Saeed Roustayi – Abad va yek rooz AKA Life+1Day (2016)

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The graphic account of a poverty-stricken family living in Tehran through the days before the youngest daughter of the family, Somaieh, is departing to start her marriage to a supposedly rich Afghan. While all members of the family have their worries about the wholeness of the marriage, she is struggling with her madly debilitating troubles including a silly mother who is gravely ill, a drug abusing brother, an obsessively compulsive sister, a considerably smart teenage brother who is being ruined in the environment, and a cunning oldest brother in need of money. Continue reading

Mirjana Karanovic – Dobra zena AKA A Good Wife (2016)

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Milena is a middle-aged wife and mother ensconced comfortably behind a gate in an upscale suburb of Belgrade. She quietly tends to her looks, dutifully cooks and entertains, and meets her friends for choir practice. She makes love with her husband and they socialize jauntily with a group of old friends. But unsettling realities are beginning to seep into Milena’s consciousness and disrupt her ordered world. One day while cleaning, she happens upon a videotape that incriminates her husband in horrific war crimes. A Good Wife is the story of how this secret reverberates in Milena’s life and eventually changes her. Continue reading

Various – Cinema16: European Short Films (Special US Edition) (1965 – 2005)

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Cinema16 celebrates the short film by showcasing some of the best classic and award-winning shorts on DVD.

Aside from providing short films with a much needed platform, Cinema16 gives filmmakers and movie-lovers access to some great films that would otherwise be near impossible to see, from the fascinating early works of some of the world’s greatest directors to award-winning films from its most exciting new filmmakers.

Launching for the first time in North America, Cinema 16’s European Short Films DVD celebrates some of the best short films to have come out of Europe in the last half-century.

With over three hours of films, this DVD is essential viewing for anyone with an interest in the moving image. The majority of the films are accompanied by original audio commentaries, almost always by the directors themselves. Continue reading

Akira Kurosawa – Ichiban utsukushiku AKA The Most Beautiful (1944)

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The Most Beautiful is a wartime propaganda film depicting the efforts of female factory workers in a precision-lens manufacturing plant. It is episodic and anecdotal and very documentary-like. Donald Richie records specific instances of documentary techniques borrowed principally from Russian filmmakers such as the austere and static composition of its scenes. This need not be entertained to any considerable degree: the point is, holistically, the overwhelming impression is one of a document. We see many shots of the lens-making equipment, and through these learn the process of lens manufacture itself. Nearly every scene is segmented with shots of a parade (a military band, a marching platoon of young soldiers, etc.) and the film itself was shot in a real factory, a length to which Kurosawa would rarely go in later work. Continue reading