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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Synopsis:

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

João Vladimiro – Lacrau (2013)

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If the scorpion could see and the viper could hear, there would be no escape”. The viper is deaf and the scorpion can’t see, so it is and so shall be, the same way the countryside is peaceful and the city bustling and the human being impossible to satisfy. Lacrau demands the return “to the curve where man got lost” in a journey from the city towards nature. The escape from chaos and emotional void we call progress; matter without spirit, without will. The search for the most ancient sensations and relationships of mankind. The amazement, the fear of the unknown, the loss of basic comforts, loneliness, the meeting with the other, the other animal, the other vegetable. A dive looking for a connection with the world. Where beginning and end are the same, but I am not. (João Vladimiro) Continue reading

Fernando Lopes – Uma Abelha na Chuva AKA A Bee in the Rain (1972)

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This Portuguese drama examines the daily life minutiae and intrigues of two scions of society in the rural village where they live. One is a wealthy landowner, the other a widowed aristocrat who lives in a world of her own. “Starting off from a fine novel by Carlos de Oliveira, Fernando Lopes doesn’t so mush reconstitute a story, but rather defines an atmosphere parallel to that which exists in the literary work. The erosion of time, the crumbling of an epoch, the decline of a stately home, the disintegration of emotions: the film version of A Bee in the Rain talks about all these things, using a language that is sparse and unpolished, fascinating and at the same time repulsive in its disturbing silence” (Lauro Antonio). Continue reading