Miklós Jancsó – Oldás és kötés AKA Cantata (1963)

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Jancsó’s second feature film, received the Hungarian Critics’ Prize. In this work, influenced by Michelangelo Antonioni, Jancsó created the unique visual style by which he became known – the mesmerizing, sweeping, ballet-like camera movement, which emphasize the relation between the characters and the landscape, the vast Hungarian plain, around them. In considering the latter aspect, Jancsó’s cinematic world has connections with the traditional western, although not on the ideological level. Movement is for Jancsó both a guiding philosophical and aesthetical principle – “Is seems to me that life is a continual movement,” he once summarized. “It’s physical and it’s also philosophical: the contradiction is founded on movement, the movement of ideas, the movement of masses.” Continue reading

Mariano Llinás – Historias extraordinarias AKA Extraordinary Stories (2008)

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Historias extraordinarias tells the adventures of three men known only as H (Agustin Mendilaharzu, doubling as cinematographer), X (director Mariano Llinás) and Z (Walter Jakob). These adventures come across as self-conscious constructions and journeys happening in the here and now. But though the strongest literary influences on Llinás’ fascinating screenplay are fiction writer Jorge Luis Borges and disciple Adolfo Bioy-Casares, it would be wrong to label Historias extraordinarias as literary per se: Instead, a viewer would have to stretch back to the grand serial silents of Louis Feuillade for something as ambitious as Llinás’ detailed telling of the three separate, intertwined tales, all involving men on quests in situations that force them to question who they really are. Llinás jumps between the storylines over 18 episodes, usually devoting no more than about 15 minutes at a time to any single one. The governing concept uniting the tales is how each man begins with a specific task, and then veers away from the straight-and-narrow, bringing the job’s purpose into question. Continue reading

Syllas Tzoumerkas – I Ekrixi AKA A Blast (2014)

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Synopsis
In a striking and courageous lead performance, Angeliki Papoulia plays Maria – a woman who started her adult life with the best of intentions but, ten years later, feels her world falling out from under her.
Unwilling to reconcile with a reality of unreturned care, lost dignity and a broken-down desire to live, Maria attacks. She attacks herself, her past, the people she loves, her country and the perception of her sex in a relentless battle to find truth.
Only a day before, she was a caring mother, a loving wife and a responsible daughter. Today, she has gone rogue… Continue reading

Hans-Christof Stenzel – Obszön – Der Fall Peter Herzl (1981)

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Peter Herzl, social worker and Left sympathizer from Wuppertal is, assaulted and robbed on the way back from Yugoslavia to Germany. Due to some misunderstandings the police examined him as a suspected terrorist. In Vienna, he finds shelter with the prostitute Kathi. Kathi has an incestuous relationship with her adolescent daughter. Fascinated she watched her mother and Peter during lovemaking. Soon they would also participate in the game. Meanwhile the search for Peter is at full speed. And Kathi`s pimp sees an opportunity to get easy money by betrayal… Continue reading

Kun-jae Jang – Han yeo-reum-ui pan-ta-ji-a AKA A Midsummer’s Fantasia (2014)

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Split into two parts, shot in black and white, the opening chapter First Love, Yoshiko follows a Korean director (Lim Hyung-kook) who is scouting for locations for his next film in the Japanese rural town of Gojo, and is joined by his assistant director Mijung (Kim Sae-byuk) who interprets for him. There he meets the locals including an elderly lady and a civil servant (Ryo Iwase) who helps him tour the area. The second part, Well of Sakura, captured in colour, is inspired by a story told in the opening chapter of a romance between a Korean woman and a local man. Mijung is now an actress while the civil servant is a persimmon farmer as they walk around the town and learn about each other. Continue reading

Eugène Green – Le pont des Arts AKA The Bridge of Art (2004)

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In the rarefied stratosphere of Eugene Green’s film “Le Pont des Arts,” music, literature, philosophy and aesthetics, and the characters’ engagement with them, are literally matters of life and death. Here and in his other films, Mr. Green, the American-born French filmmaker who founded the Theatre de la Sapience, a group dedicated to revitalizing 17th-century Baroque theater in modern productions, has invented a cinematic vocabulary that radically juxtaposes classical and contemporary themes and characters. … In “Le Pont des Arts,” Mr. Green’s propensity for throwing in academically heavyweight references and concepts may seem intimidating, but it is more than an exercise in name-dropping. The movie is an audacious, mythically slanted inquiry into the place of high art in today’s chaotic culture and an assertion of its primacy. … — NYTimes Continue reading