Vera Chytilová – Vyhnání z ráje aka Expulsion From Paradise (2001)

Rostislav sitting on the beach with friend Peter philosophize about who is he – a creation of God or the Devil. Their conversation is interrupted by a naked man from a nearby nudist beach “Paradise”, which is looking for a doctor. At this point it appears that the doctor is both an experimental film’s director. Read More »

Serge Bozon – La France (2007)

Vive La France by Serge Bozon, a heady experiment full of soul that more than delivers on the allegorical chutzpah of its title. On receiving a troubling letter from her husband, a soldier in the First World War, Camille (Sylvie Testud) sets off to find him incognito, chopping her coif and wrapping her boobs to pass as a lad of 17. Deep in a forest landscape rendered with limpid concentration by cinematographer Céline Bozon, she falls in with a clutch of soldiers mobilized to the front. Or so it seems: Strange things are afoot in La France—like the spontaneous performance of twee, jangling ballads, rendered on scrap-yard acoustic instruments and sung, from an unabashed female perspective, by the harmonizing grunts. Weirder than the arrival of these inexplicable neo-retro-folk jams is how seamlessly they fit into Bozon’s melancholic war fable. Which is to say La France invents a curious and confident hybrid mode to accommodate, even reconcile, disparate modes and strategies: war film and musical, elegiac and avant-garde, cerebral and poignant, rigorous and flexible. Read More »

Gary Hustwit – Helvetica (2007)

There was a joke at Sight & Sound of old, that the designer was holding up the layouts because he needed to ‘kern the folios’ – that’s to say, he was recalibrating the space between the numerals informing us what page we’re on. See for yourself how needful a task this might be – and welcome to the micropolitics of the division of labour in the print-based communications industry, where what the words say is only a part of where brain-time is spent. Helvetica is a san-serif typeface – like the adjacent credit matter, rather than this sentence, it lacks those nice little spikes at letter-ends – and what’s lovely about Gary Hustwit’s documentary is that it not only gets across the passions, absurd and detailed, that shape this world (passions about effects few of us can name and some never notice at all) but also sketches a timeline in changing technologies and fashions over a half-century. Read More »

Carlo Mazzacurati – La passione AKA The Passion (2010)


To avoid being sued, a film director reluctantly agrees to set up and direct the Good Friday celebrations in a small Tuscan town.
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Joost Wijnant – De laatste zomer AKA The Last Summer (2007)


The Last Summer (De laatste zomer) is director Joost Wynants’ movie debut. The film is set in 1996 and tells the story of four boys from a village in the West Flemish countryside. Although, at first glance, the four appear to be very different from each other, they are good friends. But then they meet the beautiful Sandrine… Read More »

Sang-woo Lee – Uhmmaneun Changnyeoda AKA Mother is a Whore (2009)


“My Mother is a Whore” is a dark piece of Korean independent cinema from the multi talented Lee Sang Woo, who wrote, produced, directed and even takes the lead role in the exceptionally grim drama. Complimenting his similarly themed “Father is a Dog”, the film is another bleak family tale, which also stars Lee Yong Nyeo, Kwon Bum Taek, Kim Ji Hee and Yoo Ae Kyeong. Given the subject matter, themes and tone of his work to date, Lee has perhaps unsurprisingly been compared with a young Kim Ki Duk, having previously also worked on his recent “Time” and “Breath”. Read More »

Richard Linklater – Fast Food Nation (2006)


The plotline follows separate subplots that all coalesce around the meatpacking industry. From the meat company executive sent to investigate charges of shoddy processing, to the processing plant use of illegal immigrant labor, to all the lives that are collaterally touched by each participant in the food chain, the movie examines the entire US ethic of providing a packaged experience better, faster, and cheaper. The movie does not leave out gory details, but instead lets the viewer decide what the end result should be by providing no neat conclusions, nor happy endings, but more importantly imparts a series of possible topics for discussion with a background of how the problem developed and the interdependent parties involved. In total, the film could easily be shown as an instructional video for a college level course in corporate responsibility.

Author: risserob Read More »