Robert Beavers – The Hedge Theater (1986-90/2002)

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Quote:
The Hedge Theater, USA 1986-90/2002, 19 min

Cast: Robert Beavers, Gregory J. Markopoulos

Beavers shot The Hedge Theatre in Rome in the 1980s. It is an intimate film inspired by the Baroque architecture and stone carvings of Francesco Borromini and St. Martin and the Beggar, a painting by the Sienese painter Il Sassetta. Beavers’ montage contrasts the sensuous softness of winter light with the lush green growth brought by spring rains. Each shot and each source of sound is steeped in meaning and placed within the film’s structure with exacting skill to build a poetic relationship between image and sound. (Susan Oxtoby, Toronto International Film Festival) Continue reading

Kaige Chen – Da yue bing AKA The Big Parade (1986)

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Synopsis:
Army volunteers train for places in China’s 1984 National Day parade, where they are expected to be a perfect marching unit.

Review:
Walter Goodman, NYT wrote:
From the impressive overhead shots of troops assembling for a march-past in Beijing’s huge central square on the 35th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China, in October 1984, to the final slow-motion close-ups of them parading, the camera of Zhang Yimou commands ”The Big Parade.” The Chinese movie, directed by Chen Kaige and on view tonight at 6 o’clock and tomorrow at 8:30 P.M. as part of the New Directors/New Films festival, holds you by its photography even as you may be getting a bit restless at the Chinese version of the good old American boot-camp movie. Continue reading

John Berger and Susan Sontag – To Tell A Story [Voices] (1983)

““Somebody dies,” says John Berger. “It’s not just a question of tact that one then says, well, perhaps it is possible to tell that story,” but “it’s because, after that death, one can read that life. The life becomes readable.” His interlocutor, a certain Susan Sontag, interjects: “A person who dies at 37 is not the same as a person who dies at 77.” True, he replies, “but it can be somebody who dies at 90. The life becomes readable to the storyteller, to the writer. Then she or he can begin to write.” Berger, the consummate storyteller as well as thinker about stories, left behind these and millions of other memorable words, spoken and written, when he yesterday passed away at age 90 himself. Continue reading

Johan van der Keuken – De Weg naar het Zuiden AKA The Way South (1981)

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The coronation of Queen Beatrix on the eve of May Day in 1980 provides a salient point of departure for Johan van der Keuken’s The Way South, a cultural interrogation into the intertwined sociopolitical landscape of immigration, dislocation, underprivilege, and class division. Continuing on the prevailing theme of economic disparity between the continental north and south (in such essay films as Diary, The White Castle, and the The New Ice Age), van der Keuken encounters his first destination within a short distance from his home in Amsterdam, where a unused office building on Kinker Street has been converted to a communal squat by activists (who see their action as a pragmatic solution to the affordable housing shortage by making use of existing real estate that would otherwise remain unoccupied). Facing an imminent siege by riot police to force their eviction, the squatters discuss the logistics of their staged resistance, from rounding up volunteers for round the clock sentry duty to guard the main entrance, to installing reinforcing screens in order to thwart a surprise intrusion from unsecured windows. Intercutting a shot of the activists protesting in the street with footage of a public rally celebrating the country’s liberation in 1945, van der Keuken presents the activists’ defiant expression of freedom within the irony of self-imprisonment that reveals their idealistic act of resistance. Continue reading

Stephen Poliakoff & Charles Sturridge – Runners (1983)

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RUNNERS (1983)
Produced in 1983, it was originally headed for a cinema release but apparently that never happened and it ended up being shown as a TV movie only.

In Stephen Poliakoff’s first film script, Tom Lindsay (James Fox) searches for his 13-year-old daughter, Rachel (Kate Hardie), two years after she ran away from their Midlands home. After an anonymous tip-off, he spots her, but the reunion is not what he has expected or hoped for…. Continue reading

Marguerite Duras – L’homme atlantique (1981)

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Quote:
“In this avant-garde short, Duras uses outtakes from Agatha et les lectures illimitées, removing Agatha and leaving only the voice and likeness of her brother (Yann Andréa). Duras scholar Leslie Hill contends that for the first time in her work, “the gap between image and sound is now aligned with the fissure of sexual difference itself.”” (filmlinc.org) Continue reading