Arthouse

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)

Quote:

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 »

Aleksandr Dovzhenko – The Cultural Heritage [Disc 1] (1926 – 1928)

Love’s Berries 1926
The mistress of hairdresser Jean Kovbasyuk throws a baby up to him. Jean decides in any method to be delivered from a “natural” child…Getting a call to the judicial investigator, Kovbasyuk is given up to search a child. A mistress labours for in the court of people’s “justice”. However much it turns out after registration of marriage, that Jean and in actual fact was not the father of child. But lately… Read More »

Aleksandr Dovzhenko – Arsenal (The Cultural Heritage) [Disc 2] (1928)

In Arsenal, Alexander Dovzhenko, perhaps the most radical of the Soviet directors of the silent period, altered the already extended conventions of cinematic structure to a degree greater than had even the innovative Sergei Eisenstein in his bold October. The effect of this tinkering with the more or less accepted proprieties of motion picture construction produced a work that is actually less a film than it is a highly symbolic visual poem. For example, in a more linearly structured piece like October, the metaphors, allusions, and analogies that arise through the construction of the various montages replace rather than comment on essential actions within the film. In Arsenal, however, the symbolism is so purposely esoteric, with seemingly deliberate barriers established to block the viewer’s perception, that the relationship of individual symbols or sequences to the various actions of the film is not immediately clear. Read More »