Peter Rose – Metalogue (1997)

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Described as a cross between a “speech” and a “fireworks display.” A magician-like figure delivers a peculiar speech that is embedded in extravagant arrays of time-delayed images that reflect and refract ideas about memory, time and language. By embedding his gestures in a spectacular diachronic array, Peter Rose has created a new form of kinetic poetry. Continue reading

Guy Maddin – Careful (1992)

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Guy Maddin’s dizzily delirious 1992 film, Careful, has been called a pro-repression fable, a masterpiece of deadpan comic timing, a period piece evoking a time and place that never existed, and a Ricola ad gone horribly, horribly wrong. Utterly unique and yet evocative of myriad influences, Careful is a truly bizarre concoction created from the plundered relics of cinematic history and the dark attics of dreams. Continue reading

Wiktor Grodecki – Not Angels But Angels (1994)

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Interviews with a procurer and with nineteen boys and young men who are prostitutes in Prague. The youths range in age from 14 to 19. They hustle at the central train station and at clubs. Most of their clients are foreign tourists, many are German. The youths talk about why they hustle, their first trick, prices, dangers, what they know about AIDS, their fears (disease and loneliness), and how they imagine their futures. The film’s title, its liturgical score, much of it elegiac, and shots of the city’s statues of angels underline the vulnerability and callow lack of sophistication of the young men. Continue reading

Cheryl Dunye – The Watermelon Woman (1996)

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Cheryl is young, Black, and lesbian, working in Philadelphia with her best friend Tamara and consumed by a film project: to make a video about her search for a Black actress from Philly who appeared in films in the 30s and was known as the Watermelon Woman. Following various leads, Cheryl discovers the Watermelon Woman’s stage name and real name and surmises that the actress had a long affair with Martha Page, a White woman and one of Hollywood’s few female directors. As she’s discovering these things, Cheryl becomes involved with Diana, who’s also White. The affair strains Cheryl’s friendship with Tamara. More discoveries bring Cheryl (and us, her audience) to new realizations. Continue reading

Denis Villeneuve – Un 32 août sur terre AKA August 32nd on Earth (1998)

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When Simone nods off at the wheel, her car goes out of control. She escapes serious physical injury, but her life changes direction nevertheless. She cancels a planned trip to Italy, quits her modeling job, and calls her friend Philippe with the suggestion that they have a baby together. To gain time, he agrees but only under the condition that they do it in the desert. The two leave Montreal for Utah where something unexpected awaits Philippe. Continue reading

Barbara Sternberg – Like a Dream That Vanishes (1999)

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“Like a Dream That Vanishes” continues Sternberg’s work in film both thematically and formally: the ephemerality of life echoed in the temporal nature of film, as the stuff of life echoed on the energy, life-force in rhythmic light pulses. (Your life is like a candle burning.) Imageless emulsion is inter-cut with brief shots of natural elements and mise-en-scene of the stages of human life: a little boy runs and falls; teens hang out together at night smoking; sun shines through tree branches; men pace, waiting; flashes of lightning; an elderly man speaks philosophically about miracles. Continue reading