Eran Riklis – The Syrian Bride (2004)

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In Majdal Shams, the largest Druze village in Golan Heights on the Israeli-Syrian border, the Druze bride Mona is engaged to get married with Tallel, a television comedian that works in the Revolution Studios in Damascus, Syria. They have never met each other because of the occupation of the area by Israel since 1967; when Mona moves to Syria, she will lose her undefined nationality and will never be allowed to return home. Mona’s father Hammed is a political activist pro-Syria that is on probation by the Israeli government. His older son Hatten married a Russian woman eight years ago and was banished from Majdal Shams by the religious leaders and his father. His brother Marwan is a wolf trader that lives in Italy. His sister Amal has two teenager daughters and has the intention to join the university, but her marriage with Amin is in crisis. When the family gathers for Mona’s wedding, an insane bureaucracy jeopardizes the ceremony. Continue reading

Mariano Cohn & Gastón Duprat – El ciudadano ilustre AKA The Distinguished Citizen (2016)

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After refusing big and prestigious awards all over the world, Mr. Mantovani, Literature Nobel Prize winner, accepts an invitation to visit his hometown in Argentina, which has been the inspiration for all of his books. It turns out that accepting this invitation is the worse idea of his life. Expect the unexpected when you have used real people as characters in your novels! Continue reading

Sergio Corbucci – Totò, Peppino e la dolce vita (1961)

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Plot (Babelfish translation):
Antonio goes to Rome, the great city center of the ” dolce vita”, with the money collected from the fellow countrymen, in order to spend them on a project: To construct a freeway for the home town. But the countrymen do not have more news and they send Peppino to search for him. But when Peppino meet Antonio he is also dragged into metropolian habits and the sweet roman life, between beautiful actresses, cocaine exchanged for borotalco (?) and orgies. The town folks impatiently await news… Continue reading

James L. Brooks – Broadcast News (1987)

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Review (Sarah Goodman, DVD Bits)
Writer, director and producer James L. Brooks, notably best known as a producer of The Simpsons, provides a satirical look at the world of television news, coupled with an absorbing character-driven romantic comedy in his 1987 feature Broadcast News. Focusing on the operations of a national network news program, the film follows the intercrossing paths of handsome anchorman Tom Grunick (William Hurt), passionate genius producer Jane Craig (Holly Hunter), and undervalued star reporter Aaron Altman (Albert Brooks) as they navigate their way through the treacherous journalistic jungle that is prime-time news. Continue reading

François Truffaut – La nuit américaine AKA Day For Night (1973)

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Quote:
Known to English-speaking audiences as Day for Night, La nuit américaine was director François Truffaut’s loving and humorous tribute to the communal insanity of making a movie. The film details the making of a family drama called “Meet Pamela” about the tragedy that follows when a young French man introduces his parents to his new British wife. Truffaut gently satirizes his own films with “Meet Pamela”‘s overwrought storyline, but the real focus is on the chaos behind the scenes. One of the central actresses is continually drunk due to family problems, while the other is prone to emotional instability, and the male lead (Truffaut regular Jean-Pierre Leaud) starts to act erratically when his intermittent romance with the fickle script girl begins to fail. In addition to all this personal drama, the film is besieged by technical problems, from difficult tracking shots to stubborn animal actors. The inspiration for future satires of movie-making from Living in Oblivion to Irma Vep, La nuit américaine was considered slight by some critics in comparison to earlier Truffaut masterworks, but it went on to win the 1973 Oscar for Best Foreign Film. Continue reading

Cédric Klapisch – L’Auberge espagnole AKA The Spanish Apartment (2002)

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A new housemate, Isabel, a lesbian, teaches Xavier about the moves and touches that most appeal to women and he tries them out on Anne-Sophie, the neurologist’s wife who eagerly submits to his advances. The film, however, has a larger theme: learning to discover our true self, not the one parents or teachers expect us to be. The experience allows Xavier to get in touch with his own creative energies and reminds him of his childhood longing to become a writer. While L’Auberge Espanole never explores any character in much depth and the camera tricks can become tiresome, it has intelligence, fun, and exuberance and, with Barcelona scintillating in the background, rekindles the time when life was an adventure of discovery. Continue reading

Hal Ashby – The Landlord (1970)

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Quote:
At the age of twenty-nine, Elgar Enders “runs away” from home. This running away consists of buying a building in a black ghetto in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn. Initially his intention is to evict the black tenants and convert it into a posh flat. But Elgar is not one to be bound by yesterday’s urges, and soon he has other thoughts on his mind. He’s grown fond of the black tenants and particularly of Fanny, the wife of a black radical; he’s maybe fallen in love with Lanie, a mulatto girl; he’s lost interest in redecorating his home. Joyce, his mother has not relinquished this interest and in one of the film’s most hilarious sequences gives her Master Charge card to Marge, a black tenant and appoints her decorator. Continue reading