Manuel Pradal – A Crime (2006)

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The devastated life of a man haunted by the unsolved murder of his beloved wife is strangely complicated by the mysterious neighbor who loves him from afar in a dark noir thriller directed by Manuel Pradal and starring Norman Reedus, Emmanuelle Béart and Harvey Keitel. Vincent (Reedus)’ wife has suffered a most brutal fate, and these days the once happy New Yorker is but a frozen shell of his former self. Vincent is not a man unloved, however, because although he may currently be unaware of her feelings for him, his neighbor Alice (Béart) knows in her heart that she and Vincent were meant to be together. All that needs to happen to make Vincent recognize her love is for the grieving widower to finally be liberated from his tragic past; and Alice is willing to go to any lengths necessary in order to make this happen. If Vincent was finally to find the man responsible for his wife’s death, he could finally be free to open his heart to Alice. When Alice hails a cab driven by lonely New York soul Roger (Keitel), the gears of the scheming woman’s elaborate plan are slowly set into motion despite the ignorance of both the naïve cabbie, and the somber object of her delusional affections. Continue reading

Maureen Blackwood – Perfect Image? (1989)

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Bright and imaginative in its approach to its subject, PERFECT IMAGE? exposes stereotypical images of Black women and explores women’s own ideas of self worth. Using two actresses who constantly change their personae, the film poses questions about how Black women see themselves and each other and the pitfalls that await those who internalize the search for the “perfect image”! Continue reading

Barbara Sternberg – Like a Dream That Vanishes (1999)

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“Like a Dream That Vanishes” continues Sternberg’s work in film both thematically and formally: the ephemerality of life echoed in the temporal nature of film, as the stuff of life echoed on the energy, life-force in rhythmic light pulses. (Your life is like a candle burning.) Imageless emulsion is inter-cut with brief shots of natural elements and mise-en-scene of the stages of human life: a little boy runs and falls; teens hang out together at night smoking; sun shines through tree branches; men pace, waiting; flashes of lightning; an elderly man speaks philosophically about miracles. Continue reading

Yermek Shinarbayev – Mest AKA Revenge (1989)

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A child is raised in Korea to avenge the death of his father’s first child in this decades-spanning tale of obsession and violence, the third collaboration between director Ermek Shinarbaev and writer Anatoli Kim. A study of everyday evil infused with philosophy and poetry, this haunting allegory was the first Soviet film to look at the Korean diaspora in central Asia, and a founding work of the Kazakh New Wave. Rigorous and complex, Revenge weaves luminous imagery with inventive narrative elements in an unforgettable meditation on the way trauma is passed down through generations. Continue reading

Aleksandr Mitta & Kenji Yoshida – Moskva, lyubov moya AKA Moscow, My Love (1974)

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A Japanese girl came to Moscow to learn the art of dance. The love of a Moscow sculptor, the victory in the final-year students competition brought a lot of happiness to Yuriko. However a sudden disease of blood, result of an atomic bombardment of her town, bursts into her life. Continue reading

Ingmar Bergman – Larmar och gör sig till AKA In the Presence of a Clown (1997)

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Inventor Carl Åkerblom is a rosy-cheeked 54 year-old admirer of Franz Schubert – and a patient in the psychiatric ward of Akademiska Hospital in Uppsala, after having attempted to beat to death his fiancée, Pauline Thibault. Together with another patient, Professor Osvald Vogler, they set up a film project: the living talkie. Before long, they set off on a frantic tour with their film, “The Joy of the Joyous Girl”… (IMDB) Continue reading