Historias extraordinarias tells the adventures of three men known only as H (Agustin Mendilaharzu, doubling as cinematographer), X (director Mariano Llinás) and Z (Walter Jakob). These adventures come across as self-conscious constructions and journeys happening in the here and now. But though the strongest literary influences on Llinás’ fascinating screenplay are fiction writer Jorge Luis Borges and disciple Adolfo Bioy-Casares, it would be wrong to label Historias extraordinarias as literary per se: Instead, a viewer would have to stretch back to the grand serial silents of Louis Feuillade for something as ambitious as Llinás’ detailed telling of the three separate, intertwined tales, all involving men on quests in situations that force them to question who they really are. Llinás jumps between the storylines over 18 episodes, usually devoting no more than about 15 minutes at a time to any single one. The governing concept uniting the tales is how each man begins with a specific task, and then veers away from the straight-and-narrow, bringing the job’s purpose into question. Continue reading
In the rarefied stratosphere of Eugene Green’s film “Le Pont des Arts,” music, literature, philosophy and aesthetics, and the characters’ engagement with them, are literally matters of life and death. Here and in his other films, Mr. Green, the American-born French filmmaker who founded the Theatre de la Sapience, a group dedicated to revitalizing 17th-century Baroque theater in modern productions, has invented a cinematic vocabulary that radically juxtaposes classical and contemporary themes and characters. … In “Le Pont des Arts,” Mr. Green’s propensity for throwing in academically heavyweight references and concepts may seem intimidating, but it is more than an exercise in name-dropping. The movie is an audacious, mythically slanted inquiry into the place of high art in today’s chaotic culture and an assertion of its primacy. … — NYTimes Continue reading
Filmmaker Eugene Green pays homage to Manoel de Oliveira, a Portuguese director whose had a profound influence on his style, with this drama of a woman eager for a new lease on life. Julie (Leonor Baldaque) is a French actress who is still nursing a broken heart after a bad breakup with her boyfriend. Julie travels to Lisbon to begin work on her latest project, in which she’ll play the title role in a screen adaptation of the novel Letters of a Portuguese Nun. Julie is fascinated with Lisbon, and spends much of her spare time exploring the city, and she opens herself up to encounters with a wealthy and prominent man (Diogo Dória) as well as one of her fellow actors (Adrien Michaux). However, Julie learns the most about herself and her heart when she strikes up a friendship with a local boy who has lost his parents (Francisco Mozos), enjoys some long conversations with a nun (Ana Moreira) who is advising the production, and learns to love Portugal’s native fado music. A Religiosa Portuguesa (aka The Portuguese Nun) was an official selection at the 2009 BFI London Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi Continue reading
It is summer in the estate on the edge of town that provides the location for Sam de Jong’s feature debut Prins. And it is hot. Any lad who has money here has got to be a wide boy. And if you are driving a Lamborghini you will definitely earn respect. The film’s young director unfolds his story with ease, infusing it with a good dose of irony and grotesque exaggeration. The boys hang out on the street, cracking pumpkin seeds, talking about motorbikes, Rolex watches and how to kiss a girl. One of them is 17-year-old Ayoub. He is head over heels in love with pretty Laura who may smile at him invitingly when she passes by, but later sends him packing with a withering look. Her boyfriend is one of the really tough guys. How on earth can Ayoub compete? He has hardly any money, shares a tiny room with his sister at home; his mother is careworn and his father lives on the streets. He has to do something. Cue the guy in the pastel-hued violet Lamborghini – a complete nut that everyone says you should just stay away from. It is going to be a long, nightmarish night for Ayoub. Continue reading
Unable to accept the the loss of their son in the 2005 Tsunami, Jeanne and Paul Bellmer have remained in Phuket. Desperately clinging to the fact that his body was never recovered, Jeanne has convinced herself that the boy was kidnapped by traffickers in the chaos that followed the catastrophe… Paul is sceptical, but cannot bring himself to shatter his wife’s last hope. The traumatized couple embark on a quest that will plunge them through paranoia and betrayal, ever deeper into an alien universe, a supernatural realm where the dead are never truly dead, and where nightmares, obsession and horrifying reality converge. Continue reading
A contemporary adaptation of Chekhov’s The Seagull set around catty, jealous and precocious film industry types.
The story revolves around Mado, a movie-star past her prime who owns an elegant chateau in the serene French countryside. Mado’s lover Brice is a successful director who continues to cast Mado in his films. Her son Julien, an aspiring filmmaker, despises his “sell-out” mother, but at the same time yearns for her approval. Lili, Julien’s girlfriend, is intent on escaping the lowly life of a poor country girl and dreams of stardom. When Julien screens his new DV art-film starring Lili, the delicate peace in their house begins to unravel. Continue reading
A teenager’s routine visit to her father’s vacation home turns steamy when she finds herself unexpectedly attracted to her father’s fiancée. Continue reading