Tuesday, November 10, 2009

13 Tzameti

Géla Babluani, France, 2006 (9.1*)
Grand Jury Prize, Sundance

This is one of the most riveting crime films you will ever see - one reviewer said "when done, the audience had to extract their fingernails from the armrests". It begins with a young man working to repair a leaky roof for an aging gangster, who overhears the criminal speaking of being able to earn lots of money overnight by answering a mysterious letter which contains a train ticket and hotel reservation. When the workman answers the request, he is plunged into a nightmarish scenario that may very well be his last job on the planet. I don't want to give away the surprise here, but if you watch the dvd's "interview with a witness", you'll find that this is based on an actual crime, making the plot even more astounding. Shot in black and white to give it the look of classic French film noir, director Géla Babluani has created a modern noir classic with a visual link to great crime films of the past. Babluani's son plays the lead role.

Winner of the grand jury prize at Sundance, it won 8 awards out of 11 nominations at various festivals (Awards page at IMDB)


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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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