Rolf Schübel – Gloomy Sunday – Ein Lied von Liebe und Tod (1999)

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Budapest in the thirties. The restaurant owner Laszlo hires the pianist András to play in his restaurant. Both men fall in love with the beautiful waitress Ilona who inspires András to his only composition. His song of Gloomy Sunday is, at first, loved and then feared, for its melancholic melody triggers off a chain of suicides. The fragile balance of the erotic ménage à trois is sent off kilter when the German Hans goes and falls in love with Ilona as well. Continue reading

David Cronenberg – eXistenZ (1999)

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Quote:
Allegra Geller, the leading game designer in the world, is testing her new virtual reality game, eXistenZ with a focus group. As they begin, she is attacked by a fanatic assassin employing a bizarre organic gun. She flees with a young marketing trainee, Ted Pikul, who is suddenly assigned as her bodyguard. Unfortunately, her pod, an organic gaming device that contains the only copy of the eXistenZ game program, is damaged. To inspect it, she talks Ted into accepting a gameport in his own body so he can play the game with her. The events leading up to this, and the resulting game lead the pair on a strange adventure where reality and their actions are impossible to determine from either their own or the game’s perspective. Continue reading

Srdjan Dragojevic – Lepa sela lepo gore AKA Pretty Village, Pretty Flame (1996)

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Plot:

At the Belgrade army hospital, casualties of Bosnian civil war are treated. In the hospital they remember their youth and the war. Two young boys, Halil, a Muslim, and Milan, a Serb, have grown up together near a deserted tunnel linking the Yugoslav cities of Belgrade and Zagreb. They never dare go inside, as they believe an ogre resides there. Twelve years later, during the Bosnian civil war, Milan, who is trapped in the tunnel with his troop, and Halil, find themselves on opposing sides, fatefully heading toward confrontation. Continue reading

Marco Bechis – Garage Olimpo (1999)

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Quote:
Chili-born Italian director Marco Bechis’s second feature is a political drama based on his experiences with the military regime of Argentina (1976-1980) when he lived there. Maria (Antonella Costa) is a militant activist in an organization that is fighting the oppressive dictatorship. She teaches reading and writing in the suburbs of Buenos Aires in an area of shantytowns. She lives in a decrepit rooming house with her mother Diane (Dominique Sanda), who rents out some rooms. One of the lodgers, a shy young man named Felix (Carlos Echeverria), is in love with Maria. He seems to have come from nowhere and is supposed to be working in a garage. Continue reading

Takashi Miike – Dead or Alive: Hanzaisha (1999)

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Quote:
Handed a tedious script about a turf war in Shinjuku’s Kabuki-cho entertainment district (a maverick Chinese gang pulls a robbery which upsets organised crime; a care-worn cop lumbers towards a showdown with the troublemakers), Miike threw away half of it and used the rest as a springboard to amazing inventions. The exposition scenes are boiled down to an entire reel of ‘abstract’ action – a cataclysmic restaurant ambush, a gay man killed while sodomising a kid, the world’s longest line of coke, a homo-erotic knife-throwing act in a girlie bar – while the unrevealable ending is turned into the ultimate blast. In between, Miike offers a series of electrifyingly sad vignettes of death, failure and loss, including what must be the most disturbing stoned murder scene the genre has ever known. A future classic. (Time Out Film Guide) Continue reading

Maurice Pialat – Le garçu (1995)

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Synopsis wrote:
A self-centered man (Gérard Depardieu) with many diversions occasionally visits his 4-year-old son (Antoine Pialat) and the boy’s mother (Géraldine Pailhas).

Janet Maslin @ Nytimes wrote:
Having played far-flung movie characters from Cyrano de Bergerac to a Disneyfied friendly ghost, Gerard Depardieu finds one of his most interesting roles closer to home. He plays a well-heeled, powerful Frenchman named Gerard in a new film by Maurice Pialat, the subtle and disturbing film maker with whom Mr. Depardieu has worked so well (in ”Loulou,” ”Police” and ”Under Satan’s Sun”). Continue reading