Alain Cavalier – Libera me (1993)

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the AMG clerk wrote :

“Exploring a dystopian future which has parallels to those found in Brazil, Fahrenheit 451, and 1984, this film, tells of a place where a military junta has taken control and requires people to think, speak, and act in precise ways: anyone who fails to do so is killed. The story is told entirely without the use of spoken dialogue. Symbolic imagery replaces much of what would have been spoken in a narrative, establishing the situation and setting. In the story, two brothers are part of an underground organization opposed to the totalitarian regime. Members of the underground identify themselves using pieces of torn photographs. Reviewers found that the story is told intelligibly and quite swiftly, despite the absence of dialog, but is not quite lively enough to satisfy action buffs.” Continue reading

Maroun Bagdadi – Hors la vie AKA Out of Life (1991)

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Patrick Perrault, a photo-journalist covering the war in Beirut in the late 1980s, is himself caught up in the hostilities when one day he is picked up and bundled into a car at gun-point. Blind-folded, he is taken to an unknown location where he discovers that he is being taken hostage by Lebanese guerrillas. Robbed of his passport, stripped and forced to change into a pair of damp pyjamas, he is locked up in a cell from which there is no escape. And he is told that if he takes of his blindfold to see his captors he will be shot dead immediately. So begins his long and brutal nightmare… Continue reading

Todd Haynes – Safe (1995)

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Quote:
It took Todd Haynes four years after Poison to get funding for Safe (1995), an emotionally devastating portrait of insulated domesticity, centering on Carol White (Julianne Moore), a San Fernando housewife who develops peculiar health problems. Carol’s immune system is compromised by an “environmental illness,” an all-encompassing allergy to chemicals that has baffled the medical establishment and gained the moniker “20th Century Disease.” Helpless, she turns to a self-help organization that leads to greater isolation from the real outside world. Continue reading

Benoît Jacquot & Marguerite Duras – Écrire (1993)

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On Écrire
When she saw La mort du jeune aviateur anglais, she told me that the film was about me, not her. She treated me like a thief. So I offered to make another film, where she could say whatever she wanted about her life as a writer. That’s how we did Écrire. I brought the same film crew. We went to her house at Neauphle-le-Château and we set up in the room she called “the music room,” where there was a piano and you could listen to records. She settled in and for two days of non-stop filming, she talked. Continue reading

Benoît Jacquot & Marguerite Duras – La mort du jeune aviateur anglais AKA The Death of the Young English Aviator (1993)

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La mort du jeune aviateur anglais tells the story of a British airman whose grave Marguerite Duras discovered near Deauville. Although we don’t know where fiction begins, Duras’ narrative has a remarkable authenticity. A veritable manifesto of spontaneous writing, brilliantly directed by Benoît Jacquot, where the “direct writing” of Duras meshes perfectly with the unpretentious approach of the filmmaker. (Allocine) Continue reading

Peter Brosens & Dorjkhandyn Turmunkh – State of Dogs (1998)

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A cinematic poem based on the Mongolian belief that when dogs die, they are reborn as humans. At least, that’s what humans say. What do dogs think? The film introduces us to Baasar, a stray dog, before and after his death… Documentary or fiction? The pictures and sound are derived from reality, so surely it must be a documentary, but a particularly philosophical and poetic one. Not only does this film offer a lively, inspired commentary on the issue of stray animals in the urban environment, it invites us to contemplate the mystery of life and the complexity of reality. A universal parable on destiny, illustrated by Mongolian folklore. Continue reading

Veit Helmer – Tuvalu (1999)

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Silent movies require a unique visual storytelling grammar, a rhythm of clear, economical medium shots, punctuated by close-ups of pertinent objects and human faces reacting. Veit Helmer’s debut feature Tuvalu isn’t strictly a silent movie—it features sound effects and the odd exclamation—but the film is virtually dialogue-free, and heavily influenced by the grammar of the silents and the fanciful retro-futurist decay of Terry Gilliam and Jean-Pierre Jeunet. But Helmer has neither the clarity nor the rococo flourish of his predecessors, and his over-reliance on color filters and crammed, busy takes inhibits Tuvalu’s ability to charm and enchant. The film stars Denis Lavant (the craggy but acrobatic center of the contemporary French cinema classics Les Amants Du Pont-Neuf and Beau Travail) as the manager of a swimming pool in a crumbling, depressed metropolis. Continue reading