Szabolcs Hajdu – Délibáb AKA Mirage (2014)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Synopsis: “Mirage tells the story of an African football player in a small Hungarian town, who commits a crime and has to flee. He finds refuge on a farm deep in the Hungarian flatland. Soon he realizes that the farm is a modern slave camp where he is forced to fight for his freedom and ultimately his life.”

Quote:
The Hungarian plains might as well be Sergio Leone’s American West in Szabolcs Hajdu’s Mirage, an atmospheric fable whose setting feels like no place, any time. Isaach De Bankolé, as the loner who shows up here for reasons we never learn and contends with a gang of slave-driving farmers, carries a film that is philosophically related to but more satisfying than Jim Jarmusch’s The Limits of Control. The picture should draw well at fests, but is willfully obscure enough that, sans an auteur whose name is known in the States, it may be a hard sell here. – John Defore, Variety Continue reading

Maria Speth – Töchter AKA Daughters (2014)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Agnes, a teacher from the Hessian provinces, has come to Berlin to identify a dead girl who might be Lydia, her runaway daughter. It turns out not to be Lydia, but Agnes stays in the city anyway. Still frantically looking, she comes a young stray called Ines who no longer leaves her side.
Ines could easily have appeared in Maria Speth’s documentary 9 Leben, a portrait of young people who decide to live on the street from an early age. Whereas in Madonnen the director told the story of a young woman incapable of taking responsibility for her children whilst continuing to give birth to more, this film is about a caring mother whose daughter is indeed loved, her disappearance leaving behind a blind spot. It is Ines whose provocative behaviour and intrusive questions force Agnes to rethink the relationship between herself and her daughter. The camera is always close by their faces, whether during nocturnal car journeys or hotel room discussions, but also leaves enough space for these two people to collide, drawing each other out of their shells and growing ever closer in quite singular fashion. (-berlinale.de) Continue reading

Manoel de Oliveira – O Velho do Restelo (2014)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Manoel de Oliveira’s last (short) film.

In a city of the 21st century, Don Quichotte meets with the Portuguese poets Luis de Camoes, Teixeira de Pascoaes and Camilo Castelo Branco. Together they reflect about the art of writing, history, and the general vanity of human aspiration. Oliveira illustrates this with excerpts from some of his own films as well as Kozintsev’s 1957 “Don Quixote”. A beautiful, meditative film, and a fine conclusion to Oliveira’s career. Continue reading

Various – Avant-Garde 2: Experimental Cinema 1928-1954 [Disc 2] (2007)

Quote:
Disc two travels back in time for two late-Twenties American shorts before heading off to France for three late-Forties/early-Fifties films, including the epic Lettrism manifesto, Jean Isidore Isou’s Venom and Eternity (also known by the far better title Treatise on Slime and Eternity, 1951). From the former group only James Watson and Melville Webber’s expressionist adaptation of The Fall of the House of Usher (1928) is of any note, while two of the three later films, Jean Mitry’s Pacific 231 (1949) and Dimitri Kirsanoff’s Arriere Saison (1950), serviceably employ techniques that had reached their fulfillment thirty years prior. Venom and Eternity is supposed to be the cherry on the cake—a rarely seen controversial feature with 34 minutes of restored footage. Continue reading

Various – Avant-Garde 2: Experimental Cinema 1928-1954 [Disc 1] (2007)

Quote:
In the latter half of the 20th Century, Raymond Rohauer was one of the nation s foremost proponents of experimental cinema. This two-disc collection continues Kino s tribute to the Rohauer Collection, including the early works of Stan Brakhage and influential films by Willard Maas, Gregory Markopoulos, Marie Menken, Dimitri Kirsanoff, Jean Mitry, Sidney Peterson and others.

Quote:
the major pioneers of the period that came before the American avant-garde crested in the late Fifties to mid Sixties are all in attendance on the collection’s first disc: Willard Maas, Marie Menken, Sidney Peterson, James Broughton, Gregory Markopoulos, and Stan Brakhage. That period’s two seminal achievements—along with nearly the entirety of Deren’s oeuvre—are accounted for in Maas’s Geography of the Body (1943) and Peterson’s The Cage (1947). The former brings to cinema an unconventional depiction of the nude figure, with Maas’s extreme close-up photography transforming familiar parts into exciting, undiscovered terrains of flesh, an erotic revolution in vantage point that would inform everything from Carolee Schneemann’s Fuses to Brakhage’s entire film philosophy. Continue reading

Various – Avant-Garde: Experimental Cinema of the 1920s & 1930s [Disc 2] (2005)

Quote:
The 24 avant garde shorts of the 1920s and ’30s chosen for this Kino set from the collection of curator Raymond Rohauer span the gamut of movements and styles—dada, surrealism, city symphony, environmental terrarium, direct exposure. The diversity already makes the proposition of plowing through the pair of discs from start to finish not only daunting but perhaps ill-advised. Especially when lurking among the unassailable landmarks of silent avant garde cinema like Joris Ivens’s Regen (an evocative socio-environmental replication of the civic reaction to a rainy downpour on city streets) and Fernand Léger’s Ballet Méchanique (a rhythmic Parisian melange that’s kaleidoscopic in both its prismatic cinematography and its undulating circles of repetition) are at least two (possibly three) works that aim to take the piss out of the concept of non-narrative art cinema. The Hearts of Age, Orson Welles’s fraternal collaboration with William Vance (made when Welles was a mere 19 years of age), is a backyard farce that Welles later admitted to Peter Bogdanovich was made in benign mockery of the Buñuel/Dali collaborations that were inescapable in the day, though it scarcely owes any tangible debt to the style of Un Chien Andalou. Continue reading

Various – Avant-Garde: Experimental Cinema of the 1920s & 1930s [Disc 1] (2005)

Quote:
The 24 avant garde shorts of the 1920s and ’30s chosen for this Kino set from the collection of curator Raymond Rohauer span the gamut of movements and styles—dada, surrealism, city symphony, environmental terrarium, direct exposure. The diversity already makes the proposition of plowing through the pair of discs from start to finish not only daunting but perhaps ill-advised. Especially when lurking among the unassailable landmarks of silent avant garde cinema like Joris Ivens’s Regen (an evocative socio-environmental replication of the civic reaction to a rainy downpour on city streets) and Fernand Léger’s Ballet Méchanique (a rhythmic Parisian melange that’s kaleidoscopic in both its prismatic cinematography and its undulating circles of repetition) are at least two (possibly three) works that aim to take the piss out of the concept of non-narrative art cinema. The Hearts of Age, Orson Welles’s fraternal collaboration with William Vance (made when Welles was a mere 19 years of age), is a backyard farce that Welles later admitted to Peter Bogdanovich was made in benign mockery of the Buñuel/Dali collaborations that were inescapable in the day, though it scarcely owes any tangible debt to the style of Un Chien Andalou. Continue reading