Jan Peters – Aber der Sinn des Lebens (1990 – 1996)

Aber den Sinn des Lebens hab’ ich immer noch nicht rausgefunden / … but I Still Haven’t Figured Out the Meaning of Life (OmeU)

Every year on his birthday, Jan Peters filmed one reel of Super-8 material; later on he turned to video. In these few minutes of film he reveals something from and about himself. Maybe it is exhibitionism – the way he chatters on, until the blotches on the film indicate the end of the reel. Enthusiastic, sometimes tired, often doubtful, he, like everyone else, quarrels with what has come about from his own actions. On top of this, Peters, the filmmaker, blurs the individual of the same name with his dense texts and images to create something quite different: Jan Peters, the fictional character. Continue reading

Bakhtyar Khudojnazarov – Luna Papa (1999)

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Synopsis

“Mix some Monty Python with the violent black humour of Yugoslavian director Emir Kusturica, add a little South American magic realism, and you might have some idea of what goes on in the thoroughly strange and enjoyable Luna Papa, a movie set in the contemporary world of Central Asia. Within the context of its comic, fantastic narrative, about a pregnant teenager and her search for the father of her child whom she has never seen, there`s a darker impression of life revealed in this journey through the outlying former Soviet republic of Tajikistan where gangsterism, military brutality and violent surprises are a normal part of existence.” (Globe and Mail, February 2001) Continue reading

Jane Campion – The Piano (1993)

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Synopsis:
A mute woman along with her young daughter, and her prized piano, are sent to 1850s New Zealand for an arranged marriage to a wealthy landowner, and she’s soon lusted after by a local worker on the plantation.

Review:

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“The Piano” is as peculiar and haunting as any film I’ve seen.

It tells a story of love and fierce pride, and places it on a bleak New Zealand coast where people live rudely in the rain and mud, struggling to maintain the appearance of the European society they’ve left behind. It is a story of shyness, repression and loneliness; of a woman who will not speak and a man who cannot listen, and of a willful little girl who causes mischief and pretends she didn’t mean to. Continue reading

Lars von Trier – Breaking the Waves (1996)

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Quote:
For those who aren’t aware of it, Lars von Trier is obsessed with Carl Dreyer. He views him as a father figure, his role model, his favorite film is “Ordet”, he used Henning Bendtsen as cinematographer on “Epidemic” and “Europa”, he bought the suit Dreyer wore at the opening of “Ordet” and wore it at the opening of “Europa” (and again in “Riget”) and finally, during an interview he announced “I am a Dreyer guy”.

Like “Ordet”, so does “Breaking the Waves” depict the conflict between dark religion, which preaches the fear of God, and light religion, which believes in the love of God, and Lars von Trier very wisely doesn’t question religion. Instead he employs the conflict as a tool by which to examine how love and goodness, a golden heart, leads to self-sacrifice and ultimately the martyrdom of Bess. Speaking of martyrdom, Lars von Trier made cinematographer Robby Müller shot Bess with same gaze as Falconetti in Dreyer’s “La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc”. As much he is a “Dreyer guy”, as much is “Breaking the Waves” a “Dreyer film”. Continue reading

Thomas Vinterberg – Festen [+Extras] (1998)

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The Father turns 60. His family, which is a big one of the kind, gathers to celebrate him on a castle. Everybody likes and respects the father deeply…or do they? The Youngest Son is trying to live up to The Father’s expectations. He is running a grill-bar in a dirty part of Copenhagen. The oldest son runs a restaurant in France, while the sister is a anthropologist. The older sister has recently committed suicide and the father asks the oldest son to say a few words about her, because he is afraid he will break into tears if he does it himself. The oldest son agrees without arguments. Actually he has already written two speeches. A yellow and a green one. By the table, he asks the father to pick a speech. The father chooses green. The oldest son announces that this is the Speech of Truth. Everybody laughs, except for the father who gets a nervous look on his face. For he knows that the oldest son is about to reveal the secret of why the oldest sister killed herself. Continue reading

Cinzia Th. Torrini – Caramelle AKA Sweeties (1995)

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Synopsis
Anna is not so very young any more, but still a voluptuous woman and full of desire. Unlike her husband, who prefers to watch television instead of making love to his wife. Diets and aerobics fail to revive his sexual interest, and Anna turns to a fortune-teller for help. Unfortunately, the love potions also have dissatisfying side-effects and surprising results. Finally, a proper solution is found in some magic sweets: each sweet will make Anna seven years younger. Which might be rather tricky for a compulsive eater … Continue reading