Jovan Jovanovic – Mlad i zdrav kao ruza aka Young and healthy as a rose (1971)

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A director with a very distinctive style, Jovan Jovanovic has filmed in 1971 one of the most significant works in the history of contemporary Serbian film. “Young and Healthy Like a Rose” is a strong visionary achievement that still looks topical today as back in the times when it was filmed and banned by the then communist censorship. A story about a young delinquent, who evolves from typical outsider to mafia boss of Belgrade seemed shocking back then; today, it is the cruel reality of our times. With incredible foresight of things to come, Jovanovic’s leading character says: “I am your future”. More poetical than Hollywood movies, much more realistic than “Trainspotting”. An exciting story about crime, drugs and the deadly grip of the secret police in Serbia. The best role of Dragan Nikolic, one of the rare ones he presented himself as a tough guy and the authentic sex symbol from this region. A slap in the face of film and other convention. A must see! Continue reading

Özer Kiziltan – Takva aka A Man’s Fear Of God (2006)

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A man’s fight between his religious beliefes and his instincts and desires. The atmosphere during the religious ceremonies makes a thrilling contrast to the priest’s everydays somehow dirty business in Istanbul where all is only about money. For the viewer these contrasts are sometimes amusing and sometimes shocking. The not-too-bright main character Muharrem is played by the fantastic Erkan Can. The director manages to show Muharrem’s troubled emotions in fantastic pictures. In one of my favourite scenes Muharrem is almost haunted by display mannequins wearing sexy lingerie while he is on duty for his brotherhood.
–totorochi Continue reading

Vincent Dieutre – Mon voyage d’hiver AKA My Winter Journey (2003)

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SYNOPSIS:

German filmmaker Vincent Dieutre is accompanied by a close friend’s teenage son on a trip to Berlin and in the process reminisces about his life as a gay man in his 2003 autobiographical documentary entitled Mon Voyage d’Hiver (My Voyage in Winter). Dieutre and his traveling companion, Itvan, visit numerous friends and landmarks, all holding special meaning to the 40-year-old filmmaker as they make their way to the German capital. As the pair grows closer as friends, Dieutre also takes on a paternalistic relationship with the boy as he details his own journey of self discovery — partially to assist Itvan with his own adult transformation, but also as a means for Dieutre’s own legacy to endure. My Voyage in Winter was selected for inclusion into the Forum Program of the 2003 Berlin International Film Festival.
~ Ryan Shriver, All Movie Guide Continue reading

Vera Chytilová – Ovoce stromu rajskych jime aka Fruit of Paradise [+Extras] (1970)

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review by Daniel Bird- you can find more HERE :
Věra Chytilová’s Ovoce stromů rajských jíme (Fruit of Paradise, 1969) is an audacious combination of allegorical narrative and the avant-garde. Above all, it plays with the idea of searching for “truth” and questions our ability to accept it. It is a reflection on the nature of the film itself, as well as a personal testament of its reputedly “cynical” director’s commitment to “telling the truth.” It is a vivid testimony to the role of the “avant-garde” in 1960s Czechoslovak cinema. It is an ascendant of what Eisenstein described as “intellectual cinema.”

However, montage is more or less dispensed with, in favour of a plethora of visual associations and mental juxtapositions that are orchestrated through a succession of semi-improvised “happenings.” As Peter Hames has acknowledged, it boldly defies any “realistic” interpretation, yet encourages “active interpretation,” demanding that the viewer construct his or her own meaning. Continue reading

Atom Egoyan – Where the Truth Lies (2005)

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From AMG:

A reporter unexpectedly gets a personal perspective on a legendary show-business story in this adaptation of Rupert Holmes’ novel, scripted and directed by noted Canadian independent filmmaker Atom Egoyan. In the mid-’50s, Lanny Morris (Kevin Bacon) and Vince Collins (Colin Firth) were a wildly popular comedy team who suddenly and unexpectedly broke up at the peak of their popularity. Fifteen years after Morris and Collins called it quits, journalist Karen O’Connor (Alison Lohman), who has earned a reputation for her celebrity exposés, wants to write about the true story of what happened with Morris and Collins — and to her surprise, her publisher tells her Collins has agreed to co-author the book for a cool million dollars. The only catch is that Collins has to tell the full truth about a very large skeleton in the team’s closet — a beautiful naked woman was found drowned in the bathtub of Morris and Collins’ hotel suite shortly before they broke up the act, and while the comics were cleared of any wrongdoing, rumors about the incident followed them for years. As O’Connor and Collins complete their book, they learn to their surprise that Morris has opted to write a book of his own about the team’s career; eager to learn what Morris has to say, O’Connor meets him posing as a schoolteacher, and soon falls into an unexpected romantic relationship with him. O’Connor soon finds herself playing two sides against one another as she tried to learn the truth about two men with dark and scandalous pasts. Where the Truth Lies became the subject of unexpected controversy when the MPAA gave the film an NC-17 rating due to a brief scene involving a ménage à trois; the film earned significantly more lenient rating in other countries. Continue reading

Garin Nugroho – Opera Jawa aka Requiem from Java [+Extras] (2006)

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Inspired by ‘The Abduction of Sita’ from the ancient Indian and South East-Asian literary classic The Ramayana, OPERA JAWA is a unique musical tale of love, lust and tragedy. Setio and his wife Siti, own a pottery business in a small village ran by Ludiro, a powerful and ruthless businessman. Ludiro, who is in love with Siti, seizes his chance when the couple’s business collapses. He abducts and tries to seduce Siti. The two men fight and inevitably jealousy spills over into violence and tragedy. Continue reading

Naomi Kawase – Sharasojyu aka Shara (2003)

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A film about mourning and its eventual passing. Like in Antonioni’s L’avventura and in Fahrhadi’s About Elly, the unexplained, unresolved disappearance of a central character puts into motion the complex interplay between the public and personal dimension of mourning. Kawase herself plays the mother who, seven years after the disappearance of one of her twins, is heavily pregnant again. This coincides with upsetting news from the authorities. The family and neighbours and friends are plunged once more into the work of mourning. But by means of an extraordinary street festival, a family ceremony of acceptance in which the curse of the disappeared is at last transformed into a benign omen for the coming birth, and the birth of a new family member the trance-like state of collective dissociation is broken. Ultimately, it is not just the disappeared twin who can pass on to the next life in peace, but the entire family. The three core scenes, the festival, the ceremony, and the birth are overwhelmingly effective, in part due to Kawase’s (and her team’s) subtle control, in part due to the impossible admixture of calm and joyous exuberance. If the ending does suggest notions of rebirth, release from the curse of eternal return and memory, it is accomplished, like the entire film, in the absence of dogma. There is no lesson here other than that life ought to be gentle. Continue reading