Manoel de Oliveira – Aniki Bóbó (1942)

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The story takes place in the old streets of Porto and by the banks of the Douro River. A gang of very young kids has just accepted a new member, Carlitos, a shy boy who has “played it tough” by stealing a doll in a shop. Carlitos soon develops a crush on Terezinha,the only girl of the group. The trouble is that Eduardo, the “boss”, is also in love with the pretty little girl. And he will not allow any rival to challenge him… Continue reading

Franz Novotny – Exit… nur keine Panik AKA Exit… But No Panic (1980)

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The Year is 1980 and it’s Summer in Vienna

Most people outside of Austria will rarely get a chance to see this movie, but if you get a chance like this, don’t let it pass as you as you’re on for a real treat. ‘Exit’ is not just an Austrian cult movie, it’s a funny and at the same time disturbing and at times depressing look into Vienna in the 80’s. This is “the” movie parents in 1980’s Austria did not want their kids to see.

Viennese crook and would-be playboy Kirchhoff dreams of owning his own coffee house and having lots of beautiful women. In order to reach his goal, he is sometimes compelled to leave the straight and narrow.

Comedy, violence, sex and vandalism are the ingredients of this Austrian cult classic. Continue reading

Manoel de Oliveira – Francisca (1981)

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Portuguese director Manoel de Oliveira made this amazing film in 1981, at the age of 72; as powerful as it is stark, it suggests a blending of the modernist, minimalist techniques of Jean-Marie Straub with the elusive spiritual subject matter of Max Ophuls. In 19th-century Portugal, a rising young novelist falls in love with the daughter of an English army officer, provoking the obscure envy of an aristocratic friend, who resolves to marry the girl himself and make her suffer for her betrayal. The baroque plot is presented in a series of single-take tableaux, which do not attempt to embody the drama as much as allude to it, leaving the dense and passionate feelings to take shape entirely in the spectator’s mind. Oliveira limits himself to showing only what can truly be shown: not the story but a representation of the story, not the emotions but their material manifestations as they have crossed the decades. A masterpiece of the modern cinema, difficult but extremely rewarding.

Review by Dave Kehr of the Chicago Reader: Continue reading

Steve Connelly – Americana (1992)

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Imdb
User Review

Fat, Dumb and Rich
23 May 2007 | by mar9 (Newcastle, Australia)

The three nouns above were the episode titles for this 3-part documentary about the USA. “Fat” is naturally about food, and it’s no surprise to find that the portions from the perspective of an austere Englishman are mind-bogglingly huge. As are the people who eat them. “Dumb” is basically a road trip through the some of the stranger sights the US has to offer, and the stranger people who populate them. “Rich” is an exploration of the US lifestyle for those fortunate enough to be able to afford it, and the answer is that it’s pretty fine. Jonathan Ross is the perfect presenter for this show that proves that it is impossible to exaggerate the weirdness that is life in America. He gives his subjects free rein to be as mad as they obviously are, and participates wholeheartedly. Part 1 in particular is a good companion piece to “Supersize Me” and the other episodes are somewhat reminiscent of Michael Moore when he’s not being irritating and invading office foyers and boardrooms. Find “Americana”, watch it. It’s good. Continue reading

João Botelho – Quem És Tu? AKA Who Are You? (2001)

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Aged 13, Maria Noronha is an estremely pale and fragil girl, sick with tubercolosis. In order to alleviate her suffering, she gathers poppies from her garden, and at night puts them on the pillows on her bed. But the poppies have a devastating effect. Her deep sleep is disturbed by terrible ghosts and hallucinations: about the decadence of the Portuguese XVII century, the Jesuits’s power and the terrible Inquisition. Continue reading

Philippe Garrel – La cicatrice intérieure AKA The Inner Scar (1972)

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This is a highly experimental French film consisting of no more than 23 camera shots, total. It resembles nothing so much as one of Warhol’s earlier films, except that it is more episodic. Nico of the Velvet Underground portrays a different woman in each of the episodes. The first three concern her “rescues” from Death Valley, Egypt and Iceland by a young man to whom she eventually says “stay away from me.” Following that, she recites from various texts in German, French and English, makes various gnomic observations and encounters various men in various guises. All the men are played either by director Philippe Garrel or Pierre Clementi.

~ Clarke Fountain, Rovi Continue reading