“Hypnotic” is the best word to describe Favula, the latest work from director Raúl Perrone, which comes with a recommendation from none other than Apichatpong Weerasethakul – though he used the more Joe-like epithet, “bliss.” Somewhat of a secret outside of his native Argentina, Perrone has made more than 30 movies, and in recent years has reinvented his cinema, by looking back to the past, and in doing so pointing to the future. Standing apart from any other film made this year, with its magical handmade aesthetic, Favula recalls Méliès, or silent Fritz Lang, but at the same time evokes recent silent, stage-bound aesthetics like Raya Martin’s Independencia. Loosely based on an African fable, and shot employing rear-projections techniques, Favula’s simple events take place mostly in an isolated house and a nearby jungle: a marginal family’s life is interrupted by the arrival of a teenaged girl. On top of the minimalist, pulsating images, Perrone layers a maximalist soundtrack that encompasses both the sounds of the jungle and non-diegetic music (indelible contemporary songs that appeared in his last work, the cumbia punk opera P3ND3JO5). The result is a wholly unique, mythical universe of danger, passion and magic. Continue reading
Made on short ends of film left over from The Bed You Sleep In, Frameup is a freewheeling road comedy about a pair of dimwitted lovers on the run. Ricky-Lee (Howard Swain), a two-bit criminal prone to spouting lengthy, obscenity-laced soliloquies, meets Beth-Ann (Nancy Carlin), an airheaded waitress with a weakness for romance novels, at the diner where she slings coffee. Immediately smitten, she joins him on a meandering journey across the Pacific Northwest — punctuated by the occasional robbery — and on into California, where the couple dream of heading to the sunny beaches of Los Angeles. Ricky-Lee’s ineptitude catches up with him eventually, however, and their trip is cut short when a convenience store robbery goes awry. Continue reading
The most authentic movie about Hamburg in 1970’s – Rock’n’roll, sex, drugs, 1970’s lifestyle, 1970’s hairstyle, murder, prostitution, Santana, bikers, Reeperbahn, and St. Pauli provide the basis for the story featuring Gerd and Modschiedler, the ill-assorted couple (if at all amateur actors, who act themselves) of this fantastic movie.
The most outstanding characteristic is the idiom of the 1970’s – as a German native speaker you will have lots of fun watching this movie. From my perspective the funny but very authentic dialogs are the key highlights – not only of the movie but also of the 1970’s. Continue reading
In “Malina,” the German film maker Werner Schroeter’s adaptation of a novel by Ingeborg Bachman, Isabelle Huppert portrays a writer who suffers from an interminable case of existential angst.
Isabelle Huppert’s unnamed character is a chain-smoking novelist who lives in Vienna with a calm and devoted male companion, Malina (Mathieu Carriere). Although attractive and successful, she is emotionally disturbed. In the film’s opening scene, she has a vision of herself as a little girl being thrown to her death by her father from the roof of a building. The father, a demonic figure, reappears in several expressionistic set pieces, sometimes to the accompaniment of operatic music.
One day in front of a flower shop, she spies a handsome stranger, Ivan (Can Togay), whom she chases into a bank and inveigles into embarking on a steamy affair. Although Ivan enjoys the relationship, he takes it more lightly than does the woman, who grows obsessed…. Continue reading
In the trilogy’s second chapter, Jo (Jeanette Hain), a big-city police psychologist, arrives in Dreileben to aid in the ongoing investigation, whereupon she finds herself greeted cooly by the local authorities but welcomed with open arms by Vera (Susanne Wolff), a college friend who lives nearby with her husband, a pretentious author. As the girlfriends reminisce about bygone days and discover they were both once in love with the same man, director Dominik Graf deftly juxtaposes their personal drama against the search for a killer, a police corruption scandal, and a possible case of interspecies transmutation—all underlining the trilogy’s recurring themes of false appearances and deeply hidden truths. Continue reading
A student, Oldrich “Fajolo” Fajtak, has a romantic attachment to two girls: his hometown love Bela, and Jana – a lover whom he meets during a summer job on a collective farm. One storyline of the film peels layers off Bela’s permanently tense home life marked by her blind mother’s helplessness, her father’s past break with his father who lives in the village where Fajolo is finding some consolation in the arms of his new lover Jana. As Fajolo begins to pry into Bela’s grandfather’s secrets, she, in turn, allows her new boyfriend Peťo to read and deride Fajolo’s remorseful letters from the farm. This lovers’ triangle provides the film with several oppositions: town and country, intelligentsia and worker, collective and personal truth in communist Czechoslovakia. The potential symbolism of the film appeared ominous to the Communist authorities bent on banning the film, but the nascent political thaw helped the filmmakers prevail and the release of “The Sun in a Net” became its harbinger in Czechoslovak film and culture.
Stanislav Szomolányi’s location cinematography and Ilja Zeljenka’s musique concrète score remain striking. Continue reading
The story takes place in a country about which we know nothing: a country of snow and dense forests somewhere in the North. A family lives in an isolated house near a lake. Alexi, the brother, is a young man with pure heart. A woodcutter. An ecstatic, prey to epileptic fits, he is entirely opened to the nature that surrounds him. Alexi is terribly close to his younger sister, Hege. Their blind mother, their father and their little brother are the silent witnesses to their overwhelming love. A stranger arrives, a young man barely older that Alexi Continue reading