Monday, July 26, 2010

ഷികോ സേവിഎര്‍

Chico Xavier(2010)
Dir:Daniel Filho

It's a quite hard work to portrait the essence of Chico Xavier's life. Although he lived 92 years and psycho-graphed more than 400 books, Chico Xavier's life was, above all superlatives, an example of charity, love to his fellowman, resignation, patience and true Christian humbleness. Not even his written works are more important than his example as a good man.

The movie, based on Marcel Souto Maior's best-seller As Vidas de Chico Xavier (The Lives of Chico Xavier), portraits his life from the age of 9 (performed by the incredible boy-actor Matheus Costa) until his adulthood. Ângelo Antonio performs Chico Xavier as young man and Nelson Xavier (no parenthood, by the way) performs the character as a mature/old man. It's quite poignant to see how Chico Xavier was misunderstood during his childhood and and throughout his life. As a boy he was called "the haunted kid", lunatic and lier. Such "fame" would result in terrible beatings by his father and godmother (who took care of him after the death of his beloved mother). As a young man he was persecuted and accused of mystification, despite having given his entire life to ease the pain of many families who lost their loved ones.

Daniel Filho's direction is discreet. He opted to tell the story without special effects (had every reasons to use them) or great cinematographic tricks. His direction is secure, almost linear, but resulted in a great effect, since it never conflicts or steals the spotlights from the most important figure of the movie, Chico Xavier itself. Egbert Gismonti's musical score is superb, fusing traditional religious songs with sounds of nature, involving the scenes with a magical and emotional atmosphere at the same time. Marcos Bernstein's screenplay is correct but fails a bit when leaves many important facts out of the final script. Nonato Estrela's cinematography is good, although a little dark in many sequences of the movie.

Concerning the cast, the movie has the amazing performance of Nelson Xavier, which resemblance to the character itself is creepy. He gives the character a suave/humorous without exaggerating in any time. Ângelo Antonio shows an insecure and naive Chico Xavier in his younger days and Matheus Costa plays the role with all its suffering and feeling of incomprehension. Ana Rosa as Carmen shows how to make bigger a bit participation. Tony Ramos and Cristine Torloni are pure emotion, André Dias as Emmanuel (Chico Xavier's spiritual guide) plays his role with great dignity and Pedro Paulo Rangel as Father Scarzelo gives a show-stopping performance making his character to explode on the silver screen.

For all those above reasons I do recommend the movie. For those who, like me, met him in person and for those who still do not know him, this movie is a great opportunity to get to know who was Chico Xavier, a man called love! ....imdb

Sunday, July 25, 2010

ഹൌ ഐ സെലെബ്രെറ്റെദ് ദി എന്‍ഡ് ഓഫ് ദി വേള്‍ഡ്

How I Celebrated the End of the World(2006)
Dir:Catalin Mitulescu
2 wins See more »

Bucharest 1989 - The last year of Ceausescu's dictatorship. Eva lives with her parents and her 7-year-old brother Lalalilu. She is 17 years old, very attractive and caught up in the turmoil of falling in love for the first time while struggling to come of age. Eva has a secret dream she shares only with her brother : escaping from Romania and travelling the world. Lalalilu is devastated at the idea of losing his sister. With Tarzan and Silvica, his best friends from school, he devises a secret plan to kill the dictator so that Eva can stay and live in a free country.

"How I Celebrated the End of the World," explains Catalin Mitulescu, "reflects this blend of sadness and joy, reality and fantasy which I associate with this period of dictatorship. This film is a tragicomedy with touches the absurd and the sublime. It expresses all the emotion of those bleak days in Romania and gives an idea of what we retain in ourselves, my generation and myself, in this new world which we have entered. The film is also a homage, not only to all those who had the courage to rise up against the dictatorship, but also those who, like our parents, fell silent and endured, out of fear that something might befall their loved ones."

ഹൌ മച് ഫര്തെര്‍

How Much Further aka que tan lejos(2006)
Dir:Tania Hermida
Country: Ecuador
2 wins & 2 nominations See more »

Esperanza and Tristeza both have to get to Cuenca. However, by an unlucky turn of events, the bus they are on gets delayed due to a worker strike. Taking their journey into their own hands, they decide to hitchhike to Cuenca. Along the way they meet interesting characters who help them re-evaluate the purpose of their journey

Saturday, July 24, 2010

ലെസ്ബിയന്‍ ഷോര്‍ട്ട് ഫിലിംസ്

The Ultimate Lesbian Short Film Festival(2006)
"The Ultimate Lesbian Short Film Festival" featuring 10 short films full of intrigue, fantasy, suspense, and of course, sex! Short films include: Dani & Alice, A Woman Reported, Frozen Smile, everything Good, Saint Henry, Blow, Transit, Half Laughing, Tina Paulina: Living on Hope Street and The Black Plum.

Friday, July 23, 2010

ലണ്ടന്‍ റിവര്‍

London River(2009)
Dir:Rachid Bouchareb
2 wins & 1 nomination See more »

After traveling to London to check on their missing children in the wake of the 2005 terror attack on the city, two strangers come to discover their respective children had been living together at the time of the attacks

മരിലെന ഫ്രം പി 7

Marilena from P7(2006)
Dir:Cristian Nemescu
Short film
4 wins See more

Andrei, a 13-year-old teenager living at the outskirts of Bucharest, decides one day to steal a bus in order to impress Marilena, a prostitute he fell in love with. Things you do for love? ?Marilena from P7 plunges into the universe of teenage emotions that we all remember. It is a study on the ? sometimes small, sometimes big ? reasons that make us turn from children into teenagers. The story takes place in the ?exotic? outskirts of Bucharest, and the background is peopled with many authentically racy characters. Besides telling the story, the film also makes a cross-section of the life in the suburbs of Bucharest at the beginning of the 21st century, with no intervention whatsoever on most of the locations and extras. The hand held camera shooting style offers the opportunity to capture details and genuine background elements that enforce the ?documentary? atmosphere of the movie?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

ദി ഹൌസ് മെയിഡ്

The Housemaid(2010)
Cannes official selection 2010
Dir:Sang-soo Im
Country:South Korea

Eun-yi, a middle-aged divorcee, is hired as an upper class family housemaid. But soon enough, master of the house Hoon takes advantage of his social position by slipping into her sheets. Hoon's visits become frequent and Byung-sik, an old housemaid, reports the affair to Hae-ra's mother, Mi-hee, who plots to give Hae-ra the control over her husband. Soon Eun-yi miraculously becomes pregnant and wants to keep the baby. This is discovered by the family and she's forced to have an abortion by Mi-hee despite Eun-yi's plea to let her keep the baby and leave the house. Mi-hee's plot backfires when Hoon scrutinizes her for terminating his child, even if that child is conceived illegitimately. Her forced abortion turns Eun-yi's mental condition for the worst and she decides to take the matter into her own hands.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

എ തൌസന്റ് യിഎര്സ് ഓഫ് ഗുഡ് പ്രയേര്സ്

A Thousand years Of Good Prayers(2007)
Dir;Wayne Wang

Wayne Wang's intimate drama A Thousand Years of Good Prayers stars Henry O as Mr. Shi, a Chinese man who, after the death of his wife, decides to travel to the United States in order to see his estranged daughter for the first time in over a decade. Their time together is awkward at first, seeing each other only at dinner when he cooks for her. Shi spends his days taking in the strange culture, improving his language skills, and making a friend in an Iranian woman. Eventually his persistent attempts to forge a connection with his daughter lead to some buried issues bursting forth between the pair.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

ദി ഗോസ്റ്റ് റൈറ്റര്‍

The Ghost Writer(2010)
Dir:Roman Polanski

An unremarkable ghost-writer has landed a lucrative contract to redact the memoirs of Adam Lang, the former UK Prime Minister. After dominating British politics for years, Lang has retired with his wife to the USA. He lives on an island, in luxurious, isolated premises complete with a security detail and a secretarial staff. Soon, Adam Lang gets embroiled in a major scandal with international ramifications that reveals how far he was ready to go in order to nurture UK's "special relationship" with the USA. But before this controversy has started, before even he has closed the deal with the publisher, the ghost-writer gets unmistakable signs that the turgid draft he is tasked to put into shape inexplicably constitutes highly sensitive material

എര്‍ത്ത് ആന്‍ഡ്‌ ആഷെസ്

Earth and Ashes (2004) Khakestar-o-khak

Days after his village is destroyed in a bombing raid, Dastaguir (Abdul Ghani) and his five-year-old grandson Yacine (Jawan Mard Homayoun) jump from the back of a pickup truck and take their seats at a desert crossroads, where they wait and wait for a ride to a nearby mine. Dastaguir is charged with the horrifying task of notifying his son that the young man's wife and mother are dead and that his son, Yacine, is now deaf. Dastaguir is worried for his son's sanity and is plagued by memories of his daughter-in-law's shaming, which he was unable to prevent.

ദി എയര്‍ ഐ ബ്രീത്ത്

The Air I Breathe(2007)
Dir:Jieho Lee
Country:Mexico | USA

"The Chinese proverb that all emotions are intertwined, and so are people, is depicted in The Air I Breathe, using four very diverse characters from very diverse worlds, known only by the emotions they represent. The story starts off with Happiness (Forest Whitaker), a lonely banker who realizes he has let life pass him by until he decides to take chances, much like his mysterious client, Pleasure (Brendan Fraser). What Happiness doesn't know is that Pleasure is the lead henchman to a gangster named Fingers (Andy Garcia). Happiness overhears co-workers talk about a sure bet at a horse race and decides to bet more than he has, and so ends up owing Fingers. Meanwhile, Fingers wins a contract to represent popular pop singer Sorrow (Sarah Michelle Gellar), and she turns suicidal when she finds out he is her new manager. Then she takes an interest in Pleasure. And in another story, Love (Kevin Bacon) is frantically searching for a rare blood type to save his old girlfriend (Julie Delpy) from a snake bite. It just so happens Sorrow has the type Love is looking for. Finally, Fingers' self-absorbed nephew Tony (Emile Hirsch) is flying into town and he just wants to have fun; Fingers assigns a reluctant Pleasure to the task. (...)

First-time director/co-writer Jieho Lee makes a superb debut with an A-list cast and a compelling story. Even though it has the feel of an ancient Chinese proverb, The Air I Breathe is set in a Western city (in actuality it was shot in Mexico City) and is reminiscent of The Wizard of Oz: Sorrow as Dorothy, blithely seeking her career; Love as the Scarecrow; Pleasure as the heartless Tin Man; and Happiness as the Cowardly Lion. Fingers' role is not only both the good and bad witches, he is also the Great and Powerful Oz as well, who manipulates their lives, but ultimately has no power at all. Lee tosses in subtle filmic references to his movie influences, but the over-the-top third act takes away from the fine subtleties he sets up early in the film." (Mike Szymanski)

Friday, July 16, 2010



If there is any sign of progress that our troubled age can boast, it is that slavery is no longer legal anywhere in the world. However, there are many places where it is still practiced. This film concerns the trials and tribulations of one Iranian boy and his sister who are abducted from the streets when they become separated briefly from their parents. The boy is sold to a band of smugglers, who adds him to their troupe of human donkeys; the slaves' job is to sneak across the border bearing contraband items. Since they outnumber the border guards, the majority of the hundreds of slaves get through each time, ensuring a tidy profit for their keepers. The girl is destined for a grimmer fate; dressed in silks, she is to be the plaything for a Saudi prince. With the help of a new friend, the boy escapes and risks everything to rescue his sister.

ഷി, എ ചൈനീസ്‌

Dir:Xiaolu Guo

This is the story of Mei, a young woman on a trip from East to West after her escape from her provincial Chinese village. Beginning in Chongqing and a disastrous factory job, Mei soon heads out for London and a marriage to an older man where her entrapment begins anew. (Pusan International Film Festival)

This international film festival award winner did not disappoint me, not particularly impressive but still inspiring. The film is a beautiful and delicate work, revolving the story of a Chinese girl who moved from one place to another and tried to pursue something invisible and uncatchable. I read Xiaolu Guo's books before, and it is quite obvious to me that she truly got talent in portraying and conveying the sense of loneliness deep inside the hearts of modern people. I love movies, every movie to me is a unique journey to different places. And this time Xiaolu Guo took me travelling from city to city, letting me have reflections on my own identity and a thorough thinking of what I am running after. The film covers quite a lot of topics, from love to hate, discussing what really matters to us, what a life we are looking for. Having the story developing in a believable way is a tribute to the director and actors. Huang Lu gave a solid performance this time, successfully making the character alive in audience's mind.It is a film about people and people, about people and city.
Won Golden Leopard at Locarno International Film Festival 2009

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Tony Gatlif (born as Michel Dahmani on September 10, 1948 in Algiers, Algeria) is a French film director of 'Gypsy' ethnicity who also works as a screenwriter, composer, actor, and producer.

After a childhood in Algiers, Gatlif arrived in France in 1960 following the Algerian War of Independence. Gatlif struggled for years to break into the film industry, playing in several theatrical productions until directing his first film, La Tête en ruine, in 1975. He followed it with the 1979 La Terre au ventre, a story of the Algerian War of Independence.

Since the 1981 Corre, gitano, Gatlif's work has been focused on the Roma people of Europe, from whom he partially traces his descent.

After making Gaspard et Robinson in 1990, Gatlif spent 1992 and 1993 shooting Latcho Drom, which was awarded numerous prizes. This feature-length musical film, often mislabelled as a documentary, deals with gypsy culture throughout the world around the theme of their music and dance. For Vincent Ostria, then journalist at the Cahiers du Cinéma, it was "the most genuine film of the year (1993 editor's note)." A year later, Gatlif brought the world of the author J. M. G. Le Clézio (pen-name) to the screen in Mondo (1994).

His 2004 film Exils, won the Best Director Award at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival. His film Transylvania also premiered at Cannes in May 2006.


  1. Korkoro (2009)
    ... aka "Freedom" - Canada (English title)
  2. Transylvania (2006)
  3. Exiles (2004)
    ... aka "Exils" - France (original title)
  4. Visions of Europe (2004) (segment "Paris by Night")
  5. Swing (2002/I)
  6. Vengo (2000)
    ... aka "I Come" - USA (festival title)
  7. Je suis né d'une cigogne (1999)
  8. The Crazy Stranger (1997)
    ... aka "Gadjo dilo" - Romania (original title)
  9. Mondo (1995)
  10. Lucumi, l'enfant rumbeiro de Cuba (1995)
  11. Latcho Drom (1993)
  12. Gaspard et Robinson (1990)
  13. Pleure pas my love (1989)
  14. The Way Out (1986)
    ... aka "Rue du Départ" - France (original title)
  15. Les princes (1983)
  16. Corre, gitano (1982)
  17. La terre au ventre (1979)
  18. La tête en ruines (1975)

Description: The film takes the viewer on a journey west, from India to Spain, with stops along the way, to dramatize Romany's nomadic culture. This journey takes place over a year's time, from summer through fall and winter to spring. Gatlif holds his camera on the elemental essentials of this life: water, the wheel, fire, beasts of burden and of sustenance, colorful clothes, jewelry, musical instruments, song, and dance. Throughout, via song and dance, young and old celebrate, embody, and teach the cultural values of family, journey, love, separateness, and persecution. From imdb written by jhailey jhailey@hotmail.com


Synopsis: Is it the kitschy film equivalent of a Keene painting? Or a deeply felt allegory of innocence betrayed by an unfeeling world? Tony Gatlif's film ''Mondo,'' based on a story by J. M. G. Le Clezio, is a gorgeously photographed tear-jerker that hovers on the line between the icky and the profound. At the very least, the movie, which follows the perambulations of a homeless Gypsy boy named Mondo (Ovidiu Balan) through the streets of Nice, France, succeeds in being a ravishing travel brochure for the Mediterranean resort city.
With his trusting brown eyes, tousled hair, and red-hooded sweatshirt, dear little Mondo is the quintessence of ragamuffin adorability drenched in pathos. And when the lost little boy approaches selected strangers and sweetly asks if they would like to adopt him, your heart goes out to him.
On his first night after wandering the streets of Nice, Mondo, whose origins are left unspecified, climbs a tree in an orchard and sleeps until he is awakened by a dogcatcher's truck. Immediately he leaps from his perch and skitters into the darkness like a frightened animal.
For the next week or two, the 10-year-old child roams the city's winding cobblestone streets nimbly foraging for food in outdoor markets, accepting handouts and making friends. Giordan (Maurice Maurin), a kindly fisherman, scratches out the letters of the alphabet on rocks and teaches the illiterate Mondo how to spell his name. Dadi (Jerry Smith), a craggy-faced beggar who carries around a pair of pet doves, tells Mondo stories and introduces him to a street magician (Philippe Petit). In return for collecting coins during outdoor performances, the magician teaches Mondo how to walk a tightwire. After a drenching rainstorm leaves the little waif shivering and feverish, he is sheltered and nursed back to health by Thi-Chin (Pierette Fesch), a wise old Vietnamese woman...


Description: During a Romanian winter, a young Parisian named Stephane arrives in hopes of tracking down a famous folk singer. He becomes the surrogate son of an old drunk, Izidor, and becomes a curiosity to the villagers who name him the "crazy stranger." Speaking only a few words of Romanian, he communicates through a young peasant woman named Sabina. Just when Stephane and Sabine begin to fall in love, things turn nasty with the return of Izidor's son Adriani, a Gypsy Mafioso just out of jail.

Je suis né d'une cigogne (1999) aka Children of the Stork

Description: Acclaimed director Tony Gatlif spins this wildly anarchic tale about three young punks, a bevy of cinematic inside jokes, and a talking stork. Otto and Louna (Romain Duris and Rona Hartner), along with their brainy pal Ali (Ouassini Embarek), rescue a wounded stork who turns out to be an illegal immigrant and a deserter from the Algerian army. The car-thieving, gun-toting crew helps the bird to freedom while rubber-stamping new films with such epithets as "tripe" and shooting someone for insulting the good name of Jean Vigo.

Vengo (2000) aka I Come

Caco is a proud, handsome man, head of a family, and very powerful in the local community. Yet he has been torn to pieces by the death of his beloved daughter. He constantly visits her grave, weeps silently at her photo and has transferred all his wildly protective love and attention onto his mentally challenged nephew, Diego. It seems that Diego's father, Caco's brother, is in hiding after having killed a man from the Caravaca family, who are equally powerful in the community. They are looking for vengeance and have come to Caco for justice. When he refuses to betray his brother, the Caravacas grow impatient. When they realize they are getting nowhere, they threaten to kill Diego. Despite his fierce pride, Caco eventually realizes that the cycle of killing and revenge must be broken. But how can he achieve this and protect everyone he loves?


Max is on holiday at his grandmother's place in the Elzas in France. He's fascinated by the guitarplay of gipsy Miraldo. For writing letters to the social security institutes he gets guitarlessons from Miraldo. He becomes friends with Swing, a boyish gipsygirl, who shows him the nature and takes him to exuberant mucic evenings


Twenty-five countries, twenty-five visions from respected film directors from each of the respective countries that form the enlarged European Community. Each director would be asked to give a personal vision of current or future life in this coming cultural melting pot.The length of each film was set to five minutes.The initial idea came from commissioning editor Meinolf Zurhorst from ZDF- Germany/ARTE - France and the project was then conceived together with producer Mikael Olsen from the film production company Zentropa from Denmark.


French-Algerian filmmaker Tony Gatlif wrote and directed this tale of a voyage of unexpected discoveries. Zano (Romain Duris) and Naima (Lubna Azabal) are a pair of footloose bohemian lovers living in Paris who decide to pull up roots and travel to Algeria, even though they don't know the language and are unfamiliar with the cultural traditions. Zano and Naima take the scenic route, traveling from town to town along the way by train, by bus or by foot, depending on their mood and financial circumstances, and en route they encounter Leila (Leila Makhlouf) and Habib (Habib Cheik), an Algerian couple traveling to France. While amused by Zano and Naima's naiveté, Leila gives them a letter of introduction to her family, and after a long journey they eventually arrive in Algeria and are befriended by Leila's brother Said (Zouhir Gacem). With Said in tow, Zano and Naima explore the city and at once discover a land that fascinates them even as they realize just how far away from its culture they truly are.
Exils was screened in competition at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival.

Transylvania (2006)

When impulsive dervish Zingarina (Asia Argento) arrives in the mysterious backwaters of Transylvania, she has but one thing on her mind: to find her long-lost lover and travelling musician, Milan (Marco Castoldi, singer in Italian glam rock group Bluvertigo). After trawling the various clubs and bars with her friend Marie (Amira Casar, The Last Mistress), she eventually finds him, only for Milan to reject her. Totally distraught, Zingarina cuts herself loose from Marie, her belongings and everything she holds dear before stumbling into a series of events and encounters that threaten to send her spiralling over the edge of sanity. Plunged into the confetti, drunken revelry and thrumming festivities of a Romany carnival, she emerges in a daze only to be lured ever deeper into the rolling hills of the Romanian countryside. It is here that she meets the enigmatic Tchangalo (Birol Unel), a travelling trader who takes Zingarina under his wing. Together they embark on a chaotic road trip upon which they indulge in wild bouts of gypsy folk dance, cutthroat roadside bartering and long nights of heady passion.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Sharunas Bartas

Sharunas Bartas
Šarūnas BARTAS (1964-) – Lithuanian film director, one of the most outstanding representatives of cinematographers. His contacts with cinema began in 1985 with the TV serial “Sixteen-years-olds” (dir. Raimondas Banionis), where Bartas played one of the main roles. He is a graduate of the Moscow Film School (VGIK). He made his directorial debut with his diploma film, the short documentary “Tofolaria” and mediocre-length film (which called spectators’ attention) “For the Remembrance of Last Day” (1989), where the real personages are “acting themselves” according to the principles of feature film. The author further “purified” the specific cinema language in the full-length film “Three Days” (1991), which was awarded the prize of oicumene committee at Berlin Film Festival (for the problems, the importance of the theme, the profundity) in 1992, and FIPRESCI Prize for the originality of the style, the significance of the theme, the beauty of pictures. This is a story (almost without plot) about three young Lithuanians visiting Kaliningrad-Karaliautchus-Kionigsberg – a moribund, outraged town. The traditional dramaturgy is ignored in later Bartas’ films, as well: “The Corridor” (1994, it was shown at Berlin Film Festival), “Few of Us " (1995, shown in Cannes, in the program "Other Point”), “Home” (1997, shown in the same program in Cannes). All of them are works of free structure, minimalistic form, philosophical associations. The works of Bartas are not well-known and analysed in Lithuania, but they have a small, faithful round of admirers in the West.

1. Tofolaria (1986)
2. In memory of the day passed by
3. Three days
4. The corridoor
5. Few of us
6. The House
7. Freedom
8. Visions of europe seg:Childrens loose nothing
9. Seven invisible men
Seven Invisible Men (2005)

Description: The story is set in the south of the ex-USSR, in Crimea. The characters are outcasts. Their hostility to society makes them want to flee both the law and themselves.
Their flight becomes a journey that leads to an inevitable clash with the world, which they can neither change nor rebuild as they see fit.

Visions of Europe (2004)

The idea was simple:
Twenty-five countries, twenty-five visions from respected film directors from each of the respective countries that form the enlarged European Community. Each director would be asked to give a personal vision of current or future life in this coming cultural melting pot.The length of each film was set to five minutes.The initial idea came from commissioning editor Meinolf Zurhorst from ZDF- Germany/ARTE - France and the project was then conceived together with producer Mikael Olsen from the film production company Zentropa from Denmark.

Freedom (2000)

A drug trafficking operation fails and two men and a local girl are left ashore on the Moroccan Coast. They wander wordlessly into the inland desert in search of food, water and shelter. When the two men go their separate ways, the girl is left to follow one of them deeper into the abandoned landscapes. Although they share no common language, a tranquil bond grows between the girl and the man she chooses.

A Casa (1997) aka The House

The House was reviewed a little less favorably than Bartas' earlier films (regular cinemagoers having given up long ago), but personally I found it his most beautiful film yet.

Bartas does tend to repeat himself, it's true. Reviewers love his grim shadowscapes, shot in B/W, of anonymous, more or less lonely, drunk or disheveled men and women stumbling through a haze of cold forests, smoky houses and city wastelands in seemingly arbitrarily fashion - but even they get, I assume, weary of it.

(Contrary to what you might think based on the above, there is nothing gothic about Bartas' depressed realities; and he himself insists, whenever somebody dares suggest a socio-political interpretation, there's nothing Soviet about it either. It's existential. No matter, to me his 'The Corridor' still serves as a brilliant visual summary of the comfortless, hopeless human condition of the former Soviet Union).

But The House, the way I experienced it in any case, showed a whole new step. Not just because there was some color. But because abstract, surrealist scenes of indulgence - eating, caressing - and a suggested presence of tales about the house were added to the mere stumbling in the dark, making the film sensual, almost, without ever lessening the impact of how lost (these) people seem.

More than that. Having suspended, first, your urge to recognize or follow any story line, then, even, your urge to formulate any analysis or interpretation of the images he's providing you with - by the time you're just looking at what you see and *feeling* - suddenly you find yourself watching at a fire outside, on the ice in the lake, and there is a glow, and even the sound of unexplained fireworks, and although it's still lonely, it's *pretty*, and you - well, I was, in any case - are moved, sincerely moved.

Few of Us (1996)

Description: A young woman (Katerina Golubeva, who appears in nearly all of Bartas’s films) arrives by helicopter in a remote village of Siberia inhabited by the Tofalars, a nomadic Asian people who were forced to settle in this wilderness in the early part of the twentieth century. She spends her wordless days amongst the silent villagers, whose nomadic spirit seems frozen in their motionless gazes; has a dangerous encounter; and then, presumably, leaves again by helicopter. We never learn the reason for her visit, nor the nature of her connections to these people, but something of consequence occurs to her and to them, after which life seems to resume its rhythms.

In an intriguing long take static shot of the oppressively barren Siberian frontier, a converted tank (turned off-road passenger utility vehicle) traverses a rugged terrain that seemingly bisects a rural, indigenous village, disappears in a spray of displaced mud as it sinks partially out of frame into a trench, then momentarily re-emerges to continue on its plodding journey, only to become imperceptible from the horizon once again as it descends into a series of depressions on the gravel road. Watching this sequence (and film) again within the added context of having also seen Twentynine Palms, I couldn't help but think that Bruno Dumont must somehow have been influenced by this unstructured and glacially paced, yet lucidly pure, challenging, and entrancingly reductive film by Lithuanian filmmaker Sharunas Bartas, a feature that he developed from his earlier diploma film, Tolofaria on the nomadic, indigenous tribe.

On the surface is the casting of perennial Bartas actress, Yekaterina Golubeva, whose handsome, angular features and enigmatic opacity articulate ennui, despair, and longing in their most elemental form through her abstract, disconnected gaze. Navigating through the barren, alien terrain of the Sayan mountains where Tolofar nomads still lead a primitive, threadbare existence (after she seemingly falls from the sky, having been deposited by a helicopter onto the top of a rock quarry), the adrift young woman takes up shelter at a way station, isolated by language and culture from the daily rituals of the Tolofarians, until an act of violence causes her to leave the village and continue her wandering - figuratively disappearing into the landscape in an exquisite long take that matches the earlier shot of the converted tank laboriously making its way through the trenches of the inhospitable pass. It is this sense of interminable journey through a vast, unknown landscape, coupled by a reinforcing image of (apparent) visual dissolution from that landscape, that seems to particularly coincide with Dumont's expressed intent to create a kind of road movie that "erases" the characters in order to convey tone and sensation solely by the abstract filming of landscape (as he explained in the Q&A for Twentynine Palms). Moreover, Bartas incorporates an unanticipated (and even more shocking) secondary act of unprovoked violence in the film's final sequences, a deflection of narrative trajectory that is similarly incorporated (though with mixed results) in Dumont's film. However, what inevitably makes the maddeningly paced Few of Us, nevertheless, a strangely transfixing and indelible experience is the ethnographic realism that pervades its stark, rigorous imagery - its ability to trace an austere and moribund cultural history through impassive, weather-worn faces, perpetual transience, and silent ritual - to capture the image of lost souls that lay beneath the vacant, anonymous gaze, trapped in a vast wasteland of human desolation.

Koridorius (1995) aka The Corridor

Description: Lithuanian director Sharunas Bartas belongs to a group of Eastern European filmmakers who for more than a decade have chronicled the ruined lives and waning spirits of societies in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet empire. Like the Russian Alexander Sokurov and the Hungarian Béla Tarr [and the German Fred Kelemen, ed.], he makes films about inarticulate loss, about people who can neither free themselves from the past nor look forward to the future, who are so far beyond hopelessness and despair that verbal communication seems superfluous. In Bartas’s films, aesthetics fuses with ideology: by eliminating dialogue and reducing his cinematic vocabulary primarily to faces, gestures, and landscapes, the already minimalist narrative situations he portrays — however rooted in present-day reality — become archetypal, universal. The very titles of the films evoke the general rather than the particular: Three Days, Few of Us, The Corridor, The House, Freedom.
Although these are challenging works, viewers who give themselves over to the spare lyricism they offer are rewarded with a unique space for contemplation and affective resonance.

Bartas described his starkly poetic second feature as "a film about the extremes of exhaustion caused by loneliness, aggression, and love" in the post-Soviet experience. Set amongst the melancholy inhabitants of a rundown apartment building in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, the film unfolds as an associative collage of memory fragments, shards of experience, and chance events amongst a number of the building’s inhabitants — all connected by the metaphor of the corridor, a passage between "yesterday and today, containing many doors." As in the director’s other works, narrative logic is eschewed in favor of the poetry of loss and desire, here made even more abstract by the haunting black-and-white cinematography.

Trys dienos (1991) aka Three Days

In this first feature by Bartas, two young men take a trip from their village to Kaliningrad, the postwar Russian city built on the remains of Prussian Königsberg. In the gray industrial landscapes there, they meet a young woman, stroll through town, stand around, search the harbor front unsuccessfully for a place to make love, then part. The words they exchange reveal hardly anything about them, their body language not much more. While what we see is uneventful, Bartas, like Sokurov, uses indeterminate ambient sound that hints at meaningful social interaction occurring elsewhere, offscreen. In the minimal, poetic world of Bartas, life is always somewhere other than where the camera is.

Praejusios dienos atminimui (1990) aka In Memory of the Day Passed By

"Sharunas Bartas is the kind of producer that makes movies not many might understand, and I am not sure he belongs to the very restricted set of the happy fews himself. I for myself do neither. But you cannot blame him, his movies are exceptional when you consider that the average number of actors performing in his productions is 2.1, including the crew. The recurrent theme - a man carrying a dead dog in the boat, beyond any doubt one of the deepest conceptions of Freudian frustration of solitude - and Bartas is the first one to say that we, especially the movie viewer that watches his movies, all feel very lonely."

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Paul Klee: The Silence of the Angel (2005)
Dir:Michael Gaumnitz

This DVD is a visual journey into the work of a major painter of the 20th century by Michael Gaumnitz, an award-winning documentarian of artists and sculptors. Like Kandinsky and Delaunay, Klee revolutionized the traditional concepts of composition and color. By listening to the heartbeat of nature, exploring the science of his time, and studying music and poetry, Klee created his own artistic language, which questioned the nature of form, line, and color. He moved beyond figural abstraction to capture the very essence of movement in his painting. Using the writings of Paul Klee, as well as the events of his life and career, Gaumnitz presents the pictorial universe of a

Rarely does one come across a biographical film of an artist with such a beautiful melding of music (piano), color (the paintings) and narrative (historical photographs, films and voice overlay). Gaumnitz's film shows Paul Klee's etchings and paintings in a biographical context with references to his musical and writing talents, his marriage and fatherhood, as well as his friendships, his professorial roles and the effect of Hitler's Germany on him and his work. Gaumnitz shows the influence of Klee's travels to Tunisia and Italy on his use of color and on the subject matter of his paintings. A wonderful segment illustrates a lesson from one of Klee's Bauhaus lectures seeking to achieve the illusion of movement through the use of a circle and a line. Klee's interests in physics and nature and his very accomplished musicianship helped shape his work as a painter. While Klee's work has always held a special appeal for me, Gaumnitz's film helped explain Klee's work and has made it even more interesting. This film is highly recommended for anyone with an interest in Paul Klee and his work. (Amazon Comment)