Children full of life (2003)

– What’s the most important thing this year? 

-To be happy!

-What are we here for?

-To be happy!

-We only have one life. So let’s really enjoy it, OK?


If I told you these lines come from an elementary school usual morning dialogue between teacher and students, you could naturally consider that they probably derive from a film resembling classic “Dead poets society” or something similar. And I wouldn’t blame you. Because such inspiring and motivated teachers could easily exist in films and romantic novels, but unfortunately are hardly ever come across in real life. However Mr Makamori is non fiction. He is a 4th grade primary school teacher in Kanazawa, Northwest of Tokio in Japan. And as part of his job as a teacher, he considers not only learning kids how to count or write and read  properly, but also giving them one the most astonishing and important gifts any teacher could ever offer: introducing them in life itself and helping them how to cope with it.

Children full of life, directed by Noboru Kaetsu and produced by the Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) is a simple story about the greater things in life. It could certainly be suggested to all schools for screening.

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The only living boy in New York (2017)

This film tells the story of recent college graduate (Thomas Webb), a new yorker nerd with no-well-defined aim in his life, played by Callum Turner. For some strange reason this young actor unexpectedly managed to seduce me making me think there couldn’t be a better better match for this role-except maybe from Adam Douglas Driver from Girls.The Only Living Boy in New York

But the bonus of this romantic drama ala Woody Allen film lies mainly on hosting the actor who inspired one of the most iconic slackers of american filmography: Jeff Bridges is definitely in his shoes when delivering the quirky and poetic character of bohemian opium and alcohol addicted neighbour (W.F.). And I just can’t get enough of the vigorous flow of his responses.

Thomas: -My life is boring

W.F.: – No, it’s as random as it is deliberate. It’s funny as it is tragic. Yours not an exception.

Not the best film of 2017 but certainly worth a view on a Sunday rainy afternoon. At least for lovers of a far distant New York that now only appears in Ezra Pound’s poems and Kerouac’s scripts, in memories and dreams of the romantics, and in director’s Marc Webb’s head that is overwhelmed by that nostalgia of adolescence. After all, who can deny that “New York has lost its soul”?


Que Horas Ela Volta (2015)

This film tells us the story of Val, a hard working live-in housekeeper of the rich and famous of São Paulo. The movie reveals the unspoken agony of lower class to stand up for their rights against the “untouchable” and spoilt upper class attitude. It reveals the fragile family dynamics for both upper and lower Brazilian classes as they are transformed by the absence of rigid family bonds due to parental absence, for different reasons each one. The film also uses a striking comparative approach of same age but different class characters referring to Jessica (Val’s daughter) and Fabinho (the rich only child).

Brazilian writer and director Anna Muylaert portrays housekeeper Val from her own memories as a child taken care by nannies and later on as a mother who was persuaded by her social cycle (!) to bring a full time caretaker for her child. Of course ironically, this is also the reason why we all can enjoy her brilliant films today.

“Que horas ela volta” literary translated as “When will she be back” refers to young Fabinho’s question to Val at the beginning of the film, implying the constant-failure-to-attend-anything attitude of his famous mother. As the movie progresses we find out that it is the same question that was constantly asked by Jessica- Val’s daughter- to the woman who was taking care of her at the village during Val’s never ending absence. In this way the film avoids to crucify the upper-class habits of child caring, making ground for a rather modern all class necessity. On the other hand it insists on questioning “what makes a good mother” anyway.

Finally the film makes clear that when it comes to emotional problems the rich resemble the poor and that wealth, fame and power, are no insurance against life’s pains. Although they can bring you a “Val” to take care of your toddler, giving you time to write the script for your next movie…But then again, my mother used to tell me that there is a greek saying that goes “The worst grandmother is the best nanny money can ever buy”…

Brain Story (2000)

Brain Story is a 6 one hour episodes series by BBC, narrated by british scientist Susan Greenfield . The series examines the mysteries of the human brain. Each episode is dedicated to a different subject regarding the brain functions. The first episode explores the origins of emotions. Episode two reveals the illusion of vision. On the next episodes Greenfield is searching out the outstanding characteristics that differentiates humans from chimps, explaining the formation of the human brain that is based on constant changes between neuron connections, and on the 6th episode reaches out the final mystery of human conciousness. All these issues are being interladed by following patients undergoing brain surgeries whilst awake and interviewing philosophers, clinicians and neurosurgeons. If you are not about to fade away on the view of an open brain, go for it!

Banaz A Love Story (2012) Fuuse Films

A documentary about Banaz Mahmod, one of the thousands of victims of honor killings in muslim communities in the UK and worldwide, who was raped, tortured and finally murdered at age 20 by her own family.

Norwegian-born to muslim parents, film director and human rights defender Deeyah Khan and producer Darin Prndle, are presenting an excellent example of a completed and balanced testimonial documentary, interviewing witnesses from both muslim and non-muslim communities.

A great and qualified research that tries to bring into light these horrifying related to culture acts of vengeance, targeting mainly women who are believed to have brought dishonor upon their family.


Sabbia (2006)

Sabbia (Italian for ‘sand’)is a feature length visual album by Philadelphian filmmaker and artist  Kate McCabe , produced, shot and directed for the desert-stoner -rock musician Brant Bjork. In other words a desert ‘s masterpiece that comes as a gift not only for Bjork’s music lovers but as well as for all of those who, like the desert, cannot be claimed or owned…




Boyhood (2014)

Boyhood is an American independent film written and directed by Richard Linklater. The extraordinary thing about this film that will intrigue you to watch it is that it was actually filmed from 2002 to 2012 following the turbulent life of a 6 year old boy from Texas with divorced parents, as he is heading towards adolescence. A 3 hour film that will bring upon many conspiratorially smiles as you recognise yourself in Mason Evans, Jr. (Coltrane) character, while it achieves an immersing insight journey into the psychology of a child growing into an adult.

documentaries and movies that make you smarter