Film festivals are by their nature notoriously cut off, isolated in such a manner they rarely function as the best place to fully appreciate or accurately evaluate the merit of new works. Laurent Cantet’s astonishing “L’emploi du temps” (“Time Out”) suffers from no such equivocation. It is a masterpiece, the best film shown in this strong festival.
Cantet’s debut feature “Human Resources,” distributed in the U.S. through the Shooting Gallery Film Series, was a marvel of political urgency, social verisimilitude and human conflict. Outlined with some of the same Oedipal struggles of that film, “Time Out” is a perfectly made, emotionally piercing and artistically accomplished examination of the desperation and despair of an essentially good and caring man driven to craven, absurd acts of self-delusion. With echoes of Michelangelo Antonioni’s “The Passenger,” the movie presents a terrifying and gripping portrait of a man so alarmed at what he has become that he invents an idealized portrait to cover up his faults and limitations. Continue reading
A group of space researchers leaves earth to find freedom. Their spaceship crashes on the dark side of the moon. Shortly afterwards, all are dead save for the children and one adult. They create their own society, characterized by shamanism and the worship of fire. The last adult survivor is called the Old Man, who is both worshipped and loathed. The Old Man leaves the group of children for the mountains and sends his video diary in a rocket back to Earth. A space researcher named Marek (Andrzej Seweryn) receives the video diary and travels to the moon. When he arrives he is welcomed by the group of children as the messiah, seeing him as the reincarnation of the Old Man. Continue reading
Banned by the Soviet authorities, Vecher nakanune Ivana Kupala (The Eve of Ivan Kupalo) is widely held to be one of the masterpieces of Ukrainian Poetic Cinema. Adapted from a short story of Gogol, which had its roots in Ukrainian folklore, the film depicts an almost Faustian pact, in which Piotr makes an unholy deal with Bassaruv in order that he may win the hand of Pidorka from her father. The director Yuri Ilyenko brings the same rich, vivid imagery that he lent to Parajanov’s Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors where he worked as the cinematographer. The film often makes difficult first viewing for unaccustomed viewers due to its hallucinatory nature, but its lucid tapestry renders it a mandatory experience. Continue reading
Triptych is a contemporary urban saga that tells the story of Michelle, a schizophrenic bookseller, her sister Marie, a singer and actress, and Thomas, a German neurologist and Maries future husband.
Against a backdrop of written and visual poetry, this film depicts three pivotal moments in the lives of these characters through the subjects of creation, mental equilibrium, social interaction, solitude, and emotional response, all the while maintaining the essence of the plays theme, which deals with the human voice. Its a study of the relationship humans have with speech and communication in all its complexity and variations. These three lives become the primary locus of personal identity and emotion, with their many manifestations, variations, and implications, through each characters inner development and burning desire for self-expression.
Triptych is a cinematographic adaptation of Lipsynch, directed by Robert Lepage.
Anne, a student in Paris, becomes involved with a group of her brother’s arty friends and gets sucked into a mystery involving Philip, an expatriate American escaping McCarthyism; Terry, a self-destructive femme fatale; theatre director Gérard; and Juan, a Spanish activist who apparently committed suicide, but was he murdered? Philip warns Anne that the forces that killed Juan will soon do the same to Gérard, who is struggling to rehearse Shakespeare’s Pericles. Anne takes a part in the play in an attempt to help him and also discover why Juan died. Continue reading
“Blood-red posters featuring portraits of wanted ‘terrorists’ decorated every street wall in occupied France during World War II, and this account of how 23 foreigners working for the Resistance were caught and executed dramatises one of the heroic myths of the Occupation. But Cassenti adopts a radically different perspective from the humanist ‘honesty’ of L’Armée des Ombres or even Lacombe Lucien, and instead attempts a Marxist analysis of the myth and what it means, historically, to re-enact it. As it moves from one level of representation to another with a Brechtian approach to performance, the film occasionally obscures its aims but never fails to challenge the way we receive history in the cinema.” – Time Out Film Guide
Winner of the prestigious Golden Bear at the 1964 Berlin International Film Festival, Metin Erksan’s wallop of a melodrama follows the machinations of an unrepentantly selfish tobacco farmer who builds a dam to prevent water from flowing downhill to his neighbors’ crops. Alongside this tale of soul-devouring competition is one of overheated desire, as a love triangle develops between the farmer, his more decent brother, and the beautiful villager the latter takes as his bride. A benchmark of Turkish cinema, this is a visceral, innovatively shot and vibrantly acted depiction of the horrors of greed.
Excerpt from Criterion