Toshiharu Ikeda – Kagi AKA The Key (1997)

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Ikuko is a mature, reserved Kyoto woman married for many years to a respectable, now-middle-aged man. The only problem in their relationship has been that her husband is dissatisfied with her lack of passion during lovemaking. All this changes after they meet the young Mr. Kimura. After the three spend the evening drinking together and Kimura has gone home, Ikuko’s husband discovers that his wife, in her alcohol-induced haze, has become far more passionate than she ever was before. The one drawback, however, is that her ardor is clearly fueled by Kimura, and not by him. Though he decides that his wife’s new- found passion is worth this unusual price, the long-term consequences may be more than he bargained for. Continue reading

Stephen Poliakoff – Close My Eyes (1991)

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Incest, architecture and messing about on the river in Stephen Poliakoff’s frank, challenging and taboo-flaunting London drama. Separated as pre-teens when their parents divorced, Natalie (Saskia Reeves) and Richard (Clive Owen) meet again after years apart. The unthinkable happens and the siblings embark on an affair. Matters come to a head when Natalie’s husband, the wealthy and eccentric Sinclair (Alan Rickman), invites Richard on a family picnic and confides to his brother-in-law that he suspects his wife is being unfaithful. Continue reading

Rolf Schübel – Gloomy Sunday – Ein Lied von Liebe und Tod (1999)

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Budapest in the thirties. The restaurant owner Laszlo hires the pianist András to play in his restaurant. Both men fall in love with the beautiful waitress Ilona who inspires András to his only composition. His song of Gloomy Sunday is, at first, loved and then feared, for its melancholic melody triggers off a chain of suicides. The fragile balance of the erotic ménage à trois is sent off kilter when the German Hans goes and falls in love with Ilona as well. Continue reading

David Cronenberg – eXistenZ (1999)

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Quote:
Allegra Geller, the leading game designer in the world, is testing her new virtual reality game, eXistenZ with a focus group. As they begin, she is attacked by a fanatic assassin employing a bizarre organic gun. She flees with a young marketing trainee, Ted Pikul, who is suddenly assigned as her bodyguard. Unfortunately, her pod, an organic gaming device that contains the only copy of the eXistenZ game program, is damaged. To inspect it, she talks Ted into accepting a gameport in his own body so he can play the game with her. The events leading up to this, and the resulting game lead the pair on a strange adventure where reality and their actions are impossible to determine from either their own or the game’s perspective. Continue reading

Srdjan Dragojevic – Lepa sela lepo gore AKA Pretty Village, Pretty Flame (1996)

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Plot:

At the Belgrade army hospital, casualties of Bosnian civil war are treated. In the hospital they remember their youth and the war. Two young boys, Halil, a Muslim, and Milan, a Serb, have grown up together near a deserted tunnel linking the Yugoslav cities of Belgrade and Zagreb. They never dare go inside, as they believe an ogre resides there. Twelve years later, during the Bosnian civil war, Milan, who is trapped in the tunnel with his troop, and Halil, find themselves on opposing sides, fatefully heading toward confrontation. Continue reading

Marco Bechis – Garage Olimpo (1999)

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Quote:
Chili-born Italian director Marco Bechis’s second feature is a political drama based on his experiences with the military regime of Argentina (1976-1980) when he lived there. Maria (Antonella Costa) is a militant activist in an organization that is fighting the oppressive dictatorship. She teaches reading and writing in the suburbs of Buenos Aires in an area of shantytowns. She lives in a decrepit rooming house with her mother Diane (Dominique Sanda), who rents out some rooms. One of the lodgers, a shy young man named Felix (Carlos Echeverria), is in love with Maria. He seems to have come from nowhere and is supposed to be working in a garage. Continue reading