Aneta Leshnikovska – Boli li? Prvata balkanska dogma aka Does it hurt? (2007)


The Dogma 95 film movement appeared out of the need to make low budget films that will be concentrated on the storytelling and the acting. No long preparations, no stylish million-dollar bullshitting. Just film. For many years most of the filmmakers in the Balkan have been doing exactly the same. It is just that they haven’t made a manifesto and most of them have never even heard of Dogma 95. Does it hurt? The First Balkan Dogma is a no budget mockumentary shot on HDV according to the dogma rules.

A Macedonian filmmaker wants to make the first official Balkan Dogma film in Macedonia. She lies to her friends that she got financial support from the Zentropa producers. The film starts from the moment that she gathers her closest friends and asks them to join her in the quest for finding the right story for the film. She has decided to film the whole process from the very beginning and use it later for the making off. Following the four characters in their quest we discover Macedonia and the Balkans in 2006. The camera captures visual sequences of the absurdity, humour and survival techniques of a land and people in transition. The making of project ultimately becomes the true subject of the film. Continue reading

Charles Burnett – Killer of Sheep [+Extra] (1979)


The first feature film from acclaimed independent African American filmmaker Charles Burnett, this intensely emotional drama concerns a man who makes his living at a slaughterhouse as he struggles for economic and emotional survival and tries to patch up his often strained relationship with his family. Shot on weekends over a period of several years and first shown publicly in 1977, Killer of Sheep slowly but surely began to develop a potent reputation among film enthusiasts; in 1981, it won honors at the Berlin International Film Festival and an enthusiastic reception at the Sundance Film Festival. It was added to the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry in 1990. Continue reading

Hiroshi Teshigahara – Tanin no kao AKA The Face of Another (1966)


Acquarello @ Strictly Film School wrote:
An off-camera psychiatrist (Mikijiro Hira) overseeing a processed batch of prosthetic appendages describes his fragile role of diplomatically treating – not a patient’s physical imperfection – but rather, the psychological insecurity that underlies his seemingly superficial malady. The curious, fragmented shot of randomly floating, artificial body parts is subsequently reflected in an X-ray profile of a smug and embittered burn victim named Okuyama (Tatsuya Nakadai) as he recounts to the quietly receptive psychiatrist his own culpability in the fateful industrial accident that had permanently disfigured him and now estranges him from his co-workers and family. The clinically disembodied images are then commuted into the equally cold and sterile Okuyama household through a dissociating, close-up shot of a human eye that zooms out to reveal his beautiful and mannered wife (Machiko Kyô) busily occupied in her hobby of polishing gemstones as the acerbic and insecure Okuyama attempts to test her affection and fidelity with vague and allusive casual remarks and open-ended questions. Spurned by his wife after a spontaneous and awkward attempt at intimacy, Okuyama returns to his psychiatrist and agrees to participate in the testing of the doctor’s latest experiment: a prosthetic mask molded from the facial characteristics of a surrogate donor. Now liberated by a sense of faceless anonymity and relieved of personal and professional entanglements, Okuyama takes up residence at a modest boarding house and begins to test the limits of his traceless identity. Continue reading

Jacques Rivette – Céline et Julie vont en bateau aka Celine and Julie Go Boating (1974)


Jacques Rivette continues with his improvisatory tactics, allowing lead players to invent quite freely and also collab on the script. He mixes a modernized takeoff on Alice in Wonderland and a period tale of Henry James for an over indulged, overlong film that has some gem-like moments but also repetitiveness and preciosity.

Film just does not have the sustaining humor and more irrepressible madcap inventiveness to stave off an arbitrary, intellectual heaviness.

One day a girl reading a book of magic in the park, Julie (Dominique Labourier), sees a spindly, overdressed girl scuttle by dropping things. She follows this comic figure, Celine, played with wit by Juliet Berto, loses her but finds her on her doorstep. Continue reading

Lindsay Anderson – If…. (1968)


“A modern classic in which Anderson minutely captures both the particular ethos of a public school and the general flavour of any structured community, thus achieving a clear allegorical force without sacrificing a whit of his exploration of an essentially British institution. The impeccable logic of the conclusion is in no way diminished by having been lifted from Vigo’s Zéro de Conduite, made thirty-five years earlier.” – Time Out London Continue reading

Gia Coppola – Palo Alto (2013)


Palo Alto is a 2013 American drama film based on James Franco’s short story collection Palo Alto (2010). Francis Ford Coppola’s granddaughter Gia Coppola directed the film and wrote the screenplay, while Franco stars with Emma Roberts and newcomer Jack Kilmer.

In April’s bedroom wall, there’s a poster for the movie, The Virgin Suicides, directed by Gia Coppola’s aunt, Sofia Coppola.

Synopsis: Shy, sensitive April is the class virgin, torn between an illicit flirtation with her soccer coach Mr. B and an unrequited crush on sweet stoner Teddy. Emily, meanwhile, offers sexual favors to every boy to cross her path – including both Teddy and his best friend Fred, a live wire without filters or boundaries. As one high school party bleeds into the next – and April and Teddy struggle to admit their mutual affection – Fred’s escalating recklessness starts to spiral into chaos. Continue reading

Servando González – El escapulario AKA The Scapular (1968)


Synopsis: A woman who is about to die calls the town’s priest and hands him a scapulary, saying that she knows of its great powers. Anybody who does not believe in them will end up dead.

In the times of Mexican Revolution, a dying woman sends for the young priest of the village, she confesses to him that she has a miraculous scapular which has the power to protect the life of the owner; before she dies, she tells the skeptical priest how the scapular saved the life of her four children, thus reviving four incredible crossed stories.

The movie gives the date: November 7, 1910, a mere two weeks before the Mexican Revolution. Yet, in the flashbacks, seven years earlier, we can see a full fledged organized insurgency. Continue reading