Written by Boyd van Hoeij
Thursday, 20 April 2006
Nothing less than a double suicide from a dazzling height initiates the fifth and by far best film of Italo-Turkish director Ferzan Ozpetek. With an equally dazzling central performance by another foreigner settled in Italy, Slovakian actress Barbora Bobulova, Cuore sacro (Sacred Heart) could very well win Ozpetek new fans at home and abroad as he forsakes his overly sentimental style for something both more subtle and more resonant.
Co-written and directed by Ozpetek, Cuore sacro is an exploration of goodness and religion and how they interact (and more often than not fail to interact) in Italian society in particular and the world at large. Unlike the director’s previous efforts (such as much laurelled La finestra di fronte/Facing window) there are no homosexual or otherwise marginalised or penniless protagonists; in Cuore sacro it is in fact fundamental that the main character is rich, at least at the start of the story.
Giovanna is a bookeeper in a company which packs chickens. She is married to a man who has a precarious job. First she starts being curious about a young man who lives in the block opposite hers, and then she falls in love with him. The relationship between the two becomes much stronger when she starts to find out more about him from an old man who bursts into their lives. The old man, obsessed with the memories of some things that happened n the long past autumn of 1943, has lost his memory and finds refuge in Giovanna.
“Facing Windows (La Finestra di fronte)” is like a very European and more sophisticated take on “The Notebook,” as it shifts between romantic and culinary past and present through the in-and-out consciousness of an elderly man. The “Rear Window” eroticism is just one element that accidentally brings together tangled, stymied lives swirling around lovely, exhausted, frustrated chef, wife and mother Giovanna Mezzogiorno, where each child, man, woman, friend and neighbor has separate priorities and fantasies that annoying real life interferes with, from the practical to the political. Continue reading
“Vaterland” is a key work in Thomas Heise’s filmography. In the beginning a voice over reads the letters his father Wolfgang and his brother sent their family from a labour camp. When they were 19 they had been sentenced to a labour camp for so-called «jüdische Mischlinge», Jewish half-breed. The camp was located in Straguth, in the surroundings of Zerbst, State of Saxony-Anhalt. At the time of the shooting the village counted about 290 inhabitants. Maybe the most «Fordian» movie by Thomas Heise. Continue reading
Jiri Menzel of Closely Watched Trains fame directed the sweet little Czechoslovakian comedy/drama My Sweet Little Village. The life’s blood of the titular community is a collective farm. Marian Labuda is the farm’s truck driver, and also the
partner-protector of Janos Ban, who is the village idiot. Like everyone else in the village, Labuda has watched out for Ban and covered up his mistakes, but in recent weeks the situation has become intolerable and Labuda demands a new partner. As Ban prepares to be relocated to Prague, we cut away to various subplots, all of which lead to the same conclusion: the hapless Ban has always been the “glue” that has held the community together. A contrite Labuda heads for Prague to invite Ban to come back home. Originally titled Vesnicko Ma Stediskova, My Sweet Little Village was a 1986 Academy Award “best foreign-language picture” nominee.
~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide Continue reading
Synopsis (Written by Theo Angelopoulos):
A, an American film director of Greek ancestry, is making a film that tells his story and the story of his parents. It is a tale that unfolds in Italy, Germany, Russia, Kazakhstan, Canada and the USA. The main character is Eleni, who is claimed and claims the absoluteness of love. At the same time the film is a long journey into the vast history and the events of the last fifty years that left their mark on the 20th century. The characters in the film move as though in a dream. The dust of time confuses memories. A searches for them and experiences them in the present. Continue reading
The world after the atomic age. An engineer disappears, together with his consortium (Kryo’Corp) and his discovery: a new energy source powered by the fusion of two primary substances. Ulysses, Kryo’Corp’s heir, organises an expedition to the only place these substances occur… Continue reading
In the Moroccan desert night dilutes forms and silence slides through sand. Dawn starts then to draw silhouettes of dunes while motionless figures punctuate landscape. From night´s abstraction, light returns its dimension to space and their volume to bodies. Stillness concentrates gaze and duration densify it. The adhan -muslim call to pray- sounds and immobility, that was condensing, begins to irradiate. And now the bodies are those which dissolves into the desert. Continue reading