Damián Szifrón – Relatos Salvajes AKA Wild Tales (2014)

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A story about love deception, the return of the past, a tragedy, or even the violence contained in an everyday detail, appear themselves to push them towards the abyss, into the undeniable pleasure of losing control.

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The first ten minutes of Argentina’s Wild Tales, nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at this year’s Oscars, perfectly set you up for the experience you are about to have. A woman boards an airplane, then strikes up a conversation with the man across the aisle from her. It turns out he knows her ex-boyfriend. So does the woman seated in front of him. So does everyone else on the plane. It’s too much to be a coincidence, and it’s not. The guy they all know is the pilot; his passengers are people who have done him wrong. The scene ends with a stunning Twilight Zone-esque twist, then segues into an opening credits sequence set against photos of wild, often predatory animals. Writer/director Damian Szifron grabs you by the throat from the get-go, then proceeds to deliver a dazzling ride. Continue reading

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Aki Kaurismäki – La Vie de bohème AKA The Bohemian Life (1992) (HD)

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Based on the same 19th-century novel (Henri Murger’s Scenes de la Vie de Boheme) that inspired Puccini’s opera, the story is about three down-and-out losers doomed to penury and artistic obsession. There’s Albanian painter Rodolfo (Matti Pellonpää), playwright Marcel (Andre Wilms) and composer Schaunard (Kari Väänänen). Their problems are exactly the same: no rent or food money and the futile struggle to be recognized.

It doesn’t help Marcel that he refuses to reduce his 21-act play to commercial size or that the chances of Schaunard’s latest work making it (it’s called The Influence of Blue on Art) seem remote. Continue reading

Jacques Becker – Les aventures d’Arsène Lupin AKA The Adventures of Arsène Lupin (1957)

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Synopsis
The great gentleman thief, Arsène Lupin, engages in a series of daring schemes to deprive his wealthy countrymen of rare jewels and priceless paintings. His activities arouse the interest of Kaiser William II of Germany who arranges for Lupin to be kidnapped and brought to his castle. The Kaiser offers Lupin a challenge: to steal a jewel of great value from a secret hiding place. Should Lupin accept the wager? Continue reading

Jessica Hausner – Amour Fou (2014)

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Synopsis:
Berlin, the Romantic Era. Young poet Heinrich wishes to conquer the inevitability of death through love, yet is unable to convince his sceptical cousin Marie to join him in a suicide pact. It is whilst coming to terms with this refusal, ineffably distressed by his cousin’s insensitivity to the depth of his feelings, that Heinrich meets Henriette, the wife of a business acquaintance. Heinrich’s subsequent offer to the beguiling young woman at first holds scant appeal, that is until Henriette discovers she is suffering from a terminal illness. AMOUR FOU is a “romantic comedy” based loosely on the suicide of the poet Henrich von Kleist in 1811. Continue reading

Géla Babluani & Temur Babluani – L’Héritage AKA Legacy (2006)

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“Three French hipsters and their translator travel through rural Georgia to claim a remote, ruined castle that one of them has inherited. En route, they encounter an old man and his grandchild who are on a journey to carry out a mysterious, morbid ritual designed to end a conflict between warring clans.” Continue reading