Apichatpong Weerasethakul – Sud pralad AKA Tropical Malady (2004)

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Like Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s other films, Tropical Malady is a mechanism to channel thoughts and feelings that are hard to express in words – which means that trying to write about it is at best reckless and at worst stupid. As mechanisms go, it’s beautiful and seductive, and has many working parts. But we shouldn’t forget that the name of Khun Apichatpong’s production company is “Kick the Machine”. Continue reading

Eun-Hee Kim – Ddakjung Bulre AKA Beetles (2009)

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Screened at the Seoul Independent Film Festival, the 2008 Korean indie Beetles is the first feature film from director Kim Eun Hee. Blurring the boundary between dream and reality, fiction and documentary, this unconventional narrative art film integrates ecological footage, medical documentary, and a non-linear story to form a meditation on fear of death and coping with life. The director defies the traditional filmmaking format to present a strange but uniquely cerebral and affecting picture. Continue reading

Frantisek Vlácil – Mág (1987)

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IMDB Review
This movie is the very last opus of a great Czech director Frantisek Vlácil(1924-1999; Markéta Lazarová, Valley of the Bees, Concert at the End of Summer) and it’s truly his masterpiece.

In a breathtaking way it narrates some episodes from the life of possibly the most famous Czech poet Karel Hynek Mácha (1810-1836). Actually the title of the film “Mág” may have two meanings, the first one (a mage) refers to the talent of the deeply romantic Mácha (played by outstanding Jirí Schwarz), the second one is the contemporary transcription of Mácha’s most famous poem Máj (May). Continue reading

Pablo Chavarría Gutiérrez – Alexfilm (2015)

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A lovingly framed day-in-the-life portrait of a man waiting for an important event that never comes. Marked by a light touch and emphasizing openness over conventional, linear narrative, biologist-turned-filmmaker Pablo Chavarria Gutiérrez documents the rhythms of a man awaiting an important event that never comes. As he cooks breakfast, naps, paints, tries on sunglasses, and wanders through different rooms in his home, Chavarria Guitérrez lovingly frames every action in beautiful natural light, allowing each moment to flow to the next while maintaining its own transcendent essence. Continue reading

Andrzej Zulawski – Cosmos (2015)

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By Carlo Chatrian, pardolive.ch

For his return to directing 15 years after La Fidélité, Andrzej Zulawski has chosen one of the most difficult authors to adapt and a text that poses significant challenges, given its constant verbal invention and narrative deviations. Cosmos, written 50 years ago by Witold Gombrowicz, four years before his death, is one of those works that creates a kind of precipitous vertigo.

Zulawski is clear from the start: it only takes a few minutes for the viewer to realize this is no classic adaption of a bourgeois novel. Instead, young Witold’s arrival at the house where he will stay is the entrance to an out-of-the-ordinary universe. A world where sparrows are hanged, where strange arrows take shape on the ceiling, where the television that’s always on for every meal broadcasts incessant images of war, where seduction and repulsion go hand in hand. The thin thread of an investigation – discovering who is responsible for these signs – becomes a metaphor for talking about language. See, for example, the brilliant tirade from the “paterfamilias”. Continue reading

Jean-Paul Civeyrac – À travers la forêt AKA Through the Forest (2005)

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Jean-Paul Civeyrac’s latest feature, Through the Forest is composed of ten meticulously crafted shots, each running for six or seven minutes. Despite this formal rigor, the narrative has a free-flowing, dreamlike quality, taking twists and turns that may leave audiences occasionally puzzled, but also deeply absorbed.

Atmosphere and mood are emphasized over plot, but the story essentially revolves around a young woman named Armelle who is mourning the sudden death of her boyfriend Renaud. She is surrounded by her two sisters, both of whom are troubled by her seeming incapacity to move on. After hearing Armelle describe the vivid dreams she’s been having, in which Renaud materializes to make passionate love to her, the more sympathetic of the sisters suggests she visit a medium to try to communicate directly with him. While at the medium’s, Armelle is shocked to glimpse a boy named Hippolyte, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Renaud. Continue reading

Fernando Lopes – Uma Abelha na Chuva AKA A Bee in the Rain (1972)

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This Portuguese drama examines the daily life minutiae and intrigues of two scions of society in the rural village where they live. One is a wealthy landowner, the other a widowed aristocrat who lives in a world of her own. “Starting off from a fine novel by Carlos de Oliveira, Fernando Lopes doesn’t so mush reconstitute a story, but rather defines an atmosphere parallel to that which exists in the literary work. The erosion of time, the crumbling of an epoch, the decline of a stately home, the disintegration of emotions: the film version of A Bee in the Rain talks about all these things, using a language that is sparse and unpolished, fascinating and at the same time repulsive in its disturbing silence” (Lauro Antonio). Continue reading