Jacques Rivette & Suzanne Schiffman – Out 1, noli me tangere (1971)

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Though Jacques Rivette’s Out 1 is often described as a time capsule, it hardly functions as a medium for concrete historical research. The 1971 film takes place in a major global city (Paris in the late ’60s) for all of its 13 hours, but it’s notable for how radically disconnected it is from the quotidian texture of metropolitan life—from matters like what any of its characters do to make a living, how they get around, what their typical routine is, what they eat or drink, or what they do in their downtime. Continue reading

Massoud Bakhshi – Tehran Anar Nadarad AKA Tehran Has No More Pomegranates! (2007)

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Tehran is a large village near the city of Rey, full of gardens and fruit trees.  Its inhabitants live in anthill-like underground holes.  The village’s several districts are constantly at war.  Tehranis’ main occupations are theft and crime, though the king pretends they are subject to him.  They grow excellent fruits, notably an excellent pomegranate, which is found only in Tehran.
– Asar-o-Lblab, 1241 A.D

Tehran Has No More Pomegranates! is a postmodern documentary that is as witty and engaging as it is informative.  The style of the film is fun and very visual, with the director, Massoud Bakhshi, using incredible archival footage, an original visual approach and terrific soundtrack that takes us through 150 years of Tehran’s history. Onscreen, Bakhshi may fail to complete his film, but he succeeds in both documenting Tehran’s history and entertaining us with its poignant contradictions. Continue reading

Karel Reisz – Night Must Fall (1964)

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Albert Finney stars in this 1964 psychological thriller, as a psychotic killer who murders a woman then becomes the handy man at a local house where his girlfriend works. Once there he proceeds to slowly torment the old lady who owns the house and attempts to seduce her granddaughter. Continue reading

Silvia Maglioni & Graeme Thomson – In Search of UIQ (2013)

FOR THOSE WHO WANTS LOVE AND FREEDOM
In Search of UIQ unfolds the story of Félix Guattari’s lost science-fiction screenplay, Un Amour d’UIQ. Conceived during the 1980s, this unmade film imagines the discovery of the Infra-quark Universe (UIQ), an alien intelligence from a parallel dimension that falls in love with one of its human hosts, an event which has catastrophic consequences for the whole planet. Moving between documentary, fiction and essay, through the deployment of video, film and sound archives, letters and other documents that are enmeshed in a series of fabulations, In Search of UIQ explores what the cinema of the Infra-quark might have been (and may still become) and considers its rapport with key social and political transformations of our time from autonomist struggles to the digital recoding of life. Continue reading

Eran Riklis – The Syrian Bride (2004)

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In Majdal Shams, the largest Druze village in Golan Heights on the Israeli-Syrian border, the Druze bride Mona is engaged to get married with Tallel, a television comedian that works in the Revolution Studios in Damascus, Syria. They have never met each other because of the occupation of the area by Israel since 1967; when Mona moves to Syria, she will lose her undefined nationality and will never be allowed to return home. Mona’s father Hammed is a political activist pro-Syria that is on probation by the Israeli government. His older son Hatten married a Russian woman eight years ago and was banished from Majdal Shams by the religious leaders and his father. His brother Marwan is a wolf trader that lives in Italy. His sister Amal has two teenager daughters and has the intention to join the university, but her marriage with Amin is in crisis. When the family gathers for Mona’s wedding, an insane bureaucracy jeopardizes the ceremony. Continue reading

Angela Schanelec – Orly (2010)

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Amidst the impersonal hubbub of Paris’ Orly Airport, strangers meet, secrets are revealed, and sudden intimacies develop in this beautifully observed mosaic of lives in transit.

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Loosely-linked scenes in the hall of Paris’ Orly airport. A man and a woman, both French but living abroad, meet each other by chance. He has just decided to move back to Paris and she longs to return there. A mother and her almost adult son are going to the funeral of her ex-husband, his father. A young couple is embarking on its first big trip. And a woman reads a letter from the man she has recently left. They are all waiting for their flight. Continue reading

Peter Weir – The Mosquito Coast (1986)

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From Reel Film Reviews:
The Mosquito Coast, based on the novel by Paul Theroux, manages to do the impossible: It makes Harrison Ford come off as a jerk. But despite this (or maybe because of this), The Mosquito Coast is a compelling little movie.

Ford stars as Allie, a brilliant inventor who’s never really put his talents to good use. He spends much of his time lamenting the current state of America, which is chock full of fast food joints and welfare leeches. Along with his wife and three kids, he lives a fairly comfortable life – taking odd jobs repairing things. In his spare time, he just happens to invent things like a machine that can instantly make ice using fire as fuel. But one day, he gets sick of the American way of life and convinces his family to move to a place called the Mosquito Coast somewhere in South America. He’s actually purchased a small area of land in that vicinity, which basically makes him mayor with a constituency of around 20 people. Allie and family proceed to turn the villagers lives upside down, initially for the better (they build quite an impressive little town, complete with a gigantic ice-making machine), but eventually, Allie begins to relish the power a bit too much and it’s all downhill from there. Continue reading