Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Seawards Journey (2003)

Seawards Journey (2003)
Director: Guillermo Casanova 
Country: Uruguay-Argentina

It's a Sunday morning 1963 in a bar in a town of Minas. Rataplan, the sweeper, Quintana, the undertaker, Seven and Three Ten, the seller of lottery Aquino and her dog, waiting for Rodriguez, who's going to take you to see the sea for the first time.The Basque, his foreman, reluctantly accompanies them. Fresh from the capital, an elegant Unknown joins the entourage at the last minute. Along the journey, the sun, in the ramshackle truck Rodriguez, the six characters will reveal his particular way of living and feeling surrounded by green landscapes of the mountains to the coast and the unknown sea ...
The trip to the Sea is based on the story of the same name of the author Juan José Morosoli Minuano, first published in 1952. Uruguayan director Guillermo Casanova (with the collaboration of Julio Cesar Castro "Juceca" in the dialogues) made this kind of "road movie" Creole on six characters starting from a small town in the interior to meet the sea.
For the filming, the team consisting of about 50 people, including technicians and actors, he moved to the city of Minas, the capital of the Department of Lavalleja to 122 km from Montevideo on Route 8.In the first four weeks were filmed scenes involving landscapes Lavalleja saws and locations in the cities of Mines and Aiguá Maldonado, 153 km from Montevideo with reconstruction of the Route 13 era (the film is set in 1963) . In the last week were shot in Atlantis Mdeo 45 km. Route Interbalnearia, Costa Azul and Parque del Plata, the scenes of the resort and the beach.
The journey to the sea was one of the awards in 1999 FONA also support Ibermedia Program in 2001. It is the first feature film by Guillermo Casanova, and it has won the top prize at the 29th Latin American Film Festival of Huelva and a special prize of the Official College of Architects of Huelva.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The First Grader (2010)

The First Grader (2010)
 Director: Justin Chadwick
 Country:  Kenya
Runtime: 103 min

In a small, remote, mountaintop primary school in the Kenyan bush, hundreds of children are jostling for a chance for the free education newly promised by the Kenyan government. One applicant causes astonishment when he knocks on the door of the school. He is Maruge (Oliver Litondo), an old Mau Mau veteran in his 80s, who is desperate to learn to read at this late stage of his life. He fought for the liberation of his country and now feels he must have the chance at the education so long denied—even if it means sitting in a classroom alongside six-year-old children.
Moved by his passionate plea, head teacher Jane Obinchu (Naomie Harris) supports his struggle to gain admission, and together they face fierce opposition from parents and officials who don't want to waste a precious school place on such an old man.
Full of vitality and humor, the film explores the remarkable relationships Maruge builds with classmates some 80 years his junior. Through Maruge's journey, we are taken back to the shocking untold story of British colonial rule 50 years earlier, when Maruge fought for the freedom of his country and eventually ended up in the extreme and harsh conditions of the British detention camps.
The First Grader is a heartwarming and inspiring true story of one man's fight for what he believes is his right in order to overcome the burdens of his past. It is a triumphant testimony to the transforming force of education.

Pumzi (2009)

Pumzi (2009)
Director:Wanuri Kahiu
Country: South Africa | Kenya
Runtime:21 min


Pumzi, Kenya’s first science fiction film, imagines a dystopian future 35 years after water wars have torn the world apart. East African survivors of the ecological devastation remain locked away in contained communities, but a young woman in possession of a germinating seed struggles against the governing council to bring the plant to Earth’s ruined surface.
Filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu takes her sci-fi short <cite>Pumzi</cite> to Sundance this year.<br /><em>Photo: Chris King</em>
Filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu takes her sci-fi short Pumzi to Sundance this year.
Photo: Chris King
The short film, which will compete in screen at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, “started off as a small script about what kind of world we would have to be if we had to buy fresh air,” writer/director Wanuri Kahiu told Wired.com in a Skype interview.
Like recent standouts District 9 and Sleep Dealer, the short film taps into Third World realities and spins them forward for dramatic effect. But to produce Pumzi, Kahiu looked to the past, as well as the future.
She researched classic 1950s films to create her movie’s futuristic sets, comparing the processes of matte painting and rear-screen projection with indigenous African artwork.
“We already have a tradition of tapestries and functional art and things like that, that loan a backdrop for films,” Kahiu said.
Made with grant money from Focus Features’ Africa First short film program, the Goethe Institut and the Changamoto arts fund, Pumzi will share the screen with two other films as part of Sundance’s New African Cinema program.
Mentors from Focus Features introduced Kahiu to South African producers, including Simon Hansen, who worked with Neill Blomkamp on Alive in Joburg, the predecessor to last year’s sci-fi smash District 9. Kahiu said she hopes Blomkamp’s blockbuster will attract attention to other African films.

Kenya, frequently used for location shooting, boasts experienced crews but little funding. “You just hustle,” Kahiu said. “There is no set funding option. You borrow against banks, you do anything that you can to make your film.”
Distribution is another difficulty. While Kahiu hopes to offer Pumzi online, the Kenyan infrastructure is too underdeveloped to effectively distribute the film in her country. Meanwhile, directors in the country have been watching the prolific film community in neighboring Nigeria for inspiration.
Nollywood has its own distribution network and Kenya is slowly copying and picking up that very grass-roots distribution route,” Kahiu said.
Focus Features granted Kahiu complete control of her film. After producing commissions for African networks and retaining no rights, she helped create Dada Productions. Her first feature-length movie, From a Whisper, a dramatization built around the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam, garnered five African Academy Movie Awards.
Kahiu’s future plans include expanding Pumzi to feature length as well as nurturing her local film community.
“I would like to work and build an industry, so that everyone walks away well-paid, with great hours,” Kahiu said. “Just a humane society, of sorts.”

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Blood in the Mobile

Blood in the Mobile
 Director: Frank Piasechi Poulsen
country: Denmark
runtime: 82 minutes

A dramatic document about an impossible mission of the Danish documentary filmmaker, Frank Piasecki Poulsen, and his search for the carefully hidden dark secrets of the highly civilized Western society. A dynamic documentary style turns this film into a suspenseful thriller whose main character is the author himself. Extremely bravely, exposing himself to drastic risks and dangers, and with a surprising persistence, Frank Piasecki Poulsen follows the roads of the blood minerals that are the essential material for cell phone components. Unmasking hypocrisy of the leading European multinational companies, the author discovers a shocking mechanism of the contemporary society. Commercials, as representations of the ideal beauty, incessantly try to convince us that the modern hi-tech merchandise has been created in completely controlled processes that guarantee both environmental and our own safety. Aiming to awake our conscience and critical thinking, this film directly discovers that the situation is often drastically different. A magnificent example of complete devotion and commitment, this documentary takes us from one part of the world to another, from the most dangerous dark depths of Africa, to the highest pinnacles of the developed Europe.

Selector's word: I think about it every time I take my cell phone. It is a terrible thought. Provoked by this film that is such an achievement by the director. Courageous it is from the side of the director, to be admired, it is far beyond normal investigative journalism, it is made with a heart and a true indignation. Sometimes interviews, sometimes visually and emotionally stunning sequences when he goes down into hell.

Frank Piasecki Poulsen

Graduated at The National Film School of Denmark in 2001. Before entering the Film School he worked at a local TV network in Copenhagen. After graduation, he have been working as director, photographer and scriptwriter, primarily for DR TV. The themes of his work include youth, politics and third world issues. Therefore he has travelled all around the world – especially to Africa. Works on establishing a departmant for international documentary production in the production company “Koncern Film og TV A/S”.


DISOBEDIENCE.DK (Ulydighed.dk), 2002
SEDUCER'S FALL (Forforerens Fald), 2008
BLOOD IN THE MOBILE (Blod i Mobilen), 2010

Late Bloomers (2011)

Late Bloomers (2011)
 Director: Julie Gavras
 Country: France | Belgium 
Runtime:88 minutes

 This is the story of Adam and Mary, a man and a woman who are deeply in love whilst everything conspires to drive them apart. In spite of their feelings for one another, they are compelled to separate so that they can later come back together and form a harmonious couple. Contrary to what you might think, Adam and Mary are not your usual twenty or thirty somethings. They are pushing sixty and yet still have something to learn about life and love...

Friday, December 23, 2011

He Who Must Die (1957)

He Who Must Die (1957)
Dir: Jules Dassin
Country: France
Runtime: 122 min 

In the 1920s, with Greece is under Turkish occupation, the inhabitants of a small town are making preparations for the annual Passion play.  Manolios, a shepherd with a crippling stammer is cast as Jesus, whilst a prostitute is given the role of Mary Magdalene.  The town is visited by a convoy of refugees from a neighbouring village which was sacked by the Turks.  Fearing that any show of kindness towards these refugees will upset the delicate peace with the Turks, the town’s patriarch has them driven away.  The idealistic Manolios manages to convince some of the townspeople to have pity on the refugees, and one man, Michelis, allows them to stay on land inherited from his father.  Furious, the patriarch persuades his Turkish masters to deal with Manolios and his misguided followers…

 Celui qui doit mourir was the second film that director Jules Dassin made in France – after the influential noir masterpiece Du rififi chez les homes (1955).  At the time, Dassin was effectively forced into exile in Europe to escape anti-Communist persecution that was rampant across the United States in the 1950s.  Despite being one of his lesser known films, Celui qui doit mourir stands as one of Dassin’s most ambitious and humanist works – a powerful, intensely ironic retelling of the Gospel in 1920s Greece, based on novel “Christ Recrucified” by Nikos Kazantzakis.

The film features some notable actors of the period, including Jean Servais, Maurice Ronet and Gert Fröbe, as well as Dassin’s wife-to-be, Melina Mercouri.  However, it is Pierre Vaneck who is most memorable, as the sympathetic hero destined for the (metaphorical) crucifix.  Dassin combines his own natural film noir style with some shades of neo-realism, making this a pretty hard-edged, unsentimental morality drama (with a few suggestions of black comedy along the way).   The moral of the film is that human beings never learn and are destined to repeat the errors of the past, but there is also more than a hint of anti-Church mockery.  The film’s central irony – which Dassin draws out so well – is that it is those who are most familiar with the teachings of Christ who end up rejecting and then executing a second Christ.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Monk (2011) Le moine

The Monk (2011) Le moine
Director: Dominik Moll
Country: Spain | France
Runtime: 1 hour, 36 minutes

 A well respected monk, Capucino Ambrosio compromises himself with his carnal lust for a pupil, a woman disguised as a monk, she tempts the monk to transgress and he is soon found desiring another, the innocent Antonia. Matilda uses magic spells to help the monk in his pursuit of Antonia, whom he later rapes and kills. It later emerges that Matilda is an instrument of Satan in female form. Focus also is also shone on Antonia's previous relationship with Lorenzo, whose sister is tortured by hyprocritical nuns for her own relationship. Returning to Ambrosio, he is delivered to the Inquisition; escaping only by selling his soul to the devil. The devil prevents Ambrosio's final repentance, and informs Ambrosio that Antonia is the monk's sister.

Black Butterflies (2011)

Black Butterflies (2011)
Director: Paula van der Oest
Country: Germany | Netherlands | South Africa
Runtime: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Ingrid Jonker lived an impossible contradiction, writing heart-rending poetry about being a woman of privilege living under apartheid rule, all the while dealing with pressure from the head of the censorship board, a man who also happened to be her father. “Black Butterflies” is the story of how Jonker, a woman with unending sexual cravings and a noted mental imbalance, managed to cope with this dichotomy. In the opening, the least poetic of a number of unconvincing metaphors writ large, Jonker is saved from drowning by handsome publisher Jack Cope, an older gentleman who immediately falls for the leggy writer. What he doesn’t know is that her self-abuse, due to living under the rule of her oppressive, emotionally-abusive father, has fractured her personality. She is not the creator she becomes when she puts pen to paper, but rather a little girl seeking stimulation (which she chases in a number of unavailable men) and hoping for the approval of her father (an impossibility).

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Life, Above All (2010)

Life, Above All
Director: Oliver Schmitz
Country: South Africa
Runtime: 100 min

"Life, Above All" is a emotional and universal drama about a young girl (stunningly performed by first-time-actress Khomotso Manyaka) who fights the fear and shame that have poisoned her community. The film captures the enduring strength of loyalty and a courage powered by the heart. Directed by South African filmmaker Oliver Schmitz ("Mapantsula", "Paris, je t'aime"), it is based on the international award winning novel "Chanda's Secrets" by Allan Stratton. Written by Bavaria International  

Friday, December 09, 2011

The Day I Was Not Born (2010)

The Day I Was Not Born (2010)
Director:Florian Micoud Cossen
Country: Germany | Argentina

During a stopover in Buenos Aires on her way to Chile, 31-year-old Maria recognizes a nursery rhyme. Maria doesn't speak a work of Spanish, but without understanding what she is singing, she remembers the Spanish lyrics. Disturbed and thrown off course, she decides to interrupt her journey and wander through the unfamiliar city. On the phone to Germany, she tells her father, Anton, about her experience and the peculiar fascination the unfamiliar city has had for her. Two days later, Anton suddenly turns up at Maria's hotel with something to confess: Maria spent the first three years of her life in Buenos Aires during the military dictatorship at the end of the 1970s. The people she had always thought were her parents had adopted her and brought her to Germany. Father and daughter begin a journey in search of Maria's biological parents. Anton does everything he can not to lose his daughter.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

The Skin I Live In (2011)

The Skin I Live In (2011)
 Director: Pedro Almodóvar
 Country: Spain
 Runtime: 1 hour, 55 minutes

 Pedro Almodóvar's macabre suspense thriller is about an obsession that, though not exactly magnificent, has a fanatical intensity. Antonio Banderas plays a Madrid plastic surgeon, wealthy, cultured and respected; he gives brilliant lectures and research papers on advances in face-transplant surgery. Daringly, heretically, he advocates transgenic treatments from animals to toughen the skin. In his palatial home, he has a private operating theatre where he carries out experimental work on Vera, a beautiful woman he keeps prisoner, who is dressed only in a clinging gauzy, flesh-toned material and whose skin has an unnaturally smooth, flawless look. She appears to submit ecstatically to her imprisonment, but this is finally to be the cause of madness and violence. ~ Guardian

As in many of his films, family secrets are revealed through lengthy flashbacks – something forbidden to contemporary Hollywood screenwriters. There is the doppelganger motif, and the younger guy who likes partying and drugs; there are staircase scenes and scenes in which a middle-aged man watches the object of his desire, enraptured, on a large screen. And perhaps most startling, and most characteristic of all, there is Almodóvar's great theme of transsexual identity, which speaks of passion, fantasy and escape. The director himself, in various masks and guises, is present in all of this. ~ Guardian

Viva Riva! (2010)

Viva Riva! (2010)
Director: Djo Munga
Country:Democratic Republic of the Congo
Runtime: 98 min

 Riva is an operator, a man with charm and ambition in equal measure. Kinshasa is an inviting place. With petrol in short supply in DRC's capital, he and his sidekick pursue a plot to get hold of a secret cache - barrels of fuel they can sell for a huge profit. Of course they're not the only ones who want the stuff. Cesar is a ruthless, sharply dressed foreigner thriving in Kinshasa's lawless streets. A female military officer joins the fray. Even the church will betray its tenets for a piece of the action. But Riva's main nemesis is Azor, a crime boss in the classic style: big, decadent and brutal. He's not a man to mess with, but his girlfriend, Nora, may just be the most seductive woman in all of DRC. Riva catches sight of her dancing at a nightclub and it's not long before Nora matches the fuel cache as a coveted object of his lust. IMDB

Violeta (2011)

Violeta (2011)
Director: Andrés Wood
Country: Chile
Runtime:110 min

From the tent up in Regina, Violeta Parra is visited by dreams, experiences and dreams. It is alive, but perhaps she is dead, that opens up a great expectation in which we will gradually Informing their secrets, fears, frustrations and joys. Not only is this his various works, but, their lovers, their memories, their hopes, their achievements are suspended in a passionate journey through the life of Violeta Parra, with the characters that made her mourn, laugh and dream.

The Salt of Life (2011)

The Salt of Life (2011)
Director: Gianni Di Gregorio
Runtime:90 min

Gianni is sixty. He is retired but has not become lazy for all that. In fact he is a helpful fellow who gives a hand to all those who need one: shopping for his wife, walking the pretty neighbor's dog, and so on. Everybody likes Gianni, but is it for the right reasons? Doesn't his wife profit by the situation (she still works so it is only logical that Gianni do all the chores)? Isn't he subject to the excruciating whims of his rich mother?... Sure, everybody LIKES Gianni, but who LOVES him? Agreed, being kind to them, he is the ladies pet, but he does not attract them anymore. That is why, when his macho lawyer friend Alfonso blames him for not having young mistresses "like every other senior Italian male", Gianni, who is beginning to ask himself questions about what it is like to become old, starts chasing dames... Written by Guy Bellinger  

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Joanna (2010)

Joanna (2010)
Director: Feliks Falk
Country: Poland
Runtime: 1 hour, 48 minutes

Feliks Falk’s latest movie “Joanna” is a story set in the time of World War II. The main heroine’s husband had been sent to an Oflag. One day Joanna encounters a little Jewish girl in a church. Despite the risk, she decides to take care of her.

"Joanna" is an example of a true story as it reflects the behavior of thousands of the Righteous Among the Nations.

Feliks movie has enchanted the audience of 35. Polish Film Festival in Gdynia. Tadeusz Sobolewski, a film critic, gave the movie a very positive review. That is what he wrote for Gazeta Wyborcza:

Falks “Joanna” distinguishes itself with a classic structure of the plot, the main idea of which is a trap set for the main character by the fate. This movie, which takes place in Cracow, brings an uncommon element into the Polish cinema — it shows a “make-believe” life during the occupation, a life which is outwardly normal. All the positions in the General Government are filled with Poles. The main character Joanna (Urszula Grabowska), waiting in vain for a letter from her husband who is in an Oflag, gives a shelter to a little Jewish girl whose mother was caught during a round-up. Thus she becomes burdened with a secret she cannot reveal to anyone, even to her relatives. Forced by necessity, she has to cooperate with her enemies, becoming a traitor in the eyes of “her people” — just like the heroine of Has’s memorable movie “How to Be Loved”. The final, symbolic image is suggestive — in a tearful and religious manner — of the fact that sheltering little Róża was Joanna’s personal torture referring to Golgotha. However, the deeper meaning of that story is perverse and bitter: hiding the child was even more dangerous because of Joanna’s “own people”, mutually controlling the patriotic decency.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Mill and the Cross (2011)

The Mill and the Cross (2011)
 Director: Lech Majewski
 Country: Sweden | Poland
 Runtime: 1 hour, 31 minutes

 "Mill and the Cross" that is, a revolution in the cinema!The long-awaited movie theaters Lech Majewski, who is the film "adaptation" sixteenth-century painting by Peter Bruegel "The Road to Calvary".Mill and the Cross "is a unique option for cinema lovers. Probably nothing like it in the near future will not see - said it plays in the film Charlotte Rampling.
"Mill and the Cross" by Lech Majewski is a film which is set in 1564, when Bruegel painted his masterpiece. The painter shows in the last journey of Christ, but places it is not in Jerusalem, but in modern Flanders him (this is a historical region in present borders of the Netherlands, Belgium and France). Therefore, the topic of Christ's suffering artist wove the martyrdom of his countrymen persecuted for political reasons by the ruling religious and then the Spanish Inquisition there. In this way, Majewski's film is a continuation of the idea of ​​Bruegel, who in the sixteenth century - with his work - appealed for respect for others and tolerance for different views.
The film shown is the fate of several characters from the image including miller, bread carrier, a group of mothers with small children, as well as a young man who was sentenced to a cruel death by attaching it to the wheel on a pole to him zadziobały ravens. In one scene we see the cruelty of the Spanish soldiers zakopujących young woman alive. Sixteenth-century heroes' Way to Calvary "come alive in front of spectators, and the camera reveals their individual parts of the picture that appeared in the final of the whole work of Bruegel hanging on one wall of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.

 - This is an extremely successful experiment in art, which can be compared to re-invent the wheel - said with a smile playing in the movie Rutger Hauer (best remembered for her role in the movie "Blade Runner" dir. Ridley Scott). - In the movie it was, after all here is to play more than four hundred years before to connect with contemporary art film - said the actor, who as Bruegel in one of the most important scenes in the film discusses the secrets of his paintings and demonstrates his accompanying art collector (played by Michael York), that the artist is able - through pictures - stop time and the world....

 American-French art critic Michael Francis Gibson, whose essay is titled "Mill and the Cross" was inspired by Polish film director and became the basis for the screenplay for the film explains that the idea Majewski to present the image of Bruegel as a feature film, not a documentary, as he wanted at the beginning, was a surprise for him. - It seemed to me then that it is not difficult to present an image of matter, but most of all the ideas contained in the work of Bruegel - he noted.

 Detective eye Lech MajewskiDirector, screenwriter and film producer, poet, novelist and painter, as well as theater and opera director. Lech Majewski betrays the greatest secrets of his artistic activities.Guest Anne Fuksiewicz in the next release, "Season of Twos" told such about his work, how to read meanings in the paintings of the old painters, and also about his inspirations art. There were also memories of working in the United States.
Extremely rare for artists to artistic activity was confined to so many areas of life, as is the case with Lech Majewski. The question here is Anna Fuksiewicz which of the areas of artistic activity is the closest to him, Lech Majewski clearly pointed to the painting and poetry. - First, I see things, then write them. Poetry, in turn, leads to the rejection of the logic of my cause - effect relationship. Often broadcast logical sense to the world ends in tragedy. The twentieth century was characterized by just building a utopian bliss of human - guy says "Season of Twos."
Mainly inspired by Lech Majewski "old masters". He explains that showed a great skill. - Reading the ancient symbols and meanings in art is a bit detective, but also a fascinating work - Lech Majewski says.
Soon the Polish cinema screens will be the last film by Lech Majewski, entitled "The Mill and the Cross". The film is based on the book published under the same title, written by Michael Gibson. Picture, set in 1564 - the same, in which Bruegel painted his masterpiece - intertwines with the suffering of Christ's Passion Flanders politically and religiously oppressed by the Spaniards.
Lech Majewski says work on the film as extremely difficult. - Two years ago we finished a picture, and still continues postproduction. This is due to tedious, painstaking work that accompanies the preparation of each frame. They are built as Bruegel paintings - Lech Majewski says.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Between Two Fires (2010)

Between Two Fires (2010)
Director:Agnieszka Lukasiak
Country: Poland | Sweden

 Young woman and her daughter runs away from Belarus and sent to a refugee camp in northern Sweden. Fighting for survival for herself and her daughter is becoming easy prey around it, an alien world. Soon will be confronted with extreme life choices.

explication of directorial
"Dodgeball" is a very personal film. I came to Sweden as a little girl. This is the reality in which time ceases to exist, the days are passing on the fear of the future and the past is too dreadful to think of it. The only way to survive is the existence of "here" and "now" as in a kind of purgatory, where there is neither alive nor dead. I wanted to show the reality in which people are completely defenseless, and the ignorance of the new rules makes it become easy victims of the reality that surrounds them.
It is a story about just such a life, where time and reality are abstract concepts, and the hopes and fears of these people are permanently etched in their minds and on their faces. I wanted to show the reality in which to survive you have to choose between himself and the person you love. Where do you become a commodity for sale at the price of survival.
While I was writing this script I lived in this camp, to better understand what is in the memories of childhood seems to me as a nightmare. The characters described in the scenario and emerging situations in it are based on real events and people that I met while living there. I wanted to shoot a film in which the statistics will become a reality. The film, which transforms the number and the cases about which we read in real people, in which the notice replaces understanding.
Agnieszka Łukasiak

Elena (2011)

Elena (2011)
 Director: Andrei Zvyagintsev
 Country: Russia
 Runtime: 1 hour 29 minutes

 Elena and Vladimir are an older couple, they come from different backgrounds. Vladimir is a wealthy and cold man, Elena comes from a modest milieu and is a docile wife. They have met late in life and each one has children from previous marriages. Elena's son is unemployed, unable to support his own family and he is constantly asking Elena for money. Vladimir's daughter is a careless young woman who has a distant relationship with her father. A heart attack puts Vladimir in hospital, where he realizes that his remaining time is limited. A brief but somehow tender reunion with his daughter leads him to make an important decision: she will be the only heiress of his wealth. Back home he announces it to Elena. Her hopes to financially help her son suddenly vanish. The shy and submissive housewife then comes up with a plan to give her son and grandchildren a real chance in life.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Nostalgia for the Light (2010)

Nostalgia for the Light (2010)
Directed by: Patricio Guzman 
Country: France | Germany | Chile 
Runtime:90 min 

For his new film master director Patricio Guzmán, famed for his political documentaries (THE BATTLE OF CHILE, SALVADOR ALLENDE), travels 10,000 feet above sea level to the driest place on earth, the Atacama Desert, where atop the mountains astronomers from all over the world gather to observe the stars. The sky is so translucent that it allows them to see right to the boundaries of the universe.
The Atacama is also a place where the harsh heat of the sun keeps human remains intact: those of Pre-Columbian mummies; 19th century explorers and miners; and the remains of political prisoners, “disappeared” by the Chilean army after the military coup of September, 1973.
film still
So while astronomers examine the most distant and oldest galaxies, at the foot of the mountains, women, surviving relatives of the disappeared whose bodies were dumped here, search, even after twenty-five years, for the remains of their loved ones, to reclaim their families’ histories.
Melding the celestial quest of the astronomers and the earthly one of the women, NOSTALGIA FOR THE LIGHT is a gorgeous, moving, and deeply personal odyssey.
"NOSTALGIA FOR THE LIGHT is not only Guzmán’s masterpiece; it is one of the most beautiful cinematographic efforts we have seen for a long time. Its complex canvas is woven with the greatest simplicity. For forty years, Patricio Guzman has had to struggle every inch of the way, with a vivid memory and intimate suffering to reach this work of cosmic serenity, of luminous intelligence, with a sensitivity that could melt stone. At such a level, the film becomes more than a film. An insane accolade to mankind, a stellar song for the dead, a life lesson. Silence and respect." —Juan Mandelbaum, Le Monde

In Chile's Atacama Desert, astronomers peer deep into the cosmos in search for answers concerning the origins of life. Nearby, a group of women sift through the sand searching for body parts of loved ones, dumped unceremoniously by Pinochet's regime.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Patagonia (2010)

Patagonia (2010)
Director: Marc Evans
Country: Argentina | UK
Runtime: 119 min

One of the lesser-known dark chapters of British history was the exodus of a small number of poor, struggling Welsh workers who left their shores to set up a new life in a golden, green land called Patagonia in 1865. Amazingly they survived and carried on their culture, which remains in the form of the huge number of Welsh place names there.

This forms the backbone of Marc Evans’ story, which tells parallel stories set in the present day. A Welsh couple, Gwen and Rhys (Roberts and Gravelle), are suffering because they cannot conceive. When Rhys is offered a job photographing remote chapels in Patagonia he jumps at the chance, seeing it as the perfect chance to repair their fragile relationship. However, when they arrive they are met by handsome Mateo (Rhys), to whom Gwen is clearly attracted – forcing Rhys more into his shell. As Mateo takes the couple further and further into the desert their relationship becomes more strained.

Meanwhile, at the same time, an elderly Patagonian lady, Cerys (Lubos), tells her family she is going into hospital for an eye operation, and needs a young guide. Her very young neighbour, Alejandro, joins her and quickly discovers she has other ideas – Cerys wants to visit the Welsh farm she was born in and barely remembers. He chaperones her all the way to Cardiff, only to discover there are three farms with the same name in Wales, all miles apart from each other. So they, too, have to travel deep into the countryside, taking on broken down cars, bizarre train timetables and incessant rain to find Cerys’ birthplace. Not that the shy Alejandro minds though, especially when he meets the waitress of a camping site in North Wales, Sissy (Duffy).

If this sounds like a gentle, meandering, slow, slightly dreamy fable, well, it is…Evans is in no hurry to tell his story, quite happy instead to indulge in the glorious countryside in both places. Patagonia is a harsh, Spartan land with stunning deserts and mountains, and Wales looks like it’s sponsored by the Welsh tourist board. Nothing wrong with that, the problem sets in during the last half hour when all of the goodwill Evans has built up wears pretty thin. It’s obvious where the story is going, but he insists on dragging it out to an almost tiresome degree, and suddenly throws in various minor characters, none of whom add much to the tale.

The performances are fine, with one big exception - Roberts and Gravelle make a believable couple, Rhys is a convincing stud – he’s even good on a horse – and the young boy and old lady are a charming, funny couple. The one jarring note is pop star Duffy’s cameo as a singing waitress, a performance which should be added to the long, long list of rock stars who come a cropper in the movies. She’s really out of her depth.

 Reviewer: Mike Martin

Belvedere (2010)

Belvedere (2010)
 Directors: Ahmed Imamovic
 Country: Bosnia and Herzegovina
 Runtime: 1 hour 29 minutes

 Bosnian's official submission to the Best Foreign Language Film category of the 84th Academy Awards 2012.

The film deals with the tragedy of the women survivors of the Srebrenica genocide, or rather, the consequences of the horrors they experienced - it is about women whose sole purpose in life is to locate the bones of their loved ones and give them a decent burial. Fifteen years later, they still want just one simple thing - the truth. As a contrast, the film deals with trivialities of modern living, obsessed with different reality shows...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Director: Sergio Caballero
Country: Spain 
Run time: ~80 min

  Two ghosts walk along the Camino of Santiago.
Finisterrae tells the story of two ghosts who, tired of wandering through limbo, decide to take the Way of Saint James, to the end of the world (Finisterra) so that once there, they may begin a fleeting, earthly journey through the land of the living. An introspective journey through uninhabited lands in which they are to find themselves with strange beings, wild animals and characters never before heard of. They must confront unexpected situations, battle with their own fears and struggle with the obstacles of their own phantasmagoric condition.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Rabbit a la berlin(2009)

Rabbit a la berlin
 Director: Bartosz Konopka
 Country:Germany | Poland
 Run time: ~51 min

 The untold story about wild rabbits which lived between the Berlin Walls. For 28 years Death Zone was their safest home. Full of grass, no predators, guards protecting them from human disturbance. They were closed but happy. When their population grew up to thousands, guards started to remove them. But rabbits survived and stayed there. Unfortunately one day the wall fell down. Rabbits had to abandon comfortable system. They moved to West Berlin and have been living there in a few colonies since then. They are still learning how to live in the free world, same as we - the citizens of Eastern Europe. Written by Bartek Konopka & Piotr Rosolowski  

Sunduq al-dunyâ (2002) aka Sacrifices

Sunduq al-dunyâ (2002) aka Sacrifices
Director: Usama Muhammad
Country: Syria
 Runtime: 109

 Four families live together in an isolated house in the mountains, where conflicts erupt between the generations.

A tree, a house, emptiness, isolation. The head of the family, an old man, is at the point of death. He would like to give his name to one of his newborn grandsons but he does not acknowledge any of them before he dies. Three cousins without a name live in this primitive world. They seek pleasure and salvation. The first one in restraint and submission, the second in love, the third in power, violence and cruelty. The father of the second, back from war, gives the third the keys to a stronger and immense power. The tree looking upon since 1000 years contemplates what will happen in 2000 years.

A surreal depiction of life in a village out of a strikingly beautiful Syrian landscape. Oussama Mohammad's immensely visual representation of love, hate, violence and family relationships is no less than a masterpiece... and I am using this word here without any reservations! While I usually feel more at home with popular cinema, this particular film is among the very few films, and maybe even the only film within the surrealist tradition that made me feel as enthralled as I did when I first saw Bunuel's 1933 masterpiece 'Land without Bread'.

Every single shot in the film is an equivalent to an elaborate canvas which brings forwards the harsh yet captivating detailed textures of life and culture in a timeless small Arab peasant village, all set to the background of the Syrian mountain region facing the Mediterranean. If it wasn't for traditional anti-Arab bias in Film Festival circles, this film would have been appreciated as one of the most important cinematic events at least over the last ten years.

Shown at:
Cannes Film Festival, London Film Festival, Alexandria International Film Festival, Calgary Film Festival, Rabat International Film Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam, and Carthage Film Festival, among others.

Winner of:
Grand Prize, Figueira da Foz International Film Festival(2002)
Don Quijote Award, Figueira da Foz International Film Festival(2002)
Special Prize of the Jury, Paris Biennal of Arab Cinema (2002)

Pure Coolness / Boz salkyn (2007)

Pure Coolness / Boz salkyn (2007)

Director: Ernest Abdyjaparov
Country: Kyrgyzstan 

Melodrama with fairytale elements about an urban beauty in Kyrgyzia who is kidnapped during a visit to the countryside and then has to marry a shepherd according to local tradition.

In his feature film «Saratan» director Ernest Abdyjaparov showed in a slightly humorous way the effect of socio-economic changes in the rural Kyrgyzstan on the life of a local policeman and the local rural customs. With Pure Coolness he returns to the countryside to point out the old Kyrgyzstani tradition of kidnapping a bride and how it all can unexpectedly end up

Friday, November 18, 2011

Portrait in a Drop of Water (1997)

Portrait in a Drop of Water (1997)
 Director: Kazimierz Karabasz
Runtime;22min Documentary

Synopsis: Over still photographys Karabasz is asking ordinary people about theis lives, hopes and fears.
Kazimierz Karabasz is a key figure in the history of polish documentary film. He is to polish cinematography what Robert Flaherty, John Grierson and Dziga Vertov were to american, british ans russian documentary film. Karabasz has been making documentaries for half a century, probing around relentessly to find better ways of bringing home the reality of day-to-day existance.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


 Directed by: Jun Jae-Hong
 Writer: Ki-duk Kim
 Country: Korea
 Duration: 2h 1mn

 A mysterious man nicnknamed "Poongsan" (Yoon Kye-Sang) crosses between the South and North Korean border as a courier for hire. There's no way for people to contact him, but instead, Poongsan picks out potential clients from banners at a make shift memorial along the DMZ. Poongsan's next target is a man who wishes to bring a North Korean woman into South Korea.

Meanwhile, a man (Kim Jong-Soo) is pushed by the section chief (Han Ki-Joong) at the NIS to write a report on North Korea. That man was a high ranking official in North Korea prior to defecting to South Korea. He's protected by NIS agents, but still paranoid that North Korean assassins will kill him. He asks the section chief at the NIS to bring his lover In-Ok (Kim Gyu-Ri) to him from North Korea. Agents from the NIS learn of a man able to smuggle people across the border. They place a banner along a makeshift memorial at the DMZ border.

During the middle of the night, two NIS agents meet Poongsan who arrives on a motorcycle. When an NIS agent asks how long it will take to bring In-Ok into South Korea, Poongsan points to his watch to show 3 hours. The agent gives an incredulous laugh, but gets back into his car and waits for Poongsan. Poongsan runs off into the night towards the DMZ border.

Poongsan heads out to Pyeongyang to retrieve In-Ok. While they are crossing the border back into South Korea, In-Ok feels an attachment to this mysterious man who doesn't speak ...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Poll Diaries (2010) Poll

The Poll Diaries (2010) Poll
Director: Chris Kraus
Country: Germany | Austria | Estonia
Runtime: 2 hours, 8 minutes

In the summer of 1914, thirteen-year-old Oda Schaefer leaves Berlin to join her family and an assortment of German and Russian aristocrats on an estate in Estonia. The Schaefer family home is a character in its own right, a hulking, neoclassical manor that hovers on stilts above the sea. Oda arrives there bearing her mother’s coffin and a gift requested by her surgeon father: a jarred, two-headed fetus to add to his laboratory of gruesome curiosities. Ebbo Schaefer sees himself in his daughter when she calmly and expertly learns to suture the corpse of a cat. What he fails to recognize – and what Oda luckily understands – is that their interest in science is their only similarity. His dedication to experimentation is linked to an appalling obsession with power and destruction, while Oda is genuinely curious about life. Her quick, quiet intelligence complements her humanity and her lucid understanding of right and wrong. When she strays from a family picnic and discovers a badly wounded Estonian anarchist, she helps him without a second thought, smuggling him into her father’s lab and putting her new surgical skills to good use. As their illicit friendship deepens, family turmoil escalates and war closes in. The safe haven of the community collapses, forcing Oda’s family to make impossible choices.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Africa United (2010)

Africa United (2010)
Director:Debs Paterson
Country:UK | South Africa | Rwanda
Runtime:88 min

The extraordinary story of three Rwandan kids who walk 3000 miles to the Soccer World Cup in South Africa. Using a sack load of ingenuity and sass (and a World Cup wall chart for a map), our pint-sized protagonists set off through the endless horizons of Africa in pursuit of an unlikely dream. And as they walk they gather a tribe - a ragamuffin team - of broken and brilliant characters who help them negotiate a way through a series of glorious, dangerous, hilarious and often bizarre situations. Through these kids, we will encounter an Africa few people ever get to see; experience the hard reality of an epic walk through seven countries; as well as the joy, laughter and hope - 'the ubuntu' - that comes from making an incredible journey together. Written by Rhidian Brook   

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Bullhead (2011) aka Rundskop

Bullhead (2011)
Director: Michael R. Roskam
Country: Belgium

Jacky Vanmarsenille didn't really get a chance in life. As he tells us at the beginning of the film, over some beautiful Flemish landscape, life is fucked. The man works in meat: beef farming is in the family. His livelihood is fed with hormones to make faster business, and his body and soul are nourished by them too. We learn to love this ghastly character as the director takes us back into a tragic incident in his childhood on the Flemish-French border and to the present, where he is caught up in unscrupulous meat business and a local murder.

Gise Memuru (2010) aka Toll Booth

Gise Memuru (2010) aka Toll Booth
 Director: Tolga Karacelik
Country: Turkey
Runtime: 96

Quiet and introverted toll booth clerk Kenan's life, a humdrum routine between the Tavsancik toll booth plaza and his home, will change the day the new operations chief comes to inspect Tavsancik. IMDB

The first feature film written and directed by Tolga Karaçelik, better known for his award-winning short films such as Rapunzel, Toll Booth tells a story of miscommunication, isolation and desperate alienation via a conflict between a father and his son. Confined to his own world of dreams, introvert, and reticent, Kenan is a toll booth attendant, who lives with his ailing father. Kenan’s drab life stuck in routines between his toll booth and home will change the day a new manager comes for supervision. (~iksv.org)

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Mosquito Net (2010)

The Mosquito Net (2010)
Director: Agustí Vila
Country: Spain
Runtime: 1 hour, 35 minutes

A wildly dysfunctional family begins to drown in their multiple neuroses in this offbeat drama from Spanish filmmaker Agusti Vila. Luis (Marcos Franz) is the teenage son of Miguel and Alicia, a couple whose marriage is on its last legs. Luis obsessively brings home stray dogs and cats, who show him the attention and affection he doesn't get from his parents. Miguel and Alicia aren't getting much love from one another, either, and once their marriage finally collapses, he takes up with their maid while Alicia has an affair with one of Luis's friends from school. Meanwhile, Miguel's father and mother are both slipping into senility and think suicide might be the answer to their problems, and Luis's aunt Rachel believes in the old adage "Spare the rod and spoil the child" - so much so that it's putting her daughter in danger. ~ Mark Deming, Allrovi

Friday, October 28, 2011

Tehilim (2007)

Tehilim (2007)
Director: Raphaël Nadjari
Country: France | Israel
Runtime;   96min

In contemporary Jerusalem, a small Jewish family leads an ordinary life until following a car accident, the father mysteriously disappears. They all deal with his absence and the difficulties of everyday life as best they can. While the adults take refuge in silence or traditions, the two children, Menachem and David, seek their own way to find their father... Written by NMH  

Thursday, October 27, 2011

So Much for Justice!(2010)

So Much for Justice!
Director: Miklós Jancsó
Country: Hungary
Runtime: 86

Managed to get onto the second party of the Mátyás [*Matthias] era, the peak of his power for a king's reign, and through this for Hungary's hey-day short one and a half of his decades concentrates. In the centre Mátyás [*Matthias] king (László Gálffi) his marriage, the troubles of the succession, the life of the Renaissance yard and the relations of inside are at a standstill, i mean mostly the happenings of the privacy, which manage national significance and political weight in a ruler's case however,.
In Miklós Jancsó's film the three separable eras of Mátyás [*Matthias] king's life come up: youthful Mátyás king's fights for the throne; aged Mátyás king and the succession to the throne; and the fate of the royal crown and the royal heir after Mátyás king's death.

Whoever Says the Truth Shall Die (1981)

Whoever Says the Truth Shall Die (1981)
Directors: Philo Bregstein
Country: Netherlands
Runtime: 58 minutes

Philo Bregstein tells us this film looks at Pasolini's life and art to explain why he died. The film traces Pasolini's life chronologically - family roots, hiding during World War II, teaching, moving to Rome, being arrested and acquitted many times, publishing poems, getting into film, being provocative, and being murdered. Interviews with Alberto Moravia, Laura Betti, Maria Antonietta Macciocch, and Bernard Bertolucci are inter-cut with readings of Pasolini's poems and with clips from four films - primarily the Gospel According to St. Matthew - to illustrate his changing ideas and points of view. Bregstein makes a case for Pasolini's being lynched. 

imbd review by Michael_Elliott (Louisville, KY)
Strange documentary from the Netherlands, which talks of the life, poetry and films of the controversial Pier Paolo Pasolini who was brutally murdered in 1975. The official cause of death is that the director took a 17-year-old boy for a walk, made sexual advances towards him and then the boy killed him. The conspiracy theory on display here is that the government and Christians had something to do with the murder due to the director's Salo and some poems he wrote towards the end of his life. For the most part this documentary is a complete bore that really doesn't come to life until the final ten minutes when the murder is looked at. The best piece of evidence given are the photos of Pasolini's body, which was beaten to a pulp and then driven over by a car. This is the evidence, which claims the boy didn't do the killings even though those being interviewed admit that Pasolini was the sexually aggressive type. The documentary never talks to anyone on the opposite side so we never really get any clear answers to what really happened. The stuff discussing his poems and films isn't very well done and doesn't really shine a light on anything because all the film really does is remind us that he was a homosexual every ten minutes.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Young Goethe in Love (2010)

Young Goethe in Love (2010)
 Director: Philipp Stölzl
Country: Germany
Runtime: 1 hour, 40 minutes

In 1772, we find the young German poet Johann Wolfgang Goethe flunking out of law school and getting drunk with his friends. He's a free spirit trapped in a stringent world where class is everything. All Goethe wants to do is write poems and get them published. But his stern father sends him away to a small town where he is accepted to work at a provincial law firm. There he befriends fellow law student Wilhelm Jerusalem. Goethe also meets, and falls in love with, the beautiful Lotte Buff. She in turn falls for the hopelessly romantic Goethe but, unbeknownst to him, is promised to marry Albert Kestner, Goethe's superior at the law firm. It all adds up to anguished love, as his friend Jerusalem also suffers a failed love affair with a married woman. Goethe transforms their travails into a grand masterpiece, the novel The Sorrows of Young Werther.

Of Love and Other Demons (2009)

Of Love and Other Demons (2009)

Director: Hilda Hidalgo
Country: Costa Rica | Colombia
Runtime: 95 min

Based on Gabriel García Márquez's novel, this is the unsettling story of 13-year-old noble Sierva and the dog bite that changes her life forever. Abandoned, displaced, in the midst of a sexual awakening and finally exorcised, Sierva finds an unlikely ally in a young priest and together they discover passion. Written by Pusan International Film Festival

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Punk's Not Dead (2011)

Punk's Not Dead (2011)
Directors: Vladimir Blazevski
Country: Republic of Macedonia

Runtime: 1 hour 40 minutes

Macedonia's official submission to the Best Foreign Language Film category of the 84th Academy Awards 2012.

Punk's not dead is a remarkable black-comedy by Vladimir Blazevski. It is about a reunion of old punk band. Mirsa is a punk who is trying to put up with the struggles of everyday life in Skopje. One day he was offered to play for some multicultural-happening in Debar. Actually, all he ever wants is to play again with his punk band, so he accepts the offer. The next step is to find all former members of the band and make them play again... His ex-girlfriend is coming back to him and she is helping him to find the former members of the band. Punk's not dead gives good message - we should keep on trying to make our dreams come true.

Monday, October 24, 2011

White White World (2010)

White White World (2010)
Directors: Oleg Novkovic
Country: Serbia
Runtime: 1 hour 55 minutes

 In the Serbian drama “White White World: The Miner’s Opera” (“Beli Beli Svet”), the characters sing, but never dance. Formulated as a modern day Greek tragedy set in the decrepit southeastern mining town Bor, the movie follows a close group of alienated locals through misguided love affairs and other brash misdeeds. But the songs feature no choreography or other stylish methods of breaking the harsh, downtrodden tableaux. It’s a surprisingly effective strategy. With his sophomore effort, director Oleg Novkovic uses musical expression to frame inner monologues that would never work in spoken form. As a result, a story exclusively populated by damaged people engaged in morally ambiguous, often depraved behavior manages to evoke sympathy for all of them.
At its center is King, a retired boxer now running the neighborhood bar. Years earlier, he had an affair with erstwhile seductress Ruzica, an act that led her to kill her husband and wind up behind bars. The movie begins shortly before Ruzica’s release from jail, when the still-swinging King engages in a similarly ill-fated liaison with Ruzica’s rebellious 18-year-old daughter, Rosa. After a few drinks, two engage in fast, passionless sex, and King rushes out the door without a word…

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Fourth Portrait (2010)

The Fourth Portrait (2010)
Directed by: Mong-Hong Chung
Country: Taiwan
Runtime: 105 min

Ten year-old Xiang faces a lonely future after his father dies. Just when he thinks he's going to spend his life in the orphanage, his estranged mother shows up. And his life changes forever... A loveless mother, a hateful stepfather, a chilly home. Where's Xiang heading to* He finds comfort in drawing and his work reveals his longing for care and affection. Life is full of hope again when he meets the old school janitor who doesn't show his kindness easily and a portly man who has crazy ideas and is haunted with nightmares of his brother. A scary truth is about to be unmasked. Will Xiang be able to depict his own image in the fourth portrait?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010)

Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010)
Director: Werner Herzog
Country: Canada | USA | France
Runtime: 90 min

Werner Herzog gains exclusive access to film inside the Chauvet caves of Southern France, capturing the oldest known pictorial creations of humankind in their astonishing natural setting.

In 1994, a group of scientists discovered a cave in Southern France perfectly preserved for over 20,000 years and containing the earliest known human paintings. Knowing the cultural significance that the Chauvet Cave holds, the French government immediately cut-off all access to it, save a few archaeologists and paleontologists. But documentary filmmaker, Werner Herzog, has been given limited access, and now we get to go inside examining beautiful artwork created by our ancient ancestors around 32,000 years ago. He asks questions to various historians and scientists about what these humans would have been like and trying to build a bridge from the past to the present.

Midnight in Paris(2011)

                                                                       Midnight in Paris
                                                                Directed by: Woody Allen
                                                                    Country: Spain, USA

Gil and Inez travel to Paris as a tag-along vacation on her parents' business trip. Gil is a successful Hollywood writer but is struggling on his first novel. He falls in love with the city and thinks they should move there after they get married, but Inez does not share his romantic notions of the city or the idea that the 1920s was the golden age. When Inez goes off dancing with her friends, Gil takes a walk at midnight and discovers what could be the ultimate source of inspiration for writing. Gil's daily walks at midnight in Paris could take him closer to the heart of the city but further from the woman he's about to marry.

Woody Allen's love affair with France, which goes back decades, finds its finality with "Midnight in Paris," the latest of Allen's Parisian brochures, which recently opened at the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday. The good news is that Allen seems to be paying attention in a way he hasn't always done in recent films, and has found a way to channel his often-caustic misanthropy, half-comic fear of death and anti-American bitterness into agreeable comic whimsy. The nominal point of "Midnight in Paris" is that we've all got to make the best of life in our own time while longing for a past that probably never existed. If anything, Allen seems to be rebuking himself, ever so mildly, for his compulsive romanticism, his obsession with the past and his disconnection from contemporary American life. Allen has baked us a sweet, airy Parisian dessert with just a sense of sentimental substance in the finish. One of his better films in his latter years.
IMDB Review