A young Polish woman (Hendrickx) on the run from a life as a prostitute winds up in a small town in Northern Holland. When a kindly farmer (Spijkers) finds her bruised and battered he gives her a roof over her head. Their relationship blossoms but is threatened by imminent foreclosure on the farm and by the girl’s past catching up with her. Stylish and intriguing.
This movie is a real character movie. Almost the entire movie focuses purely on just the two main characters. The characters don’t explain anything to each other about how and what. They just accept things as they are and don’t look back, even though the both of them, as implied, had issues in the past. They are definitely not at love at first but they also most certainly don’t hate each other. They slowly and steadily grow- and open up toward each other and also learn from each other, in many different ways. It doesn’t make this movie ‘just’ another unusual love-story but something that goes deeper and therefor also gets more effectively shown on the screen. Continue reading
One of the most visually beautiful movies ever made, Maboroshi no Hikari (1995) is reality filmmaker Kore-eda Hirokazu’s impressive first foray into fictional storytelling. For Maboroshi, Kore-eda turns his documentary director’s eye on the rugged landscape of the Western Japanese coast, which serves as a starkly sublime backdrop for a tale of one young woman’s grievous loss and promise for spiritual renewal. The film draws on the traditions of Japan’s past directorial masters Ozu and Mizoguchi, but it’s also full of gorgeous moments that are purely Kore-eda’s own. Maboroshi no Hikari anticipates the director’s later narrative filmmaking masterpieces After Life and Nobody Knows, as well as featuring an early performance from international star Asano Tadanobu.
Twentysomething Yumiko (Esumi Makiko) and her husband Ikuo (Asano) live in a small, run-down apartment in Osaka with their infant son. The young couple seems content with their life, but when Ikuo inexplicably commits suicide, Yumiko’s entire world falls apart around her. Accepting an arranged marriage in a small fishing village on the Sea of Japan, Yumiko and her child attempt a fresh start. Although she soon comes to love the raw beauty of her new home, Yumiko remains haunted by the memory of Ikuo and the mystery surrounding his sudden death. (~YesAsia) Continue reading
A Winter’s Tale is the second installment in French director Eric Rohmer’s Tale of Four Seasons series. Rohmer’s intention with these films is to “focus on attractive, intelligent, self-absorbed if not entirely self-aware young women who present their dilemmas with clarity and elegance and express their feelings in inspired and witty dialogue.”
Plot: Felicie and Charles have a serious if whirlwind holiday romance. Due to a mix-up on addresses they lose contact, and five years later at Christmas-time Felicie is living with her mother in a cold Paris with a daughter as a reminder of that long-ago summer. For male companionship she oscillates between hairdresser Maxence and the intellectual Loic, but seems unable to commit to either as the memory of Charles and what might have been hangs over everything.
One of those unsentimental films to which people become sentimentally attached.
Plot: The widowed Magali may be charismatic and intelligent but her friends fear that by isolating herself she will never find a new love. Therefore, two of them secretly attempt to set her up with an eligible bachelor, but as no one is aware of the various machinations they appear doomed to end in ignominious calamity.
Renowned actress-turned-director Liv Ullmann helms this bleak, nuanced film about marriage and betrayal penned by legendary filmmaker Ingmar Bergman. The story is straightforward — Marianne Vogler (Lena Endre) is a beautiful actress who is married to Markus (Thomas Hanzon), whose job as an orchestra conductor requires numerous concerts abroad, and who dotes on their young daughter Isabelle (Michelle Gylemo). Yet when Marianne has an affair with family friend David (Kirster Henriksson), a film director with a volcanic temper and little regard to those around him, the fallout destroys the marriage and brings grief and suffering to all involved, particularly Isabelle. Ullman and Bergman frame this plot with a tale about an elderly director named Bergman (Erland Josephson, who played opposite Ullman in Bergman’s landmark Scenes from a Marriage) who is trying to write a script about infidelity. In his austerely decorated house on a remote island, Bergman invites an actress, who may or may not be a figment of his imagination, to breathe life into the character of Marianne. The actress tells Bergman of Marianne’s story through flashbacks. One evening, on the closing night of the play that Marianne was in — and while Markus is abroad — David arrives for dinner with her and ultimately sleeps, platonically, in her bed. This unplanned intimacy soon leads to a full blown affair, including a three week romantic getaway to Paris. When Markus finally discovers the couple in flagrante delicto, he demands an immediate divorce and custody of their daughter. This film was screened in competition at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival. -Allmovie Continue reading
71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance (German: 71 Fragmente einer Chronologie des Zufalls) is a 1994 Austrian drama film directed by Michael Haneke. It has a fragmented storyline as the title suggests, and chronicles several unrelated stories in parallel. Separate narrative lines intersect in an incident at the last of the film: a mass killing at an Austrian bank. The film is set in Vienna, October to December 1993.
The film is divided into a number of variable-length “fragments” divided by black pauses, and apparently unrelated to each other. The film is characterised by quite a lot of fragments that take form of video newscasts unrelated to the main storylines. News footages of real events are shown through video monitors. Newscasts report on Bosnian War, Somali Civil War, South Lebanon conflict, Kurdish–Turkish conflict, and molestation allegations against Michael Jackson. Continue reading
Jean-Claude Lauzon’s highly praised film tells the strange story of Léolo, a young boy from Montréal. Told from Léolo’s point-of-view, the film depicts his family of lunatics and Léolo’s attempts to deal with them. Not one individual in the boy’s life is well adjusted. His brother, after being beaten up, spends the film bulking up on growth protein. The grandfather hires half-naked girls to bite off his toenails and, in a brutal rage, almost kills Léolo. As he witnesses his family decay around him, Léolo retreats into himself and the fantasy world he has constructed. In response to the weirdness of his daily life, Léolo creates a little mental mayhem of his own which Lauzon renders in an amazing series of free-form, surreal images. Eventually, this precarious balance of reality and fantasy cracks and Léolo is hospitalized after attempting to murder his grandfather. The score by Tom Waits underscores the narrative arc of Léolo’s breakdown. On its release, the film won numerous awards including the International Fantasy Film Award for Best Director (1992) and a Genie Award for Best Original Screenplay (1992). Continue reading