65th Berlinale: Ned Rifle (2014), Joe Bullet (1971) and Umbango (1988) firecrackers

Ned Rifle (2014), music,directed, written by Hal Hartley:

It is hard to find out at the beginning, if the film is a comedy with dramatic elements or a drama with few funny scenes. One you can be sure of: it is funny for at least half of it’s length (depending on your sense of humor of course).  The dialogs / monologues are really well constructed, you actually want to listen to them despite their horrific length. James Urbaniak is hilarious, did he really took comedy classes from Llloyd Kaufamann ? Let’s hope not.   In general I can say that “facing his inner clown” went very well for Hal Hartley. Eloquently funny.


Joe Bullet (1971/1973) written & produced by Tonie van der Merwe, directed and photographed by Louis de Witt:

Forget about Shaft, Black Belt Jones and Dolemite, Joe bullet is the new hero and will end the corruption in the football / soccer World. This film tops many of the Blaxploitation films I’ve seen. Action, suspense, gadgets, romance, sports – What else can you want from a movie ? A great music theme? It has it too!

Who is Tony van der Merwe?

What is Gravel Road Entertainment Group ?

Joe Bullet Trailer

Joe Bullet page

imdb.com says:

One of the first South African films featuring an all-African cast, and starred Ken Gampu, one of the first black South African actors to appear in Hollywood films. Independently released in 1972 in the Eyethu cinema in Soweto, and after only two screenings, the film was banned by the then Apartheid government. The film was later unbanned after special appeal and a personal screening to the Minister of Communications. The film was, however, never released again and simply disappeared. Now, after more than 40 years, the film has been digitally restored and finally available for world-wide release.


Umbango (1988/1986) directed and photographed by Tonie van der Merwe:

Second of the Gravel Road films shown at the festival, a western with only one caucasian actor (that dies in the first 1/3 of the film). Was entertaining, but had also it’s bad moments.

Umbango trailer 

Gravel Road page.


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“Nypmhomaniac” [Vol.1] Director’s Cut ; Berlinale – late – short report


Not having seen the theatrical cut before attending the Directors Cut’s screening was not a bad thing. The ~40 minutes longer version seems alright and I haven’t found anything I would want to get rid of. The movie itself is something we don’t experience in cinema a lot, but isn’t that what a good cinema is about: showing or doing things that haven’t been done before…

The Limits of Control

Berlinale’s Plot summary:

Ronah works as a sexual surrogate, teaching inhibited men what they fear most: intimacy. Her clients are referred to her by a psychotherapist. She and one of their number casually make the bed where they will sleep together; later on she lets him show her his new business idea on his laptop as if they were best friends. Such scenes are interspersed with hotel hallways, claustrophobic shots of Manhattan’s urban canyons, hassles with workmen, cries for help from Ronah’s brother she chooses to ignore, even as he tells her that their mother has disappeared. It is impossible to identify when exactly she loses control. She’s clearly not been able to get a handle on her new, auto-aggressive client Johnny with his soft voice, his intelligence, his occasional mocking remarks. She starts to fall in love with him instead. Without any trace of voyeurism, Anja Marquardt’s impressively complex, stylistically precocious directorial debut observes how the line between professional and private intimacy becomes gradually blurred.