1991-2000

Krzysztof Kieslowski – La double vie de Véronique AKA The Double Life of Veronique (1991)

Synopsis:

Two parallel stories about two identical women; one living in Poland, the other in France. They don’t know each other, but their lives are nevertheless profoundly connected.

Review:

It is important to resist the temptation to figure out every last detail of “The Double Life of Veronique,” the mysterious and poetic new film by Krzysztof Kieslowski. That way lies frustration. Read More »

Noah Baumbach – Kicking and Screaming (1995)

Synopsis:
After college graduation, Grover’s girlfriend Jane tells him she’s moving to Prague to study writing. Grover declines to accompany her, deciding instead to move in with several friends, all of whom can’t quite work up the inertia to escape their university’s pull. Nobody wants to make any big decisions that would radically alter his life, yet none of them wants to end up like Chet, the professional student who tends bar and is in his tenth year of university studies. Read More »

Philip S. Solomon – Psalm II: ‘Walking Distance’ (1999)

Journal of Film and Video
Response to Phil Solomon’s WALKING DISTANCE
By Albright, Deron

“Imagining one of those rusted medieval film cans having survived centuries, a long lost Biograph/Star, a Griffith Melies co-production, a two-reeler left to us from, say, the Bronze Age, a time when images were smelted and boiled rather than merely taken, and they poured down like silver, not to be fixed and washed, mind you, but free to reform and coagulate into unstable, temporary molds, mere holding patterns of faces, places, and things, shape-shifting according to whim, need, the uncanny or the inevitable. . . WALKING DISTANCE is a simple Golden Book tale of horizontals and verticals, a cinema of ether and ore. . . ” Read More »

Charles Burnett – The Annihilation of Fish (1999)

Quote:
James Earl Jones and Lynn Redgrave star as mutually insane neighbors in a California apartment house who become romantically involved (she thinks she’s sexually intimate with Puccini, and he periodically wrestles with a demon of his own named Hank). Charles Burnett (Killer of Sheep, The Glass Shield) directed this whimsical, bittersweet 1999 feature, handling the actors with sensitivity, but the preciousness of Anthony C. Winkler’s screenplay, adapted from his own novel, only underlines how much better off Burnett is writing his own scripts (Nightjohn being an exception). With Margot Kidder.
Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader Read More »

Abderrahmane Sissako – La vie sur terre AKA Life on Earth (1998)

In the last days of 1999, after a few shots of a French supermarket, abundant in food and color, we hear Dramane compose a letter home to his father in Mali whom he then visits in the village of Sokolo. He meets the lovely Nana, and there are possibilities. People place long-distance calls from the post office. “Reaching people,” says the postmaster, “is a matter of luck.” Contrasts between Paris and Sokolo – between Mali and France and between Africa and Europe – are underscored by voice-over poems and comments by Aimé Césaire. A man dictates a letter to a brother in France: what is the nature of their hardships? People look for their place on this earth. Read More »

Agnès Varda – Les Cent et une nuits de Simon Cinéma AKA A Hundred and One Nights of Simon Cinema (1995)

Monsieur Cinema, a hundred years old, lives alone in a large villa. His memories fade away, so he engages a young woman to tell him stories about all the movies ever made. Also a line of movie stars comes to visit him giving him back the pleasure of life – but amongst them there are also some young students only striving after his money for the realization of their film projects. The two stories – Monsieur Cinema’s and the young people’s life – are told in parallel until they come together in the end when the old man plays a role in the film made by the students. Read More »

Claude Nuridsany & Marie Pérennou – Microcosmos: Le peuple de l’herbe AKA Microcosmos (1996)

Synopsis:
“A documentary of insect life in meadows and ponds, using incredible close-ups, slow motion, and time-lapse photography…”

Review:
Children, being built nearer to the ground and having more time on their hands, are close observers of ants and spiders, caterpillars and butterflies. Adults tune them out; bugs are things you slap, swat, step on or spray. “Microcosmos” is an amazing film that allows us to peer deeply into the insect world and marvel at creatures we casually condemn to squishing. The makers of this film took three years to design their closeup cameras and magnifying lenses, and to photograph insects in such brilliant detail that if they were cars, we could read their city stickers. Read More »