Lindsay Anderson – If…. (1968)

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“A modern classic in which Anderson minutely captures both the particular ethos of a public school and the general flavour of any structured community, thus achieving a clear allegorical force without sacrificing a whit of his exploration of an essentially British institution. The impeccable logic of the conclusion is in no way diminished by having been lifted from Vigo’s Zéro de Conduite, made thirty-five years earlier.” – Time Out London Continue reading

Gia Coppola – Palo Alto (2013)

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Quote:
Palo Alto is a 2013 American drama film based on James Franco’s short story collection Palo Alto (2010). Francis Ford Coppola’s granddaughter Gia Coppola directed the film and wrote the screenplay, while Franco stars with Emma Roberts and newcomer Jack Kilmer.

In April’s bedroom wall, there’s a poster for the movie, The Virgin Suicides, directed by Gia Coppola’s aunt, Sofia Coppola.

Synopsis: Shy, sensitive April is the class virgin, torn between an illicit flirtation with her soccer coach Mr. B and an unrequited crush on sweet stoner Teddy. Emily, meanwhile, offers sexual favors to every boy to cross her path – including both Teddy and his best friend Fred, a live wire without filters or boundaries. As one high school party bleeds into the next – and April and Teddy struggle to admit their mutual affection – Fred’s escalating recklessness starts to spiral into chaos. Continue reading

Servando González – El escapulario AKA The Scapular (1968)

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Synopsis: A woman who is about to die calls the town’s priest and hands him a scapulary, saying that she knows of its great powers. Anybody who does not believe in them will end up dead.

In the times of Mexican Revolution, a dying woman sends for the young priest of the village, she confesses to him that she has a miraculous scapular which has the power to protect the life of the owner; before she dies, she tells the skeptical priest how the scapular saved the life of her four children, thus reviving four incredible crossed stories.

The movie gives the date: November 7, 1910, a mere two weeks before the Mexican Revolution. Yet, in the flashbacks, seven years earlier, we can see a full fledged organized insurgency. Continue reading

Jacques Doillon – Ponette (1996)

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An extremely captivating movie on how a little girl copes with her mother’s death. She withdraws from all the people around her, waiting for her mother to come back. She tries waiting, and when her mother still doesn’t appear, tries magic chants, praying to God, and then becoming a child of God, to have some power over Him. All to no avail. But then, when she is in despair, her mother does come back… Continue reading

Apichatpong Weerasethakul – Sud pralad AKA Tropical Malady (2004)

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Plot

The story of a blossoming romance between a soldier and a country boy, crossed with a Thai folk legend about a shaman with shapeshifting abilities.

Review

Love is the drug, a game for two and, in the otherworldly new Thai film ”Tropical Malady,” unabashedly strange. A fractured love story about the mystery and impossibility of desire, the film was directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, whose earlier feature ”Blissfully Yours” opened recently in New York. Perched between two worlds, two consciousnesses and two radically different storytelling traditions, this new feature, which will be screened today as part of the New York Film Festival, shows a young filmmaker pushing at the limits of cinematic narrative with grace and a certain amount of puckish willfulness. Continue reading

Roberto Rossellini – La vispa Teresa (1939)

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Scalera had obtained backing for a series of animal shorts and needed someone to make them. Roberto plunged in enthusiastically. He arrived at Ladispoli with animals of all sorts distributed among pockets and cages and started sixteen documentaries, no less, all at once. A slew of titles were annouced. La foresta silenziosa (“The quiet forest”), Primavera (“Spring”), Re Travicello, and La merca; and perhaps ll brutto idraulico (“The ugly plumber”). Fellini recalls finding Roberto at Scalera kneeling under small reflectors. “Inside a small enclosure made of nets and rope were a turtle, two mice, and three or four roaches. He was shooting a documentary about insects [La vispa Teresa?], doing one frame a day, very complex and laborious, with great patience.”
“He kept shooting for months,” Fellini adds, probably with his customary exaggeration. For in fact Roberto’s enthusiasm flagged quickly. Continue reading

Gilles Carle – La tête de Normande St-Onge aka Normande (1975)

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Synopsis:
The demands of her family and the stress of daily life drive the mind of a woman into permanent fantasy as a way to cope.

Quote:
Normande St-Onge (Carole Laure) works in a drug store and dreams of being a cabaret dancer. Her mother, Berthe (Renée Girard), has been confined to a mental institution by Normande’s uncle, Jean-Paul (Denys Arcand). But Normande, who does not believe her mother is insane, releases her from the institution and brings her home. They live in a large house with a variety of eccentric characters, including Normande’s sister, Pierrette (Carmen Giroux), her boyfriend, Bouliane (Raymond Cloutier), and a strange magician named Carol (Reynald Bouchard). Also in the mix is a sculptor (J.-Léo Gagnon) who lives in the basement and is obsessed with creating a life-sized, nude replica of Normande. Continue reading