short synopsis (Harvard Film Archive):
Shot over a ten-year period, Diary is not only the political, professional, and personal diary of a man, but is a testimony on the turbulent reality of a war-torn country, Israel. In six chapters, Perlov travels to Tel Aviv, Paris, London, and finally to Brazil, where he was born. The film is also a family diary in which Perlov records the coming of age of his two daughters, Yael and Naomi. He meets with Claude Lanzmann, Isaac Stern, Joris Ivens, Andre Schwartz-Bart, Irving Howe, and Klaus Kinski. An extraordinary mixture of home movies, political documentary, and cinéma-vérité, Diary is a unique work. Ten years of shooting and five more of editing have resulted in a film which has the spontaneity and apparent arbitrariness of a snapshot but which is as carefully composed and graded as a finished masterpiece. Continue reading
Czech surrealist filmmaker Jan Svankmajer, who gained a reputation for his short subjects, makes his feature-film debut with Neco z Alenky, a grotesque look into the darkest, wildest recesses of a child’s mind. A surreal adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s children’s classic Alice in Wonderland, the film stars Kristyna Kohoutov? as Alice, the only human character in the film. The other roles, which are voiced by Alice, are filled by an odd menagerie of animated clay, puppets, and meat. After falling asleep beside a stream, Alice follows a stuffed rabbit into a magical world where she encounters several grotesque-looking characters, including a caterpillar and The Mad Hatter. Also released under the title Alice, Neco Z Alenky was nominated for the International Fantasy Film Award at the 1989 Fantasporto Film Festival. Continue reading
Put together a subversive filmmaker like Ulrich Seidl with the subject of religious fanaticism and you’re bound to get something provocative. But Paradise: Faith, the second part of the Austrian director’s trilogy about three women from the same family on different quests, is possibly more interesting to think about and discuss afterwards than to sit through. Depending how you look at it, there’s a pitch-black comedy buried in here or a redeeming shred of empathy at the tail end of two grueling hours. Either way, it’s strictly for the faithful. Continue reading
In 1993, a group of students and teachers from a Welsh secondary school visit St Petersburg to learn about Russian art, and to discover themselves in the process. Communication difficulties lead to the students and teachers becoming separated before they reach St Petersburg. Made by S4C in 1993, this was the first time that a Western crew filmed in Russia after the breakup of the Soviet Union.
From IMDB: Seven teenagers and three teachers from a Welsh school visit Russia in a bid to rediscover themselves. On the overnight sleeper service to St Petersburg the students get separated from the teachers, which allows the students ample scope for rediscovery. Continue reading
Diego (Cirilo Recio) is a cross-eyed, middle-aged man who works as a doorman in a government building and spends the day counting the persons who pass in front of him. His younger wife Blanca (Laura Saldaña) works in a fast-food sushi bar. They do not have much to say to each other after a hard day’s work and so they wile away the hours watching televison. They do have an active sex life with Blanca usually leading the way. One day he arrives home to find her waiting for him nude on the floor with her legs spread wide open.
But the downside of their marriage is her jealousy. When a co-worker’s son is kidnapped, Diego walks her home and embraces her in kindness. Blanca finds out about this gesture and explodes in anger. Her apologies usually consist of sexual favors.
When Karina (Claudia Orozco), Diego’s daughter from a previous relationship, shows up and wants to stay with them, Blanca refuses and he is forced to set her up in a hotel room. She is trying to end a relationship with an addict who has gotten her into drugs. Karina’s inability to deal with the real world puts an incredible amount of pressure on her father in the mysterious last sequence of the film which takes place at a gigantic rubbish dump outside the city. Continue reading
Bosley Crowther, NY Times, January 6, 1959 wrote:
Also on the bill at the theatre is a whimsical and amusing three-reel film, entitled “The Boy Who Saw Through,” about a lad who can see through walls. The ability is implied to be symbolic of a child’s tendency toward candor and truth. It is based on a story by John Pudney and produced by Mary Ellen Bute. Continue reading
A half-forgotten, half-legendary pioneer in American abstract and animated filmmaking, Mary Ellen Bute, late in her career as an artist, created this adaptation of James Joyce, her only feature. In the transformation from Joyce’s polyglot prose to the necessarily concrete imagery of actors and sets, Passages discovers a truly oneiric film style, a weirdly post-New Wave rediscovery of Surrealism, and in her panoply of allusion – 1950s dance crazes, atomic weaponry, ICBMs, and television all make appearances – she finds a cinematic approximation of the novel’s nearly impenetrable vertically compressed structure. Continue reading