A heist-movie of such exquisitely bizarre loopiness to make Inception look like Ocean’s Eleven, Sergio Caballero’s The Distance (La distancia) is a likeably giggle-inducing dollop of deadpan surrealist whimsy. Observing a trio of telepathic Russian dwarves tasked with robbing an abandoned Siberian power-station, Caballero’s follow-up to 2010’s even more deliciously outre Finisterrae confirms the Catalan’s status as a puckish jester in the court of current European art-cinema. Adventurous audiences enduring the longueurs and waywardness of his gloriously uncompromised vision are rewarded with a hilariously abrupt finale that should delight many but leave others baffled and bemused. Festivals with late-night slots to fill will clamor for this cultish item, which might even find small distribution niches in eccentricity-embracing territories such as Japan and France. Continue reading
This 1993 film, directed by Martin Scorsese, brings the Edith Wharton novel to life.
Here it is — all the social comment and smoldering unrequited passions originally
intended by the author. And now it’s in living color with academy award winning costume
design reflecting New York society in the 1870s.
Daniel-Day Lewis is cast as Newland Archer, the upper class young man in conflict
between social convention and desire. Michelle Pfeiffer plays the Countess Ellen Olenska,
who has already defied convention by marrying a European and is further defying
convention by leaving her husband and returning to New York. However, in spite of his
attraction to the countess, Newland Archer marries the beautiful but seemingly simple
May Welland, played by Wynona Ryder, whose outstanding performance won her an academy
award nomination. Continue reading
The goalkeeper of a little-known soccer team is kidnapped by a Argentinean government squad and sent to a detention center. After months of torture, he plots his escape with three other young men.
If American moviegoers have plenty of reasons to feel icky about government-sponsored kidnappings and hidden prisons, “Chronicle of an Escape” gives them another good one, by viewing a fact-based Argentinean story through the stylized lens of a horror film. Laced with dread that builds to a thoroughly gripping third act, it should do well with art house audiences who like their history lessons to come with a shot of adrenaline. Continue reading
Joaquim Pinto has been an instrumental figure in Portuguese cinema for over 30 years, whether directing his own films, as producer or sound designer for renowned filmmakers such as Raul Ruiz, Manoel de Oliveira and Joao Cesar Monteiro.
In his newest film, What Now? Remind Me, winner of the Jury Prize at the Locarno Film Festival, Pinto, who has been living with HIV for more than two decades, looks back at his life in cinema, at his friendships and loves, and at the mysteries of art and nature — while undergoing an experimental drug treatment.
Moving freely between past and present, fact and fantasia, What Now? Remind Me is a beautiful portrait of a man looking beyond his own mortality at the world around us. Continue reading
Winter, Beirut. On a beach littered with cans washed up from the sea, Lili and Michel meet. Perhaps they know each other from before. As they struggle to piece together the fragments of an uncertain past, memories emerge: an act of terrorism, an explosion and the disappearance of a child, Elena.
Woven throughout these fragments is the deep voice of a Japanese narrator who recounts his own experience of a weeping Beirut, and his 27 clandestine years fighting alongside the Palestinians as a member of the Japanese Red Army. His voiceover shapes Michel and Lili’s story, their fate dictated by the enigma created for them by this narrator who turns out to be legendary Japanese New Wave filmmaker Masao Adachi. Continue reading
Two restless young men (Sami Frey and Claude Brasseur) enlist the object of their desire (Anna Karina) to help them commit a robbery––in her own home. French New Wave pioneer Jean-Luc Godard takes to the streets of Paris to re-imagine the gangster genre, spinning an audacious yarn that’s at once sentimental and insouciant, romantic and melancholy. The Criterion Collection is proud to present the convention-flauting postmodern classic Band of Outsiders (Bande à part). Continue reading
In Jim Jarmush’s Coffee and Cigarettes, friends meet to romanticize about their love for two savory customs. Cristi Puiu’s Cigarettes and Coffee turns Jarmush’s film around. Neither Fiul (Mimi Branescu), a young man dressed in a suit, nor Tatal (Victor Rebengiuc), his poor looking father, smoke or drink coffee as they meet in a bar to talk business. Instead, they have water, beer, and apple pie. And unlike the character’s in Jarmush’s film, Fiul’s and Tatal’s conflict is not to come to terms about myths on tobacco and caffeine. The old man in Puiu’s film actually has a serious problem. Continue reading