Thomas Cailley – Les combattants aka Love at First Fight (2014)

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It’s summer and Arnaud begins work for the family business, building garden sheds with his brother. Meeting under unusual circumstances, he becomes fascinated with the surly Madeleine.
Obsessed by survival and gripped by prophecies of doom, Madeleine determines to join an elite commando unit. Arnaud follows. As they begin at an army training camp, their bodies and emotions are put to the test.
An improbable mix of teen-movie, rom-com, and pre-apocalypse film, stretching the limits of each genre. Continue reading

Ghasem Ebrahimian – The Suitors (1989)

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Quote:
A young Iranian woman fends for herself in America in spite of the wishes of her newfound friends after her husband is accidentally killed.

Review
From the NY Times:

Before we are 15 minutes into ”The Suitors,” this dark satire reveals the dangers of slaughtering sheep in a bathtub. A quirky first feature written and directed by Ghasem Ebrahimian, who was born in Iran and who settled in the United States in the 1970’s, the film also takes a sharp, affectionate view of Iranian immigrants trying to merge their traditions with Manhattan living. Continue reading

Leonid Gaidai – Ivan Vasilevich menyaet professiyu AKA Ivan Vasilyevich Changes Occupation (1973)

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Ivan Vasilyevich Changes Occupation

An unconventional comedy based on M. Bulgakov’s play, “Ivan Vassilevich,” when inventor, Timofeev builds a time machine, things go awry. Tsar Ivan the Terrible comes into the year 1973, while Ivan Bunsha, an apartment complex manager, and George Miloslavsky, a petty burglar, are transferred to 16th century Moscow accidentally. Continue reading

Georgi Daneliya – Osenniy marafon AKA Autumn Marathon (1979)

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Synopsis:

A gentle, bittersweet tragicomedy, Autumn Marathon is about a middle-aged translator, Andrei Buzykin (Oleg Basilashvili), whose almost pathological niceness has trapped him in a seemingly endless series of awkward situations: his inability to turn anyone down has left him juggling a wife and mistress, on top of vast amounts of additional work usually done as unpaid favours for friends and students that’s constantly interfering with his own projects to the point where his career is put at risk.

And because he can’t bear to hurt anyone, he’s always taking the easy way out – which invariably means constructing a vast edifice of lies that he can’t possibly keep track of, which has the equally inevitable side-effect of turning a fundamentally decent if weak-willed man into what looks like the epitome of a philandering boor. Half the time, his excuses are entirely genuine – he really did help his Danish friend Bill Hansen (Norbert Kuchinke) at a drying-out clinic, and stayed up all night with his less talented colleague Varvara (Galina Volchek) to help her on a difficult translation, but this counts for little when he’s so widely disbelieved. The title refers to his regular early morning jogging sessions with Bill – again, he’d much rather be doing something else, like staying in bed, but how can he possibly say no? Continue reading

Gillian Robespierre – Obvious Child (2014)

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quote:
Gillian Robespierre’s Obvious Child managed two great feats in one film: it announced Jenny Slate as a strong actor to watch and, more importantly, turned in a great romantic dramedy surrounding the topic of abortion. The film wasn’t a polemic or political diatribe, nor did it toss off the subject matter flippantly. Instead, Obvious Child addressed various aspects of love, modern adulthood, and the implications of parenthood and abortions with aplomb. As written by Robespierre, the film was as light and hilarious as could be expected while doing an impressive balancing act by being sensitive to the realistic decisions women face. It helped too that the cast turned in performances perfectly in keeping with the tone of the film: they were sad without being soul-wrenchingly sad and funny without being glib or quirky about it. But above all else, Slate’s performance and Robespierre’s film were pleasingly human.
-TinyMixTapes (#20 on their “Favorite 30 Films of 2014″ list) Continue reading

Georgi Daneliya – Afonya (1976)

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Quote:
The 1975 film by Georgi Daneliya “Afonya” was an unexpected commercial hit in USSR. The main character Borshev A.N. is a locksmith who spends his free time, as well as working hours, drinking with his buddies whom he even doesn’t recognize the next day after another heavy drink. His wife leaves him, his boss places him on probation, his whole life is falling a part but he doesn’t realize it. There is only one person who can save him – nurse Katya whom he met on dances and didn’t pay much attention to… Daneliya manages to balance in the film satire and drama, quotes from the film gained a cult status in Russia and other former countries of USSR. Written by Pavel P. Continue reading