Niall MacCormick – The Song of Lunch (2010)


A publisher leaves a Post-It note on his computer screen bearing the words “Gone to lunch” before heading off to meet an old flame at what was once their favourite London restaurant. But it becomes painfully clear to the publisher (Alan Rickman) that everything has changed. The restaurant isn’t the casual, noisy Italian with Chianti in raffia bottles it once was, and his old flame (Emma Thompson) isn’t the girl he once knew. Both restaurant and ex-lover are sleeker, more sophisticated and emotionally at a remove.
The Song of Lunch is a prose poem by award-winning writer Christopher Reid. It’s an unusual structure for a drama (the poem is Rickman’s interior monologue, though both characters chip in with dialogue), but it works fluidly and beautifully. Reid’s writing is gorgeous, and funny whether he’s articulating the courtesies of a restaurant visit (he describes catching the waiter’s attention as “the demure flutter of restaurant semaphore”) or matters of the heart. Throughout The Song of Lunch wears its cleverness lightly, and Reid’s use of language is a joy. Read More »

Michel Reilhac – Polissons et galipettes aka The Good Old Naughty Days (2002)

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This astonishing, scintillating collection from the silent era, most of which are from the 1920s, are genuine, legitimate and by today’s hardcore standards, amazingly charming, pornographic short films that leave nothing to the imagination. From predictable fantasy scenarios – monk spies on, then joins naughty nuns; teacher must spank naughty schoolgirls – to more esoteric fare (homosexuality and animal ecstasy, to name just two), vintage porn has never been more accessible…or attainable. The shorts in The Good Old Naughty Days were primarily designed to be shown in the waiting rooms of brothels, amusing patrons – and no doubt giving them some ideas – as they awaited their girl. They also reveal production standards far in advance of comparable films being made elsewhere at the time, as well as an inventive and often humorous array of diverse couplings. These films were usually created in a haphazard fashion in an afternoon with friends and local prostitutes lending a hand for a few cents. All of them requested to remain anonymous, which makes it impossible to identify who really acted or directed them. For this reason, it is rather delightful to watch these “actors” often having to readjust their wigs and fake moustaches in the middle of their scenes so as not to be recognized unmasked. It is nevertheless touching to see how fresh and naïve these films look in comparison with today’s X-rated film productions. Considering the age of these films, it is miraculous that they have been rediscovered and restored. These films are a part of our heritage and certainly a part of the secret history of cinema. In their own amusing way, these images involve us in a very direct, physical and intimate relationship with the good old days. These films have been restored by the Archives of the Centre National de la Cinématographie in France. Read More »

Jean-Claude Brisseau – À l’aventure (2009)


A sexually unfulfilled young woman embarks on a series of graphic erotic encounters and becomes involved with a student of psychoanalysis who offers to put her under hypnosis. Yes, the notorious Jean-Claude Brisseau, director of The Exterminating Angels and Secret Things, is back with his latest provocation. Another idiosyncratic philosophical meditation on the enigmas of female sexuality, it features the director’s latest discovery, Carole Brana. Pretentious smut for high-brows, a dirty old man’s fantasies writ large, or a profound and daring exploration of society’s sexual taboos? You decide. Read More »

Péter Lichter – Light Sleep (Félálom) (2010)


A boy’s sleep disturbed by the weaking, and the sound of reality. Found-footage montage with the chemical reactions of the celluloid on rare erotic s8 reels.

23. Festival Premiers Plans d’Angers – free forms section (2011)
MADATAC Video Art Festival, Madrid; 2011
8. International Super8 festival – Szeged: Best hungarian film; Audience award; 2009
41. Hungarian Film week: Award of the most promising young talent; 2010
The Canton Palace Theatre First Annual International Film Festival – Ohio ; 2010
Kalgart underground evening, Istambul; 2010
An evening with Cinema 16,- The Kitchen, New York (2011)
San Francisco – MisALT series – 2011 Read More »

Fumihiko Sori – Ping Pong (2002)


The film traces the growth and friendship of two very different high-school ping-pong players. “Peco” Hoshino is a brash, arrogant player, determined to turn pro. He taught his quiet, nerdy childhood friend “Smile” Tsukimoto. Smile frustrates his coach and rivals, who recognize his talent for the game since it is just a game to him. To teach him, his high-school coach learns that coaching is more than just training the students to be good ping-pong players. Ironically, as Smile begins to develop his game, Peco undergoes a severe crisis after his defeat by rival players and is unable to play well until he rediscovers the original reasons why he plays ping-pong. Written by nakataohana Read More »

Konstantin Lopushansky – Gadkie lebedi aka The Ugly Swans (2006)


Based on the novel of the same title by the Strugatsky brothers

“Konstantin Lopushansky was a student of classic Soviet director Andrei Tarkovsky, and master’s influence is highly visible in “The Ugly Swans” — not just as a ghost in the background, but as full-fledged foreground presence. Which is not to deny Lopushansky his originality. More than anything, it’s a sign of a certain artistic style being handed down over the generations… The film is …aesthetically outstanding and emotionally moody in a way that’s very hard to gauge… Tarkovsky would have been proud.” (Tom Birchenough, “The Moscow Times”)
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Sergei Bodrov & Ivan Passer – Nomad (2005)


18th century Kazakhstan, a vast, pitiless region of austere and terrible beauty, bordered by China, Russia and Tibet. Here the proud and warlike Kazakh tribes have survived and fought for centuries – against invaders, against their formidable Jungar enemies and amongst themselves.
Oraz, a mystic and warrior possessed of great powers, foretells the birth of a new star, a hero. This boy -Mansur – is destined to unite the Kazakhs, and lead them to glorious victory against their enemies. Fearful of Oraz’ prediction, the Jungar ruler Galdan orders his General, Sharish, to find the child and slay him. However, Oraz saves Mansur and delivers him to his father, Sultan Wali. Read More »