Kjell Grede – Harry Munter (1969)

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Harry Munter, a sensitive, kind, appealing man in his twenties, lives with his parents. He’s an inventor, a bit of a mystic, maybe a genius, and a good son and grandson. He’s offered work in the U.S. But a friend has cancer and the world is changing in ways that provoke profound sadness

Amos Vogel in “Film as Subversive Art”:  ”A powerful, poetic image: the mystery of black against white, of an outsider walking on the water, on stilts, Christ-like, stubborn, the tension of his forward-leaning body reflecting his determination. This, indeed, is the topic of this intensely mysterious, lyrical film, one of the most original and disregarded works of contemporary cinema.” Continue reading

Sang-soo Hong – Bam gua nat AKA Night and Day (2008)

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Hong Sang-soo Gets in Touch with Inner Frenchman in Night and Day
A Korean in Paris
By Scott Foundas Tuesday, Oct 20 2009

‘We can’t easily tell night from day during the summers here,” observes one character early on in Hong Sang-soo’s Paris-set Night and Day—a nearly throwaway line that circumscribes the sense of physical and spiritual dislocation felt by the film’s protagonist. Like most of the director’s leading men, Kim Sung-nam (Kim Yeong-ho) is a hangdog, self-absorbed, soju-guzzling Hong alter ego—a fortyish Korean artist who flees to the City of Lights after an episode of recreational drug use leads him to believe he is under police investigation. There, he rents a room in a crowded boarding house and resolves to lay low until he can safely return home to his wife, Sung-in (Hwang Su-jeong), or else find a way to bring her to France. But resolutions aside, it isn’t long before Sung-nam finds himself navigating Hong’s trademark gauntlet of awkward seductions, casual betrayals, and ghosts of girlfriends past. Continue reading

Roberto Rossellini – Francesco, giullare di Dio AKA The Flowers of St. Francis [+Extras] (1950)

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Quote:
The Flowers of St. Francis—or, Francesco, giullare di Dio (Francis, God’s Jester), to give it its full title in Italian—is a delicate, fascinating hybrid, a film that is self-consciously, almost militantly, naive, and, as such, something of an anomaly in Rossellini’s body of work. Never again would his films attain the directness, simplicity, even purity that is so gloriously on display here, a work poised between the theological and the historical, between the Rossellini who emerged from neorealism into the full-blown spiritual crisis manifested in The Miracle, Stromboli, and Europa ’51, all set in postwar Italy, and the latter-day director whose abiding interest was in the depiction of history. Those later works often took religious subjects, but unlike in Acts of the Apostles, Augustine of Hippo, and The Messiah, Rossellini in The Flowers of St. Francis is less concerned with creating a portrait of a particular historical figure than he is with exploring the nature of spirituality, specifically, of “Franciscanism” itself and its impact on the medieval world. Continue reading

Raoul Ruiz – Treasure Island (1985)

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Review from The cinema of Raul Ruiz – Martin, Adrian – Australian Film Institute – 1993 – 10 pages – – bookle
Ruiz harboured for many years the dream of filming one of the novels of Robert Louis Stevenson – one of the ‘low culture’ writers he cites as having an important, formative influence on him. Treasure Island was set up as a four-hour adventure epic for Cannon Films, and shot in 1985. The film eventually surfaced six years later in a much reduced form.

Ruiz’s approach to the adaptation of Stevenson is far from conventional. ‘The way Stevenson tells the story is so remarkable that it could be about anything – pirates, kidnappers, whatever. We are surrounded by stories that are like houses that we can enter. We play amidst these stories, sometimes being involved in two or three of them at once.’ The film thus transforms Stevenson’s novel into a gigantic conspiracy, a ‘house of fiction’ that pre-exists those who enter into it. its stories constitute ‘the society in which we live,’ and they are observed by a boy still at the threshold of his socialized identity. Ruiz describes the film as being about the ‘games of simulacra’ and the ‘playing of roles.’ Continue reading

Werner Herzog – Fata Morgana (1971)

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Info from wiki,

Fata Morgana is a film by Werner Herzog, shot in 1969, which captures mirages in the desert. Herzog describes the film as “a documentary shot by extraterrestrials from the Andromeda Nebula, and left behind.” The only spoken words consist of a recitation of the Mayan creation myth (the Popul Vuh) by Lotte Eisner, and text written and recited by Herzog himself.

The critic David Thomson describes Fata Morgana as “extraordinary”: “[The] desert is a model for mankind. The film is in three sections: the first showing an unpeopled, beautiful wasteland; the second introducing signs of human wreckage; and the third showing wretched vestiges of life. Totally imaginative, it is a legend of life at extremes that exposes the fatuity of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Whereas Stanley Kubrick glibly assumes some all-powerful, riddle-making consciousness behind the universe, Herzog’s creator is as fallible, quirky and uncertain as man himself.” Continue reading

Werner Herzog – Herz aus Glas AKA Heart of Glass (1976)

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Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Heart of Glass (Herz aus Glas) is essentially a treatise by Werner Herzog on the power and importance of art. Director Herzog was known to put his actors through the wringer to get the results he wanted. In this film, Herzog decided that the best way to get his people to dance to the crack of his whip was to actually put them under hypnosis! The dazed, zombie-like performances certainly fit the subject matter. This is the story of an 18th-century Bavarian glassblower who by virtue of his delicate work virtually casts a spell over his neighbors. When the glassblower dies, the townsfolk discover that he failed to leave behind the secret for his special ruby glassware — and will do literally anything to find the answer. The word usually used to describe Heart of Glass is “haunting”; some viewers have gone beyond haunted and into “possessed.” Watch carefully and spot director Herzog in a bit as a glass carrier. Continue reading

Ming Zhang – Jieguo AKA Before Born (2006)

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From wikipedia :
Before Born (simplified Chinese: 结果; traditional Chinese: 結; pinyin: jiégǔo) is a 2006 Chinese film directed by Zhang Ming. Only Zhang’s third film in a decade, Before Born is a surreal mystery about modern Chinese life that has garnered comparisons to L’avventura, Michelangelo Antonioni’s classic 1960 film. The film tells the story of a private detective, Huang Guangliang, hired to gather evidence of an affair by a man named Li Chonggao. When he arrives in the coastal city of Beihai in search of his target, he discovers that he has disappeared and instead meets an enigmatic young woman who is also looking for Li. Continue reading