Bing Wang – Caiyou riji (pt. 1b) AKA Crude Oil (pt. 1b) (2008)

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Quote:
“In the film-festival catalogues of Rotterdam and Hong Kong, it says that Wang Bing was filming on a plateau in the Gobi Desert, but in reality he had to move to a different mountainous region about 500 kilometers away, a journey on unmade snow-covered roads. The terrain that now plays the leading role in the film is in the province of Qinghai, a similar landscape to that of the neighboring province of Tibet (which of course is not regarded by everyone as a province). A high, empty, rough, windy, and desolate landscape. Yes, making films can still be adventurous. The filmmaker found that out at first hand. He started to have altitude sickness at the high oil installation. Continue reading

Bing Wang – Caiyou riji (pt. 1a) AKA Crude Oil (pt. 1a) (2008)

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Quote:
In the film-festival catalogues of Rotterdam and Hong Kong, it says that Wang Bing was filming on a plateau in the Gobi Desert, but in reality he had to move to a different mountainous region about 500 kilometers away, a journey on unmade snow-covered roads. The terrain that now plays the leading role in the film is in the province of Qinghai, a similar landscape to that of the neighboring province of Tibet (which of course is not regarded by everyone as a province). A high, empty, rough, windy, and desolate landscape. Yes, making films can still be adventurous. The filmmaker found that out at first hand. He started to have altitude sickness at the high oil installation. Continue reading

Haolun Shu – No. 89 Shimen Road [+Extra] (2010)

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Quote:
In the late 1980’s Shanghai, a 16 year-old boy, Xiaoli, comes of age surrounded by his neighbors and grandfather. His best friend is a girl named Lanmi, a couple years older than him. But Lanmi slowly drifts away from him, lured by the new opportunities which come as China opens up to foreign goods and businessmen. At the same time, the 1989 events force Xiaoli to grow up and to let go of his teenage dreams. A film that poignantly depicts the struggle of a country confronted with a new order. It is also a personal and touching view of a world that no longer exist. Continue reading

Michel Spinosa – Anna M. (2007)

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Synopsis:
A gentle, shy woman who is industrious at work and pleasant with her colleagues, Anna M. convinces herself that a happily married doctor is in love with her.
From then on, every move this man makes, the slightest word, even his most virulent denials, will be interpreted by Anna as evidence of his love.
Possessed by this imaginary love, Anna starts to glow… and respond to the doctor’s “advances.” Continue reading

Massoud Bakhshi – Tehran Anar Nadarad AKA Tehran Has No More Pomegranates! (2007)

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Tehran is a large village near the city of Rey, full of gardens and fruit trees.  Its inhabitants live in anthill-like underground holes.  The village’s several districts are constantly at war.  Tehranis’ main occupations are theft and crime, though the king pretends they are subject to him.  They grow excellent fruits, notably an excellent pomegranate, which is found only in Tehran.
– Asar-o-Lblab, 1241 A.D

Tehran Has No More Pomegranates! is a postmodern documentary that is as witty and engaging as it is informative.  The style of the film is fun and very visual, with the director, Massoud Bakhshi, using incredible archival footage, an original visual approach and terrific soundtrack that takes us through 150 years of Tehran’s history. Onscreen, Bakhshi may fail to complete his film, but he succeeds in both documenting Tehran’s history and entertaining us with its poignant contradictions. Continue reading

Eran Riklis – The Syrian Bride (2004)

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In Majdal Shams, the largest Druze village in Golan Heights on the Israeli-Syrian border, the Druze bride Mona is engaged to get married with Tallel, a television comedian that works in the Revolution Studios in Damascus, Syria. They have never met each other because of the occupation of the area by Israel since 1967; when Mona moves to Syria, she will lose her undefined nationality and will never be allowed to return home. Mona’s father Hammed is a political activist pro-Syria that is on probation by the Israeli government. His older son Hatten married a Russian woman eight years ago and was banished from Majdal Shams by the religious leaders and his father. His brother Marwan is a wolf trader that lives in Italy. His sister Amal has two teenager daughters and has the intention to join the university, but her marriage with Amin is in crisis. When the family gathers for Mona’s wedding, an insane bureaucracy jeopardizes the ceremony. Continue reading

Angela Schanelec – Orly (2010)

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Amidst the impersonal hubbub of Paris’ Orly Airport, strangers meet, secrets are revealed, and sudden intimacies develop in this beautifully observed mosaic of lives in transit.

Quote:
Loosely-linked scenes in the hall of Paris’ Orly airport. A man and a woman, both French but living abroad, meet each other by chance. He has just decided to move back to Paris and she longs to return there. A mother and her almost adult son are going to the funeral of her ex-husband, his father. A young couple is embarking on its first big trip. And a woman reads a letter from the man she has recently left. They are all waiting for their flight. Continue reading