Moumen Smihi – Chroniques marocaines AKA Moroccan Chronicles (1999)

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In Moroccan Chronicles, set in the ancient city of Fez, a working class mother, abandoned by her husband who has emigrated to Europe, tells three tales to her just-circumcised ten-year-old son. In the first, Smihi re-stages the Marrakech market scene from Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much, in which a monkey trainer makes children dance for tourists. In the second, two lovers meet on the ramparts of Orson Welles’s Essaouira locations for Othello and speak of their own forbidden love. And in the third, set in Smihi’s home town of Tangier, an old sailor dreams of vanquishing a sea monster: the Gibraltar ferry that connects Europe to Africa. Continue reading

Peter Brook – Moderato cantabile AKA Seven Days… Seven Nights (1960)

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Synopsis:
A wealthy and bored woman is witness of a murder in affection and meets another witness. She asks him about the history of the victim and falls in love with him.

— IMDb.

Review:

One of those movies that mesmerizes through its restraint, this is set in a dreary coastal small town—familiar territory for French cinema—where Anne Desbarèdes (Moreau) is the beautiful, bored wife of the principal local employer (Deschamps); “No,” she says at one point, summarizing not just the starkness of the place but her own life there, “summer never comes in this region. It’s always windy.” Continue reading

Jacques Rivette – Duelle (une quarantaine) AKA Twilight (A Quarantine) (1976)

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Quote:
Duelle seems to have been instantly cursed just by being the follow-up to Celine and Julie Go Boating, to this day the only Rivette film that the average buff concerns himself with ( and oh, how wrongly. ) Having finally gotten a chance to watch the film, I can see why. Where Celine and Julie could furnish a thousand college students with thesis papers on feminine play vs. masculine order, and the construction of meaning through the assumption of various roles associated with gender, and so forth, Duelle drops the intellectual ballast completely. Rivette outs himself as a mystic with this film, closer to charlatan-geniuses like Stockhausen or Rasputin than to Godard. This movie is almost like a Rosetta Stone, more dense and concentrated than anything else he’s done, that the future expert will be able to use to decode his work. Continue reading

Jean-Paul Civeyrac – Fantômes AKA Spirits (2001)

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Quote:
On the surface, Jean-Paul Civeyrac’s Fantômes unfolds with a sense of haunted, supernatural disequilibrium that similarly infuses Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s atmospheric, tonal cinema. In the film’s opening sequence, a young acting student, Mouche (Dina Ferreira) stares out the window of an empty room and wistfully implores her absent lover, Bruno (Olivier Boreel) to return. Alone with her grief, she retreats into the silence of her intimate memories, briefly interrupted by what appears to be an anonymously placed, prank telephone call (in a premise that coincidentally evokes Kurosawa’s Pulse, made in the same year), before being brought back to the mundane reality of rehearsing text in Russian for an upcoming drama class during a subsequent telephone conversation with her professor, Andreï (Jean-Claude Montheil). However, Mouche’s desolation does not lie in the vestiges of a failed love affair, but rather, in the tragic loss of a new lover from a motorcycle accident. The image of the sad-eyed Mouche invoking the name of her dead lover is reflected in the dorsal shot of another distracted acting student, Antoine (Guillaume Verdier) as he stares out the window of a country house while rehearsing his lines, avoiding the gaze of his first love (Emilie Lelouch) before finally resolving to break up with her. Continue reading

Pedro Costa – Cavalo Dinheiro AKA Horse Money (2014)

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Quote:
A phantasmagorical vision of psychological purgatory, Horse Money (Cavalo dinheiro) will enrapture some while leaving others dangling in frustrated limbo. Only the sixth fictional feature from Portuguese writer-director Pedro Costa in the quarter-century since his 1989 debut Blood, its austere opacity will convert few to the Costa cause. But it will undoubtedly confirm his exalted status among cinephiles and cineastes as an inspirationally uncompromising and uncompromised auteur.

Winner of Best Director at Locarno and confirmed for North American festival play at Toronto and New York, this tenebrous meander around one man’s troubled psyche will likely emulate its predecessor Colossal Youth (2006) by scoring limited theatrical exposure in receptive territories off the back of what is, by this stage regarding Costa, near-automatic critical adulation. Continue reading

Raoul Ruiz – Treasure Island (1985)

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Raoul Ruiz’s surrealistic modern-day riff on Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic novel.

Review by timmy_501 @IMDb:
While this film is related to the Robert Louis Stevenson book of the same title, it certainly doesn’t resemble a traditional adaptation. The entire film is about the relationship between people and works of fiction. Treasure Island is the most important and notable of these works, but it isn’t the only one. A substantial part of the plot is about a group of people who attempt to reenact Treasure Island each year; they get so caught up being their characters that they sometimes forget they are just acting and none of them seem surprised when the bodies start piling up. Continue reading

Ulrich Seidl – Import/Export (2007)

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Quote:
The case of Josef Fritzl, an outwardly respectable man from Amstetten in Austria who imprisoned and raped his daughter for 24 years in a specially built cellar dungeon, resulted this summer in urgent new critical attention being paid to Austria’s cultural figures warning of a terrible malaise lying beneath their country’s prosperous surface, and that of western Europe generally. In the London Review of Books, Nicholas Spice wrote about Fritzl in relation to Gier, or Greed, the latest novel from Austrian Nobel laureate Elfriede Jelinek about the murder of a teenage girl by a police officer. Jelinek had written on her website: “Austria is a small world in which the big world holds its rehearsal. The performance takes place in the very much smaller cellar dungeon in Amstetten.” Continue reading