
This was a no-brainer. I have the hair, I have the orange top and I have the glasses too. My friends actually dressed up as Shaggy and Daphane one year. We just need a Freddy to complete the gang.

4. Liz Lemon
Again, this would be a no-brainer too, except Lemon wear a lot of jeans and no longer own jeans. But I've got the hair and the glasses and the snark, plus I'm pretty sure I could get a slanket from somewhere.

5. Day of the Dead
I did this last year and its tempting to do this again as the make up is so fun. The costume for this is simple and wearable. Hmmmm, it's very tempting...

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

BFI Film Festival - The Wave

I'm not sure why I was drawn to this film as this was the first film I picked when I was looking through the programme. My instinct didn't disappoint.

The director, Roar Uthaug, along with two of his lead actors were present at the Q&A before and after. He thanked us for coming to see a Norwegian disaster film and noted several times, this could happen. It has happened before.
 The film starts with real footage from a disaster where 40 people died after a landslide. The intro warns us that it will happen again. In the same town as the first catastrophe, the tourist town of Geiranger, local geologist genius, Kristian is preparing to move to the city with his family for another job, away from his beloved mountain. After a small reading plagues Kristian, he goes back to his colleagues who believe he is being over cautious. But as, he he feared, the mountain is moving and a landslide causing rock to fall into the water creating a 250 foot tidal wave is about to hit the town. With only 10 minutes to get to higher ground, Kristian's family, now separated, have to try to survive. After the wave hits, by a miracle Kristian survives and goes looking for his family who are still trapped somewhere in the town.
Already a success in Norway, apprently just under 1 million people have seen the film and as the population of the country is 5 million, that is insanely brilliant. A fifth of the population have seen the film. The science of the film is that the fact that Norway has 300 or more unstable mountainsides, sooner or later these landslides will occur, but Uthaug did say there is technology in place that will ensure the people affected will have a longer warning than 10 minutes.

It didn't feel like a standard Hollywood disaster film. This may because the budget was considerably less, not that would change brilliance of The Wave. But I couldn't help thinking that it just wouldn't work if Hollywood tried to remake this. For one thing, it wouldn't make sense setting this type of story and disaster in the states. With Norway's landscape and mountains playing the part of a character, the setting is integeral to the story in it making sense and the old saying, beauty can be cruel. The views are literally breathtaking.
The family unit who take centre stage are also different to a Hollywood family. As a member if the audience pointed out, most American families in disaster films are 'dysfuctional' and have an on going conflict they have to 'work out' through the disaster and while its happening. In The Wave, the family are caring and yes, endearing. Sondre, the teenage son, is upset about leaving the town but it's not something that over powers the story. Same with Idun, Kristian's wife who is annoyed he delayed the moving plans after panicking and climbing into them mountain to check sensors. But again, this is not important as soon as the alarm bells ring and the wave hits. The story is about survival and determination. Kristian is with his young daughter, Julia, running up the moutain to higher ground, while Idun and Sondre are still in town. The latter two have no choice after they miss the bus, to climb down into a bunker to escape the destruction but not before the bunker waist high filled with water and slowly starts to fill. They all want to survive, then after the wave hits, the third part of the film starts with Kristian determined to find his son and wife.
Uthaug said that the decision to make the family caring and loving towards each other was a concious decision as he wanted the audience to care about the fates of these characters and after squirming uncomfortably in my seat for 20 minutes during a water scene, you can bet I wanted a happy outcome. The tention in the water scenes, where Idun and Sondre are trapped in the bunker under a building, is just awful. I couldn't sit still. Sign of good filmmaking getting a reaction like that. My friend who I saw it with agreed, its one of the first things we said to each other after.
The Wave is definitely a force to be reckoned with and has even been selected as Norway's submission for the Best Foreign Language Film for the Oscars. With news that the films is gaining more and more attention there is hope it will get a UK release date (and US I believe). Go see it when it does.

Thursday Movie Picks: Halloween Edition: Werewolves

I don't watch any horror, but I have watched films that have either horror elements in them or are remakes or reboots of classic horror characters like The Mummy and The Wolfman and Frankenstien. Here is my very short list of films that feature werewolves. I was tempted just to have this be the whole post:

1.  Underworld
I remember seeing the sequel at the cinema, it was during my school years. I also remember buying the DVDs then selling them years later thinking why the hell did I buy these. Underworld was on TV quite a bit too at the time. It was essentially a vampire film but in the first film, theres a war going between vamps and lycans (fancy name for werewolves). I remember they or someone else engineered silver liquid bullets? Then then werewolves made UV light bullets to kill the vamps. Anyway, after watching the first film, it didn't seem the obvious choice for a franchise but at least Kate Beckinsale got something out of it.

2. Dog Soldiers
I saw this by accident. I thought it was a war film. I recoginsed some of the actors and though, sure I'll watch this alone at night. I was freaked out as soon as I realised what I was watching. I stuck with it though and yes, I regret it. But through the gore and scares, it is actually a decent British horror film. Of course it goes without saying I will never see it again.

3. The Wolfman
This came out when I was at Uni, my friends and I were all excited to see it for one reason or another, (mine was Benicio Del Toro) and then we were all disappointed. It wasn't that great. It had a great cast and was all set to bring back the classic monsters but instead of a classic monster movie, it was just a run of the mill Victorian werewolf film, with not much of twist. I actually can't remember the end.

Don't forget to check out what Wandering Through the Shelves picked, the blog that started Thursday Movie Picks.

Monday, 19 October 2015

BFI Film Festival - Burn Burn Burn

Coming to the end of the festival, I couldn't have planned it better, in terms of films, or worse, in terms of travel. The last two films I saw ended the festival this year with a bang.

Having to trek out to deepest darkest East London on a Sunday morning was not what I wanted to do to be honest, but when I read about the film in the programme, there was something that made me make the effort. I think it was that it was about two friends going on a road trip to scatter the ashes of their recently departed friend. Another attraction to the film that, yes, I noted it was written by a woman and directed by a woman. This was the only film I picked knowing these details. Plus, its a British film. I had to see at least one British film at the festival or I would seem a tad ridiculous.
Alex and Seff, two close friends are bequethed the ashes of the friend Dan who has died from cancer. He sends them on a road trip around the UK to scatter his ashes with a video to accompany them. While trying to come to terms with the loss of their close friend, Alex and Seff have to come clean about a few other truths about themselves. Alex, who keeps secrets and has just witness her long term girlfriend cheat on her. Seff, a failing actress taking a nanny job that her devoted boyfriend got her. She is dealing with the fact that she might not love him afterall either.

With British names in comedy appearing for a few scenes along the journey really made the story feel like a road film. The writing was pitch perfect, with comedy from the likes of Sally Phillips stepping in with a crazy accent and then Alison Steadman who has one of the affective scenes the film bringing the emotional balance and shwoing the heart of these characters. Laura Carmichael and Chloe Pirrie as Seff and Alex are a great duo, not quite polar opposites but they work of each other creating a very believable friendship.
Written by Charlie Covell and directed by Chanya Button, this is the debut feature film from the latter and couldn't be more brilliant. Both creatives were present at the screening which happened to be only the second screening ever as the film had its world premiere the night before. The two are friends and obviously work really well together. They bounced off of each other and the audiences' reactions. They were not shy and answered everything and more, giving an insight to their work and just being genuinely funny people, which was brilliant to witness. At one point in the Q&A, Button and Covell took turns saying how much they loved Alison Steadman, also present at the screening, she addressed the audience saying 'I'm sure you're enjoying watching us gush over each other' and they continued to the delight of audience.
The usual questions were asked about the fact it was about two female friends and asking why Covell decided to write this story. Covell joked at first saying that she had a friend, Button, and that seemed like a good place to start. She went on to say, stories about two platonic friends aren't usually made. The stories usually involve a group and then a romantic angle. She explained that it was important that the relationship was platonic because this is what happens in life, these characters are relateable. It was also important that the relationship between Alex, Seff and Dan was also platonic as, Covell pointed out, you do have friends that you are not attracted to. Of course this got a laugh from the audience its true, films that show what life is like are not made often enough.

As quite a few audience members said, more of this please, great female characters on screen being who they are. I feel myself gushing now, but I do think this film is brilliant and I really hope its distributed so you can see all the fuss I'm making.

BFI Film Festival - Dégradé

Continuing my theme of female protagonists, Dégradé, directed and written by Palestinian filmmakers Arab and Tarzan (also known as Mohammed Abunasser and Ahmed Abunasser) is about a group of women, different ages, different lives who have all come to a salon one afternoon. Set against and actually filmed during the 2014 war in Gaza, the film has comedic moments but there is an uneas, almost uncomfortable feeling throughout the film as the women are at first friendly or tolerent of each other and then turn on each other with unlikely characters taking a stand to unite them and calm everyone down.
The main story is about 12 women who are all in a salon and are forced the lock down when shooting begins outside. All the characters have their time to talk, making it clear who they are. Amongst them is a wealthy women who is negotiating her divorce with her lover. Another customer is bride to be who is accompanies by her mother, her mother in law to be and her daughter. A pregant woman and her sister. Two neighbours who are polar opposites, one very religious, the other a pill popping liberal, or at least that what she appears as. The salon owner, a Russian immigrant and the hairstylist who is preoccupied as her boyfriend is one of the men outside involved with the shooting.

Each character is defined in what they believe and are aware of what's happening around them and unfortunately, all seem to accept their 'place' in their own stories/lives. At least the characters that have more to say than others. Obviously there is a bigger issue happening outside and it isn't really discussed, not in a serious way. It is mentioned and when the shooting starts, several of the characters say 'something has happened outside'. They don't say anything about shooting, even when then they have to barricade themselves in. In an effort to calm themselves, the salon owner continues working on the bride while the wealthy women gets annoyed with the hairstylist who almost in tears from the stress. They all just try to continue as calmly as possible.
The location was an excellent choice, where else would a diverse group of women go, a salon. Although I'm tempted to compare to Nadine Labaki's 'Caramel', its definitely not the same. Not the same country to start with but the idea of women coming together in the salon. I also thought of Hitchcock's Lifeboat, as the only location used is the salon, both floors. The one location created the perfect atmosphere, at first a source of annoyance, then violence, then camaraderie.

The producer of the film at the Q&A said that there aren't many films featuring women in Gaza. He made a point that the women of Gaza do all the things that any other women do, talk about lovers, take drugs, have political views and that this film is meant to reflect this. Woman have to be shown and heard too. With such an array of characters, they are heard. But I can't help feeling that more should have been said.

Overall, a brilliant cast and interesting film showcasing views that barely get seen.