Thomas Ciulei – Gratian (1994)

The people in Izbuc, a village in the Romanian Carpathian mountains, think thast their fellow villager Gratian Florea is a werewolf. According to an old custom, when a child is born, the midwifes call upon the spirits, to make the child hard working, beautiful, loveable or wise. It is said that when Gratian was born, the umbilical cord broke only after the midwife called forth the werewolf. This crucial moment was to influence his whole life. His family and the whole village rejected him. At 73, Gratian lives in a shack outside the village, without water of heating.
Every Saturday Gratian goes into the village to beg for the food he needs for the following week. The saying goes that those who refused to give him something will have their sheep eaten by wolves after a few days. In his solitude, Gratian works with astronomical numbers. He says that his thoughts about belief, moral values, and eternal life will help him discover infinity. He sees himself as a traveler into the universe, who at a certain time will surpass the worldly existence and the essence of his soul will become equal to God. Continue reading

Jamil Dehlavi – Immaculate Conception (1992)

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Immaculate Conception is the story of a young western couple, Jewish-American Hannah and British Alistair who are living in Karachi and desperate for a child. They visit the eunuch shrine of Gulab Shah which has a reputation for curing infertility and, sure enough, Hannah conceives. Hannah decides to convert to Islam and coaxes Alistair to do the same.

This causes a conflict with her family, while steering Alistair into a brief love affair. Meanwhile, the eunuchs from the shrine seem to think they have a share in Hannah’s baby. As tension mounts, the dangerous cocktail of clashing cultures and religious beliefs threatens to explode in the faces of everyone involved. Continue reading

Lita Stantic – Un muro de silencio AKA A Wall of Silence (1993)

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A Wall of Silence (1993 ) , the debut of the famous film producer Lita Stantic , is an episode of collective biography of the generation of 68 in Argentina who lived optimism of the sixties and seventies brutal repression and now remakes his life in a democracy based on oblivion. Unlike many Argentine films that address the issue of missing persons, ‘A Wall’ leans more towards the historical and political approach, which also adopted in this article , analyzing the references to optimism of El Cordobazo and around Peron dictatorship and the development of democracy since 1983. We consider the contributions of filmmakers Lita Stantic and Maria Luisa Bemberg – members for a decade – to the Argentinian film and end with a question about the importance of the recovery of the memory in the current Argentina society. Continue reading

Allie Light & Irving Saraf – In the Shadow of the Stars (1991)

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Oscar-winning documentary covering the performers who are often overlooked when people go to the opera. “In the shadow of the stars” is basically referring to the people performing their jobs, hoping for their big breaks while not getting that much attention in their current positions. There’s no question that this is a pretty interesting documentary but I think the people are going to be most effected by it are those actual opera fans or those who are in the same position as the people here and can connect with them. I think the best thing that the film has going for it is that it actually makes you familiar with some of the lesser known people who work. I thought it was fascinating hearing from people who have been waiting years for their big break and we get to hear the daily drama that goes on. This could be rehearsals where they’re not working out as well as they hoped or it could be in their personal lives where the stress is simply making things bad at home. Throughout the picture we’re introduced to several people and all of them discuss their careers and lives. Some of the stories get repeated to the point where you feel as if you’re hearing it over and over but for the most part the film keeps you drawn in and entertained. Continue reading