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.

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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

Miguel Gonçalves Mendes – José e Pilar (2010)

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“The Elephant’s Journey”, in which Saramago narrates the adventures and antics of an elephant transported from the court of King John III of Portugal to that of the Austrian Archduke Maximillian, is the starting point of José and Pilar.

It shows us their day to day life in Lanzarote, at home and on work trips around
the globe. José and Pilar is a surprising portrayal of an author throughout the
creative process and of the relationship of a couple dedicated to changing the
world, or at least trying to make it a better place. Continue reading

Hans Weingartner – Die fetten Jahre sind vorbei aka The Edukators [+extras] (2004)

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The Edukators (German: Die fetten Jahre sind vorbei) is a German-Austrian film made by the Austrian director Hans Weingartner and released in 2004. Nominated for the Palme d’Or at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival,[1] it stars Daniel Brühl, Stipe Erceg and Julia Jentsch.

The original German title, Die fetten Jahre sind vorbei translates literally as “the fat years are over”. Die fetten Jahre is a German expression originating from the story of Joseph in Egypt as found in the Luther Bible, meaning a period in which one enjoys considerable success and indulges oneself heavily. The official translation of the statement as used in the film and the subtitle to the English-language release was “Your days of plenty are numbered.”

The film was generally well received by critics. Based on 74 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an overall approval rating from critics of 69%, with an average score of 6.5/10. By comparison, Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 top reviews from mainstream critics, calculated an average score of 68, based on 28 reviews. Continue reading

Wolfgang Becker – Good Bye Lenin! (2003)

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If not as dense as Godard’s Masculin Féminin, Wolfgang Becker’s Good Bye, Lenin! is an equally playful look at the effects of American globalization abroad. Christiane Kerner (Katrin Saß) is a Communist party supporter who falls into a coma after a heart attack and sleeps through the fall of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent invasion of America’s fast food joints. Looking to spare his mother further injury, Alex (Daniel Brühl) concocts an elaborate plan to convince the bedridden woman that Communism is still very much alive: He videotapes fake news programs to explain the “Trink Coca-Cola” banner outside her window and makes her believe that her favorite brands of food haven’t been replaced by cheap—but apparently similar tasting—knock-offs from Holland. Continue reading

Cédric Klapisch – L’Auberge espagnole AKA The Spanish Apartment (2002)

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A new housemate, Isabel, a lesbian, teaches Xavier about the moves and touches that most appeal to women and he tries them out on Anne-Sophie, the neurologist’s wife who eagerly submits to his advances. The film, however, has a larger theme: learning to discover our true self, not the one parents or teachers expect us to be. The experience allows Xavier to get in touch with his own creative energies and reminds him of his childhood longing to become a writer. While L’Auberge Espanole never explores any character in much depth and the camera tricks can become tiresome, it has intelligence, fun, and exuberance and, with Barcelona scintillating in the background, rekindles the time when life was an adventure of discovery. Continue reading

Cristian Nemescu – Poveste la scara ‘C’ aka C Block Story (2003)

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Another romanian short student film on 35mm. Won several international prizes.

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A lovely piece of film-making from Romania!, 18 March 2004
Author: michaelwalters56 from New York, U.S.A.

I saw this film at the NYU International Film Festival in New York and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it! The story focuses on the lack of communication between a working-class family that live on C block and combines gritty drama with terrific unclichéd comedy. The story is so clever and entertaining and by the end it resolves itself with such charm. It is full of subtle messages about life, family, communication and relationships. Great acting from the three main actors and a wonderful sense of pacing from the director. This really is a lovely piece of film-making from Romania and well deserving of it’s award at the festival. Continue reading