Thursday, February 28, 2013

Germany-DADA: An Alphabet of German DADAism (1969)

Germany-DADA: An Alphabet of German DADAism (1969)
Director: Helmut Herbst
Country: West Germany
Runtime: 61 min

In post-World War I Zurich, out of the conflict's sobering aftermath, there was born an artistic movement that preached a baffling, radical-yet-whimsical philosophy of creativity. Random and meaningless by definition, calculatedly irrational by design, the movement spread like revolt to America and across Europe, voicing the delightfully bizarre protest of a brave new community of artists and writers. Filmed with the cooperation of original Dadaists Hans Richter and Richard Hulsenbeck, this unique motion picture collage of art, music and poetry is not only an alphabet of German Dadaism, but is in itself, a true Dadaist experience.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Moacir Arte Bruta (2006)

Moacir Arte Bruta (2006)
Director: Walter Carvalho 
Country: Brazil
Runtime: 71 min

Documentary on naïve Brazilian artist Moacir. Facing many problems, such as impaired hearing and speaking, abnormal bone formation and poverty, black artist Moacir lives in the National Park of Chapada dos Veadeiros, aloof and oblivious of outside world, and was discovered by director Walter Carvalho in the 1980s. He spends his days drawing marvellous works with his crayons, depicting human and fantastic beings, fauna, flora, his own inner visions, mystical themes and sex, with a trace of impressive primitivism and beauty. The film registers his daily life, and another Brazilian artist, Siron Franco, paying him a visit.

Monday, February 18, 2013


DIRECTOR /   Sunanda Bhat

In a world that has grown more dynamic and uncertain, where diversity and differences make way for standardization and uniformity, the film explores the effects of a rapidly changing landscape on people’s lives and livelihoods. Set in Wayanad, part of the fragile ecosystem of the western mountain range in South India, the film takes you on a journey through a region that is witnessing drastic transformation in the name of ‘development’.
A woman’s concern over the disappearance of medicinal plants from the forest, a farmer’s commitment to growing traditional varieties of rice organically and a cash crop cultivator’s struggle to survive amidst farmers’ suicides, offer fresh insights into shifting relations between people,knowledge systems and environment.
Interwoven into contemporary narratives is an ancient tribal creation myth that traces the passage of their ancestors across this land, recalling past ways of reading and mapping the terrain.
As hills flatten, forests disappear and traditional knowledge systems are forgotten, the film reminds us that this diversity could disappear forever, to be replaced by monotonous and unsustainable alternatives.


 Sunanda Bhat has been making documentaries and short films since 1995, under the banner
Songline Films. Her interest in documentaries is to represent people living on the margins of
a fascinatingly intricate and stratified Indian society. Unraveling these layers reveal glimpses of
lives that are often far more interesting than fiction.
`Let`s make it right` about rural sanitation won the `Gold Drop` award at the International Water and
Film Events 2012 at Marseilles, France. Her first documentary `Bol Ayesha Bol (Speak Ayesha
Speak)` was screened at IDFA, 1998. Her other films are `Athani to Dusseldorf` on the transformation
of leather crafts people from artisans to entrpreneurs; `Nalai Nammadai (Tomorrow is ours)` on
micro enterprise; and `Yoga as therapy`, a series of 14 films on Yoga for stress related illnesses.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

The Sperm (2007)

The Sperm (2007)
Director: Taweewat Wantha
Country: Thailand
Runtime: 93 min

A teenage rock musician masturbates gleefully and often. Way too often. One night, flying
sperm escape and impregnate local women. The babies grow into an army of little creatures
with the teen's head -- and libido.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Berberian Sound Studio (2012)

Berberian Sound Studio (2012)
Director: Peter Strickland
Country: UK
Runtime: 92 min

In the 1970s, a British sound technician is brought to Italy to work on the sound effects for a gruesome horror film. His nightmarish task slowly takes over his psyche, driving him to confront his own past. Berberian Sound Studio is many things: an anti-horror film, a stylistic tour de force, and a dream of cinema. As such, it offers a kind of pleasure that is rare in films, while recreating in a highly original way the pleasures of Italian horror cinema.

5 Broken Cameras (2011)

5 Broken Cameras (2011)
Directors: Emad Burnat, Guy Davidi
Country: Palestine
Duration : 1h 34mn

Five broken cameras—and each one has a powerful tale to tell. Embedded in the bullet-ridden remains of digital technology is the story of Emad Burnat, a farmer from the Palestinian village of Bil’in, which famously chose nonviolent resistance when the Israeli army encroached upon its land to make room for Jewish colonists. Emad buys his first camera in 2005 to document the birth of his fourth son, Gibreel. Over the course of the film, he becomes the peaceful archivist of an escalating struggle as olive trees are bulldozed, lives are lost, and a wall is built to segregate burgeoning Israeli settlements.

Gibreel’s loss of innocence and the destruction of each camera are potent metaphors in a deeply personal documentary that vividly portrays a conflict many of us think we know. Emad Burnat, a Palestinian, joins forces with Guy Davidi, an Israeli, and—from the wreckage of five broken cameras—two filmmakers create one extraordinary work of art.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet! (2012)

You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet! (2012)
Director: Alain Resnais
Country: France
Runtime: 115 min

Boris Nelepo (translated by Anton Svynarenko)" wrote:
Several famous actors, including Michel Piccoli, Pierre Arditi, Lambert Wilson, and Mathieu Amalric, receive the same phone call informing them that Antoine d'Anthac, a prominent playwright who would frequently cast all of them, has passed away. Summoned to the late man's estate by his well-mannered butler, they arrive to see Antoine's videotaped last will and testament: speaking from the screen, the deceased asks his lifelong friends to evaluate a contemporary take on his play, Eurydice, adapted by a much younger company. As the projection begins, the spectators involuntarily repeat the familiar dialogue, as if it were lifted out of their shared favorite movie; so the performance begins on its own and the spacious living room suddenly turns into a small-town railway café. Orpheus starts his soft fiddle-scraping. He is about to meet Eurydice.

"The playwright's duty," Jean Anouilh, French dramatist, once wrote, "is to produce plays on a regular basis. Actors must go out onstage every night for the audiences who come to theatre to forget about death and hardship. If one of the plays is found to be a masterpiece, well, so much the better." Alain Resnais has stuck to this ethos for a couple of decades now, enriching his already stellar back catalogue with some brilliant autumnal work, but You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet is a veritable masterpiece on par with his major accomplishments. Its audiences, however, are unlikely to forget about death, since it is based around it, as are both Jean Anouilh's plays that coalesce in Resnais' script: the immaculate Eurydice and the oft-neglected Dear Antoine; or, The Love That Failed. The latter was originally a story of a playwright who, under circumstances not dissimilar to the premise of the film, invites his friends to act out a play within a play. Here, the play in question is Anouilh's Eurydice, blithely attributed to the fictional Antoine d'Anthac.

The scene of characters arriving at Antoine's mansion bears a distinct classical Hollywood tinge: the wind is howling outside, yellow, withered leaves are strewn across the doorstep in a sublime frame worthy of Douglas Sirk. Greetings come to the guests in the form of a Rivettian intertitle: "As soon as they crossed the bridge, the ghosts did not take long to present themselves" (Et quand il eut dépassé le pont, les fantômes vinrent à sa rencontre). It is a direct quote from the French version of Murnau's Nosferatu. The score, just as gentle and nuanced, fades out before it climaxes: Resnais meant to recreate live music that often accompanied silent movies. Anouilh's Orpheus and Eurydice, incidentally, lament the fact that they did not grow up together, and therefore missed out on a chance to watch Pearl White's star vehicles side by side (specifically, Les Mystères de New York by Louis Gasnier and Le masque aux dents blanches by Edward José). Their verdict is wistful: "Now it's all gone. You can't bring it back. Cinema is painted a different color, and the heroine is old."

Resnais deliberately omits this line, as if aiming to prove it wrong. What is most captivating about You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet is how time is regained in it; after all, it offers a vantage of a filmmaker who is just twelve years Anouilh's junior and virtually the same age as his Orpheus and Eurydice (the play was written in 1942). The fragile Eurydice ponders, "So, if you happen to have seen a lot of ugly things, they all stay with you, don't they? All the abominations you've witnessed, all the people you've hated, even those you've tried to escape, they're all there, neatly shelved?" It might be true, but it also applies to all things beautiful. At one point, Anouilh began staging his own plays, so Sabine Azéma, for instance, had an opportunity to work under his direct supervision; the rest did not, yet none of them are strangers to Anouilh's oeuvre, as they have participated in his Eurydice productions and been strongly influenced by it across the board. These things, too, remain within them. Their personal experiences with the source material are engraved into their body language and faces that Resnais frames with yet another retro device, i.e. the iris-in, which darkens the edges around them. The movie screen always responds to such enhancements, instantly adding more depth. Sometimes You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet shifts into documentary mode, when the actors step out of their characters and become themselves and watch the next generation of thespians reenact the memories of their youth in a barely recognizable manner. New shapes replace old habits. Anouilh himself turned to an ancient myth for inspiration. A poster of Resnais' most enduring classic, Hiroshima, mon amour, is taped onto a railway station wall as a reminder of the unbreakable bond between eras and the immense span of the 20th century. Encapsulating this meticulous consistency of time is the self-explanatory "It Was a Very Good Year" Sinatra ever so tenderly croons over the closing credits. You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet, in a way, cinematizes the song's lyrics.

It features several couples of Orpheuses and Eurydices: Resnais' fixtures, Azéma and Arditi, plus Consigny and Lambert, also frequent collaborators. Each one instills their own inimitable charms: Azéma's Eurydice is ghost-like and glow-eyed, while Consigny's is vulnerable and ethereal. Let's also not forget about the young'uns from the rendition they watch: it was, actually, staged and shot by Bruno Podalydès, whose unrelated film also screened at Cannes as part of La Quinzaine des réalisateurs. Resnais intended to delegate this video production to one of his successors who would see beyond cinematic and theatrical parochialisms. In Podalydès' production, the pendulum swings, transforming the harp Orpheus' father is holding into a shopping cart grate, café tables into barrels.

Once Antoine d'Anthac's living room has morphed into a set, Resnais showcases his superlative staging skills and greatly developed instinct for mise-en-scène. Take one of his saddest, most beautiful sequences: Orpheus and Eurydice are alone, in hiding at a cheap hotel, sprawled on a bed and surrounded by an empty room sans props or set decorations. The only two objects in the void are a pair of spike-heeled shoes that cling to each other just like the star-crossed lovers. Or take the grand finale, truly of the we-ain't-seen-nothin'-like-it brand and unequalled in this year's Cannes competition: Orpheus and Eurydice are locked in a convulsive embrace, not allowed to make eye contact, filmed with little to no editing. Clearly not above flashy techniques either, Resnais, on one occasion, splits the screen in half, and lets the two versions mirror one another. As Eurydice runs away from Orpheus, the halves converge to compel both Orpheuses to face the mysterious Monsieur Henri, a messenger of death or maybe Death himself.

This challenging part went to Mathieu Amalric who, unpracticed in such challenges, had to reinvent himself from scratch and flee his typecasting comfort zone. He first appears against a backdrop of an eerie blue forest, mist curling all around: it is Resnais' haunting vision of Hades that brings to mind Jean Cocteau's poetic claim of mirrors being doorways to death. Looking into a mirror means watching death do what death does, as your reflection is a chronicle of minute changes you go through; it is very much like cinema, which led Jean-Luc Godard to deem it "truth 24 frames per second." His dictum stemmed from Cocteau's perspective. Later, in his Histoire(s) du cinéma, Godard would quote Jean Epstein: "Death is making us promises via cinema." (Hereby I briefly refer to the essential points of the brilliant André Habib's article La mort au travail published in French in Hors Champ.)

Eurydice contrasts the banalities of human existence with eternal love that is unattainable in life and therefore defined only by death and its final freeze-frame (or, rather, freeze-life). How is Orpheus supposed to live after Eurydice is gone? Resnais needed the other play not to conclude his film with this question but to pose another. At the Cannes press conference, he often referred to magic as his primary artistic goal. To this end, he utilizes naïve, outdated special effects like people disappearing into thin air and emerging out of it; the constant glow about their silhouettes lends a dreamlike, hypnotic quality to the images. The characters walk around as if in a state of trance, which, weirdly, makes sense since acting indeed is very much akin to sleepwalking. But once the play is over, it is time for the utmost intimacy actors can afford: they shed their roles and reclaim their selves. Just a moment ago, you were so passionate and eloquent as Orpheus, King Lear, Ranevskaya––but the magic cannot last forever. Once the limelight has fizzled, does the actor feel the way Orpheus does after Eurydice perishes?

You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet ends on an ambiguous note. As it turns out, Antoine, still alive, has tricked his actors into coming there. Afterward, however, he drowns himself in a lake. An aspiring actress shows up at his funeral, trying not to catch the eyes of his grief-stricken friends. Who is she? A character in search of a writer, Eurydice paying respects to her creator? A starlet bidding adieu to the playwright who launched her career in theatre? Most likely, she is Antoine's ex, mentioned in passing at the beginning (note that the other play is subtitled The Love That Failed). So, Monsieur Henri was right when he told Orpheus their love would never last under life's pressures and Eurydice would have left him, had she stayed alive. In this soliloquy, Anouilh equates l'amour and la mort, the words phonetically different by a single vowel. Antoine discovers it to soon become an Orpheus as well.

In the final shot, we see yet another theatre adapting Eurydice. Resnais connects past and future by an undying human ability to believe in and genuinely ache for fiction. His flippantly self-aware framework is multilevel: we watch actors playing other actors watching a videotape of a play. And yet, no matter how many mirrors the filmmaker sets up and how stylized the imagery comes out, the moment Orpheus and Eurydice see each other for the first time, it all becomes real. What if he keeps himself from looking back? What if they, after all, escape Hades unscathed? Art is a reality in its own right. This illusion will live on long after we are gone; this myth will prevail. Boy always meets girl. Orphée est avec Eurydice, enfin!

Vücut (2011)

Vücut (2011)
Director: Mustafa Nuri
Country: Turkey 
Runtime: 104 min

Leyla and her boyfriend Yilmaz are in porn film sector for 25 years in Germany. While ago, they move to Istanbul and Yilmaz left her for another woman. Although they are separated, Yilmaz comes up with a last minute request: one last movie where Leyla meets 20 years old handsome but quite traumatic character Izzet. The age difference between Leyla and Izzet, unsolved problems of Izzet's chubby mother and sister, Yilmaz's passion to his work and its results are crash into each other in an unexpected way. (~IMDb)

Monday, February 04, 2013


Director: Pablo Larraín
Country: Chile
Runtime: 118 min

Military dictator Augusto Pinochet calls for a referendum to decide his permanence in power in 1988, the leaders of the opposition persuade a young daring advertising executive - René Saavedra - to head their campaign. With limited resources and under the constant scrutiny of the despot's watchmen, Saavedra and his team conceive of a bold plan to win the election and free their country from oppression.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Southwest (2012)

Southwest (2012)
Director: Eduardo Nunes
Country: Brazil
Duration : 2:06:54

In a secluded Brazilian coastal village, where everything seems to stand still, Clarisse watches her life over the course of a day, unlike those around her who live that day just like any other. She tries to understand her obscure reality and the destiny of the people around her in a circling, disturbing sense of time.

Slow-moving, almost dreamlike Brazilian black-and-white film "Southwest" has the initial feel of a tropical Tarkovsky or a Bela Tarr movie with better weather. But though rookie scribe-helmer Eduardo Nunes' technical approach to storytelling might be partly borrowed, he ensures that his tale of a girl whose entire life passes in a single day is also singular enough to captivate hard-to-please auteurist auds. With its extremely wide aspect ratio, richly detailed bichrome photography and two-hour-plus running time, adventurous fests are the logical venue for this effort, which deserves to be seen on the bigscreen.