Lamberto Sanfelice – Cloro AKA Chlorine (2015)

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Synopsis
Jenny is seventeen and dreams of becoming a champion synchronised swimmer, but her carefree adolescent life in Ostia, a coastal province of Rome, is shaken by the sudden death of her mother. With a sick father and a nine-year-old brother to look after, Jenny is forced to move to an isolated mountain settlement in the middle of Abruzzo. Soon, she begins to face up to and slowly bear the weight of these responsibilities, while at the same time never quite losing sight of this desire to run (or indeed swim) in the direction of her dreams. Continue reading

Michael M. Bilandic – Hellaware (2013)

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Jaded by the “incestuous, New York, socialite sh_t” that sells at prominent art galleries, Nate embarks on a quest for a more authentic brand of contemporary art. When a coked-up YouTube search leads to a music video from Delawarean Goth rappers Young Torture Killers, an Insane Clown Posse knock-off, Nate knows he’s found his subjects. He soon drags his friend-with-benefits Bernadette to rural Delaware to shoot the group playing in their parents’ basement. To “immerse himself” in the group’s culture and add an extra layer of realism to his work, Nate befriends the rappers and makes return trips to get to know them. But as his relationship with group develops, he becomes increasingly aware that, while you can take the boy out of the art world, you can’t take the art world out of the boy. Continue reading

Ermanno Olmi – Torneranno i prati AKA Greenery Will Bloom Again (2014)

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Quote:
The winter of 1917, the North-East front, the final clashes of the Great War. An Italian stronghold situated at 1800 metres above sea level, on the Asiago plateau, described in the novels of Mario Rigoni Stern. It’s snowing everywhere; the Austrian trenches are so close that you can hear the enemy soldiers breathing.

A hundred years since the outbreak of World War I, maestro Ermanno Olmi describes with Torneranno i prati his vision of a conflict that cost the lives of 16 million human beings, just as it was brought back to him by the memory of his father, called to arms at 19 years of age, to find himself within the bloodbath of Carso and Piave. A drama that scarred his youth and the rest of his life, just like millions of others. Continue reading

Mariano Llinás – Historias extraordinarias AKA Extraordinary Stories (2008)

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Quote:
Historias extraordinarias tells the adventures of three men known only as H (Agustin Mendilaharzu, doubling as cinematographer), X (director Mariano Llinás) and Z (Walter Jakob). These adventures come across as self-conscious constructions and journeys happening in the here and now. But though the strongest literary influences on Llinás’ fascinating screenplay are fiction writer Jorge Luis Borges and disciple Adolfo Bioy-Casares, it would be wrong to label Historias extraordinarias as literary per se: Instead, a viewer would have to stretch back to the grand serial silents of Louis Feuillade for something as ambitious as Llinás’ detailed telling of the three separate, intertwined tales, all involving men on quests in situations that force them to question who they really are. Llinás jumps between the storylines over 18 episodes, usually devoting no more than about 15 minutes at a time to any single one. The governing concept uniting the tales is how each man begins with a specific task, and then veers away from the straight-and-narrow, bringing the job’s purpose into question. Continue reading

François Truffaut – Tirez sur le pianiste AKA Shoot the Pianist (1960)

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Quote:
A hapless pianist at a jazz club gets caught up with the mob, when his older brother who owes money to them comes to him for help. Eventually, the piano player and his girlfriend become pawns in middle of a dangerous game.

Truffaut first read David Goodis’s novel in the mid-1950s while shooting Les Mistons when his wife Madeleine Morgenstern read it and recommended it to him. He immediately loved the book’s dialogue and poetic tone and showed it to producer Pierre Braunberger, who bought the rights. Truffaut later met Goodis in New York City, where the novelist gave Truffaut a vintage viewfinder from his brief experience as a 2nd Unit Director on a U.S. film. Continue reading

Billy Wilder – The Apartment (1960)

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Quote:
Immediately following the success of Some Like It Hot, Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond wished to make another film with Jack Lemmon. Wilder had originally planned to cast Paul Douglas as Jeff Sheldrake; however, after he died unexpectedly, Fred MacMurray was cast.

The initial concept for the film came from Brief Encounter by Noël Coward, in which Celia Johnson has an affair with Trevor Howard in his friend’s apartment. However, due to the Hays Production Code, Wilder was unable to make a film about adultery in the 1940s. Wilder and Diamond also based the film partially on a Hollywood scandal in which high-powered agent Jennings Lang was shot by producer Walter Wanger for having an affair with Wanger’s wife, actress Joan Bennett. During the affair, Lang used a low-level employee’s apartment. Another element of the plot was based on the experience of one of Diamond’s friends, who returned home after breaking up with his girlfriend to find that she had committed suicide in his bed. Continue reading

Aleksandr Gintsburg – Giperboloid inzhenera Garina AKA Engineer Garin’s Hyperboloid [+Extra] (1965)

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Synopsis:

The year is 1925. Professor Mantsev invents a weapon of a formidable destructive force never seen before – a hyperboloid that strikes dead with a beam… Engineer Garin steals this prototype of the modern laser gun, with the aim to use it for the realization of his insane idea of become the ruler of the world, with no inkling of the consequences that would be dangerous for him, too. A hunt for Garin and Mantsev’s dangerous invention begins… Continue reading