Arthouse

Jem Cohen – Buried in Light (1994)

“A meditation on history, memory, and change in Central and Eastern Europe, Buried in Light is a non-narrative journey, a cinematic collage. Cohen’s “search for images” began at a time of extraordinary flux, as the Berlin Wall was dismantled—opening borders yet ushering in a nascent wave of consumer capitalism. What he saw struck him as a profound paradox: the moment Eastern Europe was revealed was simultaneously the moment it was hidden by the blinding light of commercialism. Cohen’s images are neither the tourist’s roster of picturesque vistas and monuments, nor the mass media’s definitive catalog of dramatic moments. Instead, he focuses on details, ordinary objects, and forgotten places—filming daily life as seen on the street.”
—Linda Dubler, Art at the Edge (Atlanta: High Museum of Art) Read More »

Juraj Jakubisko – Kristove roky AKA The Crucial Years (1967)

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Jakubiskos debut, by many considered his best movie. The title can be translated as “The Crucial Years”, but literally it is “The Christ Years”, based on the idiomatic notion that a man should accomplish something in life before he reaches the age of Jesus when he was crucified. The film surely has some autobiographical elements, as it is about a beginning artist from Eastern Slovakia who lives and works in Prague. Read More »

Alejandro Jodorowsky – Tusk (1980)

Tusk review contributed by Steve Puchalski at Shock Cinema

Even though my print of this ultra-obscure Jodorowsky pic was in French with NO subtitles, you really don’t need a translation in order to get the gist of this self-termed “fable panique.” Set in turn of the century India, Jodorowsky drops most of his crazed mystical/religious/hallucinogenic stylings in order to tell a relatively straightforward story of a little girl, Elise, and a little elephant, Tusk, both of whom are born at the same time, and how their lives interconnect over the years (yawn). It begins on a good note, with Jodorowsky intercutting an elephant and a woman, each giving birth. Read More »

Ulrike Ottinger – Bildnis einer Trinkerin aka Ticket of no Return (1979)

She purchased a ticket of no return to Berlin-Tegel. She wanted to forget her past, or rather to abandon it like a condemned house. She wanted to concentrate all her energies on one thing, something all her own. To follow her own destiny at last was her only desire. Berlin, a city in which she was a complete stranger, seemed just the place to indulge her passion undisturbed. Her passion was alcohol, she lived to drink and drank to live, the life of a drunkard. Her resolve to live out a narcissistic, pessimistic cult of solitude strengthened during her flight until it reached the level at which it could be lived. The time was ripe to put her plans into action. Read More »

Peter Brosens & Jessica Hope Woodworth – Altiplano (2009)

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A mercury spill within the village of Choropampa during 2000 from a silver mine in the Andes is carried downslope to those living immediately below, producing blindness and other forms of sickness. In Altiplano the event is portrayed within a fictional Turubamba, Perú, where non-Spanish-speaking indigenous people center their lives around a Catholicism that puts much stress on the Virgin Mary. A clinic run by foreigners provides cataract operations, but none of the ophthalmologists is a general practitioner. When some die, they revolt against the only outsiders they know—the physicians, not the miners. Read More »

Bakur Bakuradze – Okhotnik AKA The Hunter (2011)

Farmer Ivan Dunaev gets up early. He feeds his piglets, does paperwork, fixes the tractor, and weighs the meat he’ll take in his old pickup truck to the market to sell. He has a wife, a teenage daughter, and a young son. And he loves to hunt. His world revolves around these things. Then, one day, two new workers, Lyuba and Raya, on work release from the local prison colony, arrive on the farm. Ivan doesn’t notice it at first, but something begins to change. Read More »

Banu Sivaci – Guvercin AKA The Pigeon (2018)

Quote:
‘Maverdi. Won’t you talk to them? Why are you not going over there? They are your kind.’

On a rooftop in Adana, Yusuf cares for the pigeons in his dovecote. His favourite bird is called Maverdi. To lure it even closer, he sometimes puts a seed between his lips for it to peck. The light grey pigeon is an outsider in the dovecote, just as Yusuf is in society, where he has to face ignorance and violence. The young man’s face rarely brightens up, and the pressure from his brother to go out to work makes things even worse. In her debut feature film, Banu Sıvacı evokes a genuine sense of empathy for the apparently fragile then fiercely rebellious loner who is fighting for a small joy that most people seem to begrudge him. Read More »