Yves Pelletier – Les Aimants AKA Love and Magnets (2004)

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Montreal Mirror wrote:

People tend to be cynical and derisive towards romantic comedies. Personally, I’m a softie and seeing people fall in love on screen always touches me. Then again, I’m aware that most entries in the rom-com genre are derivative and idiotic. But once in a blue moon, you find one that’s surprisingly original and intelligent. Les Aimants is such a film.

After five years abroad, Julie (Isabelle Blais) comes back to Montreal and crashes with her sister Jeanne (Sylvie Moreau), a woman who lies as she breathes. Jeanne is engaged to Noël (David Savard), a workaholic who’s never home, so they communicate through messages they leave on the refrigerator. When Jeanne leaves for a week of adultery with theremin virtuoso Manu (Emmanuel Bilodeau), she asks Julie to cover up for her by responding to Noël’s fridge notes. But Julie decides to get “positive revenge” on her seemingly heartless sister by making the messages she leaves more romantic… Continue reading

György Pálfi – Taxidermia (2006)

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A strange young man takes his family’s long tradition of bizarre behavior to new heights (or depths) in this wildly perverse and explicit horror comedy from director Gyorgi Palfi. Kalman Balatony (Gergo Trocsanyi) is a grotesquely fat gentleman who was fathered by an angry hospital orderly getting revenge on his boss by having sex with his wife. While the embittered husband killed the orderly when he was caught in the act, Kalman was born as a result of the wife’s indiscretion, and when he grows to adulthood he earns a modest fame as a competitive eating champion. At an eating contest, Kalman meets a female competitor, the freakish Gizi (Adel Stanczel), and the two fall in love. Kalman and Gizi marry, and she gives birth to a son, Lajos (Marc Bischoff), who grows up to be just as skinny as his parents are fat. Lajos studies taxidermy and takes up preserving animals as a career when he isn’t busy taking care of his elderly and increasingly massive father. Lajos also raises a handful of unusually large house cats, and when they begin to turn on their master, Lajos uses his talents to keep them around the house without the danger of their bothering anyone. Taxidermia received its North American premier at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival. Continue reading

Ferzan Ozpetek – Cuore Sacro AKA Sacred Heart (2005)

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Quote:

Written by Boyd van Hoeij
Thursday, 20 April 2006

Nothing less than a double suicide from a dazzling height initiates the fifth and by far best film of Italo-Turkish director Ferzan Ozpetek. With an equally dazzling central performance by another foreigner settled in Italy, Slovakian actress Barbora Bobulova, Cuore sacro (Sacred Heart) could very well win Ozpetek new fans at home and abroad as he forsakes his overly sentimental style for something both more subtle and more resonant.

Co-written and directed by Ozpetek, Cuore sacro is an exploration of goodness and religion and how they interact (and more often than not fail to interact) in Italian society in particular and the world at large. Unlike the director’s previous efforts (such as much laurelled La finestra di fronte/Facing window) there are no homosexual or otherwise marginalised or penniless protagonists; in Cuore sacro it is in fact fundamental that the main character is rich, at least at the start of the story.
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Ferzan Ozpetek – La Finestra di fronte aka The Window Opposite (2003)

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Giovanna is a bookeeper in a company which packs chickens. She is married to a man who has a precarious job. First she starts being curious about a young man who lives in the block opposite hers, and then she falls in love with him. The relationship between the two becomes much stronger when she starts to find out more about him from an old man who bursts into their lives. The old man, obsessed with the memories of some things that happened n the long past autumn of 1943, has lost his memory and finds refuge in Giovanna.
“Facing Windows (La Finestra di fronte)” is like a very European and more sophisticated take on “The Notebook,” as it shifts between romantic and culinary past and present through the in-and-out consciousness of an elderly man. The “Rear Window” eroticism is just one element that accidentally brings together tangled, stymied lives swirling around lovely, exhausted, frustrated chef, wife and mother Giovanna Mezzogiorno, where each child, man, woman, friend and neighbor has separate priorities and fantasies that annoying real life interferes with, from the practical to the political. Continue reading

Thomas Heise – Vaterland AKA Fatherland (2002)

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“Vaterland” is a key work in Thomas Heise’s filmography. In the beginning a voice over reads the letters his father Wolfgang and his brother sent their family from a labour camp. When they were 19 they had been sentenced to a labour camp for so-called «jüdische Mischlinge», Jewish half-breed. The camp was located in Straguth, in the surroundings of Zerbst, State of Saxony-Anhalt. At the time of the shooting the village counted about 290 inhabitants. Maybe the most «Fordian» movie by Thomas Heise. Continue reading

Theodoros Angelopoulos – Trilogia II: I skoni tou hronou AKA The dust of time (2008)

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Synopsis (Written by Theo Angelopoulos):
A, an American film director of Greek ancestry, is making a film that tells his story and the story of his parents. It is a tale that unfolds in Italy, Germany, Russia, Kazakhstan, Canada and the USA. The main character is Eleni, who is claimed and claims the absoluteness of love. At the same time the film is a long journey into the vast history and the events of the last fifty years that left their mark on the 20th century. The characters in the film move as though in a dream. The dust of time confuses memories. A searches for them and experiences them in the present. Continue reading