Ki-duk Kim – Shi gan AKA Time (2006)

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South Korean maverick Kim Ki-duk takes a scalpel to the local obsession with
appearances in “Time,” in which a young couple resort to plastic surgery to perk their relationship — with unexpected results. Though typically centered on a high-concept idea, film is more of a conversation piece than Kim’s usual pics, recalling recent works by fellow Korean helmer Hong Sang-soo, with its coffee shop meetings and ironic playfulness. Largely going the distance, this one looks to appeal to Kim’s established fanbase rather than make new friends, and has already been sold to 15 territories, mostly in Europe and Latin America. Continue reading

Özer Kiziltan – Takva aka A Man’s Fear Of God (2006)

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A man’s fight between his religious beliefes and his instincts and desires. The atmosphere during the religious ceremonies makes a thrilling contrast to the priest’s everydays somehow dirty business in Istanbul where all is only about money. For the viewer these contrasts are sometimes amusing and sometimes shocking. The not-too-bright main character Muharrem is played by the fantastic Erkan Can. The director manages to show Muharrem’s troubled emotions in fantastic pictures. In one of my favourite scenes Muharrem is almost haunted by display mannequins wearing sexy lingerie while he is on duty for his brotherhood.
–totorochi Continue reading

Celine Danhier – Blank City (2010)

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Quote:
Directed by French newcomer Celine Danhier, BLANK CITY captures the idiosyncratic, explosive energy of the “No Wave Cinema” and “Cinema of Transgression” movements. Stark and provocative, the films drew name and inspiration from the French New Wave, as well as Film Noir, and the works of Andy Warhol and John Waters. Filmmakers such as Jim Jarmusch, Eric Mitchell, Beth B, Charlie Ahearn, Lizzie Borden and Amos Poe showcased the city’s vibrant grit, and bore witness to the rising East Village art and rock scenes and the birth of hip hop. Short, long, color or black-and-white, their stripped-down films portrayed themes of alienation and dissonance with a raw and genuine spirit, at times with deadpan humor or blurring lines between fiction and reality. From Amos Poe’s enigmatic The FOREIGNER to James Nares’ comedic ROME 78 to Beth B & Scott B’s political BLACK BOX — the No Wave Movement was as varied as it was lively. Continue reading

Mike Nichols – Wit (2001)

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From stefflbw:
Thompson is terrific in Nichols’ Angels in America but on a higher plane in Wit. The film is sad and real, and in pursuit of the consolations of poetry.

Plot:
Based on the Margaret Edson play, Vivian Bearing is a literal, hardnosed English professor who has been diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer. During the story, she reflects on her reactions to the cycle the cancer takes, the treatments, and significant events in her life. The people that watch over her are Jason Posner, who only finds faith in being a doctor; Susie Monahan, a nurse with a human side that is the only one in the hospital that cares for Vivian’s condition; and Dr. Kelekian, the head doctor who just wants results no matter what they are. Continue reading

Janet Bergstrom – Murnau’s 4 Devils: Traces of a Lost Film (2003)

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Quote:
One of the cinema’s Holy Grails, Murnau’s lost Four Devils (1928) starred Janet Gaynor, fresh from Sunrise, in a circus drama set in Paris. In this 40-minute documentary, UCLA film scholar Bergstrom reconstructs the film through stills, set blueprints, and production drawings. Continue reading

Kiyoshi Kurosawa – Tokyo Sonata (2008)

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Quote:
After a retreat to the atmospheric and spectral Loft and Retribution that reinforce Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s reputation as a horror filmmaker, Tokyo Sonata continues in the vein of his idiosyncratically personal (and arguably, more interesting), yet equally unsettling films that began with Bright Future. As the film begins, the family patriarch, middle-aged senior administrative manager, Ryuhei (Teruyuki Kagawa) has been notified that the company has outsourced his job to China (where his salary would pay for three language-fluent office workers) and, without portable skills that could be applied to another department, will be immediately laid off from work. Reluctant to tell his family for fear of undermining his authority, Ryuhei continues the pretext of leaving for work with his briefcase each morning, spending his days alternately lining up at a job placement office and a charity lunch service on the park. Continue reading

Chan-wook Park – Saibogujiman kwenchana aka I’m a Cyborg But That’s OK (2006)

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Plot Synopsis [AMG]
After wrapping-up his critically-acclaimed “Vengeance Trilogy” with the award-winning 2005 thriller Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, South Korean filmmaker Chan-wook Park shifts gears for this gently comic romantic drama concerning a delusional young mental patient who believes herself to be a cyborg. Convinced that she is not entirely human but in fact part android, Young-goon (Lim Su-jeong)’s health begins to deteriorate as she gives up eating food and instead decides to “charge her batteries” by administering electric shocks to herself via a small transistor radio. Continue reading