Pierre Coulibeuf – Les guerriers de la beauté (2003)

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This film sprang from an encounter between French film-maker Pierre Coulibeuf and Flemish choreographer Jan Fabre. The choreographer re-created his own world and offered Coulibeuf a phantasmagoria based on his theatrical and choreographic inventions. The resulting film is a labyrinth with multiple entrances, where an unlikely Ariane in wedding gown guides and misleads the viewer in a strange world marked by metamorphosis, multiple personalities, conflicting drives, parody, ritual, surreality… Continue reading

Christopher Doyle – Warsaw Dark (2009)

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Warsaw, night, a club by the river. Ojka – young and beautiful prostitute runs out to the parking lot. Wolski-fat, aging politician follows her, lured by her charm. None of the realizes that Ojka is only a bait, and Wolski is going to die in a few minutes…This is a begging of the movie with the study of strange relationship between various elements. The movie is a good description of a new, yet complicated Polish reality. Many interesting characters that appear on screen make the film vivid and real. It is also universal-as an intense, electrifying love story. Also, as a description of journey that begins in total darkness and ends in somewhere brighter light of hope. Continue reading

Wes Anderson – The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

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Wes Anderson, like so many now-New Yorkers (myself included), grew up far away from the city, and so came to an idealized vision of the metropolis and its sophisticated, complicated residents through literature and movies. His new movie, The Royal Tenenbaums offers up clan of overeducated, old-money, East Coast eccentrics who occupy a house far too grand to have survived the ’80s and ’90s real estate booms without having been turned into multiple condominiums. These magnificent Tenenbaums, however, barely survive the ’00s. Continue reading

François Ozon – Le temps qui reste AKA Time to Leave (2005)

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Diagnosed with terminal cancer and given only a short while to live, a successful fashion photographer embarks on one final journey in the second of three films in a trilogy about death and mourning from French director Franחois Ozon (the first entry in the the trilogy was Under the Sand) . After passing out during a particularly grueling photo shoot, high profile shutterbug Romain (Melvil Poupaud) is shocked to discover that his body has been ravaged by a fully metastasized cancer that will soon kill him. Without revealing the cause for his erratic behavior, the shell shocked Romain commences to alienate his entire family and ditch his handsome young boyfriend before connecting with affable waitress Jany (Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi) at a roadside cafי while en route to his grandmother’s house. Upon arriving at the home of the one family member he knows will be joining him shortly in death, Romain’s naked vulnerability is met with a gentle ear and sound advice. Once again meeting with the kindly Jany on his way to his ultimate fate, Romain and the waitress strike up an unusual bargain. Continue reading

Travis Wilkerson – An Injury to One (2002)

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AN INJURY TO ONE provides a corrective—and absolutely compelling—glimpse of a particularly volatile moment in early 20th century American labor history: the rise and fall of Butte, Montana. Specifically, it chronicles the mysterious death of Wobbly organizer Frank Little, a story whose grisly details have taken on a legendary status in the state. Much of the extant evidence is inscribed upon the landscape of Butte and its surroundings. Thus, a connection is drawn between the unsolved murder of Little, and the attempted murder of the town itself. Continue reading

Raoul Ruiz – Ce jour-là AKA That Day (2003)

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Auspiciously set in the nebulous and indeterminate milieu of “Switzerland, in the near future”, Raoul Ruiz’s eccentric, surreal fable opens to the shot of an abstracted and dotty young woman named Livia (Elsa Zylberstein) sitting on a park bench overlooking a fog obscured dirt road that is curiously located near the entrance of the San Michelle mental health institution. While jotting down a series of random, fleeting thoughts into her journal, she meets a cyclist who is abruptly thrown from his bicycle and, convinced that he is an angel (since, as her idiosyncratic theory goes, all angels on earth have fallen), proceeds to explain that tomorrow is destined to be the best day of her life, or rather – as she corrects herself – the most important day, which she comes to realize is not the same thing. Soon after the encounter, Livia is whisked away by her faithful and devoted servant Treffle (Jean-François Balmer) and brought home to the family’s country estate where a crowd of snide and unscrupulously calculating relatives amass near the front steps awaiting her father, Harald’s (Michel Piccoli) return home to celebrate his birthday. Continue reading