Otar Iosseliani – Adieu, plancher des vaches! aka In Vino Veritas aka Farewell, Home Sweet Home (1999)

4t9r Otar Iosseliani   Adieu, plancher des vaches! aka In Vino Veritas aka Farewell, Home Sweet Home (1999)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Otar Iosseliani   Adieu, plancher des vaches! aka In Vino Veritas aka Farewell, Home Sweet Home (1999)

Review by Scott Tobias:

A giant pet stork, with scanning eyes that quietly observe the human folly surrounding it, lends sanity and stability to Otar Ioseliani’s cracked comic roundelay Farewell, Home Sweet Home, perhaps because it’s the only character comfortable with its lot in life. The others, mainly members of a wealthy Parisian family, are leading absurd double lives in secret, illustrating the cliché, “the grass is greener on the other side.” With exceptionally fluid camerawork and a gently mocking touch, Ioseliani’s virtually plotless slice-of-life borrows elements from several great directors at once, combining the class-conscious irony of Luis Buñuel and the near-silent comedy of Jacques Tati with the daisy-chain elegance of Max Ophüls’ The Earrings Of Madame De… It takes time to get oriented to the peculiar rhythms of Ioseliani’s world, which establishes characters through behavior rather than dialogue, and takes only a slightly skewed perspective on the repetition and tedium of everyday life. There are no punchlines, no dramatic outbursts, and no traditional three-act structure, just an association of events that poke fun at the fickleness of human nature. Centering on the inhabitants of a suburban château, the characters attempt to escape their own lives by taking on separate identities. A well-to-do 19-year-old (Nico Tarielashvili) moonlights as a lowly dishwasher at a Paris bistro and hangs out with scruffy beggars; his mother (Lily Lavina), a businesswoman who flies to and from work in a helicopter, fancies herself a singer; and her father (Ioseliani) plays with a child’s train set while drinking himself into a stupor. Meanwhile, a penniless sailor (Philippe Bas) dresses up in a suit and picks up women in a rented Harley Davidson, including a pretty barmaid (Stephanie Hainque) who rebuffs Tarielashvili’s advances. There are at least another dozen other minor players, connected by the gliding camera movements that seamlessly link one comic vignette to the next. With its assured, breezily unassuming design, mapped out with architectural precision, Farewell, Home Sweet Home may sound like the work of an egghead formalist. But Ioseliani’s warm, open-ended style, combined with his remarkably adroit use of non-actors, impresses with the unpracticed spontaneity of real life. Continue reading

Férid Boughedir – Un été à La Goulette AKA A Summer in La Goulette (1996)

2ccb4 Férid Boughedir   Un été à La Goulette AKA A Summer in La Goulette (1996)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Férid Boughedir   Un été à La Goulette AKA A Summer in La Goulette (1996)

Synopsis
In La Goulette, a small harbour town in the Tunis suburbs, Youssef, the Muslim, Jojo, the Tunisian Jew, and Giuseppe, the Sicilian Catholic, are as inseparable as their three 16-year-old daughters, Meriem, Gigi and Tina. In a fit of provocation the three girls all swear that they’ll lose their virginity on the day of the feast of the Madonna, each with a boy from a religion different to hers ! Once this taboo is brought out into the open, all three families fall out. But the friendship between the three fathers is so strong that it reconciles them, closer than ever before… until the eve of the Israel-Arab Six Day War in 1967 that forces apart Jews and Arabs all over the world. Continue reading

Ming-liang Tsai – Dong AKA The Hole (1998)

13038 Ming liang Tsai   Dong AKA The Hole (1998)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Ming liang Tsai   Dong AKA The Hole (1998)

(From Allmovie Guide)

“At the 1998 Cannes Film Festival, this Taiwanese-French drama won a FIPRESCI Award, given by international critics. Taiwanese director Tsai Ming-liang previously won top awards for his 1994 Vive l’amour (at Venice) and 1996 The River (at Berlin). High strangeness is evident in the tale, originally initiated as part of the French TV series of one-hour end-of-millennium dramas. As an epidemic spreads through Taipei, virus victims display odd symptoms. A man (Lee Kang-sheng) who runs a food store with few customers lives in a shabby building in a quarantined section, and a woman (Yang Kuei-mei) in the same building has a withdrawn existence. A plumber, checking a leak, makes a hole in the man’s floor and leaves; the man then observes his neighbors through the hole. The film features four musical fantasy sequences that recall Hong Kong musical films of the ’50s.” — Bhob Stewart Continue reading

Nacer Khemir – Tawk al-Hamama al-Mafkoud AKA The Dove’s Lost Necklace (1991)

6sf2 Nacer Khemir   Tawk al Hamama al Mafkoud AKA The Doves Lost Necklace (1991)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Nacer Khemir   Tawk al Hamama al Mafkoud AKA The Doves Lost Necklace (1991)

This second feature in Nacer Khemir’s Desert Trilogy is a visually ravishing folktale reminiscent of “The Thousand and One Nights.” The story revolves around Hassan, who is studying Arabic calligraphy from a grand master. Coming across a fragment of manuscript, Hassan goes in search of the missing pieces, believing that once he finds them, he will learn the secrets of love. With the help of Zin, a lovers’ go-between, he meets the beautiful Aziz, Princess of Samarkand. After encountering wars, a battle between false prophets and an ancient curse, he learns that an entire lifetime would not suffice for him to learn the many dimensions of love. Continue reading

Yimou Zhang – Yi ge dou bu neng shao AKA Not One Less (1999)

onq1 Yimou Zhang   Yi ge dou bu neng shao AKA Not One Less (1999)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Yimou Zhang   Yi ge dou bu neng shao AKA Not One Less (1999)

Plot Summary: “In a remote mountain village, the teacher must leave for a month, and the mayor can find only a 13-year old girl, Wei Minzhi, to substitute. The teacher leaves one stick of chalk for each day and promises her an extra 10 yuan if there’s not one less student when he returns. Within days, poverty forces the class troublemaker, Zhang Huike, to leave for the city to work. Minzhi, possessed of a stubborn streak, determines to bring him back. She enlists the 26 remaining pupils in earning money for her trip. She hitches to Jiangjiakou City and begins her search. The boy, meanwhile, is there, lost and begging for food. Minzhi’s stubbornness may be Huike and the village school’s salvation.” Continue reading

Yimou Zhang – Huozhe AKA To Live (1994)

av6k Yimou Zhang   Huozhe AKA To Live (1994)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Yimou Zhang   Huozhe AKA To Live (1994)

Review (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)
To Live is a simple title, but it conceals a universe. The film follows the life of one
family in China, from the heady days of gambling dens in the 1940s to the austere
hardship of the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s. And through all of their fierce struggles
with fate, all of the political twists and turns they endure, their hope is basically one
summed up by the heroine, a wife who loses wealth and position and children, and
who says, “All I ask is a quiet life together.” The movie has been directed by Zhang
Yimou
, the leading Chinese filmmaker right now (although this film offended Beijing and
earned him a two-year ban from filmmaking). It stars his wife, Gong Li, the leading
Chinese actress (likewise banned). Together their credits include Ju Dou, Raise the Red
Lantern
and The Story of Qui Ju. Like them it follows the fate of a strong woman, but
also this time a strong man; somehow they stick together through incredible hardships.
Continue reading

pixel Yimou Zhang   Huozhe AKA To Live (1994)