Isabelle Broué – Tout le plaisir est pour moi AKA The Pleasure Is All Mine (2004)

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After lecturing her sister on the evils of fake orgasms, Louise, a self-obsessed twenty-something, gets her come-uppance the next morning when she discovers that she has “lost her clitoris”, a misfortune she doesn’t hesitate to communicate, loudly and explicitly, to anyone who’ll listen.

It’s a shame that so many of the characters and situations in this movie, from the gay best-friend to the sex guru with his herbs to the celibate neighbour to the old ladies discussing orgasms, feel like a parade of comedy stereotypes. The falseness and banality of these sketch-like scenes conflict awkwardly with the pseudo-documentary discussions of female sexuality that the director inserts with great earnestness throughout the film.

The film’s saving grace is Marie Gillain, who pulls off the near-impossible task of making the infuriating, egotistical Louise both watchable and sympathetic. (in IMDB) Continue reading

Fabienne Berthaud – Pieds nus sur les limaces aka Lily Sometimes (2010)

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Synopsis
Lily and Clara are two sisters who could not be more different. Lily inhabits a fantasy world, in harmony with nature, carefree and exuberant. She lives with her elderly mother in the old family house in the country. Clara, by contrast, is a city-dweller who lives a far more hectic life. When her mother dies, Clara is prompted to radically change her priorities and decides to devote herself to looking after Lily. Under her younger sister’s influence, Clara begins to experience a new zest for living… Continue reading

Pol Cruchten – Perl oder Pica aka Little Secrets (2006)

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* Luxembourg’s Official Submission to the Best Foreign Language Film Category of the 80th Annual Academy Awards (2008)

A delightful coming-of-age story set in small town Luxembourg in 1962 about a sensitive 12-year-old boy who is struggling with puberty and a difficult family life within a society that is still recovering from the effects of the former Nazi occupation. Continue reading

Ferzan Ozpetek – Un giorno perfetto AKA A Perfect Day (2008)

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Emma and Antonio, married with two children, have been separated for nearly a year. Antonio is living alone in the house where he used to live with his wife, while Emma has gone back to her mother, taking the children with her. Then, one night, a flying squad is called to the palazzo and the police burst into the apartment where gunshots have been heard. In a rapid succession of events, Un giorno perfetto describes the twenty-four hours before this moment, the simple but “unique” life of a group of people who are shadowed every step they take. Camilla turns seven, her brother Aris is sitting an exam at university, Emma loses her job in a call-center, her daughter Valentina meets a boy she likes, the honorable Elio Fioravanti is doing the round of election rallies, Maja, his beautiful wife finds out she is pregnant, young Kevin is invited to an extravagant party, the teacher, Mara, is meeting her lover and Antonio sees his wife for the last time. The stories interweave on the great stage of a frenetic, disquieting Rome that seems to be heading towards tragedy, although the slightest gesture, just one word, would be enough to change the path of destiny. Un giorno perfetto describes a passionate love, separating and uniting Emma and Antonio – with irony, emotion and compassion. It portrays worlds diverse and distant, that then meet, as if in an unrelenting thriller. Continue reading

Thom Andersen – Get Out of the Car (2010)

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Get Out of the Car is a response to my last movie, Los Angeles Plays Itself. I called Los Angeles Plays Itself a ‘city symphony in reverse’ in that it was composed of fragments from other films read against the grain to bring the background into the foreground. Visions of the city’s geography and history implicit in these films were made manifest. Continue reading

Rob Lemkin & Thet Sambath – Enemies of the People (2009)

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The Khmer Rouge slaughtered nearly two million people in the late 1970s. Yet the Killing Fields of Cambodia remain unexplained. Until now. Enter Thet Sambath, an unassuming, yet cunning, investigative journalist who spends a decade of his life gaining the trust of the men and women who perpetrated the massacres. From the foot soldiers who slit throats to Pol Pot’s right-hand man, the notorious Brother Number Two, Sambath records shocking testimony never before seen or heard. Having neglected his own family for years, Sambath’s work comes at a price. But his is a personal mission. He lost his parents and his siblings in the Killing Fields. Amidst his journey to discover why his family died, we come to understand for the first time the real story of Cambodia’s tragedy. Continue reading