Nae Caranfil – Filantropica AKA Philanthropy (2002)

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ALLMOVIE:
Nae Caranfil’s Filantropica (Philanthropy) is a comedy about a man attempting to live beyond his means. Ovidiu (Mircea Diaconu) is a teacher and struggling writer who still resides with his parents. He falls in love with Diana (Viorica Voda), the sister of one of his students. In order to impress her he agrees to a scam thought up by the roguish Pepe (Gheorghe Dinica). The scam involves Ovidiu pretending to be married to Miruna (Mara Nicolescu). — Perry Seibert

IMDB:
Charity Theme Too Close to Home, 25 January 2003
Author: (sjwegg@sympatico.ca) from St. Catahrines, Ontario

Director Nae Caranfil wasn’t short of Romanian anecdotes and stories before the screening of his fourth feature film when I saw it at the Palm Springs International Film Festival: Q: What’s the difference between a Romania pessimist and optimist; A: “The pessimist says, ‘Things couldn’t possibly get worse;’ the optimist says ‘Oh yes they can.'” And when those attending revealed their knowledge of his native country was confined to the birthplace of Dracula, we were assured, with a knowing grin, that the film to follow would be “a dark, hopeless, miserable comedy.” Well, three out of four isn’t bad! Continue reading

Quentin Dupieux – Réalité AKA Reality (2014)

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Quote:
Quentin Dupieux is stuck in a time warp. His new film “Reality” has a texture so washed out that it looks like it was shot in 1974 and has just been unearthed from some film vault in Paris. This is no accident. “Reality,” just like his hilarious killer tire movie “Rubber,” is an unapologetic tribute to B-movies — especially those with a high-concept plot, a dash of science fiction and actors determinedly chewing up the set.

There are several plot strands that come together like elegantly crafted origami. It’s only by watching each fold intertwine that we arrive at the beautiful final product. Continue reading

Vittorio De Sica – Teresa Venerdì (1941)

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Plot Synopsis from allmovie.com

Doctor Beware was the U.S.-released title of Vittorio DeSica’s 1941 effort Teresa Venerdi. DeSica not only directed, but played the leading role of orphanage official Dr. Vignali. The thinnish storyline finds the good doctor becoming romantically involved with three women. It is up to orphaned girl Teresa Venerdi (Adriana Benedetti) to untangle all the plot lines–and, as a bonus, to come to the financial rescue of the improvident Vignali. When the film was released to the U.S. in 1951, supporting actress Anna Magnani, cast in a secondary role as one of Dr. Vignali’s amours, was given star billing. Continue reading

Sacha Guitry – Le Roman d’un Tricheur AKA Confessions of a Cheat (1936)

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Synopsis
The story of the cheat begins and ends with personal misfortune. When he was a young boy, our hero was caught stealing money from the family shop. As a punishment, he was not allowed to join his family on their picnic. They ate mushrooms and died of food poisoning, he survived and was placed in the care of his unscrupulous aunt and uncle, who intended to rob him of his inheritance. Years later, our hero ends up as a croupier in a casino at Morocco. There, he is about to embark at what looks like being a very lucrative career – as a professional cheat. Continue reading

Roy Andersson – En duva satt på en gren och funderade på tillvaron AKA A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence (2014)

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Synopsis:
Like modern times’ Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, Sam and Jonathan, two travelling salesmen peddling novelty items, take us on a kaleidoscopic wandering through human destinies. A trip that shows us the beauty of single moments, the pettiness of others, the humour and tragedy that is in us, life’s grandeur as well as frailty of humanity. A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence was Awarded Golden Lion for Best Film at the 2014 Venice International Film Festival. Continue reading