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2 More Highlights From New York Film Festival 2011 Slate ("Play" & "Sleeping Sickness")

by Tambay A. Obenson
August 17, 2011 11:04 AM
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As Homer Simpson would say D'oh! I don't know how I missed these 2 titles when I went over the main slate of the 2011 New York Film Festival, which was announced earlier today (you can read that post HERE). In it, I highlighted Steve McQueen's sophomore effort, Shame, and Aki Kaurismäki's Le Havre.

But I completely overlooked 2 films we've been covering over the last 4 or so months:

First, Swedish filmmaker Ruben Östlund's Play, which is based on real-life events, centering on a group of black boys, aged 12 to 14, who robbed other children between 2006 and 2008, using an ingenious, elaborate system they called "The Brother Trick," which involved advanced role playing, without physical violence or threats. The film is said to be "an astute observation inspired of real cases of bullying."

MsWOO, who attended the Cannes Film Festival for S&A, saw the film there, where it premiered, and reviewed it HERE. I'll be doing the same when I see it here at the New York Film Festival next month.

The other film I missed in the NYFF lineup is a German-produced film called Sleeping Sickness, which made its premiere earlier this year at the Berlinale. It's directed by Ulrich Köhler, and centers on a (white) family living in Cameroon, in West Africa, as they find themselves "torn between two worlds and two different perspectives." I'm sure you can guess what the 2 worlds/perspectives are. Although there's a second plotline that looks at the idea of remigration from the opposite POV. Specifically, we are also introduced to a character named Alex Nzila, a young Congolese physician, who has spent much of his life studying and working in France, who travels to Cameroon, after not setting foot in the African continent for a long period of time, to evaluate a development project. So, like white German family, he feels like a stranger in what should be his own land (Europe for Germans, Africa for Nzila).

None of us here has seen this film yet, so it's definitely on my "to-see" list at the NYFF next month, and my review will also follow.

So there ya have it. As I said in my earlier post, most lineup announcements are on the way, so there very could be more titles of interest to us. Of course I'll be highlighting those as the come.

In the meantime, check out trailers for Play and Sleeping Sickness below:


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