Ming-liang Tsai – Ni de lian AKA Your Face (2018)

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Radically rethinking the tired talking-heads template, Tsai Ming-liang’s latest digital experiment turns the human face into a subject of dramatic intrigue. Comprised of a series of portrait shots of mostly anonymous individuals (Tsai devotees will no doubt recognize his long-time muse, Lee Kang-sheng), the film shrewdly deemphasizes language while reducing context to a bare minimum. In their place, the beauty and imperfections of each face take center stage. Accompanied by Ryuichi Sakamoto’s soundtrack of dynamically modulating drone frequencies, Tsai’s subjects variously speak, stare, and, at one point, sleep as the camera quietly registers the weight of personal history and accumulated experience writ beautifully across every last pore and crevasse.
—NYFF Continue reading

Athina Rachel Tsangari – Chevalier (2015) (HD)

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Manhood-measuring contests — in every imaginable sense of the phrase — are taken to brazenly literal extremes in “Chevalier,” the long-awaited third feature from Greek multi-tasker Athina Rachel Tsangari. Markedly different in focus and emotional temperature from her 2010 breakthrough, “Attenberg,” this committedly deadpan comedy of manners, morals and men behaving weirdly boasts a contained conceit seemingly ripe for unfettered absurdism: On a luxury yacht in the Aegean Sea, six male acquaintances embark on a rigorous series of personal and physical challenges, mercilessly grading each other to determine who is “the Best in General.” That Tsangari resists escalating the conflict, counting on subtle political insinuations to emerge as these perplexing social Olympics wear on, will leave as many viewers enervated as amused, but it’s an expertly executed tease. Continue reading

Lav Diaz – The Boy Who Chose The Earth (2018)

Both the shortest Lav Diaz film, and the longest Viennale trailer:

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VIENNALE TRAILER 2018
THE BOY WHO CHOSE THE EARTH by Lav Diaz

The Viennale is pleased to announce that this year’s trailer was created by the multiple award-winning Filipino director Lav Diaz. Many of his films, outstanding also due to their length, have been shown at previous Viennale festivals. In 2014 he won the Golden Leopard at the Locarno International Film Festival and two years ago the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival for THE WOMAN WHO LEFT. Continue reading

Bruno Dumont – Coincoin et les z’inhumains AKA CoinCoin and the Extra-Human (2018)

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Coincoin and the Extra Humans review: Bruno Dumont raises a stink in a small town

| Sight & Sound

Ben Nicholson 15 August 2018

There was something rotten in the soil of northern France in Bruno Dumont’s blackly comic mini-series, P’tit Quinquin (2014). A four-episode television mystery that was also released as a single feature film, it was a confounding and macabre parody of a procedural police drama filled with unexpected (for the famously serious filmmaker), and often uncomfortable, laughs. It followed a bumbling duo of gendarmes as they investigated a sequence of grisly deaths in the environs of a small town as a group of mischievous kids, led by the eponymous Quinquin, watched on. Continue reading

Lukas Moodysson – Vi är bäst! AKA We Are the Best! (2013)

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Stockholm 1982. A film about Bobo, Klara and Hedvig. Three 13-year old girls who roam the streets. Who are brave and tough and strong and weak and confused and weird. Who have to take care of themselves way too early. Who heat fish fingers in the toaster when mom is at the pub. Who start a punk band without any instruments, even though everybody says that punk is dead. ~ trustnordisk
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Yi’nan Diao – Bai ri yan huo AKA Black Coal, Thin Ice (2014)

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Northern China, 1999. The grisly discovery of several corpses is made in a small town. A bloody incident during the attempt to capture the alleged murderer leaves two police officers dead and another badly injured. The surviving officer Zhang Zili is suspended from duty; he takes a job as a security guard at a factory. Five years later, another series of mysterious murders occurs. Aided by a former colleague, Zhang decides to investigate under his own initiative. He discovers that all the victims were connected to Wu Zhizhen, a young woman who works at a dry cleaners. Pretending to be a customer, Zhang begins to observe her and finds himself falling in love with the reticent Wu Zhizhen. One cold winter’s day he makes a horrific discovery. His life now in danger, he realises it is not always possible to separate guilt from innocence. Diao Yinan’s use of the characters of the ex-police officer and the femme fatale is a direct reference to classic detective films. This director’s third feature is a noirish thriller in drained colours which, whilst playfully alluding to the genre, also invites us into the lives of very ordinary people. (-berlinale.de) Continue reading

Wen Hai – We the Workers (2017)

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         凶年之畔

Although labor activities could be very dangerous in China, some local consulting groups in the big city of Guangzhou continue to help migrant workers get their rights of work.
Icarus Films wrote:

China’s economic miracle has been built on cheap labor. And now, that labor is starting to fight back.

Filmed in the southeastern part of the country, We the Workers is a vérité documentary that closely follows people organizing workers and fighting for collective bargaining rights. They find themselves up against factory employees who don’t understand their rights and fear the consequences of organizing, police and government officials who see them as dangerous troublemakers, and foreign owners who ignore what lax regulations do exist. Continue reading