2001-2010

Anna Biller – Viva (2007)

Quote:
Writer-director-pouter Anna Biller’s influences are as naked as her delightfully curvaceous body is in the riotous 1970s throwback Viva. Biller’s film is to the films of Radley Metzger and Russ Meyer what Todd Haynes’s Far from Heaven was to Douglas Sirk, only perhaps a little bit cannier and a lot less dryly academic about its postmodern tweaks; if Haynes looked back at the 1950s by making his own Rock Hudson update a blue-blooded queer, Viva revisits the golden age of stag filmmaking by putting its likely audience (bored suburbanites with a 16mm projector in their shag-carpeted basement dens) in the starring roles. Read More »

Jong-chan Yun – Sorum (2001)

Yong-hyun moves into a creepy apartment which seems somehow familiar to him. His apartment was formerly occupied by a writer who burned to death in his room, but that doesn’t seem to bother the detached young taxi driver. Across the hall from him is Jin-young who endures daily beatings from her husband. Her husband knows of a brutal murder that occurred about 30 years ago within the walls of this building and mysteriously touches on all their lives. Strange secrets begin to reveal themselves sending the characters down a path of terror… (from IMDB) Read More »

Susana de Sousa Dias – Natureza Morta aka Still Life (2005)

Within one image, another one is always hiding.
Wordless and using only archive footage, “Still Life” aims to rediscover and delve into the opacity of images (news, war footage, propaganda documentaries, photos of political prisoners and never seen before rushes) made during the 48 years (1926-1974) of Portuguese dictatorship in order to foster new interpretations. Read More »

Anand Patwardhan – Jang Aur Aman AKA War & Peace (2002)

A marvellous documentary, one of the best Indian films of the last decade and the director’s greatest work. Banned by the national censor.

Documentary filmmaker Anand Patwardhan’s controversial War and Peace (2001) could well have been titled War and Peace: Or How I Learned to Forget Gandhi and Worship the Bomb, for the major theme that runs through the film is the disjunction that exists between the past and the present and a nation’s collective (and selective) cultural amnesia with respect to their own past. Shot in four countries – India, Pakistan, Japan and the USA – and over a period of four years following the 5 nuclear tests done by India in 1998, Patwardhan’s film was slammed by Pakistan for being anti-Pakistani and by India for being anti-Indian, while the film’s barrel was pointed elsewhere. Read More »

Ali Essafi – Ouarzazate movie (2001)

Ali Essafi’s bitingly comic documentary is a portrait of a small Moroccan town whose economy is driven by the many movie crews drawn by its exotic desert scenery. Turning his camera on crabby casting directors for an Italian biblical epic, would-be extras in Astérix et Obélix and an old local hand who once carried Pasolini’s bags, Essafi cannily skewers the international film industry and the disparity between movie magic and economic reality. Read More »

Simone Bitton – Rachel [+Extra] (2009)

To show solidarity with Palestinians, Amercian peace activist Rachel Corrie engaged in civil disobedience in a combat zone in the Gaza Strip; the circumstances that led to her death by bulldozer (or its debris) are still debated. Read More »

Raoul Ruiz – A Closed Book (2009)

Sir Paul, a distinguished author, blinded in a horrific accident, advertises for an amanuensis, an assistant to help him with his writing. He employs the amiable Jane Ryder to be his eyes as he revisits scenes from his past and works on what he intends to be his final opus. Jane appears to be ideal: attractive, intelligent, unruffled by her employer’s abrupt eccentricities. But, gradually, we come aware that Jane has another agenda. Incrementally, Sir Paul’s familiar surroundings are altered. Strange things happen around the house and he becomes increasingly dependent on his new assistant. Jane plays increasingly sadistic games until their relationship breaks down. Read More »