Gennadiy Klimov & Igor Shavlak – Semya vurdalakov AKA The Vampire Family (1990)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Only vaguely based on Alexei Tolstoy’s novel ‘Oupyr’ (1841), ‘The Vampire Family’ (Semya vurdalakov) is a mixture of striking dreams, fading reality, and most ingenious psychedelic background music, Artemeyv-style (scores by Vladimir Davydenko). Continue reading

Jean-Luc Godard – Détective (1985)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
Détective is one of Godard’s most engaging films, even though it has not been one of his most celebrated. Wheeler Winston Dixon described it as a “straightforward commercial venture,” the film Godard made “precisely in order to direct Je vous salue, Marie (1985).” But dismissing it in this way fails to recognize that, even in a film where Godard is forced to compromise, there is still much to be recommended. While Détective does tell a story of sorts, it is more than a mere narrative film. It still has many of the striking sound/image experiments and investigations into the forms, textures and affects of the plastic and temporal arts that we have come to expect from a Godard film. It also has a playful comic energy. In fact, as Dave Kehr notes, Détective has “all the lightness and zip of Godard’s sixties features.” Continue reading

Maureen Blackwood & Isaac Julien – The Passion of Remembrance (1986)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

The first film by Sankofa Film and Video, THE PASSION OF REMEMBRANCE has gained classic status as a representation of the totality and diversity of Black experience. Within a dramatic framework the film gives a mosaic impression of the different dimensions of Black experience lived and imagined by a generation of filmmakers in the UK. As beautiful as it is eloquent, THE PASSION OF REMEMBRANCE is critical viewing for those interested in race, gender, history and cinema studies.

“Really radical filmmaking…the filmmakers intend to raise the intelligence and consciousness of their audience.” Armond White – Film Comment Continue reading

Yong-Kyun Bae – Dharmaga tongjoguro kan kkadalgun AKA Why Has Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East?: A Zen Fable (1989)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Synopsis:
Three people live in a remote Buddhist monastery near Mount Chonan: Hyegok, the old master; Yong Nan, a young man who has left his extended family in the city to seek enlightenment – Hyegok calls him Kibong!; and, an orphan lad Haejin, whom Hyegok has brought to the monastery to raise as a monk. The story is mostly Yong Nan’s, told in flashbacks: how he came to the monastery, his brief return to the city, his vacillation between the turbulence of the world and his hope to overcome passions and escape the idea of self. We also see Hyegok as a teacher, a protector, and a father figure, and we watch Haejin make his way as a curious and nearly self-sufficient child. Continue reading

Ishmael Bernal – Himala aka Miracle (1982)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Himala is a landmark 1982 film directed by Ishmael Bernal. It tells the story of a young woman in a small town in the Philippines who claims to have seen an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary and suddenly begins to exhibit healing powers. More than a movie about faith-healing, the film is an excellent commentary on Third World poverty and backward and contradictory rural customs. The lead role is superbly played by one of the country’s premier dramatic actresses, Nora Aunor. Continue reading

Amir Naderi – Davandeh AKA The Runner (1984)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
Amiro is a young boy who has lost his home during the war. He spends his days by working odd jobs, until he realizes that the only way that he can realize his dreams is by enrolling in school. In school, he has conflict with other students. Finally there is a competition to see who can say the whole alphabet in one breath.

The Runner won the main prize at the famous Three Continents Festival at Nantes in 1985. It is often compared to Truffaut’s The 400 Blows, but is even more anguished and intense.

It was one of the first Iranian films of the Revolutionary period to attract widespread acclaim abroad, several years before filmmakers like Abbas Kiarostami and Mohsen Makhmalbaf achieved international renown. Continue reading

Agnès Varda – Mur murs AKA Mural Murals (1981)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
After returning to Los Angeles from France in 1979, Agnès Varda created this kaleidoscopic documentary about the striking murals that decorate the city. Bursting with color and vitality, Mur Murs is as much an invigorating study of community and diversity as it is an essential catalog of unusual public art. Continue reading