Raoul Ruiz – Ce jour-là AKA That Day (2003)

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Auspiciously set in the nebulous and indeterminate milieu of “Switzerland, in the near future”, Raoul Ruiz’s eccentric, surreal fable opens to the shot of an abstracted and dotty young woman named Livia (Elsa Zylberstein) sitting on a park bench overlooking a fog obscured dirt road that is curiously located near the entrance of the San Michelle mental health institution. While jotting down a series of random, fleeting thoughts into her journal, she meets a cyclist who is abruptly thrown from his bicycle and, convinced that he is an angel (since, as her idiosyncratic theory goes, all angels on earth have fallen), proceeds to explain that tomorrow is destined to be the best day of her life, or rather – as she corrects herself – the most important day, which she comes to realize is not the same thing. Soon after the encounter, Livia is whisked away by her faithful and devoted servant Treffle (Jean-François Balmer) and brought home to the family’s country estate where a crowd of snide and unscrupulously calculating relatives amass near the front steps awaiting her father, Harald’s (Michel Piccoli) return home to celebrate his birthday. Continue reading

Ralf Kirsten – Käthe Kollwitz (1986)

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One dramatic event marked the life of the great German artist in particular. At the beginning of the First World War she was already world famous for her etchings, lithographs, carvings and drawings. To her horror, her youngest son, Peter, volunteered to go to war. Within a few weeks she received the dreadful news Peter fell in Flanders. Käthe Kollwitz, who had always sided with the common people, became a committed pacifist and even a socialist. She lived with her husband, a doctor to the poor, in the Berlin working-class quarter of Prenzlauer Berg, where a central square is now named after her. The bloody end of the November Revolution destroyed her hope for swift improvements in living conditions, but strengthened her convictions. The excellently cast DEFA film shows impressive images from the life of a woman who was later to be a vehement foe of National Socialism and whose work still impresses the world today. Continue reading

Hirokazu Koreeda – Umi yori mo mada fukaku AKA After the Storm (2016)

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A prize-winning author that wastes his money on gambling struggles to take back control of his existence as his aging mother and ex-wife move on with their lives, until a stormy summer night offers him a chance to bond with his young son once again.

Tara Judah wrote:
From sentiment to scenario and across his characters, places, imagery and impressions, Kore-eda’s films have a melancholic tonality that represents the aching of the human soul.

Familiar themes are revisited here including; broken families, the problem of the patriarch, strained relationships between fathers and sons, coming to terms with grief, as well as the unutterable bond that is created and strengthened through taking time to share a meal together. Continue reading

Jennifer Montgomery – Art for Teachers of Children (1995)

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Synopsis:
Jennifer, an intelligent but insecure 14-year-old student at a boarding school, seduces her married dormitory counselor, a photographer who has offered to teach her about his art and winds up shooting her in the nude. She is naive, and he manipulates her into an affair that eventually is discovered. Years later, as the photographer is being investigated by the FBI, the adult woman remembers her first love as a case of herself watching the artist who watched her. Continue reading

Adolfo Arrieta – Flammes (1978)

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Synopsis: A girl’s obsession with firemen causes her to start a fire at her own home in order to trap a fireman in her room. The film features the last onscreen performance by Dionys Mascolo (writer, political activist, known for his voiceover in India Song and for his love affair with Marguerite Duras) and one of the earliest appearances of Pascal Greggory. Continue reading

Eric Rohmer – La femme de l’aviateur (1981) (HD)

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François (Philippe Merlaud) loves Anne (Marie Rivière), but he has doubts whether she loves him in return. His job, working nights at the post office, means he can’t see her as often as he’d like. One day, Anne is visited by her ex, airline pilot Christian (Matthieu Carrière), who tells her he is returning to his wife. Seeing Anne and Christian leave her apartment together, François becomes jealous and thinks that Anne is cheating on him. Then he sees Christian with a blonde woman and he begins to follow them… Continue reading

Urszula Antoniak – Nude Area (2014)

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Love doesn’t unfold like a story. Only the first and the last chapter are known. Love starts from Love and ends in letting go. In between there is tenderness and cruelty, waiting and fulfilment, ecstasy and disappointment. If love is a discourse, these are her figures of speech. An adolescent love between two girls. Childish cruelty is mixed with full blown sensuality. Dreams and life reflect and complete each other. The end is known, the story will be told after the love is gone. Continue reading