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Snowtown [DVD] [2011]
Snowtown [DVD] [2011]
Dvd ~ Daniel Henshall
Offered by Magic Movies Ltd
Price: £2.47

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Poignantly eerie and graphic retelling...", 14 May 2012
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This review is from: Snowtown [DVD] [2011] (DVD)
Australian screenwriter and director Justin Kurzel`s feature film debut which was written by screenwriter Shaun Grant after a story by Justin Kurzel and Shaun Grant, was inspired by Australian author and journalist Debi Marshall`s book "Killing For Pleasure: the definitive story of the Snowtown serial killings" (2006) and Australian author and journalist Andrew McGarry`s book "The Snowtown Murders: The Real Story Behind The Bodies-in-the-Barrels Killings" (2005). It was produced by Anna Mcleish and Sarah Shaw and is an Australian production which premiered at the Adelaide Film Festival in 2011. It tells the story about 16-year-old Jamie Vlassakis who lives in a suburb North of Adelaide in South Australia in a tract home during the early 1990s with his mother Elizabeth Harvey who is struggling to take care of him and his brothers. After discovering that her boyfriend Jeffrey has been taking violating photographs of her sons, Elizabeth reports him to police. The following day, Elizabeth learns that Jeffrey has been released and contacts her gay friend Barry who later shows up at her place with his friend John. John makes quite an impression on Elizabeth and her sons with his domineering presence, expresses his resentment regarding what has happened to Elizabeth`s sons and takes an immediate liking to Jaimie. By giving Jaime and his brothers the chance to get revenge on Jeffrey by harassing him in various ways, he wins their affection and takes on the role as their father figure. Everyone feels safer now that John has come into their lives, but as Jaimie grows closer to John who acts as if he was his guardian angel, he is lured into an evil man`s world.

Acutely and precisely directed by first-time filmmaker Justin Kurzel, this poignantly eerie and graphic retelling of the eleven murders, instigated and mostly perpetrated by one of Australia`s worst serial killers John Bunting, which took place between August 1992 and May 1999 in the country town of Snowtown near Adelaide, the capital of South Australia. With a social realist approach and while notable for its naturalistic milieu depictions, the fine editing by film editor Veronika Jenet, cinematography by cinematographer Adam Arkapaw and the brilliant use of sound, this gritty and visceral psychological thriller, somewhat reminiscent of David Micôd`s "Animal Kingdom" (2010), draws a harrowing portrayal of a mother`s heartbreaking battle to support and protect her children and a rare father-son relationship.

This character-driven independent film about an afflicted family who sees a sign of hope when they meet a seemingly charming, considerate and affectionate man who walks into their home and takes command, depicts an internal study of character and is impelled and reinforced by its cogent narrative structure and the unflinching acting performance by Australian actor Daniel Henshall and the heartrending acting performances by Lucas Pittaway in his first feature film role and Louise Harris in her first feature film role. A reverent directorial debut which gained the Audience Award at the Adelaide Film Festival in 2011, the AACTA Award for Best Direction Justin Kurzel, Best Adapted Screenplay Shaun Grant, Best Lead Actor Daniel Henshall, Best Supporting Actress Louise Harris, Best Editing Veronika Jenet and Best Sound at the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards in 2011 and a Special Mention from the Jury President at the 64th Cannes International Film Festival in 2011.


The Silence [DVD]
The Silence [DVD]
Dvd ~ Ulrich Thomsen
Price: £6.00

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Forboding and melodramatic story...", 11 May 2012
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This review is from: The Silence [DVD] (DVD)
German screenwriter and director Baran Bo Odar`s feature film debut which he wrote and co-produced, is an adaptation of a novel from 2007 by German writer Jan Costin Wagner. It premiered at the 63rd Locarno International Film Festival in 2010, was shot on location in Erfurt, Nürnberg and Erlangen in Germany and is a German production which was produced by producers Jörg Schulze, Maren Lüthje, Florian Schneider and Frank Evers. It tells the story about a rural town in Germany where an eleven-year-old girl was brutally murdered on her way home on her bicycle on a summer day in July 1986. The case was never solved and the residents went on with their lives, but twenty-three years later a young girl by the name of Sinikka Weghamm leaves her parents to meet some of her friends and does not return home. The following day, a police officer named David Jahn who recently returned to his job after having been away due to the loss of his wife, is informed that a local farmer has seen a gym bag and a rock covered in blood on the cornfield where the crime in 1986 took place. Shortly after David, his pregnant partner Jana Gläser and his superior officer Matthias Grimmer have gotten started with the investigation of the case, the whole town learns about the disappearance of Sinikka Weghamm. The disturbing news affects all the residents in the small community and especially the mother of the first victim Elena Lange, Timo Friedrich, a married architect with two children and Krischan Mittich, the former police officer on the unsolved case who thinks the two cases are related.

Distinctly and precisely directed by Swiss-born filmmaker Baran Bo Odar, this finely paced and incisive fictional tale draws an invariably intriguing and unsettling portrayal of a complicated investigation of a gruesome crime and an intimate friendship between a caretaker and a former maths student. While notable for its naturalistic and colorful milieu depictions, the ardent cinematography by cinematographer Nikolaus Summerer, production design by German production designer Christian M. Goldbeck and production designer Yesim Zolan and the efficient use of sound, this character-driven and narrative-driven psychological thriller interrelates multiple stories, depicts several studies of character and examines themes such as interpersonal relations, interpersonal communication, friendship and grief.

Set in a German town close to the countryside during the early 21st century, this foreboding and melodramatic tale about the correlation between good and evil and beauty and violence, contains a fine score by composers Paz De Deaux, Kris Steininger and Michael Kamm and is impelled and reinforced by its fragmented narrative structure and the engaging and involving acting performances by Danish actor Ulrich Thomsen, German actor Burghart Klaussner, German actress Katrin Sass, German actor Wotan Wilke Möhring and German actor Sebastian Blomberg. A poignantly atmospheric and suspenseful independent film which gained the Frankfurt Book Fair Award for Best International Literary Film Adaptation in 2010.


Wuthering Heights [DVD] (2011)
Wuthering Heights [DVD] (2011)
Dvd ~ Kaya Scodelario
Offered by NextDayEntertainment
Price: £7.21

4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Afflicting though intriguing love-story...", 11 May 2012
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English screenwriter and director Andrea Arnold`s third feature film which she co-wrote with film editor and screenwriter Olivia Hetreed, is an adaptation of a novel from 1847 by English novelist and poet Emily Brontë (1818-1848). It premiered In competition at the 68th Venice Film Festival in 2011, was screened in the Special Presentations section at the 36th Toronto International Film Festival in 2011 and is a UK production which was shot on various locations in North Yorkshire, England and produced by producers Kevin Loader, Douglas Rae and Robert Bernstein. It tells the story about Catherine Earnshaw, a teenage farmer who lives with her elder brother Hindley and their father in a remote moorland manor called Wuthering Heights in North Yorkshire. Catherine`s life changes the day her father returns home from a trip to Liverpool and introduces her and Hindley to a homeless boy he has adopted. The boy who is given the name Heathcliff, connects with Catherine and they become close friends, but their growing affection for one another is interrupted when Hindley`s hostility towards Heathcliff turns into jealousy.

English filmmaker Andrea Arnold`s characteristic hand-held directing and intimate close-ups engages and creates great tension between the characters in this modern adaptation of a classic novel which draws a poetic and memorable portrayal of a striving and passionate relationship between a motherless girl and an orphaned boy during the 18th century in Northern England. While notable for its distinct and atmospheric milieu depictions, expressive cinematography by Irish cinematographer Robbie Ryan, fine costume design by American illustrator and costume designer Steven Noble, the poignant use of sound and light, this narrative-driven period-piece contains some great use of music which as the highland landscape emphasizes the impending, romantic and variable atmosphere.

This dramatic, literary and dense study of character which examines themes such as family relations, class distinction, rivalry, jealousy, coming-of-age and ill-fated love, is impelled and reinforced by its cogent narrative, the sporadic dialog which increases the pace and the efficient and gripping acting performances by English actresses Kaya Scodelario and Nichola Burley, and newcomers James Howson, Shannon Beer, Solomon Glave and James Northcote. This afflicting though intriguing love-story which is very different from former actress Andrea Arnold`s previous and award-winning films "Red Road" (2006) and "Fish Tank" (2009), gained, among other awards, the Golden Osella for Best Cinematography Robbie Ryan and was nominated for the Golden Lion at the 68th Venice Film Festival in 2011.


The Dust of Time [DVD]
The Dust of Time [DVD]
Dvd ~ Willem Dafoe
Offered by The World Cinema Store
Price: £5.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Precisely and distinctly directed...", 18 Mar. 2012
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This review is from: The Dust of Time [DVD] (DVD)
Greek screenwriter, producer and director Theodoros Angelopoulos` thirteenth feature film which he co-wrote with Italian screenwriter Tonino Guerra and the director`s long time collaborator Petros Markaris, is the second part of an unofficial trilogy about modern Greece which was preceded by "The Weeping Meadow" (2004) and became his last film. It was produced by Theo Angelopoulos` frequent collaborator and wife Phoebe Economopoulos and is Greek, Italian, German and Russian co-production. It tells the story about a middle-aged American filmmaker of Jewish ancestry who is in the process of making a film about the story of his mother Eleni and his father Spyros at Cinecitta studios in Rome, Italy. While the producers of the film is worried about the shooting of the film, the director is concerned about finding his missing daughter.

Narrated by Willem Dafoe and Irène Jacob and with a fragmented narrative structure that moves between the past and present and has them , this contemplative and imaginary epic about Greek history, family history, love, immigration, friendship, memories and time draws a pervasive portrayal of a destined relationship between two immigrants separated by time and circumstances. This quietly paced, character-driven and extensive journey which spans over fifty years from the mid-19th century to the beginning of the 20th century, depicts a significant love-story, is precisely and distinctly directed by Theodoros Angelopoulos (1935-2012) and finely photographed by cinematographer Andreas Sinanos who also worked as the director of photography on the more stylistically prominent first segment of the trilogy.

Shot in Russia, Rome in Italy, Cologne and Berlin in Germany, Athens in Greece and Kazakhstan, this subtle continuation of the story about Eleni and Spyros contains some memorable scenes, poetic images, artful and naturalistic milieu depictions and Greek composer and long-time collaborator of the filmmaker, Eleni Karaindrou`s distinct score which reinforces this story within a story`s poignant atmosphere. The international cast primarily consisting of American actor Willem Dafoe, Swiss actress Irène Jacob, German actor Bruno Ganz, German actress Christiane Paul and French actor Michel Piccoli delivers affective acting performances in this somewhat elegiac, at times humorous, humane and moving historic drama from one of Greece`s most reverent and important filmmakers, which is seen from varied points of view.


One Day [DVD] [2011]
One Day [DVD] [2011]
Dvd ~ Anne Hathaway
Offered by Champion Toys
Price: £2.89

4.0 out of 5 stars "Compelling love-story...", 18 Mar. 2012
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This review is from: One Day [DVD] [2011] (DVD)
Danish screenwriter and director Lone Scherfig`s seventh feature film was written by English author and screenwriter David Nicholls and is and adaptation of his novel "One Day" from 2009. It was produced by American film executive Nina Jacobson and shot on location in Edinburgh, Scotland, London, England and Dinard and Paris, France. It tells the story about Emma Morley and Dexter Mayhew who meet each other in Edinburgh on the 15th of July in 1988 after their graduation and spends the night together. Before going their separate ways, Emma and Dexter agrees to only be friends. In 1990, Dexter is travelling the world having numerous relationships and Emma is working as a waitress in a Mexican restaurant in Kentish Town, London. Emma and Dexter meets again and remains close friends, but when Dexter becomes a television host and Emma meets a comedian named Ian, they drift apart.

This character-driven USA-UK co-production, subtly directed by Lone Scherfig, has some ardent milieu depictions which emphasizes the films romantic atmosphere and draws a moving and involving portrayal of a lasting relationship that spans from 1988 to 2011 between a man and a woman in their early thirties who are in love, but holds on to their decision about only being friends. Well-paced and with a flashback narrative structure that focuses on the characters whereabouts on the 15th of July as years pass by, this drama examines themes like faith, loneliness, compromises, friendship and love.

Notable for its fine cinematography by French cinematographer Benoit Delhomme and with a significant score by English composer Rachel Portman, this charming independent film works both as a partly engaging study of character that grows stronger in the second half of the film and a humorous and compelling love-story and is impelled and reinforced by the reverent and empathic acting performances by English actor Jim Sturgess, American actress Anne Hathaway and English actor Rafe Spall, Scottish actor Ken Stott and English actress Romola Garai`s good supporting acting performances.


A Separation [DVD] [2011]
A Separation [DVD] [2011]
Dvd ~ Leila Hatami
Price: £7.49

5.0 out of 5 stars "Intricate, involving and concentrated...", 12 Mar. 2012
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This review is from: A Separation [DVD] [2011] (DVD)
Iranian screenwriter and director Asghar Farhadi`s fifth feature film which he also wrote and produced, was shot in Tehran, Iran and is an Iranian production which was produced without any government support. It tells the story about middle-class couple Nader and Simin who lives in an urban apartment with their 11-year-old daughter Termeh who is in school. They have been married for fourteen years, but Simin wants to move away from the country because she things that her daughter needs to grow up in a better place, but her husband does not want to move and has to take care of his aging father who suffers from Alzheimer`s disease. Simin files for divorce, but when her request is rejected by a family court she leaves her family and moves in with her parents while Nader tries to find a house worker who can look after his father.

Asghar Farhadi`s acutely and engagingly directed independent film draws an invariably moving portrayal of a modern day Iranian married couple`s complicated separation and their adolescent daughter who his caught in the middle trying her utmost to prevent them from separating. With naturalistic urban milieu depictions and an intensifying stringent narrative structure, this well-paced, character-driven and dialog-driven story forms an intricate, involving and concentrated character drama about marriage, family relations, interpersonal relations, morality, social class differences and the human condition, which is reinforced by the empathic and compassionate acting performances by Iranian actresses Leila Hatami, Sareh Bayat and Sarina Farhadi (the director`s daughter) and Iranian actors Peyman Moadi and Shahab Hosseini.

A detailed and multifaceted mystery which gained, among numerous other awards, the Golden Bear, the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury, the Reader Jury of the "Berliner Morgenpost", the Silver Berlin Bear for Best Actor Peyman Moadi and Shahab Hosseini and Best Actress Leila Hatami and Sareh Bayat at the 61st Berlin International Film Festival in 2011, the César Award for Best Foreign Film at the 37th César Awards in 2012, the British Independent Film Award for Best Foreign Independent Film at the 14th British Independent Film Awards in 2012 and the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year at the 84th Academy Awards in 2012 which marked it as the first Iranian film to receive an Academy Award in this category and Asghar Farhadi the first Iranian director to receive an Academy Award in any category.


L'enfer [DVD] [1994]
L'enfer [DVD] [1994]
Dvd ~ Emmanuelle Béart

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Riveting and well-paced internal voyage...", 8 Mar. 2012
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This review is from: L'enfer [DVD] [1994] (DVD)
French New Wave director, actor, producer and screenwriter Claude Chabrol`s forty-fifth feature film which he wrote, is an adaptation of a screenplay written by French screenwriter, producer and director Henri-Georges Clouzot (1907-1977) who suffered a heart attack during the making of the film in 1964 which led to the production being stopped. Claude Chabrol`s film was shot on various locations in Southern France and was produced by French director and producer Marin Karmitz. It tells the story about Paul Prieur, a successful hotel manager who lives an idyllic life with his wife Nelly and their young son Vincent at a lakeside hotel in France. Paul and Nelly have been married for seven years and are happy together, but Paul`s job is wearing him out and he begins to become suspicious about things. These sudden suspicions gradually increases and when Paul suspects his wife of having an affair, his personality alters and threatens both his own and Nelly`s life.

This visually ardent and character-driven French production draws a pervasive study of character about a seemingly happy man who one warm summer when suddenly struck by jealousy, descends into a state of madness and loses his grip on reality. Claude Chabrol`s riveting and well-paced internal voyage goes far into the excruciating and nightmarish mind of the protagonist and the persistent suspense in this clinical psychological thriller which examines themes such as marriage, jealousy and mental illness, is reinforced by his precise and acute directing, the rigorous narrative structure and the efficient editing by Claude Chabrol`s frequent collaborator Monique Fardoulis. The score by his long-time collaborator and son Matthieu Chabrol emphasizes the significant atmosphere in this luminous drama which is impelled by Francois Cluzet`s multifaceted acting performance in a complicated role and a good acting performance by Emmanuelle Béart.


Look Back In Anger [DVD] [1958]
Look Back In Anger [DVD] [1958]
Dvd ~ Richard Burton
Offered by RX dvds **worldwide delivery available**
Price: £15.97

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Invariably impassioned acting performances...", 20 Feb. 2012
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British producer and New Wave theater and film director Tony Richardson`s feature film debut which was written by English screenwriter Nigel Kneale (1922-2006) and John Osborne (1929-1994), is an adaptation of English playwright, screenwriter and actor John Osborne`s play from 1956 and was shot at Elstree Studios and on various locations in London, England. It tells the story about Jimmy Porter who lives in a rooftop apartment near a church in England with his upper middle-class wife Alison and his friend Cliff who he works with at his sweet store at a market nearby. Jimmy and Alison has lived together and been married for two years, but their relationship is closer to an emotional though at times passionate battlefield than an encouraging and compassionate friendship. When Alison gets pregnant she looks for ways to tell it to Jimmy, but he is too busy trying to pick a fight with her and being angry. Alison is getting tired of their constant lack of communication and bickering, and when her friend Helena Charles, who is doing a play called "The forgotten heart" in the city, comes to live with them for two weeks, Jimmy`s fierce anger increases utterly.

This British production considered as the first film from the British cultural movement "kitchen sink realism" which was developed within theater, film, television, art and novels during the late 1950s and early 1960s, marked filmmaker Tony Richardson`s directorial debut in film and was produced by Canadian film and theater producer Harry Saltzman (1915-1994). With its bleak and naturalistic milieu depictions, stringent narrative structure and precise and acute directing, this dialog-driven drama from the late 1950s which examines themes such as marriage, family relations, social distinctions and love, draws an in-depth study of character about an afflicted young man from the working-class in strong opposition to the middle-class who is striving to come to terms with his constant anger while trying to hold on to his serene and reserved wife.

The poignant use of light which is emphasized by British cinematographer Oswald Morris` low-keyed black-and-white cinematography, is present in almost every scene in this romantic, atmospheric and well-paced chamber-piece which is based on author John Osborne`s autobiographical play about his unhappy marriage. This ardent character drama which contains a jazzy score by English composer Chris Barber is significantly reinforced by the empathic and invariably impassioned acting performances by Welsh actor Richard Burton (1925-1984), English actress Claire Bloom, Scottish actress Mary Ure (1933-1975) and English actor Gary Raymond. An incisively written, involving and moving love triangle which gained nominations for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama Richard Burton at the 17th Golden Globe Awards in 1960, Best British Actor Richard Burton, Best British Screenplay Nigel Kneale and Best British Film Tony Richardson (1928-1991) at the 13th BAFTA Awards in 1960.


Beautiful Kate [DVD]
Beautiful Kate [DVD]
Dvd ~ Rachel Griffiths
Offered by The World Cinema Store
Price: £5.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Vivid and intimate portrayal...", 20 Feb. 2012
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This review is from: Beautiful Kate [DVD] (DVD)
British actress, screenwriter and director Rachel Ward`s feature film debut which she wrote the screenplay for, is an adaptation of a novel from 1982 by American author Newton Thornburg (1929-2011) and was shot on location at Flinders Ranges, the largest mountain range in South Australia. It tells the story about Ned Kendall, a writer who returns to his childhood home in Wallumbi, a farm in the Australian countryside, with his young girlfriend Toni, an aspiring actress, in order to reconcile with his estranged father Bruce who is living at the farm with his daughter who takes care of him. Ned and Toni are warmly welcomed by Ned`s sister Sally, but Ned`s dying father is not as enthusiastic about his son`s arrival. After having settled in Ned continues to write on his memoirs, but when secrets from the past reaches the surface and Toni learns about the strange relationship Ned had to his sister Kate, she leaves him.

Rachel Ward`s engaging directorial debut, an Australian production, which was produced by the director`s husband Bryan Brown and Leah Churchill-Brown is a character-driven psychological drama about a man haunted by memories of his adolescent years living at an isolated farm with his brother Cliff, his twin sister Kate and his strict father Bruce. With an efficient flashback narrative, this well-written independent film draws a vivid and intimate portrayal of an Australian family separated by a past which is converged with the present when a family member who abandoned his family several years ago returns to confront himself and his family with that still lingering past.

This atmospheric mystery which is set against the backdrop of the stately Flinders Ranges which becomes a significant character in this family tale, examines themes such as family relations, coming-of-age, sexual awakening, guilt, incest and reconciliation and is reinforced by the compelling cinematography by cinematographer Andrew Commis and the empathic acting performances by Australian actors Ben Mendelsohn and Bryan Brown, Australian actresses Rachel Griffiths and Maeve Dermody and newcomers Josh McFarlane and Sophie Lowe in their first feature film roles. A well-paced and in-depth study of character which gained, among other awards, the AFI Award for Best Supporting Actress Rachel Griffiths at the Australian Film Institute Awards in 2009 and the FCCA Award for Best Supporting Actress Rachel Griffiths and Best Supporting Actor Bryan Brown at the Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards in 2010.


The Conspirator [DVD]
The Conspirator [DVD]
Dvd ~ James McAvoy
Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars "Distinctly conveyed...", 20 Feb. 2012
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This review is from: The Conspirator [DVD] (DVD)
American actor, producer and director Robert Redford`s eight feature film which he co-produced, is an adaptation of a book from 1850 by American author Eliza Ann Dupuy (1814-1880) and was shot on various locations in Georgia, USA. It tells the story about 28-year-old newly-minted lawyer and union war hero Frederick Aiken who in late April 1865, following the American Civil War, in Washington D.C. reluctantly agrees to defend a woman named Mary Surratt before a military tribunal after being talked into taking her case by his mentor Reverdy Johnson, The U.S senator and former attorney general. Seven men and one woman has been arrested with conspiring to kill the President, the Vice President and the Secretary of State. The widowed woman Mary Surratt who is the owner of a boarding house where actor John Wilkes Booth and others planned the simultaneous attacks, is charged for participating in the conspiracy to assassinate the President of the United States. Mary tries her utmost to convince her defender of her innocence, but she has the whole nation against her.

Precisely directed and finely written by James D. Solomon and Gregory Bernstein, this period piece draws an involving portrayal of the preconceived inquisition of a mother of three who had to rest all her hope on a young attorney when brought to trial for conspiring to assassinate Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865). Robert Redford`s well-paced and dialog-driven courtroom drama, based on true events which took place in April, May and June during the late 19th century in the capital of the United States, is notable for it`s ardent production design by Kalina Ivanov and fine cinematography by American cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel. A distinctly conveyed, atmospheric and moving historical drama with prominent acting performances by Scottish actor James McAvoy, American actress Robin Wright and American actor and director Danny Huston.


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