Patrice Leconte – La veuve de Saint-Pierre AKA The Widow of St. Pierre (2000)

koWHkl Patrice Leconte   La veuve de Saint Pierre AKA The Widow of St. Pierre (2000)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Patrice Leconte   La veuve de Saint Pierre AKA The Widow of St. Pierre (2000)

Though set in the French colony of St Pierre and Miquelon, the movie was filmed on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. The French title La Veuve de Saint-Pierre contains wordplay. “Veuve” translates to “Widow”. In the 1800s the word was also slang for a guillotine.

The Widow of Saint-Pierre (French: La veuve de Saint-Pierre) is a 2000 film by Patrice Leconte with Juliette Binoche, Daniel Auteuil and Emir Kusturica. The film made its North American debut at the 2000 Toronto Film Festival where it won the Audience Award. It was nominated for a Golden Globe Award in 2001 for Best Foreign Language Film. The film was also nominated in 2001 for two César Awards.

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In 1879, on the small French island of Saint-Pierre off the coast of Newfoundland, Neel Auguste (Emir Kusturica) and his friend carry a joke too far while they are drunk and murder a man. The friend dies in an accident on the way to prison. Neel is put into the custody of the Captain (Daniel Auteuil), a military officer whose wife Madame La (Juliette Binoche) is the most beautiful woman on the island. Kind-hearted and compassionate, she takes Neel on as her protégé, teaching him to read, work in the garden with her, and perform odd jobs for widows in the community. Continue reading

Michel Ocelot – Kirikou et la sorcière (1998)

0Av04n Michel Ocelot   Kirikou et la sorcière (1998)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Michel Ocelot   Kirikou et la sorcière (1998)

In a little village somewhere in Africa, a boy named Kirikou is born. But he’s not a normal boy, because he knows what he wants very well. Also he already can speak and walk. His mother tells him how an evil sorceress has dried up their spring and devoured all males of the village except of one. Hence little Kirikou decides, he will accompany the last warrior to the sorceress. Due to his intrepidity he may be the last hope of the village. Continue reading

Albert Brooks – Defending Your Life (1991)

jCm4k5 Albert Brooks   Defending Your Life (1991)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Albert Brooks   Defending Your Life (1991)

Enchanting, always funny, sometimes hilarious, and featuring a surprisingly light comic performance from the ever adaptable Meryl Streep, this is the most likeable and endearing comedy to date for writer/director/star Albert Brooks. His satirical edge, so sharp in his three previous films — Real Life (1979), Modern Romance (1981), and Lost in America (1985) — seems at first glance to have been dulled, even if his funny bone is still in perfect working order. But Brooks is still mocking the human race; it’s just that his humor has become gentler, suggesting that his longtime bitterness has evolved into a bemused, perceptive wisdom. Those who have become addicted to the Brooks oeuvre and its underlying neurotic cynicism might be dismayed that their favorite artistic pessimist has created a film that can be labeled heartwarming. But most Brooks fans will be delighted to find intact the brand of raw, naked honesty about the writer/director’s own shortcomings they expect, treated with a tender forgiveness that’s a new development to be sure, but an entirely welcome one. Peopled with memorable supporting players (particularly Rip Torn as a gruff but amiable legal eagle), and overflowing with creative ideas about the afterlife and its machinations, Defending Your Life amounts to a must-see film from one of the funniest, most under-appreciated filmmakers of our time. — Karl Williams
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Wim Wenders – In weiter Ferne, so nah! AKA Faraway, So Close! (1993)

 Wim Wenders   In weiter Ferne, so nah! AKA Faraway, So Close! (1993)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Wim Wenders   In weiter Ferne, so nah! AKA Faraway, So Close! (1993)

In all the publicity material for all the season’s films, this is surely the most peculiar and deadpan star’s bio: ” ‘Faraway, So Close’ marks Mikhail Gorbachev’s feature film debut.” The former Soviet president has a tiny cameo in Wim Wenders’s latest film. And he has a guardian angel looking over his shoulder while he sits at his desk meditating that “a secure world can’t be built on blood; only on harmony.”

The angel, Cassiel (Otto Sander), is the true star of “Faraway, So Close,” a lyrical and profoundly goofy continuation of Mr. Wenders’s 1987 cult hit “Wings of Desire.” But in spirit Mr. Gorbachev presides over the film like the guardian angel of glasnost, for Mr. Wenders has taken the major characters from “Wings of Desire” and set them down in a unified, and strangely multi-lingual, Germany. Continue reading

Derek Jarman – Glitterbug (1994)

snapshot20080826220206 Derek Jarman   Glitterbug (1994)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Derek Jarman   Glitterbug (1994)

Review

Glitterbug consists of film strips shot by Jarman with his Super-8 between 1971 and 1986, a format he was constantly experimenting with and made use of in the film collage In the Shadow of the Sun (1981) for example, it is an endless montage of loosely connected Super-8 sequences put together alternatively into an impressionistic shimmer of beauty, alternatively with an aggressive, rhetorical edge. The Last of England (1987), similar in a technical way, became even more famous. It was a devastating criticism of Thatcherism and of what Jarman per-ceived to be the decline of Britain. Jarman’s most distinct feature was his constant role as a man against the tide his attacks against anything considered to be part of the Establishment, whether it concerned sexual preferences or political power structures. The boldness re-appears in Glitterbug, where images from Jarman’s own everyday life in London in the early 70’s, with rooms filled with anti-cultural fetishes from the Swinging London era, are mixed with various documentaries from the making of some of Jarman’s notorious successes: the gay film Sebastiane (1975) and the punk protest Jubilee (1977). Continue reading

Piotr Szulkin – Femina (1991)

feminarip1 Piotr Szulkin   Femina (1991)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Piotr Szulkin   Femina (1991)

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After a five-year hiatus from filmmaking, Piotr Szulkin returned in 1990 with “Femina”, based on a novel by Krystyna Kofta and inspired by Luis Bunuel.

The main character is Bogna, a thirty year old woman lost in her surrounding reality and unhappy in her private life. After her husband departs for a foreign scholarship, Bogna learns that her mother died. The trip to her hometown for the funeral becomes a voyage in time, during which she relives the memories of her idyllic childhood. Continue reading

pixel Piotr Szulkin   Femina (1991)