Day: May 18, 2023


This film was watched as a part of the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF). Year of the Fox has its World Premier on Wednesday, May 17 2023.

One of my goals this festival was definitely to watch as many films with subtitles as possible. I just don’t get enough foreign films throughout the year, unless its a really special occasion big event film, or if it is rushing for awards at the end. Still though, most of the films at least have a title I can pronounce confidently. So that made me excited to see L’immensita, which I have no clue if I am saying it right, and no one will ever be able to correct me. I will have to live with potentially pronouncing it wrong for the rest of my life.

And sure, it does help that it was starring a world famous actress in the lead role too. Sure yeah, of course.

Wow, look how excited she is to be at this dinner. 

In the 1970’s, Italy was the place to be. Well, to be fair, Italy has been the place to be for many different decades. Heck, some of them thousands of years ago. I am sure right now today, 2020’s, Italy is the place to be. (I really want to go to Italy, goddamn it).

Anyways, Clara (Penelope Cruz), a Spaniard who moved to Italy, is married to Felice (Vincenzo Amato), and they have three kids! Clara is a bit of a free spirited individual, who loves her kids more than anything. Including her husband, because he is a rich dick. Speaking of kids, their oldest kid, Adriana (Luana Giuliani), doesn’t actually feel like a girl. She is getting that gender dysphoria real bad, but it is the 1970’s and that isn’t something commonly talked about. So she decides to go by Andrea (a masculine name in Italy), and start using he/him pronouns with his friends, siblings, and mother. And guess what, his mom is totally down with it all.

Because you know, free spirited! But obviously at any point in human history, being trans has not been an easy experience, and it is only small percentage points easier now than it was 50 years ago. Having a small support isn’t a lot, especially when your dad would freak out over the concept, and if your dad is already abusive towards you mom, well. Not a lot to protect you, unfortunately.

This is what it looks like when I take my kids to good movies as well.

There aren’t a lot of “trans” stories set outside of the last twenty years, which is a real big untapped market. I am not an expert on the genre of course, but I do think I only know of one other one off the top of my head, and that is a bit disappointing. So great on them for tackling this subject. And the film itself being beautifully shot, in rich Italian countryside and seas and streets. It is gorgeous to look at in what remains a relatively simple story.

It was a very interesting decision to really tell two stories here.  The obvious one, of the kid here. But also of the mom, in an unhappy place in life, just trying to give spark and joy to those whom she thinks need it most. And how she gets villainized for it. For being accepting and free. It is hard to see. But it is a great character.

And one very other important note here. There are several music/dance numbers in this movie. Sort of out of nowhere. Andrea fancies himself a star in these videos he has seen, so we get to see them reenacting these scenes from the television. Now, when the song Prisencolinensinainciusol came on the television halfway through, I was so excited to see it in such a weird place in the movie, just so casually. Probably my favorite song from Italy in the 1970’s (also the only one I know in this period). So I was so giddy beside myself when our two leads took the two roles of the sings as well, Giulani and Cruz, and it was recreated for our eyes. It was a treat I didn’t know to expect or that I wanted, but certainly one I needed.

Anyways, yes. Representation matters! This story is beautiful and simple and of course, sad. Cruz is always a delight. And I will never know how to say this title.

3 out of 4.

Dancing Queen

This film was watched as a part of the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF). Dancing Queen has its Seattle Premier on Tuesday, May 16 2023.

Dancing Queen, young and sweet, only seventeen. Surprising that they haven’t just made a movie based off of that song yet.

Oh what is this? A movie called Dancing Queen from Scandinavia? Is this the time? Well, no unfortunately not. Because this movie is from Norway, and I cannot imagine them wanting to make a nearby countries most famous song from their most famous band? Now sure, they might make a reference to the song. But it can’t be a film based on the song. Because damn it, this main character is not seventeen.

Hmm. She is also not 7. Or 27. Or 57. Just listening more incorrect ages. 

In fact, our main character, Mina (Liv Elvira Kippersund Larsson) is uhhh, 7th grade age. Which eludes me at this moment. She likes school, and getting good grades, and hanging out with her friend Markus (Sturla Harbitz). Besties. But then at the start of the year, a new kid arrives, E.D. Win (Viljar Knutsen Bjaadal), from Olso! Why has he moved to a small town? Not actually sure, but he is internet famous for being a young hip hop dancer with tons of followers. So all of the girlies say heyyy, including Mina.

So once Mina finds out, that same day, that he is going to do auditions for a youth hip hop dance crew, she decides she has to audition. You know, with no experience whatsover. But E.D. Win smiled at her and made her dance in a circle and didn’t mock her, so it is true love. And she will go and audition with no experience. And sure, she might not have a stereotypical dancers body. Or like, thin. Or like, full of endurance.

But she has gumption. And she has love.

Also starring Cengiz Al, Anders Baasmo, Andrea Bræin Hovig, Anne Marit Jacobsen, and Ylva Røsten-Haga.

Whenever I look at myself in the mirror, I am always stuck looking at myself.

From the trailer, and the storyline, it looked like this movie wanted to be Norway’s answer to Little Miss Sunshine. I love Little Miss Sunshine! It is perfection in film. And unfortunately, this story is a lot more basic than Little Miss Sunshine. A bit by the numbers, with okay performances, but nothing as great as I had expected and hoped.

The story is where the main problems lie. It is easier to explain with direct spoilers which I will avoid here but, there is a lot of stuff that just doesn’t make sense based on how it was described. Like, the final competition was no where similar to what it was advertised early on. It makes me confused at why E.D. Win even wanted a dance crew for, since it didn’t seem to even use dance crews? It was all like, middle school duo groups only? They described it as a big national competition, with dance crews, and not even specifically kid based. So the final result is very strange.

I will also say that some characters leave the narrative at, frankly, random parts for motivation, with no great reason or foreshadowing behind them. It feels hollow. The whole ending feels hollow and forced, given the events that lead up to it.

I am all fine for body positivity films, sure. And I am glad it talked about them, and had one character be an absolute dick about it, in order to drive the narrative towards that and the extremes that one’s body can not endure. But Dancing Queen still ends up being a very basic film, with a plot you can predict, and no real shocks along the way.

1 out of 4.