Description: The uncompromising director Věra Chytilová, well-known for her harshly mocking attacks on people’s failings and foibles, has created a new filmic parable on human weakness with Vyhnání z ráje (Expulsion from Paradise, 2001), her most recent film. Although fully within the Chytilová tradition of biting moral fable, the film has had a lukewarm reception from Czech and international critics.
The main story of Vyhnání z ráje concerns Rosta, a film director (Bolek Polívka), who is shooting a film at a nudist beach. Everyone in the film crew has different ideas about the genre and style of the film being shot: The director tries to create an artistic work, an experimental metaphor about Adam and Eve; the Russian producer Igor (Milan Šteindler) hopes to see an erotic lovestory produced; and the screenwriter (played by theatre director and dramatist J A Pitínský) aims to express his positive philosophy about humanity through the film. Continue reading
Two young people, Hidenori and Sunako, are on the run from the law following Hidenori’s killing of his mother. The two manage to hitch a ride in a passing ice-cream van, but Sunako is assaulted by its driver while bathing in a stream in a forest. They escape through the trees, eventually ending up in a secluded wooden cottage where they hide out, eking out a feral existence by raiding neighbouring gardens. With Hidenori still in a state of shock, Sunako eventually breaks the communication barrier using her body, seducing him in a bathtub full of floating ripe tomatoes. It is a turning point in their relationship, and Hidenori then becomes the sexually dominant partner in this strange relationship. One day, Hidenori plunges a knife into his stomach, forcing the pair to leave their makeshift haven and seek help in the big city. Continue reading
“Pasolini Pa* Palestine is an attempt to repeat Pasolini’s trip to Palestine in his film, Seeking Locations in Palestine for The Gospel According to Matthew (1963). It adapts his script into a route map superimposed on the current landscape, creating contradictions and breaks between the visual and the audible, the expected and the real. The video explores the question of repetition. For Heidegger Wiederholung ‘repetition, retrieval’ is one of the terms he uses for the appropriate attitude toward the past. “By the repetition of a basic problem we understand the disclosure of its original, so far hidden possibilities.” The project ventures a conversation and a dialogue with Pasolini, especially his ‘Poem for the Third World’. Discutere ‘to smash to pieces’ is the Latin source of dialogue, discussion. The piece does not criticize Pasolini, but reveals unnoticed possibilities in his thought and works back to the ‘experiences’ that inspired it.” (Ayreen Anastas) Continue reading
Mamo, an old and legendary Kurdish musician living in Iran, plans to give one final concert in Iraqi Kurdistan. After seven months of trying to get a permit and rounding up his ten sons, he sets out for the long and troublesome journey in a derelict bus, denying a recurring vision of his own death at half moon. Halfway the party halts at a small village to pick up female singer Hesho, which will only add to the difficulty of the undertaking, as it is forbidden for Iranian women to sing in public, let alone in the company of men. But Mamo is determined to carry through, if not for the gullible antics of the bus driver. Continue reading
Experimental filmmaker Bill Morrison created this non-narrative feature, which derives a large portion of its visual beauty from the physical nature of the film medium itself. Decasia is primarily compiled from a wealth of old and damaged footage, in which the scratches, scraped emulsion, bubbles, streaks, and decaying nitrate add an extra dimension of texture to a patchwork of images both extraordinary and mundane. Originally created as part of a multimedia environmental performance piece, with the film screened in tandem with a performance by a 55-piece ensemble, Decasia has also been screened in a version with recorded score, composed by avant garde percussionist Michael Gordon. Decasia was screened at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival.—-by Mark Deming
A film that starts like an odd documentary on ski resorts suddenly declares its subject to be aluminum. And it’s all downhill from there, evoking in chapters the history of capitalism in the 20th century, the death of the God Progress in the valleys of the Alps and the question of the relationship between State and Industry. All’s fair in love and snow.
Tsai Ming-Liang follows his trademark ‘pondering static camera’ (“Rebels of the Neon God”, “The River”, “The Hole” and “Vive L’Amour” ) with his fifth feature film, “What Time is it There?”. His unconventional style will deter many cinema goers who might envisage something more easily penetrable, perhaps requiring less speculation. In a pure minimalist vein, Tsai uses no music (aside from “The 400 Blows” theme played sparingly). There is no cinematographic panning shots… no camera movement for each take. Each scene is a single static shot. There are almost no close-ups. There are extremely long stretches without any dialogue. Hopefully, this does not send you running in the other direction because it is indeed a wonderful viewing experience touching upon many important modern emotional themes.