Bing Wang – Mrs. Fang (2017)

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Synopsis
Fang Xiu Ying is sixty-seven years old and suffers from Alzheimer’s, and yet she slowly understands that her life is coming to an end. Taking place in a quiet village in southern China, Fang Xiu Ying deals with the feelings of a person nearing death, as well as the lives of her relatives and neighbors who gather around her to say their final goodbyes. Continue reading

Ernst Lubitsch – Ich möchte kein Mann sein AKA I Don’t Want to Be a Man (1918)

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A teenaged tomboy, tired of being bossed around by her strict guardian, impersonates a man so she can have more fun, but discovers that being the opposite sex isn’t as easy as she had hoped.

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I Don’t Want To Be A Man is like The Oyster Princess an early example of Ernst Lubitsch’s comic skills, and it also shares The Oyster Princess’ star, the irrepressible comedienne Ossi Oswalda, who in both films lends her name to the characters she plays. Here she plays a wild, rambunctious late teen barely under the control of her guardian/uncle and governess. (In reality it takes a while to work out that this middle-aged couple glaring disapprovingly out the window at Ossi’s mild antics outside are not her parents; they seemed rather coded as such.) Continue reading

Joseph Losey – M (1951)

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Martin W Harrow (David Wayne) is a compulsive child-murderer who is tracked down and then placed on trial by the criminal underworld in Los Angeles. Syndicate chieftain Marshall (Martin Gabel) organizes his fellow crooks in order to bring “M” to justice, thereby keeping the police off their own backs. Found guilty by his “peers” and sentenced to death, “M” makes an impassioned plea for his life, explaining that he is unable to stop himself from committing his unspeakable crimes. Continue reading

Ivan I. Tverdovskiy – Zoologiya AKA Zoology (2016)

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Writer-director Ivan I. Tverdovsky s prize-winning sophomore feature (Special Prize of the Jury at Karlovy Vary Film Festival, Best Picture at Fantastic Fest) deftly mixes the deadpan humour of Aki Kaurismäki with a poignant examination of social issues including loneliness and aging.

Middle-aged zoo worker Natasha still lives with her mother in a small coastal town. As she struggles for independence, she has to endure the absurd reality of her life filled with gossip spread by the women around her. She is stuck and it seems that life has no surprises for her until one day… she grows a tail. Embarrassed at first, Natasha decides to go further with the transformation and use it as an opportunity to redefine herself as a person and as a woman. With the new “accessory” she gets access to the life that she has never experienced before – she starts a relationship with a man, who finds her attractive, she goes out and allows herself to be foolish for the first time in her life. But her second puberty eventually comes to an end and Natasha has to make a choice between reality and illusion … Continue reading

Gennadiy Klimov & Igor Shavlak – Semya vurdalakov AKA The Vampire Family (1990)

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Only vaguely based on Alexei Tolstoy’s novel ‘Oupyr’ (1841), ‘The Vampire Family’ (Semya vurdalakov) is a mixture of striking dreams, fading reality, and most ingenious psychedelic background music, Artemeyv-style (scores by Vladimir Davydenko). Continue reading