Kazuo Kuroki – Ashita AKA Tomorrow (1988)

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On August 9, 1945, the Americans dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki. This film, based on a story by Mitsukaru Inoue, describes the daily life of people in Nagasaki the day before that fateful event. It presents the human drama of people’s lives, and their feelings of joy and sadness. These include a newlywed couple, an expectant mother, and lovers who must say farewell because the boy is called to serve in the army. Each of these people, like others in the city, hoped to live with their dreams for ‘tomorrow’. But tomorrow never comes for them, as their lives are brought to an abrupt and unexpected end. Knowing how the story ends, in this case, doesn’t detract from it at all; rather, it enhances the emotional impact, which is further heightened by the poignant musical score from Teizo Matsumura. ‘Ashita’ is the first film in Kazuo Kuroki’s ‘War Requiem Trilogy,’ which also includes ‘Utsukushii Natsu Kirishima’ (2002) and ‘Chichi to Kuraseba’ (2004) Continue reading

Ingmar Bergman – Fanny och Alexander [TV Version] (1982)

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Plot Synopsis from ALLMOViE:

Though he made allusions to his own life in all of his films, Fanny and Alexander was the first overtly autobiographical film by Ingmar Bergman. Taking his time throughout (188 minutes to be exact), Bergman recreates several episodes from his youth, using as conduits the fictional Ekdahl family. Alexander, the director’s alter ego, is first seen at age 10 at a joyous and informal Christmas gathering of relatives and servants. Fanny is Alexander’s sister; both suffer an emotional shakedown when their recently-widowed mother (Ewa Froling) marries a cold and distant minister. Stripped of their creature comforts and relaxed family atmosphere, Fanny and Alexander suddenly find their childhood unendurable. The kids’ grandmother (Gunn Wallgren) “kidnaps” Fanny and Alexander for the purpose of showering them with the first kindness and affection that they’ve had since their father’s death. This “purge” of the darker elements of Fanny and Alexander’s existence is accomplished at the unintentional (but applaudable) cost of the hated stepfather’s life. Ingmar Bergman insisted that Fanny and Alexander, originally a multipart television series pared down to feature-film length, represented his final film, though within a year after its release he was busy with several additional Swedish TV projects, and he returned to make one more theatrical release movie before his death – the 2003 Saraband. Oscars went to Fanny and Alexander for Best Foreign Film, Best Cinematography (Sven Nykvist), Best Costume Design and Best Art Direction/Set Decoration. Continue reading

Arthur J. Bressan Jr – Buddies (1985)

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The elusive first film about that “new” disease of the 80s, AIDS.
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Gay-porn-director-turned-indie-film-maker Arthur Bressan (who also made ABUSE) deals directly with the subject of the disease by having David, a young typesetter (David Schachter) undertake volunteer work as a ‘buddy’ to visit AIDS patients in a New York hospital. His assignment is Robert (Geoff Edholm), who’s down and nearly out for the count, but still passionate about the politics behind the disease. Although David is currently processing a book about the illness from all points of view – medical, religious, etc – he finds there’s more to learn first-hand about attitude.? Continue reading

Dharmasiri Bandaranayake – Suddilage Kathawa (1984)

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A masterpiece of Sri Lankan cinema, “Suddilage Kathawa” or “A Woman in a Whirlpool” is the third film by Dharmasiri Bandaranayake. Swarna Mallawarachi plays the role of Suddi who is married to Romiel, a hired assassin played by Cyril Wickramage. Suddi’s life becomes complex when her husband ends up in prison and she is forced to have multiple affairs in order to support herself. Joe Abeywickrama plays the role of the village head whose brother-in-law is a shop owner played by Sommie Rathnayake. Observe how the lives of these characters are intricately nested around love, hate, deception, crime and murder. Witness the facets that greed takes in this exceptional feauture film, beautifully shot and portrayed by accomplished cinematographer Udaya Perera. Continue reading

Paolo Taviani & Vittorio Taviani – Kaos (1984)

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THIS VERSION IS COMPLETE (3h 09′) AND INCLUDES EPISODE ‘JAR’.

The film consists of four stories plus epilogue, set in 19th-century Sicily. THE OTHER SON – A mother spends her life waiting for news from her two sons (emigrated to America) while ignoring her third, because he is the reincarnation of the bandit who raped her. MOON SICKNESS – a newly-wed peasant girl discovers that her husband goes mad every full moon. She arranges for a male friend to protect her, but they end up in bed together just as the moon emerges from behind a cloud. THE JAR – a rich landowner hires a master craftsman to repair a giant olive jar, but the craftsman gets trapped inside. REQUIEM – villagers band together in an attempt to force their landlord to let them bury their dead. CONVERSATIONS WITH MOTHER – the writer Luigi Pirandello talks with his aged mother about a story he always wanted to write, but which he never managed to capture in words. Continue reading

Zako Heskija – Yo ho ho (1981)

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This is a sensitive film about human solidarity filled with humor and poetry.

A young actor with his backbone broken (he is crippled after a bad fall on the stage) is
being treated in a hospital. He is invalidated for good and he wills not to live further on.
He gets acquainted with a 10-year-old boy, Leonid, from the adjoining room. The boy is
spending time in hospital with an arm in a plastic cast. They make friends. In fact, the
actor intends to use the kid to provide him with poison. He starts telling a marvelous fairy
tale. “Yo-ho-ho” – this old refrain of a pirate song is all too familiar. For the sake of the
boy the Actor invents stories about the good buccaneer who is fighting the evil ruler
Alvarez who must be punished for his crimes. Little by little the real people in hospital are
transformed into the imaginary heroes of the pirate stories that the Actor and the child
vanquished by goodness, honesty and self-denial. The boy is fascinated. Gradually… Continue reading