Lukas Schrank – Nowhere Line: Voices from Manus Island (2015)

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Nowhere Line: Voices from Manus Island is an animated short film, which tells the stories of two men, currently detained in Australia’s notorious Manus Island Offshore Processing Centre. In October 2014, director Lukas Schrank made phone contact with the men who were able to tell their stories from within the compound. Their interviews offer a chilling insight into the reality of life for the 2000 people currently being held in Australia’s offshore detention centres Their stories are the voice of the film, guiding the animation through the backstreets of Jakarta, across the sea and deep into the fenced facility of the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre Continue reading

François Truffaut – Une belle fille comme moi AKA A Gorgeous Bird Like Me (1972)

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François Truffaut’s Une belle fille comme moi is a pitch-black comedy of sexual exploitation in which who’s doing the exploiting and who’s getting exploited is neatly reversed. Camille (Bernadette Lafont) is the subject of a “sociological thesis” on criminal women, being written by Stanislas Prévine (André Dussollier), a hapless professorial type who listens to Camille’s jailhouse confessions with great interest. Camille has had a tough life, it seems, always being desired and exploited by the men she meets, who only want her for sex. Camille, of course, relentlessly turns this state of affairs to her advantage, letting these men take her to bed and have their way with her, while ruthlessly exploiting them in turn, taking their money and plotting various criminal acts surrounding her multiple affairs. Camille is in jail, it seems, for the one crime she actually didn’t commit, but there’s no lack of criminality in this femme fatale. While Stanislas analyzes her in terms of her unhappy childhood and her bad luck in relationships, suggesting various repressed psychological reasons for her bad behavior, Stanislas’ good-girl secretary Hélène (Anne Kreis) asks him to consider the possibility that this girl is just a “tramp.” Continue reading

Stefano Sollima – Suburra (2015)

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About
A gangster known as “Samurai” wants to turn the waterfront of Rome into a new Las Vegas. All the local mob bosses have agreed to work for this common goal. But peace is not to last long.
In 2011, Ostia is the subject of a giant real estate project intended to make the harbor of Ancient Rome the Las Vegas of today. But the place soon becomes a battlefield where criminals and politicians either join forces cynically or fight each other ruthlessly. The infernal showdown will last seven days, claiming many lives. Continue reading

François Truffaut – Vivement dimanche! AKA AKA Confidentially Yours (1983)

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French director Francois Truffaut’s newest film is a tribute to American film noir. It is based on a 1962 novel by Charles Williams that blends mystery and comedy genres. Jean-Louis Trintignant plays Julien, a real estate agent who finds himself under suspicion for the murder of a friend. When his wife is killed shortly afterwards, Julien goes into hiding.
Barbara (Fanny Ardant), his feisty secretary who secretly loves him despite his penchant for beautiful blondes, volunteers to help clear his name. Donning a trench coat appropriate for the challenge at hand, she sallies forth on her own investigation. She soon discovers confusing clues and meets sinister figures, including a pimp, a movie-house cashier, a priest, and a smooth talking lawyer. Continue reading

Dino Risi – In nome del popolo italiano AKA In the Name of the Italian People (1971)

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Synopsis:
Set in Rome and its surroundings, the film tells in a frighteningly realistic, ruthless and grotesque the evil of two powerful men of Italy in the seventies: a Director of illegal buildings (Vittorio Gassman), extremist fascist, and an upright judge, cynical looking in part to the Italian law (Ugo Tognazzi). Both can not stand each other, given the contrasts between the two men in any social, political and philosophical. Everyone hates each other and would like to delete it, but just because of the bad example that the two men give power to the people, many Italians are adversely affected because of cheating and rudeness of the fascist manufacturer and the communist magistrate. The director Dino Risi underlines the misdeeds and the weakness of the Italian people to react accordingly, by focusing on the story of these two men who are each other’s opposite of the net. Continue reading

Yves Boisset – Un condé Aka Blood On My Hands AKA The Cop (1970)

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Synopsis:
‘Dassa, a bar owner who refuses to sell drugs to his customers, is killed by men working for Tavernier, a gangster known as Le Mandarin. Dassas’s sister Hélène is also in danger, for the same reasons. Inspector Favenin and the young inspector Barnero are put in charge of the case. Dan Rover, one of Dassa’s friends, engages the services of a man named Viletti to kill Tavernier. Another man, Raymond, is willing to provide an alibi if necessary. Barnero has grown disillusioned with his job and wants to leave the police service, but first he intends to arrest Tavernier. One day, Favenin and Barnero fail to prevent Viletti from killing Tavernier, and Barnero gets himself killed in the process. Favenin is given permission by his superior to continue the investigation alone. What nobody realises is that Favenin is ready to act without mercy and employ some very unconventional methods to achieve his aims…’
– Henri Willems Continue reading

Jacques Audiard – Dheepan (2015)

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Dheepan is a Tamil freedom fighter, a Tiger. In Sri Lanka, the Civil War is reaching its end, and defeat is near. Dheepan decides to flee, taking with him two strangers – a woman and a little girl – hoping that they will make it easier for him to claim asylum in Europe. Arriving in Paris, the ‘family’ moves from one temporary home to another until Dheepan finds work as the caretaker of a run-down housing block in the suburbs. He works to build a new life and a real home for his ‘wife’ and his ‘daughter’, but the daily violence he confronts quickly reopens his war wounds, and Dheepan is forced to reconnect with his warrior’s instincts to protect the people he hopes will become his true family. Continue reading