Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Still the Water (2014)

Still the Water (2014)
Director: Naomi Kawase
Country: Japan

On the subtropical Japanese island of Amami, traditions about nature remain eternal. During the full-moon night of traditional dances in August, 16-year-old Kaito discovers a dead body floating in the sea. His girlfriend Kyoko will attempt to help him understand this mysterious discovery.
Together, Kaito and Kyoko will learn to become adults by experiencing the interwoven cycles of life, death and love.

Friday, September 19, 2014

To Kill a Beaver (2012)

To Kill a Beaver (2012)
Director: Jan Jakub Kolski
Country: Poland

A man returns home after a long time. The house is in a bad shape, ruined with graffiti on walls, but it doesn't stop him from staying in. The man has an aim that requires complex preparations. The house has however already a new inhabitants that start to influence the man's performance and to mingle with silhouettes from the character's recent past, spent at the Central Asia border. Are the war prolonged tension and the man's shattered emotionality possible to overcome, so that he may really re-locate in a peaceful surroundings of his home-village?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

36 (2012)

36 (2012)
Director: Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit
Country: Thailand

36 is the number of shots on an analogue roll of film. It’s also the number of shots in this film. Yet it’s not a strict film, but the playful quest of a young photographer for the photos that disappeared on her computer: a whole year’s worth, including one of a challenging encounter.

The title 36 refers to the roll of film in the filmmaker’s old-fashioned analogue still camera. Each roll had 36 photos and it was always a surprise to find out after it had been developed what was on the negatives. Often the photos didn’t have much to do with each other, and often he didn’t know when and why he had taken a picture.

Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit also uses the number 36 to divide up his original, crisply-told film, which is made up of 36 shots. The filmmaker wanted to evoke something of the arbitrary nature of the old film rolls – and of memory – even though the story is told in a way that can be followed easily.

The protagonist in this lightfooted and melancholy feature is Sai. She is a location scout and for her work she records a lot with her camera. One day it turns out that the hard disk of her laptop has crashed and she has lost a year’s worth of photos. She has the feeling that part of her own memory has been deleted and she does everything possible to get the photos back.

In a playful way, this film tackles the issue of changing memory. These days a lot is remembered for us, but what do we still remember ourselves? Deeply hidden in the broken hard disk is also the picture of a possible lover. A persevering quest for lost digital time. –IFFR

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Life of Riley (2014)

Life of Riley (2014)
Director: Alain Resnais
Country: France

In the midst of rehearsals for a new play, amateur dramatics proponents Colin and Kathryn receive the shattering news that their friend George is fatally ill and only has a few months to live. Life begins to come apart at the seams – not just for Kathryn, who was once George’s partner, but also for her friends Tamara and Monica. The full force of the emotional turmoil they experienced in their youth and their long-buried dreams are rekindled. Much to the chagrin of their respectable, middle-class husbands, the women begin to argue about which of them should be allowed to accompany George on a final journey …
After Smoking/No Smoking (1993) and Coeurs (2006), this current work marks the third time French cinema doyen Alain Resnais has chosen to adapt a stage play by British playwright Alan Ayckbourn. By confining the action to an artificial, almost entirely studio-bound world, he succeeds in creating a tragicomic theatre of vanities. Employing the ironic distance of a sage observer of human nature, Resnais ponders the power of love and desire and in doing so enables his characters, driven by their longings, hopes and obsessions, to leave the beaten track for once.
--Berlin Film Festival

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Dance of Reality (2013)

The Dance of Reality (2013)
Director: Alejandro Jodorowsky
Country: Chile

Young Alejandro (Jeremías Herskovits) lives with his parents Jaime (Brontis Jodorowsky) and Sara (Pamela Flores) in Chile. Jaime is a communist who worships Stalin. He plans to assassinate the right-wing president Carlos Ibanez (Bastian Bodenhofer). Jaime becomes the president's groom.

"Alejandro Jodorowsky's autobiographical The Dance of Reality is his first film after a layoff of more than two decades. His main character is himself, who, as a young man, interacts with a number of unusual people, and those interactions combined with his own exploration of art and life lead to a personal philosophy and an artistic vision that would produce such enduring works as El Topo and The Holy Mountain." All Movie Guide

"The film blends Jodorowsky’s personal history with metaphor, mythology and poetry, reflecting the director’s view that reality is not objective but rather a “dance” created by our imaginations: “The story of my life is a constant effort to expand the imagination and its limitations, to capture its therapeutic and transformative potential... An active imagination is the key to such a wide vision: it looks at life from angles that are not our own, imagining other levels of consciousness superior to our own.”

Cremation of an Ideology (2011)

Cremation of an Ideology (2011)
Director: Rouzbeh Rashidi
Country: Ireland | Iran
Runtime:62 min

The enclosed, private space a man occupies is penetrated only by images brought from across distances by the internet. Space, distance and memory collapse in this haunting meditation on absence and virtual presence in the 21st century.

Monday, September 08, 2014

When I Saw You (2012)

When I Saw You (2012)
Director: Annemarie Jacir
Country: Palestine
Runtime:98 min

 The follow up to Annemarie Jacir's award-winning feature debut Salt of the Sea, When I Saw You tells the tale of a young Palestinian boy and his mother as they struggle to maintain their dignity after being displaced from their West Bank by the Israeli army in 1967. Defeated by the Israelis for the second time in their quest to liberate Palestine, numerous Palestinians and their families join refugees from the 1948 conflict in refugee camps located in nearby Arab countries. 11-year-old Tarek (Mahmoud Asfa) and his mother Ghaydaa (Ruba Blal) are just two of the thousands who were displaced when the Israeli army seized control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Desperate, they seek shelter at the Harir Camp in Jordan while anxiously awaiting the return of Tarik's father, Ghassan. Later, when Ghassan fails to appear, Tarik grows emboldened by his encounter with a band of heavily-armed Palestinian freedom fighters, and decides to join their ranks.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Ana Arabia (2013)

 Ana Arabia (2013)
 Director: Amos Gitai
Country: France | Israel
Runtime:85 min

Filmed in one sequence-shot of 1:25, Ana Arabia is a moment in the life of a small community of outcasts, Jews and Arabs, who live together in a forgotten enclave at the “border” between Jaffa and Bat Yam, in Israel. One day, Yael, a young journalist, visits them. In these dilapidated shacks, in the orchard filled with lemon trees and surrounded by mass public houses, she discovers a range of characters far removed from the usual clichés offered by the region. Yael has the feeling of having discovered a human goldmine. She no longer thinks of her job. Faces and words of Youssef and Miriam, Sarah and Walid, of their neighbors, their friends tell her about life, its dreams and its hopes, its love affairs, desires and disillusions. Their relation to time is different than that of the city around them. In this tinkered and fragile place, there is a possibility of coexistence. A universal metaphor.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Florentina Hubaldo, CTE (2012)

Florentina Hubaldo, CTE (2012)
Director: Lav Diaz
Country: Philippines
Runtime:360 min

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive degenerative disease found in individuals who have been subjected to multiple concussions and other forms of head injury. A variant of the condition, dementia pugilistica (DP), is primarily associated with boxing. CTE has been most commonly found in professional athletes participating in American football, ice hockey, professional wrestling and other contact sports, who have experienced head trauma, resulting in characteristic degeneration of brain tissue and the accumulation of tau protein. Individuals with CTE may show symptoms of dementia such as memory loss, aggression, confusion and depression which may appear within months of the trauma or many decades later. (Wikipedia)

Florentina Hubaldo keeps repeating her story, orally, akin to a mantra, a meditation and a prayer; her way of remembering; her means of maintaining hope for survival and redemption; fighting with what’s left of her memory. She lives and exist in a place and a condition where history, her story, is being systematically being obliterated.

Two gold hunters endlessly dig the ground with their shovels and hoes for the proverbial treasure that will emancipate them.

A father sadly waits for the death of her fragile daughter.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Prisms of Perception(2012)

Prisms of Perception(2012)
Director: Gigi Scaria
Country: India
Runtime:3 min
Video Art

Gigi Scaria did his BFA in painting at the College of Fine Arts, Thiruvananthapuram, and his MFA at the Jamia Millia University. His work focuses on issues of change, unsettlement, immigration, exodus and non-belonging. Scaria attempts to draw the viewer’s attention towards the painful truths of displacement.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Polluting Paradise(2012)

Polluting Paradise(2012)
Director: Fatih Akin
Country: Germany
Runtime:85 min

Ten years ago, the government of Turkey decided to dump waste in the hills above the Black Sea village of Çamburnu. The villagers' struggle against the Turkish state's decision has lasted as long – the mayor and the whole village against Ministers of State, judges and financial interests. How can they possibly succeed against these powerful institutions? Director Fatih Akin takes a devastating look at the small village whose health and security are threatened by the introduction of the garbage dump. Situated in a defunct copper mine, the refuse heap pollutes groundwater and streams and fills the air with terrible odors. Akin keeps his cameras rolling over the course of five years as community members, including elderly residents and schoolchildren, fight the smug bureaucrats who signed off on the dump, while they attempt to maintain their daily existence as farmers, fishermen and students. Akin does what all good activist filmmakers do best: expose the stark divide between everyday citizens and the people who supposedly represent them, urging viewers not to let a similar fate befall their hometowns.