Raoul Ruiz – De grands événements et des gens ordinaires AKA Of Great Events and Ordinary People (1979)

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In 1978, Ruiz was commissioned to make a television documentary about the French elections from the viewpoint of a Chilean exile in the 11th arrondissement. But, contrary to the producers’ expectation, the Left lost. Ruiz seized on this anti-climax to make a documentary about nothing except itself – a film whose central subject is forever lost in digression and ‘dispersal’, harking back to his Chilean experiments of the ’60s. It is the best, and certainly the funniest, of self-reflexive deconstructions of the documentary form. Ruiz drolly exaggerates every hare-brained convention of TV reportage, from shot/reverse shot ‘suture’ and talking-head experts to establishing shots and vox pops (narrator’s note to himself: “Include street interviews ad absurdum”.) Every fragment of reality (e.g. polling booths on voting day) comes through the lens as a pre-fabricated televisual cliché. And, as always, Ruiz detonates his own auteur status.As an essay-film, Great Events contains many echoes – and a cheeky critique – of the sophisticated political filmmaking of Chris Marker. But Ruiz increasingly spices up the lesson with surreal elaborations – such as progressively shorter re-edits of the entire film, avant-garde decentrings of image and sound, and crazy runs of ‘secondary elements’ such as particular colours, angles and gestures. Continue reading

Vlatko Gilic – Dan vise AKA A Day More (1972)

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“Dan više” is about a mudbath near the small Serbian town of Bujanovac that is famous for healing illnesses. People cover themselves from head to toe in mud and then float on the water: Vlatko Gilić created a ghostly, surrealistic scenario, whose everyday quality is concentrated into an allegory of human suffering and quest.
“Mr. Gilic’s films are called documentaries. But he’s superb at finding the astonishing images that lurk in the ordinary world. It’s as if he’d nabbed some magic from the air and wedded it to facts. And it’s a privilege to see through his eyes: Whatever interests him assumes a contagious excitement for us.” Continue reading

Vlatko Gilic – In continuo (1971)

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SIlver Bear Berlin Festival Winner – Best Short FIlm

In continuo (1971), koji je nagrađen kao Najbolji kratki film na Berlinskom filmskom festivalu te godine, za koga se – bez sumnje – može reći da je u međunarodnim razmjerama uzdrmao ili preispitao pojmove i žanrove kratkog filma, dokumentarnog filma, te upotrebe simbola i metaforičkog značenja u paralelnilm

In Continuo uses slaughterhouse imagery to present the warlike nature of man, first depicting the cleaning and mechanical preparations for the slaughterhouse and then the killing, however, the animal slaughter itself isn’t shown. Continue reading

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