1991-2000

Ken Jacobs – Flo Rounds a Corner (1999)

WARNING: This work contains throbbing light. Should not be viewed by individuals with epilepsy or seizure disorders.

Synopsis (by Mark McElhatten)
The cast is in flux — the animate and the inanimate get double billed with that dynamic duo — Push and Pull. If matter has consciousness and has renounced movement as Henri Bergson suggests, in order to conserve energy, then here we have a dramatic apostasy. A broken vow of stasis, a flood of energy. What beautiful instability and pulsation in this floating world off a hinge, drawn through invisible bellows, exhaled, exultant. Read More »

Rob Tregenza – Inside/Out (1997)

An uncredited Jean-Luc Godard produced this 1997 third feature by the singular American independent Rob Tregenza, and along with Hungarian filmmaker Bela Tarr, Godard is certainly a presiding guru over this powerful if enigmatic view of life in and around a psychiatric hospital somewhere in rural, snowbound America. Shot by Tregenza himself (one of the best cinematographers on the planet) in black-and-white 35-millimeter ‘Scope — mainly in extremely long, choreographed takes that transpire with a minimum of dialogue but with an extremely inventive and original Dolby sound track — the film offers not so much a plot in the usual sense as a series of interlocking characters and events governed, like the film’s title, by polarities: sound and image, interior and exterior, sanity and madness, freedom and institutional captivity, society and isolation. Read More »

Seijun Suzuki – Yumeji (1991)

Synopsis:
Yumeji is the final film in youth-gone-berserk auteur Seijun Suzuki’s acclaimed Taisho Trilogy. Sensual and absurdist, it spins a ghost story around the character and work of real-life painter and poet Yumeji Takehisa (1884-1934). The eponymous character — conjured by Suzuki as a chronic philanderer and dreamer played by former rock star Kenji Sawada — is plagued with ideals of perfect beauty and the terror of his own demise. He falls in love with women, but can never capture their hearts. He is constantly escaping his rivals, but can never face them down. Read More »

Shunji Iwai – Rabu reta AKA Love Letter AKA When I Close My Eyes [+commentary] (1995)

Synopsis:
Hiroko Watanabe’s fiancé Itsuki died two years earlier in a mountain climbing accident. While looking through his high school yearbook, Hiroko in a fit of grief decides to write a letter to him using his old school address. Surprisingly she receives a reply, not from the dead Itsuki, but from a woman with the same name whom had known Hiroko’s fiancé in school. A relationship develops between the two women as they continue to exchange letters and share memories of the dead Itsuki. Read More »

Pilar Miró – Beltenebros aka Prince of Shadows (1991)

Madrid, 1962. More than twenty years after the civil war has finished, a communist comes back to Spain to kill a traitor. Read More »

Olivier Assayas – Paris s’éveille (1991)

An ARTE chanell broadcast. Film quality is very good though. This is one of the first films by Assayas, featuring the great Jean Pierre Leaud. Enjoy.

The story: Nineteen-year-old Adrien comes back to his father’s flat to live; the two haven’t seen each other in three years. Clement has a teenage girl living with him who is using heroin. Louise, the girl, at first rejects Adrien, then later falls in love with him. An unstable situation becomes worse as we learn that Adrien is sought by the police for theft. Read More »

Wojciech Staron – Syberyjska lekcja AKA Siberian Lesson (1998)

The first documentary by Wojciech Staroń. He just finished film school, his wife Małgosia just became a teacher. The year is 1997. They decide to go for a year deep into Siberia: she’ll teach Polish, he’ll shoot a film. And this is that beautiful film, narrated in the first person by Małgosia as she meets all sorts of colorful characters and reflects upon reality with her beautiful, monotone voice, seeing the good in people individually and collectively. This is also about her transformation in this travel undertaken in the centuries-old fashion of the observer who, by observing others, observes herself. Read More »