Ahmed El Maanouni – Trances (1981)

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It was in 1981 while I was editing a film, The King of Comedy. We worked at night so no one would call us on the telephone and I would have television on, and one channel in New York at the time, around 2 or 3 in the morning, was showing a film called Transes. It repeated all night and it repeated many nights. And it had commercials in it, but it didn’t matter. So I became passionate about this music that I heard and I saw also the way the film was made, the concert that was photographed and the effect of the music on the audience at the concert. I tracked down the music and eventually it became my inspiration for many of the designs and construction of my film The Last Temptation of Christ. […] And I think the group was singing damnation: their people, their beliefs, their sufferings and their prayers all came through their singing. And I think the film is beautifully made by Ahmed El Maanouni; it’s been an obsession of mine since 1981 and that is why we are inaugurating the Foundation with Trances. (Martin Scorsese, May 2007) Continue reading

Eric Rohmer – 4 aventures de Reinette et Mirabelle (1987)

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In 4 adventures of Reinette and Mirebelle directed by Eric Rohmer in 1987 the main protagonists are two girls of very different character. Reinette is a country girl, rough and direct, but at the same time very sweet. Mirabelle is city girl, more contemplative and intellectial. They happen to meet by accident in the country and spend a few days together, after which Mirabelle invites Reinette, who wants to stydy painting in Paris, to stay in her apartment. Following this the two friends venture on four “adventures” which all turn around the theme of speech and silence. Continue reading

Erden Kiral – Hakkâri’de bir mevsim AKA Eine Saison in Hakkari (1983)

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The movie tells the story of a teacher who spends one winter in a mountain village of Hakkari, a city in the farest South-eastern vorner of the Turkey. Erden Kıral depicts his struggle for teaching Turkish to children who can only speak Kurdish and the loneliness of Zazi in a poetic way and also using the landscape as a further character. The screenplat is based on the novel by Ferit Edgü and adapted by Onat Kutlar with contributions from Tezer Özlü, another famous Turkish writer. The film was awarded with Silver Berlin Bear at 1983. Continue reading

Kwon-taek Im – Sibaji aka Surrogate Woman (1987)

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m’s first international prize-winner (best actress for Kang at Venice) is a more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger attack on the principles of male lineage and ancestor worship in the traditional Korean family. It’s set in the late Yi Dynasty (late 19th century) to stress how deep rooted these things are, but its resonances are squarely contemporary. The well-born Shin and his wife are happy but lack an heir; behind his back, the family conspires with his wife to bring in a surrogate to bear him a son. Their choice is Ok-Nyo (Kang), a free-spirited girl who endures various physiological and sexual indignities (intended to ensure that she produces a boy) because she comes to like Shin and enjoy the relatively pampered life – forgetting she is there only as a servant. The emphasis on female suffering has come in for some critical stick, but Im’s analysis of Confucian blockages in the Korean psyche seems all too cogent. And his mastery of image, tone and rhythm is unassailable. TR Continue reading

Andrey Konchalovskiy – Maria’s Lovers (1984)

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Ivan Bibic returns to his Pittsburgh PA suburb after surviving a Japanse POW camp, causing regular nightmares. All the time he remained faithfully devoted to his childhood love, fellow ethnic Yugoslavian virgin Maria Bosic. She dates him again, thus ruining a virtual engagement to captain Al Griselli. Against Ivan’s dad’s advice, they get married. But Ivan became psychologically impotent, feels unworthy of her and starts wondering, even looking for another girl. Meanwhile slick guitar-and-song-busker Clarence Butts moves in to South-Western PA, and seduces Maria. Continue reading

Rainer Werner Fassbinder – Querelle (1982)

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More a dream about than a dramatisation of Genet’s novel, this is glorious and infuriating in equal parts. The port of Brest is built and lit more like one of Burroughs’ Cities of the Red Night, murderous deity Querelle’s ambisexual encounters are suffused with a sweaty, tangible eroticism, and Fassbinder’s ‘version’ stays faithful to Genet’s nightmare poetry. But its narrative detachment, weighty monologues, Resnais-like anachronisms, and (most irritating of all) listless rationale turn it into a lurid hymn to teenybop nihilism. All in all, perhaps an entirely appropriate parting shot from a drug-crazed German faggot. – TimeOut London Continue reading

Morgan Fisher – Standard Gauge (1984)

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Standard Gauge
1984, 16mm, colour, sound, 35 min

“While on one level, Standard Gauge is Fisher’s homage to 35mm and to the diverse cinematic world it made possible, the irony of its having been filmed in 16mm reveals a conceptual paradox central to the film, and which unites it with the webs of irony and paradox evident in his earlier work. (…) As Fisher explains in his program notes, the thirty-two minute shot “is virtually the maximum length of a scene in 16mm, and is longer by far than 35mm is capable of.” For all its potentials and accomplishments, standard gauge is limited, and in ways that a non standard gauge-a gauge quite marginal to mainstream film history-is not”. (Scott MacDonald) Continue reading