2001-2010

Lav Diaz – Kagadanan sa banwaan ning mga engkanto AKA Death in the Land of Encantos (2007)

A Filipino poet named Benjamin Agusan (Roeder Camanag) is the hapless native who returns to his hometown Padang to witness the aftermath of the super typhoon. For the past seven years, Benjamin had been living in an old town called Kaluga in Russia. With his grant and residency, he taught and conducted workshops in a university. The poet published two books of sadness and longing in the process. In Russia, Benjamin was able to shoot video collages, fell in love with a Slavic beauty, buried a son, and almost went mad. He came back to bury his dead-father, mother, sister and a lover. He came back to face Mount Mayon, the raging beauty and muse of his youth. He came home to confront the country that he so loved and hated, the Philippines. He came back to die in the land of his birth. He wanders around the obliterated village meeting old friends and lovers. Read More »

Juan Pinzas – Dias de voda Aka Wedding Days [+Extras] (2002)

from imdb:
For starters the audience must be aware of the fact that this is a film that is part of the DOGME 95 Movement, described as follows: ‘the goal of the Dogme collective is to purify film-making by refusing expensive and spectacular special effects, post-production modifications and other gimmicks. The emphasis on purity forces the filmmakers to focus on the actual story and on the actors’ performances. The audience may also be more engaged as they do not have overproduction to alienate them from the narrative, themes, and mood’ – superficial action such as murders, no special lighting and must be in color, film must be shot on location with hand held cameras, director must not be credited, etc. Given these restrictions the story and the action of DIAS DE BODA (‘WEDDING DAYS’) seem much more immediate and the lapses in fluidity of the story can be forgiven – to a point. Read More »

Natasha Arthy – Se til venstre, der er en Svensker AKA Old, New, Borrowed and Blue (2003)

REVIEW by Anji Milanovic (from plume-noire.com):
In Old, New, Borrowed and Blue director Natasha Arthy begins the film with a signed certificate of authenticity from the Dogma school. By the film’s end, however, it’s clear that she has taken the rules of Dogma and used them to make her own engaging film, instead of an exercise in philosophical experimentation. Read More »

Lynne Sachs – The Last Happy Day (2009)

To mark her 50th birthday, filmmaker Lynne Sachs gathers a group of her contemporaries—all New Yorkers but originally hailing from all corners of the globe—for a weekend of recollection and reflection on the most life-altering personal, local, and international events of the past half- century, creating what Sachs calls “a collective distillation of our times.” Interspersed with poetry and flashes of archival footage, this poignant reverie reveals how far beyond our control life is, and how far we can go despite this. Read More »

Lav Diaz – Melancholia (2008)

Melancholia (Lav Diaz, 2008)

Lav Diaz’s Melancholia is an eight-hour meditation of sorts on the maddening persistence of sadness in this world, can logically be divided into three parts and an epilogue. The first part details the experiences in Sagada of Julian (Perry Dizon), Alberta (Angeli Bayani) and Rina (Malaya Cruz) as they refashion themselves into different drastic identities as part of the radical process that Julian created in order for them to cope with the losses of their loved ones. The second part is set in Manila, with Julian and Alberta living their real lives and addressing the scenarios and situations that accompany their melancholic predicament. Read More »

Kazuo Kuroki – Kamiya Etsuko no seishun aka The Youth of Kamiya Etsuko (2006)

“Very sweet, wryly funny in spots, but always haunted by war (described sparingly but never shown). It was based on a stage play and betrays its theatrical roots in some of the pacing and staging. It’s slow, perhaps too slow for action film fans, but it’s not boring. Rather, it’s delicate and precise like tea ceremony. Read More »

Mahamat-Saleh Haroun – Abouna (2002) (720P)

Quote:
Abouna is a gently heartbreaking look at the lives of two boys growing up impoverished and fatherless in Chad. Filmmaker Mahamat-Saleh Haroun mixes in telling bits of documentary realism with his story of the two boys’ lackadaisical search for their father. The filmmaker takes his time with the tale, lingering on details, like a long shot of the two boys meandering across a field, roughhousing and walking on their hands. Haroun also pointedly displays posters for Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid, Idrissa Ouedraogo’s Yaaba, and Jim Jarmusch’s Stranger Than Paradise outside the little movie theater that the boys visit. Read More »