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ciao (2008)


5/10: Too Close to Home
Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What an amazing trick director Tan pulled off with obvious student-project Ciao: turning a 13-minute short into an hour and a half.In what felt like a first draft, Tan needed to go back and edit some more. There were far too many "mood" scenes with utter silence, like the overlong "typing" only sound intro, or close-ups and faraway shots. Too many, in fact, we saw a lot of the backs of the actor's heads for periods of time. But, heck, we all learn.If that were all the movie was, surely (not Shirley, as in Airplane! – I know, that was lame, but I have to amuse myself while writing about this mediocre film) this would've received one star. The actors, namely the Italian, Andrea (Calza), had their heart invested. And it was deeply emotional.Furthermore, this has happened to me one more than one occasion. No I won't name names, but I guess...

10/10: A Hidden Treasure
Friday, April 10, 2009

It's so rare in life that we get beyond what we originally wanted but watching this film was one of those golden moments. I stumbled upon this movie not knowing any sort of advance word or description, merely hoping for some temporary diversion, but was instead rewarded with an amazing piece of understated artistry. Such universal appeal within the underlying honestly of the story & characters yet also showing a very personal understanding of the particular friendship, intimacy possible between gay men. So well crafted, there were pleasures to be found wherever one turned: subtle but haunting soundtrack, the clean, quiet strokes of the cinematography and the remarkably sincere performances of the cast. This is one of those films that echoes into the audience's subconscious for days and days afterwards. But being addicted to all things Robert Altman, my final judgement always comes down to the actual words and the behavior which surrounds them - that's what really determines...

9/10: A very good drama about love & relationships
Monday, March 29, 2010

Alessandro Catza both co-wrote & portrays one of the two leads. He did both well. The director Yen Tan is the other co-writer & he shows much skill in his direction. I wish him well & hope to see other films he has directed.Adam Neal Smith is the other lead actor. He and Alessandro portray, Jeff & Andrea, two men in their twenties who meet on line, this occurs because of the untimely death of a mutual friend, Mark.These three men just happen to be gay, the story is so universal one or two of them could have been female.This is a love story about friendships & about the meanings of love & friendship. As in all love stories there is some sadness.Thankfully there is none of the silly nonsense we usually see in films about Gay persons, BOTH come across as real flesh & blood human/ ALSO there is no nudity or needless sex scenes, There is one very beautiful...

10/10: Not for everyone but an extraordinary film nonetheless
Saturday, January 3, 2009

Ciao" has gotten some pretty polarizing reviews, while I can see why (the slow pacing especially can be very off-putting to the average viewer who is not used to watching foreign art-house cinema that doesn't spoon feed you every detail in a hyper kinetic, more-is-more fashion. This is a film that really takes it time to unveil itself, much like a blooming flower), I must also admit that watching this alone on a rainy afternoon in a movie theater was one of my most memorable filmgoing experience. The cinematography is very stylized, consisting of beautifully composed close ups and single-take wide shots, but the mood conveyed is somber, melancholy and ultimately very human and touching. There were several moments that struck my emotional chord, and I don't recall being this moved by a love scene that is presented in a way that I have never seen in cinema before. To the naysayers, I...

10/10: Unique & Unusual
Sunday, June 22, 2014

This film is not just unique it is also very unusual in that it simply does not live up to the preconceived hype associated with films in this genre. First of all, the director's style is fantastic because unlike every director on the planet he does not move the camera. Each shot is like a still life. This probably will drive some people crazy, but I loved it. Then there is the story. You just never know what is going to happen and eventually you realize nothing does happen. In this day and age when every scene in a movie is supposed to move the story forward, this film absolutely stands still so that combined with the non moving camera the film is like a series of still photos which in itself is quite abstract and surreal. The two leads are both very handsome and very charming and engaging. But the lack of action combined with the still-life...

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