Hilla Medalia – The Go-Go Boys: The Inside Story of Cannon Films (2014)

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The Inside Story of Cannon Films is a documentary about two Israeli-born cousins, Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, who in pursuit of the American Dream turned the Hollywood power structure upside down, producing over 300 films and becoming the most powerful independent film company in the world. Up close and personal, the film examines the complex relationship between two contradictory personalities whose combined force fueled their success and eventual collapse.
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Jennie Livingston – Paris Is Burning (1990)

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Documentary about the Harlem drag balls thrown by predominantly inner city black and Latino gay men in the mid-1980s. The film features footage of the actual “drag” pageants, as well … Full Descriptionas interviews with ball participants, who describe their backgrounds and dreams, and the intricacies of their rich and detailed dialect. A fascinating look at the complexities of this elaborate subculture.

An unblinking, behind-the-scenes story of the young men of Harlem who originated “voguing” and turned these stylized dance competitions into a glittering expression of fierce personal pride. Continue reading

Ming-liang Tsai – Hei yan quan aka I Don’t Want To Sleep Alone (2006)

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Plot Synopsis by Jason Buchanan (allmovie.com)
A homeless Chinese itinerant is attacked by thugs in Kuala Lampur, only to fall in with a group of kind but curious Bangladeshi men and other fascinating denizens of the smog-soaked city in director Tsai Ming-liang’s minimalist mediation on contemporary life in the Malaysian capitol. Hsiao-kang (Lee Kang-sheng) has been injured in a brutal street attack, and after being brought to the crumpling abode of a group of Bangladeshi men, he is nursed back to help on the musty mattress of his benevolent rescuer Rawang (Norman Bin Atun). Upon gaining the strength to venture out on his own, Hsaio-kang makes the acquaintance of pretty Chinatown waitress Chyi (Chen Siang-chyi) – who currently works and lives with her female boss (Pearlly Chua). In another part of the city, a paralyzed man (also played by Lee) is tended to by a team of nurses before being moved from the hospital to the women’s tenement. When a toxic fog descends upon the city and the citizens are sent running for cover, Hsaio-kang finds his already complicated relationship with his three new acquaintances taking on a whole new, and decidedly surreal, dimension Continue reading

Carl Theodor Dreyer – Ordet AKA The Word [+extra] (1955)

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Plot:
A farmer’s family is torn apart by faith, sanctity, and love—one child believes he’s Jesus Christ, a second proclaims himself agnostic, and the third falls in love with a fundamentalist’s daughter. Putting the lie to the term “organized religion,” Ordet (The Word) is a challenge to simple facts and dogmatic orthodoxy. Layering multiple stories of faith and rebellion, Dreyer’s adaptation of Kaj Munk’s play quietly builds towards a shattering, miraculous climax.

Review:
‘Powerful’ doesn’t do justice to this 1955 exploration of life, death and faith from Danish master Carl Theodor Dreyer. Based on Kaj Munk’s 1932 play, ‘Ordet’ is an austere, realist work on one level as it joins a farming family in their Jutland home over a short but devastating period of time. Continue reading

Peter Strickland – The Duke of Burgundy (2014)

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Synopsis: A woman who studies butterflies and moths tests the limits of her relationship with her lover.

Quote:
“This is voyeurism of a brilliant, deeply refined order. If the MPAA had a shot at rating Strickland’s fantasy, they would try to condemn it without being able to explain why.” – Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Burgundy is a keen pastiche of 1970s Euro-sleaze and high art, and looks amazing on the big screen, calmly florid, precise yet bonkers, bristling with detail. It’s preposterous, delirious and delicious.” – Ray Pride, New City

“Stylistically, The Duke of Burgundy is an aesthete’s dream – meticulously refined, delicate as a fritillary’s wing.” – Jonathan Romney, Observer UK Continue reading

Don Askarian – Komitas (1989)

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The film is dedicated to the Armenian monk and genius composer Komitas, and the 2 million victims on his people in Turkey in 1915. The final 20 years of Komitas life were spent in various mental hospitals. The destiny of Komitas? This is the magic beauty of Armenian culture and the abhorrent brutality of Armenian history. A cultural and artistic world that was slaughtered with a curved knife. A humanity that doggedly advances towards an apocalyptic catastrophe, that does not recognize its own original purpose, eradicates its own memory, its final roots. Continue reading

Tina Mascara & Guido Santi – Monk with a Camera (2014)

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Nicholas Vreeland walked away from a worldly life of privilege to become a Tibetan Buddhist monk. Grandson of legendary Vogue editor, Diana Vreeland, and trained by Irving Penn to become a photographer, Nicholas’ life changed drastically upon meeting a Tibetan master, one of the teachers of the Dalai Lama. Soon thereafter, he gave up his glamorous life to live in a monastery in India, where he studied Buddhism for fourteen years. In an ironic twist of fate, Nicholas went back to photography to help his fellow monks rebuild their monastery. Recently, the Dalai Lama appointed Nicholas as Abbot of the monastery, making him the first Westerner in Tibetan Buddhist history, to attain such a highly regarded position. Continue reading