1991-2000

Krzysztof Zanussi – Ostatni krag z cyklu ‘Opowiesci weekendowe’ AKA Weekend Stories: The Last Segment (1998)

An aging ballet legend who defected to France years before returns home to Poland for the first time to appear in a charity performance, and he immediately clashes with his ex-wife, who stayed behind when he defected. Read More »

Marlon Fuentes & Bridget Yearian – Bontoc Eulogy (1995)

Quote:
Marlon E. Fuentes’ Bontoc Eulogy is a haunting, personal exploration into the filmmaker’s complex relationship with his Filipino heritage as explored through the almost unbelievable story of the 1,100 Filipino tribal natives brought to the U.S. to be a “living exhibit” at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. For those who associate the famous fair with Judy Garland, clanging trolleys, and creampuff victoriana, Bontoc Eulogy offers a disturbing look at the cultural arrogance that went hand-in-hand with the Fair’s glorification of progress. The Fair was the site of the world’s largest ever “ethnological display rack,” in which hundreds of so-called primitive and savage men and women from all over the globe were exhibited in contrast to the achievements of Western civilization. Read More »

Fernando Pérez – La vida es silbar AKA Life is to Whistle (1998)

The film tells the stories of three end-of-the millennium Cubans, whose lives intersect on the Day of Santa Barbara (the African Saint Chango, ruler of destinies). Mariana, a ballerina, ponders breaking chastity vows she made to land the coveted role of Giselle; Julia has fainting spells each time she hears the word “sex,” and Elpidio, a musician, seduces a gringa tourist while Bebe, the narrator, takes us for a taxi ride along the streets of Havana. In Life Is to Whistle, Fernando Perez displays the same cinematographic lyricism that won his first film, Madagascar, the Special Recognition in Latin American Cinema award at the 1996 Sundance Film Festival. Read More »

Ulrich Seidl – Der Busenfreund AKA The Bosom Friend (1997)

A 1997 TV film. Two descriptions:

“Main character of this movie is Rene Rupnik, a former math teacher. He is forty years old and lives together with his mother in a desolate block of flats. Ever since his early youth women with big breasts have fascinated him, because they symbolise a kind of earth mother to him. He has never had an especially close relationship with his own mother; she was too ‘bony’ for him. Object of Rene’s fantasy is the actress Senta Berger, to him everything a woman should be. Standing by the blackboard and explaining the mathematical laws of sine and cosine (‘sinus’ is bosom in Latin), Rene sings the praises of the female curves and those of Santa Berger in particular. Filmmaker Ulrich Seidl let the former teacher speak freely about his obsessions and desires, intercutting his monologues with scenes from the protagonist’s day-to-day life.” Read More »

Souleymane Cissé – Waati AKA Time (1995)

Quote:
Beginning in South Africa under the apartheid regime, the film follows a young girl who flees the country after a violent confrontation with a local white landowner in which her father is killed. She settles in Abidjan, where, ten years later, she has become a university student. As part of her studies, she visits the Taureg tribe on the edge of the Sahara before at last returning to post-Apartheid South Africa. Read More »

Takashi Miike – Tengoku kara kita otoko-tachi AKA The Guys from Paradise (2000)

Quote:
Allegedly based on a number of true cases, The Guys From Paradise is a prison story set in the Phillipines against a background of corruption, drug trafficking and paedophilia. This being a Takashi Miike film however, the results are far from conventional. It’s essentially a film of two parts: the first set in a prison named “Paradise” where a small community of Japanese prisoners led by veteran criminal Yoshida (Tsutomu Yamazaki) enjoy a life of relative freedom and privilege, the second the story of their exploits outside prison walls with police and a deranged yakuza on their trail. Read More »

Kar-Wai Wong – Hua yang de nian hua (2000)

HUA YANG DE NIAN HUA, a fascinating 2m 28s montage of images Wong kar-wai pulled from a number of vintage Chinese features, most of which were considered lost until some nitrate prints were discovered in a California warehouse during the 1990s. Focusing on the popular actresses of the time, the short’s lovely vintage costumes and imagery perfectly compliment the look and feel of the main feature. Unfortunately, the transfer (provided to Criterion by Wong’s company, Block 2 Pictures) is framed too tightly on top, bisecting a number of heads. Read More »