Forty-something Quebeçois Philippe Roberge is floundering in his life. He believes that no one listens to him or takes him seriously. A graduate student in Philosophy of Scientific Culture, he has just failed his Ph.D. dissertation for the second time, his theory of interest in outer space being a narcissistic response from man being widely rejected throughout the community. To make ends meet, he works selling newspaper subscriptions. And he has a cordial but basically non-existent relationship with his ex-wife. Philippe examines his life in response to the recent death of his mother coupled with his dissertation beliefs. Although she lived in a care home, he acted as her primary caregiver. His only remaining family is his younger gay brother, André, the two who could not have more different temperaments. As such, they do not get along. Following his mother’s death, Philippe’s thoughts about his life are influenced by three major incidents: being invited to speak at a major conference in Russia by a cosmonaut who he idolizes, entering a contest on sending messages into outer space, and receiving information regarding the nature of his mother’s death.
— IMDb. Continue reading
Nocturno 29 begins where “Don’t Count on your Fingers” left off: facing a blank screen and the materialness of the projection. It goes in depth into the future Eisenstein-like structure of Portabella’s films which do not advance through a lineal narrative, but rather by a succesion of semi-autonomous scenes and almost always unexpected links. “A series or suite of situations that, although apparently unconnected, always turn about a thematic development that gives body and unity to the story without resorting to the use of an anecdote for plot continuity” (Portabella 1968). Antonioni, Bergman or Buñuel come to mind in this, Portabella’s most “anti-bourgeois” film. Continue reading
Presented as a tableaux of seven sections in black and white, with a final montage of Rublev’s painted icons in color, the film takes an unflinching gaze at medieval Russia during the first quarter of the 15th century, a period of Mongol-Tartar invasion and growing Christian influence.
Commissioned to paint the interior of the Vladimir cathedral, Andrei Rublev (Anatoli Solonitsyn) leaves the Andronnikov monastery with an entourage of monks and assistants, witnessing in his travels the degradations befalling his fellow Russians, including pillage, oppression from tyrants and Mongols, torture, rape, and plague. Faced with the brutalities of the world outside the religious enclave, Rublev’s faith is shaken, prompting him to question the uses or even possibility of art in a degraded world. After Mongols sack the city of Vladimir, burning the very cathedral that he has been commissioned to paint, Rublev takes a vow of silence and withdraws completely, removing himself to the hermetic confines of the monastery. Continue reading
Empty room is a dark, highly erotic tale of a married couple whose relationship is slowly sliding into oblivion. Bored and sexually frustrated, the wife begins taking lovers while her unemployed husband spends his days wandering aimless around the city parks. Continue reading
Frida chronicles the life of artist Frida Kahlo (beautiful Salma Hayek) with her mentor and husband Diego Rivera (Alfred Molina), as they took the art world by storm. From their own complex and enduring relationship to her illicit and controversial affair with Leon Trotsky, to her provocative and romantic entanglements with women, Frida Kahlo lived a bold and uncompromising life as a political, artistic, and sexual revolutionary. Also starring Ashley Judd and Antonio Banderas. Continue reading
English dubbed – Jean-Luc Godard (Dziga Vertov Group) film
Pravda was filmed clandestinely in Czechoslovakia on 16mm. It’s one of those films Godard made with the Groupe Dziga Vertov – a Marxist film about the political situation after the ’68 revolution. I’d call it a kind of essay. Basically, we get an hour’s worth of montage of very interesting documentary images with voice-over.
It’s been compared to ‘Letter to Jane’ and that’s probably a good comparison.
Godard apparently described Pravda in retrospect as ‘a marxist-leninist garbage movie’. Continue reading
The experience of living through two periods of depression and the quiet expectation of a third has endowed a filmmaker with the capacity to perceive the true beauty of life and to capture it on film. He films everything he sees, without favour and without preference, providing it awakens within him a feeling of love. His only worry is that he feels he may have lost some part of that essential quality of his art: innocence… Continue reading