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Mexican actor-director Gael Garcia Bernal is interviewed on the red carpet during the opening ceremony of the 20th edition of Sarajevo Film Festival in Sarajevo, on Aug 15. Created as an act of resistance to the seige of the city during the 1992-1995 Bosnian war, the festival will offer its biggest ever line-up of films, with 247 movies from 60 countries to be screened during the nine-day event. (AFP)
‘The Giver’ pits love over violence ‘Love’ explores odd couples’ therapy

‘The One I Love’ stars Elisabeth Moss and Mark Duplass as Sophie and Ethan, a couple who has seen its relationship go from exciting and passionate to dull and routine. It’s not just familiarity that has bred contempt between them: Ethan was unfaithful once, and Sophie has yet to forgive him. At the same time, she has habits and walls of her own, so she’s hardly blameless for their current malaise. At the advice of their therapist (Ted Danson), the two of them spend a weekend at a beautiful country house in hopes of reconnecting. What they find on the grounds is far more than they’d expected, and it becomes less clear whether the vacation will be the best or worst thing possible for their relationship.
 
Director Charlie McDowell and writer Justin Lader, both making impressive feature debuts, lull us into expecting a low-key drama about two people trying to get their groove back, something along the lines of Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones in “Hope Springs.” Once the film takes its turn, we’re no less engaged in what happens to Sophie and Ethan, but the path toward whatever resolution awaits them isn’t what we would have expected. Moss and Duplass carry a heavy burden, but they’re more than up to the task of everything the film throws their way. Each has to explore various facets, shadings and tones of these characters, and each succeeds impressively. It’s never easy to capture simultaneously the spark that brings a couple together and the resentments that drive them apart, but these actors nail all that — and even more. Weeks after seeing the film, I find myself thinking about tiny choices and little details that each actor brings to the work, and what they’re able to accomplish is extraordinary, particularly since they’re called upon to keep the action grounded in reality when the movie takes a very big leap.
 
Suspense
Editor Jennifer Lilly (“Were the World Mine”) and composers Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans also play a key role, increasing the tension and suspense with such delicacy that, like the proverbial frog in the pot of heating water, we barely notice the growing unease as it escalates. The challenge of going for a big twist like this is that you’ve either got to keep it a mystery or explain it, but if you’re going to explain the twist, it still has to make sense. That’s where “The One I Love” drops the ball a bit; better to eschew logic and rationality altogether rather than offer up a solution that doesn’t really scan. Still, even with a slightly unsatisfying resolution, “The One I Love” remains provocative and haunting. See it before someone spoils the surprise, but maybe don’t go with a first date; like the R E M song of the same name, the title implies romance and sentimentality, but the text delivers something else entirely. 
 
A world where pain and mankind’s memories are erased along with war, violence and prejudice may seem like utopia, but ignorance is not always bliss, as explored in the latest young adult film. “The Giver,” in US theaters on Friday and based on Lois Lowry’s novel, explores a futuristic society cultivated and controlled by Elders, whose leader is played by three-time Oscar winner Meryl Streep (“The Iron Lady”). The Elders have formed an efficient working society but erased any color, music and frivolity. At 17, the teenagers of the society graduate from school and are assigned a place in the workforce according to their personality traits. Jonas, played by rising actor Brenton Thwaites (“Maleficent”), is chosen as the Receiver of Memories, a singular job that leads him to The Giver, the man who holds all the memories of humankind’s past — from wars and death to the beauty of nature and love.
 
Question
As Jonas learns more about the world before his, he realizes that not everything is perfect within his own society and its selection process from birth, and he begins to question it. “It’s very reflective of our times,” said Academy Award winner Jeff Bridges (“Crazy Heart”), who plays The Giver. “We live in a society that’s swept up by technology and our ethics haven’t really caught up with us, and it’s time to slow down a bit and think about what we’re willing to pay for our comfort and happiness.” The Weinstein Co’s “The Giver” comes on the heels of dystopian young adult film franchises such as “The Hunger Games” and “Divergent,” but offers one key difference to the genre. “This movie has no violence in it. Some of these other dystopian books and films have had a great deal of troubling violence to me, children killing other children,” said Lowry. “I can’t write that myself and I’m glad it’s not in this film.”
 
Much of the film is filtered in gray to depict that the society’s inhabitants do not perceive color, but as Jonas learns more about the past, he notices glimpses of vibrant hues in his surroundings and starts to feel more emotions. “The hardest part was making these moments real. I’ve experienced these things before — I’ve seen color all my life, I’ve experienced love and a little bit of pain,” Thwaites said. One of the biggest deviations from the book was the decision to raise the children’s graduation age from the cusp of entering their teen years to 17, which director Phillip Noyce (“Salt”) said was in keeping with the age for graduation in schools around the world. “I think the themes of this book are powerful, and the tagline is ‘search for truth and find freedom,’” said actress Katie Holmes (“Batman Begins”), who plays Jonas’ mother. “Human beings have been drawn to stories like that forever.” (RTRS)
 
By Alonso Duralde

By: Alonso Duralde

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