Nuri Bilge Ceylan – Uzak AKA Distant (2002) (HD)

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Synopsis wrote:
Uzak/Distant chronicles the numbing loneliness, longing, and isolation in the lives of two men who are consumed by their own problems. Istanbul photographer Mahmut reluctantly receives his relative Yusuf, but the mingling of their lives does little to alleviate their detachment.

Roger Ebert wrote:
How is it that the same movie can seem tedious on first viewing and absorbing on the second? Why doesn’t it grow even more tedious? In the case of “Distant,” which I first saw at Cannes in 2003, perhaps it helped that I knew what the story offered and what it did not offer, and was able to see it again without expecting what would not come. Continue reading

Allan King – Memory for Max, Claire, Ida and Company (2005)

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Quote:
Finally, King expands his exploration of the aging process with Memory for Max, Claire, Ida, and Company, an intimate personal diary for eight patients suffering from dementia and memory loss at the Baycrest Geriatric Health Care System. Whereas Dying at Grace documented patients succumbing to the inevitable, Memory focuses on the terrifying doubts, palpable relationships, and relentless patterns of the individual patient and their fragile grip on reality. The titular trio makes up a close-knit group linked by emotional necessity, and Memory delves deep into the haunting alienation each feels when one unexpectedly dies, and the others have to relive the tragic news over and over again. The process is difficult to watch, but in a final coup de grace, King upends stereotypes about the sick and aged by never abandoning them no matter how difficult the situation, his camera a tracker of the small, delicate emotions cinema usually can’t recreate. Continue reading

Allan King – Dying at Grace (2003)

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Quote:
After two decades of fiction films and television docs, King set out to address his own aging with an ambitious project charting the final months of five patients on the palliative care unit in Toronto’s Grace Health Care Centre. The result is King’s masterpiece, 2003’s Dying at Grace, a cinematic experience like no other, one that’s unequivocally devoted to examining the slow and methodical process of death. As with all of King’s films, the opening shot is incredibly pertinent to his end goals, and Dying at Grace is no different. As the opening credits roll, King follows the transfer of recently deceased body from a patient’s room to the morgue, as if to immediately display death as a forgone conclusion. King then introduces each cancer-stricken subject, first a rapidly deteriorating diabetic named Carmela Nardone, then Joyce Bone, Eda Simac, Lloyd Greenaway, and finally hard living ex-con Richard Pollard. Using the nightly nurse reports of each patient’s condition as a keen narrator, King constructs a lengthy procedural on the nuances of death, the deeply touching moments between family members and patient, and finally the staggering silence during the final moments of these people’s lives. Continue reading

Sang-soo Hong – Hahaha (2010)

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Movie director Jo Moon-Kyeong (Kim Sang-Kyung), who recently decided to immigrate to Canada, takes a trip down to the small sea-side town of Tongyeong, South Korea. There he meets acquaintance Bang Jong-Sik (Yu Jun-Sang) who is a movie critic. The film director and movie critic sits down to have drinks and talk about their past.

They also come across Yang Seong-Wook (Moon So-Ri), who is an amateur poet and cultural guide in Tongyeong and a charming young woman (Kim Gyu-Ri). Continue reading

Werner Herzog & Dmitry Vasyukov – Happy People: A Year in the Taiga (2010)

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Quote:
From directors Dmitry Vasyukov and Werner Herzog – and thanks to DVD distribution from Second Sight – comes 2010 feature documentary Happy People: A Year in the Taiga (2010), an affectionate look at the lives of those who live and work in the remote Siberian wilderness. Herzog has produced some extraordinary factual films over the past two decades, and whilst Happy People may not quite reach the same heights of awe-inspiring beauty of Encounters at the End of the World (2007), it certainly sits well within the unique director’s oeuvre. Continue reading

Kutlug Ataman – Iki Genç Kiz AKA Two Girls (2005)

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Quote:
The film is about two teenage girls, Behiye and Handan, with contrasting characteristics and backgrounds, forming a close relationship with sexual implications. As they become closer and closer the relationship becomes more fragile, and the impossibility of the survival of their relationship becomes more evident over time. Economic, social, psychological, and sexual problems come in the way. Behiye is angry and rebellious, but her frequent outbursts cut little ice with her conservative family. Handan is trapped in a different way, in a love-hate relationship with her single mother Leman. Although Leman is willing to turn tricks to raise Handan’s college fees, she’s otherwise hopeless with both men and money. When a mutual friend introduces Behiye and Handan they immediately hit it off, and despite the differences in their backgrounds they embark on an intense relationship, and with it a secret plan to escape their dysfunctional families. Continue reading

Ranjan Palit – In Camera (2010)

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In this meditative and strident overview of the career of Ranjan Palit, award-winning documentary cameraman, the filmmaker himself shows us the images and questions that have haunted him throughout his 25-year career. Celebrated for films that document the struggles of powerless people to save their homes and ancestral traditions, Palit still questions the good he has done for them and wonders if he’s merely turned their lives into images and then memories that are destined to be forgotten. Continue reading