Ghasem Ebrahimian – The Suitors (1989)

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Quote:
A young Iranian woman fends for herself in America in spite of the wishes of her newfound friends after her husband is accidentally killed.

Review
From the NY Times:

Before we are 15 minutes into ”The Suitors,” this dark satire reveals the dangers of slaughtering sheep in a bathtub. A quirky first feature written and directed by Ghasem Ebrahimian, who was born in Iran and who settled in the United States in the 1970’s, the film also takes a sharp, affectionate view of Iranian immigrants trying to merge their traditions with Manhattan living. Continue reading

Robert Altman – Fool For Love (1985)

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“At the center of Sam Shepard’s ‘Fool for Love’ are two people whose hurts are so deep, whose angers are so real, that they can barely talk about what they really feel. That does not stop them from talking, on and on into the hurtful night, and eventually we can put together their stories, using what they have said, and especially what they have not said.

One of the characters is a blond slattern named May, whose natural beauty has been rearranged into a parody of the classic movie baby doll — Brigitte Bardot, say. The other character is named Eddie, and he is a cowboy who drives through the empty Texas reaches in the obligatory pickup truck with the obligatory rifle rack behind his head and the obligatory horse trailer behind the truck. One night May is working behind the counter of a restaurant in a crumbling motel, and she sees Eddie’s pickup coming down the road. She runs and hides. Standing in the shadows of the rundown motel is an older man (Harry Dean Stanton) who simply waits and watches. Continue reading

Andrei Konchalovsky – Shy People (1987)

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Diana (Jill Clayburgh) and her rebellious cocaine snorting daughter (Martha Plimpton) travel to the Louisiana bayou to meat their distant relatives. They find a wild gun-toting marsh woman (Barbara Hershey), and her grown children who she protects from the outside world still, going as far as putting one in a cage. Diana came to write an insightful article about her lost family, but may have gotten in over her head. The atmosphere is beautiful. There are some great performances by the brilliant Barbara Hershey (won best actress in 1987 Cannes), and Martha Plimpton. The turning point of the film is a bizarre rape sequence involving Martha Plimpton, cocaine, a big barrel of honey, a dozen goats, and Patrick Swayze’s brother, Don Swayze. This leads to both Jill Clayburg and Martha Plimpton being alone in the swamp, fighting for survival, and also a serious conflict within the family. Photographed by Chris Menges (The Killing Fields, The Mission). This film is incredible. Continue reading

Raoul Ruiz – Treasure Island (1985)

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Review from The cinema of Raul Ruiz – Martin, Adrian – Australian Film Institute – 1993 – 10 pages – – bookle
Ruiz harboured for many years the dream of filming one of the novels of Robert Louis Stevenson – one of the ‘low culture’ writers he cites as having an important, formative influence on him. Treasure Island was set up as a four-hour adventure epic for Cannon Films, and shot in 1985. The film eventually surfaced six years later in a much reduced form.

Ruiz’s approach to the adaptation of Stevenson is far from conventional. ‘The way Stevenson tells the story is so remarkable that it could be about anything – pirates, kidnappers, whatever. We are surrounded by stories that are like houses that we can enter. We play amidst these stories, sometimes being involved in two or three of them at once.’ The film thus transforms Stevenson’s novel into a gigantic conspiracy, a ‘house of fiction’ that pre-exists those who enter into it. its stories constitute ‘the society in which we live,’ and they are observed by a boy still at the threshold of his socialized identity. Ruiz describes the film as being about the ‘games of simulacra’ and the ‘playing of roles.’ Continue reading

Georgi Daneliya – Kin-Dza-Dza (1989)

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Wikipedia wrote:
Kin-dza-dza! (Russian: Кин-дза-дза!, translit. Kin-dzah-dzah!) is a 1986 Soviet comedy-science fiction film released by the Mosfilm studio and directed by Georgi Daneliya, with a story by Georgi Daneliya and Revaz Gabriadze. The movie was filmed in color, consists of two parts and runs for 135 minutes in total.

The film is a dark and grotesque parody of human society and may be described as a dystopia. It depicts a desert planet, depleted of its resources, home to an impoverished dog-eat-dog society with extreme inequality and oppression. It is a cult film, especially in post-Soviet countries, and its humorous dialogue is frequently quoted. Continue reading

Jennie Livingston – Paris Is Burning (1990)

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Documentary about the Harlem drag balls thrown by predominantly inner city black and Latino gay men in the mid-1980s. The film features footage of the actual “drag” pageants, as well … Full Descriptionas interviews with ball participants, who describe their backgrounds and dreams, and the intricacies of their rich and detailed dialect. A fascinating look at the complexities of this elaborate subculture.

An unblinking, behind-the-scenes story of the young men of Harlem who originated “voguing” and turned these stylized dance competitions into a glittering expression of fierce personal pride. Continue reading

Don Askarian – Komitas (1989)

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The film is dedicated to the Armenian monk and genius composer Komitas, and the 2 million victims on his people in Turkey in 1915. The final 20 years of Komitas life were spent in various mental hospitals. The destiny of Komitas? This is the magic beauty of Armenian culture and the abhorrent brutality of Armenian history. A cultural and artistic world that was slaughtered with a curved knife. A humanity that doggedly advances towards an apocalyptic catastrophe, that does not recognize its own original purpose, eradicates its own memory, its final roots. Continue reading