Adolfo Arrieta – Flammes (1978)

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Synopsis: A girl’s obsession with firemen causes her to start a fire at her own home in order to trap a fireman in her room. The film features the last onscreen performance by Dionys Mascolo (writer, political activist, known for his voiceover in India Song and for his love affair with Marguerite Duras) and one of the earliest appearances of Pascal Greggory. Continue reading

Pedro Almodóvar – Volver (2006)

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There is no director alive more connected to the hearts, minds and mysteries of women than Spain’s Pedro Almodovar. With a string of masterworks stretching from Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown to All About My Mother and Talk to Her, Almodovar is a filmmaker worth following anywhere. In Volver (“return”), a movie that leaps off the screen to take its place in your dreams, the writer-director tells a ghost story that manages to include lust, incest, rape and murder. You’ll laugh, too — wildly, helplessly — because to Almodovar, laughter is life. Continue reading

Slobodan Sijan – Maratonci trce pocasni krug AKA The Marathon Family (1982)

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Sometimes handling the dead can be almost as difficult as handling the living, according to the Topalovic family and its many members — from great-grandparents on down. They are losing ground in the fight to keep their cemetery business from going under and have had to make a clandestine alliance with n’er-do-well entrepreneurs that will supply them with recycled coffins at a cheap price — an alliance that has kept the family in heavy debt to the grave-digging crooks. Meanwhile, young Mirko Topalovic has fallen in love with the daughter of one of the increasingly wealthy partners in the used coffin business. She works for a movie theater as a pianist (it is the era when silents are on the way out) and the owner of the theater has not yet fired her and switched to talkies because he wants her for himself. He suggests that they make a movie together — an erotic movie he thinks to himself — but seduction is his only goal. When Mirko starts to help out in this movie project, he comes to realize what is actually going on and overpowered by rage, he kills the woman and the theater owner. Puffed up with his aggressive deed, he goes home to convince the Topalovic family that they have to take up arms against the usurious grave-diggers — and a wild and bloody melée ensues that will determine the fate of the family. Jelisaveta Sablic won the “Best Actress” award at the 1982 Pula Film Festival for her role as the sought-after female lead in this film. ~ Eleanor Mannikka, All Movie Guide Continue reading

Krzysztof Zanussi – Barwy ochronne AKA Camouflage (1977)

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A group of students are spending the summer vacation at a university camp studying the science of linguistics. One of the camp directors, Jaroslaw, is a young professor who prefers the straightforward, intimate approach to students. He is opposed in his liberal views by Jakub, who likes to manipulate people. There is a confrontation from the beginning when Jaroslaw allows to attend the seminar a student who presents the views not according to the official line. In the end, a jury prize is given to mediocre paper, while the suspected school of thought still draws a recommendation. Finally the deputy rector arrives for the closing ceremonies, and since he disfavors the line of thought awarded by the recommendation the tensions rise. They climax when student in question bites the rector in the ear while receiving recommendation. The confrontation results in a scandal and the police is called in. Continue reading

Alain Guiraudie – Rester vertical AKA Staying vertical (2016)

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Filmmaker Leo is searching for the wolf in the south of France. During a scouting excursion he is seduced by Marie, a free-spirited and dynamic shepherdess. Nine months later she gives birth to their child. Suffering from post-natal depression and with no faith in Leo, who comes and goes without warning, Marie abandons both of them. Leo finds himself alone, with a baby to care for. Continue reading