Slovak director Juraj Jakubisko is often described as the Fellini of Eastern Europe. After the 1968 film The Deserter and the Nomads, he was put in exile in Czechoslovakia after the soviet invasion. With cooperation from a Paris film studio he made this film. Birds Orphans and Fools is a brilliant, surreal and underrated tragic comedy that not many people seem to know about. The story is about three orphans who have lost their families in war. Although the two men Andrej and Yorick and the lady Marta are adults, they act foolish like children trying to live life to the fullest. They resort with their landlord and other orphans in an apartment that is distorted with various shelves, cupboards and animals scattered about. But the main characters can’t block out the pain of living in a war torn country, and after Yorick is put in prison and returns a year later, things will never be the same. Towards the end the climax becomes maybe one of the most tragic in cinema history. This was the first film in Jakubisko’s trilogy of Happiness. If you enjoyed Jodorowsky’s Fando & Lis or Vera Chytilova’s Daisies, you have to see this film. Continue reading
Acclaimed director and headmaster of the Sogestsu school of flower arranging Hiroshi Teshigahara helms this elegant historical drama about tea master Sen no Rikyu. A Buddhist priest who talks of the beauty of a single flower or the shape of a hand holding a teacup, Rikyu (played by Rentaro Mikuni) not only perfected the art of the tea ceremony, but he was one of the primary arbiters of taste during his age. That era was a bloody one, culminating in the uniting of Japan’s disparate kingdoms by a series of strong leaders. The most ambitious and the most extravagant was Toyotomi Hideyoshi (Tsutomu Yamazaki), who favored flashy displays of wealth as much as he did violent conquest. Hideyoshi thought of the tea ceremony not as an art but as a show of refinement and power. In 1587 he held a ten-day tea-drinking orgy in Kyoto and Osaka. Hideyoshi chose Rikyu to oversee it and soon the buffoonish, violent leader and the reserved master were engaged in a thinly veiled clash of wills. Rikyu eventually does teach Hideyoshi that beauty is found in the minute. Yet when Hideyoshi receives both guns and a globe from Portuguese missionaries, he is overwhelmed with Napoleonic visions. When Rikyu expresses his reservations about Hideyoshi’s impending invasion of Korea and China, the potentate demands an apology. — Jonathan Crow allmovie.com Continue reading
Werner Schroeter’s rhapsody of excess leaps from 1949 Cuba to contemporary France to points in between, while its feverishly shifting visual style evokes and parodies everything from kitschy Mexican telenovelas to silent French art films.
Film en quatre épisodes : Cuba, Drame du rail, Coeur brisé et La Trahison. Dans Flocons d’or, qui traite de la mort, l’héroine Montezuma est l’épouse française d’un gros propriétaire terrien qui se droque. L’action se déroule à Cuba vers la fin des années 40. Des quatre épisodes du film, un seul comporte une ironique lueur d’espoir. Continue reading
Manhood-measuring contests — in every imaginable sense of the phrase — are taken to brazenly literal extremes in “Chevalier,” the long-awaited third feature from Greek multi-tasker Athina Rachel Tsangari. Markedly different in focus and emotional temperature from her 2010 breakthrough, “Attenberg,” this committedly deadpan comedy of manners, morals and men behaving weirdly boasts a contained conceit seemingly ripe for unfettered absurdism: On a luxury yacht in the Aegean Sea, six male acquaintances embark on a rigorous series of personal and physical challenges, mercilessly grading each other to determine who is “the Best in General.” That Tsangari resists escalating the conflict, counting on subtle political insinuations to emerge as these perplexing social Olympics wear on, will leave as many viewers enervated as amused, but it’s an expertly executed tease. Continue reading
A creative and driven teenager is desperate to escape his hometown and the haunting memories of his turbulent childhood.
As seen at:
35th Istanbul Film Festival (2016)
40th Toronto International Film Festival | TIFF – 2015
Cinetopia International Film Festival 2016
Vilnius Film Festival “Kino Pavasaris” 2016
Closet Monster is a 2015 Canadian drama film written and directed by Stephen Dunn and starring Connor Jessup, released in 2015. It premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it won the award for Best Canadian Feature. Continue reading
Is this a horror movie or a grim fairy tale? Dedicated to her colleague, confrontationalist director Gaspar Noé, and sourced from a work by dark expressionist Frank Wedekind, Lucile Hadzihalilovic’s stunning debut describes the purgatorial existence of schoolgirls in a sequestered rural college. In their crisp white gym shifts andpigtail ribbons colour-coded by age, these prepubescent model pupils are self-policing, save for a lone crippled mistress and a ballet teacher and the hovering threat of their ‘graduation’ ceremony in the mysterious house through the dark wood from whence none ever return. Meticulously shot by Benoît Debie with the chromatic richness of the pre-Raphaelite painters – you can almost smell the moss and decay – and miraculously acted by its predominately young cast, Hadzihalilovic’s film may make for a finally problematic feminist fable, but its unique vision conjures memories of the terrible beauty of Franju’s surreal work and Laughton’s supreme symbolist invocation of childhood, ‘The Night of the Hunter’. Continue reading
Jerzy Skolimowski’s second feature (and first full-length narrative) cemented his status as a one-man Polish New Wave, with the rhythms of his films influenced as much by jazz and (his own) poetry as by more conventional storytelling. Skolimowski himself plays a dropout-turned-amateur boxer who’s distracted from his bouts when Teresa (Aleksandra Zawieruszanka), an old university friend, re-enters his life. Continue reading