Jerzy Kawalerowicz – Faraon (1966)

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The Walter Reade Theatre at Lincoln Center in New York City’s retrospective – History Lessons: The Films of Jerzy Kawalerowicz, 30 January to 12 February 2004, screened the major work of this Polish director whose career spanned 50+ years. The programme offered, amidst the veteran’s varied output, a very special, culture vulture/archaeologist’s dream: Pharaoh (aka: Faraon), co-scripted by Kawalerowicz with Tadeusz Konwicki, and based on a novel by Boleslaw Prus. The best cinematic recreation of circa 1100 BC Late New Kingdom Dynastic Egypt ever, photographed on location at authentic sites and environs, the production design, costumes and props were all meticulously researched. Continue reading

Manoel de Oliveira – Aniki Bóbó (1942)

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The story takes place in the old streets of Porto and by the banks of the Douro River. A gang of very young kids has just accepted a new member, Carlitos, a shy boy who has “played it tough” by stealing a doll in a shop. Carlitos soon develops a crush on Terezinha,the only girl of the group. The trouble is that Eduardo, the “boss”, is also in love with the pretty little girl. And he will not allow any rival to challenge him… Continue reading

Andrei Stefanescu – #Beings (2015)

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Beings is the second feature film of Stefanescu Andrei, after Sleep Awake in 2012, is also a micro-budget film, this time shot in Berlin with a small magical crew in the autumn of 2014.
It is a contemplative film about Eva a girl that leaves everything behind, a deep friendship with her friend Anna and her betrayed love for Teo, to lose herself into light. To get away from her skin and become perfect so that she will be loved by Teo.
The story begins with Eva having a epileptic fit and being kicked out by Teo instead of being helped. This starts the crisis of Eva and her desperate return to Teo and then the failed night of love. Everything brakes loose. Not only her, but also Teo who out of guilt begins his descent into madness together with Anna, Eva’s best friend that also loves Teo irrational and against any moral or law.
Eva’s trip has no goal but in her journey each step is like a magic moment like a step outside reality until she becomes one with the sky forgetting everything she is and starting new. Continue reading

Michael Glawogger – Das Vaterspiel AKA Kill Daddy Good Night (2009)

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“An Austrian videogame designer (Helmut Köpping) who has turned his pathological hatred for his politician father into a life’s mission to create a father-killing videogame, ends-up, through a set of curious circumstances, renovating the basement hideout in Long Island of a Lithuanian Nazi. ” Continue reading

Artour Aristakisian – Mesto na zemle AKA A Place on Earth (2001)

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“This is a very powerful film. Admittedly parts of it are hard to watch, but it is an outstanding piece. In a nutshell, it is about a hippie commune that has been set up by someone who believes that the best way to help the homeless and often deranged cripples in Moscow is by offering them sexual love. I did not realise (because of the black and white, and the fact I watched this film before looking up to see when it was made) that this film was shot recently in Moscow, using real homeless people in their real situations. I assumed, because of the black and white, and the whole hippie commune idea, that this was the 70s. Shockingly, this includes his real-life footage of the current situation of the marginalised in Moscow, and that upset me to the core. Obviously some of the characters are actors (or, rather, are acting), but many are simply being shot in their everyday surroundings. Let’s hope that some good comes out of films such as these, in the same way that Cathy Come Home helped change the situation for many in the UK all those years ago…. Is Aristakisyan Russia’s new and very own Ken Loach? We shall have to wait and see.” Continue reading

Carlos Saura – El jardín de las delicias AKA The Garden of Delights (1970)

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Review Summary
Jose Luis Lopez Vasquez stars as a millionaire industrialist who is involved in an auto accident. When he comes to, Vasquez has completely forgotten who he is and how much money he has. His greedy relatives would love to put Vasquez away and claim his fortune. But there’s a fly in the ointment: the money is in a secret Swiss bank account, and the only one who knows (or who knew) the account number is the amnesiac Vasquez. Those familiar with the work of Spanish director Carlos Saura know for darn sure that he’s not about to go the expected route with this surefire material: Garden of Delights, is just that, a bountiful garden of the surreal, the symbolic, the illusory, and at times the hilarious. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide Continue reading