Greta Schiller – Paris Was a Woman (1995)

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“Paris was a Woman” is a film portrait of the creative community of women writers, artists, photographers and editors who flocked to the Left Bank of Paris in the early decades of the 20th century, when Paris was the undisputed capital of the world. Using groundbreaking research and newly discovered home movies, “Paris” uses intimate storytelling as it intertwines interview with anecdote. “Paris Was a Woman” recreates the mood and flavor of this female artistic community in Paris during its most magical era. Continue reading

Chantal Akerman – Sud AKA South (1999 )

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Synopsis
A look at the troubled area of America’s Deep South, primarily focusing on the sadistic murder of James Byrd, an African-American man dragged to his death by three white supremacists. The film contains interviews with local inhabitants who discuss the problems caused by racism in the area both before and after the advent of the Civil Rights movement. Continue reading

Youssef Chahine – Al-mohager AKA The Emigrant (1994)

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The biblical tale of Joseph is told from an Egyptian perspective in this interesting character study. In this film, Joseph is called Ram. Ram, tired of his family’s backward superstitious life, and tired of being picked on by his brothers, wants to go to Egypt to study agriculture. His brothers travel with him across Sinai, but then suddenly sell him to Ozir, an Egyptian who works for a Theban military leader, Amihar. Amihar is impressed by Ram’s drive and personal charm and so grants Ram some desolate land outside the capital. Ram soon finds himself a pawn in the political and sexual games between Amihar and his wife Simihit, a high priestess of the Cult of Amun. Continue reading

John Sayles – Passion Fish (1992)

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Character and dialogue are the driving forces in writer-director John Sayles’ movies. In Passion Fish, Sayles delivers a quality screenplay, and Mary McDonnell and Alfre Woodard do his script justice with some of the most accomplished work of their careers. McDonnell — who also stood out in the director’s Matewan — brings surprising originality to the role of the haggard, self-pitying accident victim, and Woodard never becomes a stereotypical provider of “tough love.” Vondie Curtis-Hall and Sayles regular David Strathairn offer colorful supporting turns. Passion Fish was the director’s simplest, most elegant work since his second feature, 1983’s Lianna. McDonnell and Sayles would be nominated for Academy Awards, and Sayles would also be nominated for his screenplay. ~ Brendon Hanley, All Movie Guide Continue reading

Valeriy Todorovskiy – Podmoskovnye Vechera AKA Katya Ismailova (1994)

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Quote:
A wife finds her life transformed after a torrid affair in this story of murder. Katia is a rather dull young woman who types manuscripts for Irina, her husband’s mother and successful writer of romance novels. Katia’s husband is a real momma’s boy. They go to Irina’s summer house to work. There Katia encounters the intense and sexy Serguei who creates passionate longings with in her. Overcome she and Serguei engage in vigorous love-making upon a windowsill where Irina sees them. Irina has a weak heart. Quiet Katia, having rediscovered the joys of sex, changes and becomes more assertive and flighty. Serguei quickly loses interest in her. Strange and deadly things begin happening at the summer house which calls the attention of a judge who is extremely familiar with Irina’s writing. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi Continue reading

Christopher Hampton – Carrington (1995)

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Quote:
Frail, intellectual Bloomsburyan Lytton Strachey is the unlikely hero for a movie, but congratulations to writer-director Christopher Hampton for making the essayist an elitist everyone can love.
Based on Michael Holroyd’s Strachey biography,
“Carrington” is ostensibly about Dora Carrington, an iconoclastic English painter who had the bad luck to fall irretrievably in love with Strachey, a confirmed homosexual. During their 17-year relationship that lasted until his death in 1932, they managed to live together happily, mostly platonically, sometimes sharing male lovers (one of whom would marry Carrington), but with Carrington often yearning for the sexual comfort Strachey could never fully offer. Continue reading

Ryuichi Hiroki – Futei no kisetsu AKA I Am an S+M Writer (2000)

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Synopsis:
A writer draws inspiration for his erotic stories from vivid bondage scenes performed right in front of his writing desk. Still, he prefers to novelize his fascination rather than participate actively. As a consequence, the already ambivalent relation with his wife turns into an intriguing reflection of himself. HIROKI’s growth as a director is evident when he subordinates apparent obscenities to mildly humorous romance, employing his background as a pinku director to create a highly dramatic effect. Continue reading