Clément Perron – Taureau (1973)

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The population of a small Beauce town in Quebec dogs a mother and her daughter who are believed to trade on their charms. The film shows the brutal reality of the village inhabitants’ behaviour toward the mother and her daughter. Taureau, the woman’s son who is a little crazy, but as strong as an ox, even takes the liberty of courting the teacher. The Beaucerons feel obliged to avenge their honour. Continue reading

Andrei Tarkovsky – Stalker [The Criterion Collection] (1979)

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Andrei Tarkovsky’s final Soviet feature is a metaphys­ical journey through an enigmatic postapocalyptic landscape, and a rarefied cinematic experience like no other. A hired guide—the Stalker—leads a writer and a professor into the heart of the Zone, the restricted site of a long-ago disaster, where the three men eventually zero in on the Room, a place rumored to fulfill one’s most deeply held desires. Adapting a science-fiction novel by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, Tarkovsky created an immersive world with a wealth of material detail and a sense of organic atmosphere. A religious allegory, a reflection of contemporaneous political anxieties, a meditation on film itself—Stalker envelops the viewer by opening up a multitude of possible meanings. 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

Lino Brocka – Insiang (1976)

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Jealousy and violence take center stage in this claustrophobic melo­drama, a tautly constructed character study set in the slums of Manila. Lino Brocka crafts an eviscerating portrait of an innocent daughter and her bitter mother as women scorned. Insiang leads a quiet life dominated by household duties, but after she is raped by her mother’s lover and abandoned by the young man who claims to care for her, she exacts vicious revenge. A savage commentary on the degradations of urban poverty, especially for women, Insiang was the first Philippine film ever to play at Cannes. Continue reading

Derek Jarman – Jubilee (1978)

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Punks hail Britannia in their own peculiar way in this little-seen gem by the late queer auteur

Jubilee (1978), Britain’s only decent punk film, still isn’t respected at home as much as it should be, and it remains pretty obscure everywhere else. Instead, we had to wait for Trainspotting (1996) to represent some sort of renaissance in “cool” British cinema. Yet, even though it is almost 20 years older, Jubilee makes Trainspotting’s self-congratulatory, CD tie-in antics look like a polite Edinburgh garden party. Continue reading