Gaspar Noé – Seul Contre Tous aka I Stand Alone (1998)

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“A grim portrait of disaffection and loneliness, Gaspar Noe’s I Stand Alone is a movie clearly conceived to make a stir. With an armed, frustrated, and hate-filled time bomb at its center, it unabashedly recalls Taxi Driver, offering its own nihilistic spin on Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece of urban anomie and redemption. For a feature debut, it’s unbelievably daring. Noe doesn’t shy away from sprucing up his familiar story with Godard-ian flourishes, including occasional intertitles, a torrent of offscreen narration, and even a warning to the audience to leave before the wrenching finale. A more jarring conceit is the frequent use of abrupt cuts and fast dollies, accompanied by gunshots on the soundtrack. Genuinely startling and somewhat misconceived, the distracting device nonetheless goes some way toward evoking the volatile mindset of the protagonist. The movie shines a light on the circumstances that breed fascist and racist impulses. As politics, it isn’t terribly illuminating: Its depiction of underclass, xenophobic rage is shocking in its brutality but hardly revelatory in its insight. As a psychological interrogation, it’s more compelling, plunging the viewer into the mind of a disturbed man without sugarcoating. It’s this brazen willingness to shove something so repellent in its audience’s face that makes I Stand Alone both a courageous movie and an unpleasant experience. Whether the movie is genuinely probing or merely preoccupied with provocation is up for debate. What’s not is the movie’s visceral impact: This unrelenting essay about a lumpen brute sticks with you, despite — or perhaps because of — its lacerating bleakness” (AMG)
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Maria Speth – In den Tag hinein AKA The Days Between (2001)

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Twenty-two-year-old Lynn lives spontaneously waiting to see what the day brings. Earning money as a dancer in a trendy nightclub allows her to release her pent-up energy. Impulsive, she has difficulty relating to her disciplined boyfriend David, a professional swimmer with a strict practice schedule. Her love life takes a turn when she meets Japanese student Koji, who shares her sense of freedom, sensuality and abandon. –Celluloid Dreams Continue reading

Khushboo Ranka & Anand Gandhi – Continuum (2006)

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Continuum

This film narrates simple enjoyable stories from everyday life that explore the continuum of life and death, of love and paranoia, of trade and value, of need and invention, of hunger and enlightenment. The five moments of its childlike innocence branch out into a more intricate gamut of an urbanscape, culminating into a space where the stories no longer exist as singular threads in their own vacuum but come across and play with each other to form a larger fabric of life. Continue reading

Pat O’Neill – Trouble In The Image (1996)

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Pat O’Neill’s second long-form work, following Water & Power. A master of the optical printer, and the single greatest influence on Peter Tscherkassky’s “manufractured” cinema, O’Neill reprocesses and recontextualises fragments of found footage & public service broadcasts to extraordinary effect, meshing it with his own original footage (incorporating time-lapse, motion control and innumerable exposures). Cinematic non-sequiturs amass, layer upon visual layer, creating trouble in the image. Continue reading

Abbas Kiarostami – Ta’m e guilass AKA Taste of Cherry (1997)

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Winner of the Gold Palm at the 50th Cannes Festival, Taste of Cherry follows along with Mr Badii’s trajectory. He is a man in his fifties, and he is driving about in his car over points in the city where the unemployed are available for odd, occasional jobs.
Mr Badii tries, in the midst of all these people, to find someone willing to get into his car and earn himself some quick, easy money in exchange for a small job. A small job that is difficult to explain and that no one seems willing to accept.

Mr Badii dialogs with a series of characters who are more or less marginalized by society and who receive his suggestion with varied reactions. Continue reading

Joe D’Amato – The Emporer Caligula: The Untold Story AKA Caligula 2 (1982)

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from IMDB:

The deranged Roman emperor Gainus ‘Caligula’ (Little Boots) Caesar (12-41 A.D.) rules Rome with an iron fist and has anyone tortured and exectued for even the slightest insubordination. Mostly set during his last year of his reign, as Caligula loses support due to his brutal and crazed excess, a young Moor woman, named Miriam, becomes his lover while ploting to kill him to avenge the murder of a friend which Caligula was responsible for. But Miriam is torn between her personal vandeda against Caligula and her own personal feelings towards him despite his madness and debauched lifestyle of orgies and bloody torture murders. Written by Matthew Patay Continue reading

Miguel Gomes – Aquele Querido Mes de Agosto AKA Our Beloved Month of August (2008)

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Despite a complete lack of financing and cast, driven young director Miguel Gomes is hell-bent on making a film and dives headlong into a cinematic kaleidoscope. With a camera and a small crew, Gomez travels to a remote Portuguese mountainside, where the Pardieiros music festival is under way, and begins filming the townsfolk. While the festival sets one’s eyes ablaze and toes tapping, Gomes finds a narrative slowly and sneakily emerging. Locations, songs, and characters from the documentary are recast as echoes of their former selves. Townspeople are reincarnated as members of a family band and incestuous subplots unfold. These colliding realities beg the question: Is the beginning of the film merely research for following fiction? Is truth a rehearsal for fiction here, or is it the other way around? This one-of-a-kind diptych probes the intersection of documentary and fiction filmmaking, suggesting that story and reality are echoes of one another. Ravishingly photographed and brilliantly assembled, Our Beloved Month of August is a travelogue to get lost in, an indigenous film created by tourists. It’s also a window into a fascinating filmmaking process that continues to unravel long after the credits roll. Continue reading