In Faraway, So Close! angels watch over the people of Berlin. The world weighs heavily upon these men and women. Their attachment to things diminishes their desire for the invisible. As one angel laments, “It’s so exhausting to love people who run away from us.”
Despite the destruction of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War, the people of Eastern Europe are anxious about the future. The angel Cassiel, played by Otto Sand, feels great compassion for them. When a young girl falls from the balcony of her high-rise building, his urge to do good is so strong that he crosses over into humanness and catches the girl in his arms on the street. All he loses in this change of existence are his wings and ponytail. Continue reading
Matthew, a young schizophrenic, finds himself out on the street when a slumlord tears down his apartment building. Soon, he finds himself in even more dire straits, when he is threatened by Little Leroy, a thug who is one of the tough denizens of the Fort Washington Shelter for Men. He reaches out to Jerry, a streetwise combat veteran, who takes Matthew under his wing as a son. The relationship between these two men grows as they attempt to conquer the numbing isolation of homelessness. Continue reading
Beijing, the Seventies. Now that the Cultural Revolution has driven most adults to the provinces, 14-year old Monkey and his pals have free reign over the city. They hang around, get up to no good and discover that unsolvable mystery more commonly referred to as ‘girls’.
In the Heat of the Sun is a beautifully shot semi-autobiographical coming-of-age story where the ostensible nostalgia is undercut by an ironic narrator, who keeps blurring the line between what’s real and what may be imagined (“Wait, maybe it didn’t happen that way,…”). It’s a movie not just about memories, but also about the act of remembering and on how difficult that is, in a city which constantly re-builds itself from the ground up, in a country which constantly rewrites its own history. Continue reading
The story takes place in Yugoslavia at the end of the 19th century, in an isolated village near the Adriatic sea. Because of the extreme patriarchal culture there is a superstition that families without male heirs are cursed. When the wife of a farmer gives birth to their fourth daughter, father decides that the child will be brought up to become a so-called “Virgina” and that she will live as a man, so that she can work and be the family heir. This heartbreaking story of Virginas life is told with strong words, augmented with harsh inviroment. Continue reading
Marcello Mastroianni stars as man who shares four names and four personalities (which is the real one?). This mysterious figure is the link between four different, yet strangely similar, stories involving love, lust, crime and time. Continue reading
In a remote branch of the Brazilian Amazon, Americans Lewis (Tom Berenger) and Wolf (Tom Waits) are stranded when their plane runs out of gas. They are kept company by an evangelist missionary (John Lithgow) and his wife (Darryl Hannah). The preacher and his followers want to preach to the primitive Niaruna Indians, while others are interested in the Niaruna for more diabolical reasons-specifically, business concerns that would like to claim the Indians’ land for development. The local police chief cuts a deal with the mercenaries Lewis and Wolf: if they will agree to bomb the Niarunas out of existence, they will be paid enough money to leave the country. Instead, Lewis, part Native American himself,aligns himself with the Niarunas. From this moment on, he and the tribe are doomed. A long-standing pet project of producer Saul Zaentz, At Play in the Fields of the Lord was adapted from the best-selling novel by Peter Matthiesen. Continue reading
Jonas et Lila: A Demain
by Paul Kalina March 2000 Senses of Cinema
So far at least, new millennium events appear to have produced little of lasting value, apart from early retirement packages for those well placed in the IT sector.
But there has been one legacy cinephiles are likely to relish. With great foresight, Swiss director Alain Tanner commemorated the new millennium and the 25th birthday of his fictional character Jonas, born of course during Tanner’s 1976 film Jonas qui aura 25 en l’an 2000 (Jonas Who Will Be 25 In The Year 2000), with a follow-up film, Jonas et Lila: A Demain (1999). Continue reading