Arthouse

Benedek Fliegauf – Rengeteg AKA Forest (2003)

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Hungarian director Benedek Fliegauf makes his feature-length debut with Rengeteg (Forest). Shot on digital video, the episodic film is composed of a series of seven different intimate parts bookended by footage of the same people in a large public space. These characters aren’t given an introduction, context, or even character names. Cinematographer Zoltan Lovasi shoots the ensemble cast of non-actors exclusively in close-ups, so the larger situation is never made completely clear. Each segment involves a small group of people in some kind of intense and possibly disturbing conversation. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, All Movie Guide” Read More »

Bob Dylan – Renaldo & Clara (1978)

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Chock full of wondrous musical segments (not all of them on the concert stage) and some choice bits of post-Beat tomfoolery, rendered by a cast of musicians, actors and veteran exhibitionists rapidly approaching their ‘Sell by’ date, Renaldo & Clara is a four-hour expedition into the deepest recesses of Bob Dylan’s vanity; a film projectile of wildly uncertain velocity and direction . . . concert doco, avant-garde aspirant, Theater of Ennui also-ran, and a big ol’ Narcissus pool everyone can splash around in; it is all of these things . . . that, despite the best efforts of its director, was written off as a catastrophe by American critics upon its highly limited release in 1978. Read More »

Aleksandr Sokurov – Sonata dlya Gitlera AKA Sonata for Hitler (1979 – 1989)

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Set to the music of Bach and Penderecki, Sonata for Hitler weaves together a bank of images from German and Soviet archive footage, drawing out a psychological dimension from the historical landscape at the end of World War II.

Alexander Sokurov’s Sonata for Hitler was banned by the Soviet authorities in his home country of Russia and was not released until a decade after it was completed. Much of his early work, in fact, was considered ‘anti-communist’ and remained unseen for years. It was not until 1996 that he produced his first internationally acclaimed feature, Mother and Son.
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Israel Cárdenas & Laura Amelia Guzmán – Jean Gentil (2010)

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Quote:
In Jean Gentil, a man looks for a job in a cacophonous city that wouldn’t notice if he had never existed. He’s wearing a tie and the kind of sadness that removes from the face any immediately recognizable expression—the awkward and self-effacing sadness of the unwelcome immigrant. The man (Jean Gentil, playing a filmic version of himself) is an unemployed Haitian polyglot in Santo Domingo with a background in accounting and a tendency to question whether or not he’s even alive. While initially aiming for an office job in line with his experience and goals, he quickly has to settle for a construction job and a hard floor to sleep on after being evicted. He eventually makes his way to the countryside, where he retreats from the unforgiving madness of the big city and, ironically, away from “civilization” he can finally find a place to sleep, something to eat, and water to bathe.
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Woody Allen – Mighty Aphrodite (1995)

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Quote:
Lenny and Amanda have an adopted son Max who turns out to be brilliant. Lenny becomes obsessed with finding Max’s real parents because he believes that they too must be brilliant. When he finds that Linda Ash is Max’ real mother, Lenny is disappointed. Linda is a prostitute and porn star. On top of that, she is quite possibly the dumbest person Lenny has ever met. Interwoven is a Greek chorus linking the story with the story of Oedipus. Read More »

Artavazd Pelechian – Vremena goda aka Seasons of the Year (1975)

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The history of the Armenian nation from a Marxist point of view.
Illustrated by Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons”.

***
Artavazd Pelechian’s Seasons of the Year (1975), a film-essay about the contradiction
and the harmony between man and nature, was the the 2nd and the last collaboration
with Vartanov, who had directed Autumn Pastoral (1971) from Peleshian’s screenplay.
In the Seasons of the Year (1975), for the first time, Artavazd Pelechian did not use any
archival footage likely due to the exquisite cinematography by Vartanov. Peleshian’s
Seasons of the Year (1975) is one of the 3 most important documentary films made in
Armenia, along with Sergei Parajanov’s Hakop Hovnatanian (1967) and Vartanov’s
Paradjanov: The Last Spring (1992). Read More »

Simon Aboud – Come Here Today (2008)

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Alex takes on a poignant journey that examines his relationships with lover, brother and mother on his way to an emotional reconciliation with his father. Alex’s take on life is surprisingly crystal clear for a man who has lived life to the full. It is only in the moment of death that one can truly grasp the meaning of life. ~imdb Read More »