Larry Gottheim – Four Shadows (1978)

Like constellations wheeling round, a double chain of four image segments and four sound segments wheel past each other in sixteen combinations (a family of Gibbon apes, a landscape measured, a shadowed diagram after Paul Cézanne, a wintry urban scene, a text by William Wordsworth, a climactic scene from Claude Debussy’s opera “Pelleas et Melisande”). The stately ceremony can generate rich sensuous cinematic pleasure as well as a free-flowing stream of associations. Containment and flowing free, these are some of the issues. The third film in the Elective Affinities cycle. Continue reading

Philippe Falardeau – La Moitié Gauche Du Frigo AKA The Left-Hand Side of the Fridge (2000)

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Christophe, a 30-year-old unemployed engineer, gets a proposition by his roommate to do a documentary on his job searching. Amused by the idea, Christophe accepts to be filmed daily. But what was initially conceived as a short-term project stretches into months with tensions mounting as Christophe’s employment prospects diminish and Stephane turns the documentary into full-time work.

The Left-Hand Side of the Fridge is a funny and engaging look on how unemployment affects our lives.
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Peter Davis – Hearts and Minds (1974)

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Academy Award for Best Documentary (1975).

“We weren’t on the wrong side. We were the wrong side.”

A courageous and startling film, Peter Davis’s landmark documentary Hearts and Minds unflinchingly confronts the United States’ involvement in Vietnam. Using a wealth of sources—from interviews to newsreels to documentary footage of the conflict at home and abroad—Davis constructs a powerfully affecting portrait of the disastrous effects of war. Explosive, persuasive, and shocking, Hearts and Minds is an overwhelming emotional experience and the controversial winner of the 1974 Academy Award for Best Documentary. Continue reading

Vladimir Carvalho – O País de São Saruê AKA The Land Of São Saruê & 3 shorts (1971)

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Plot Outline: Documentary about a region in Northeast Brazil, situated in an area subject to severe drought, and the evolution of its economic activities.

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The Land Of São Saruê, one of the most important Brazilian documentaries, was produced in 1970. It was banned by censorship until 1979 when it wasselected for the Brasilia Festival and wont the jury prize. The film, now restored, was hot in 16mm and then copied onto 35mm. The 16mm original has disappeared. The restoration was made using the extant 35mm internegative. The treatment given to the original sound generated a new re-equalized and remixed sound negative. Within the constraints of an optical restoration the restorers tired to eliminate imperfections caused by improper handling and storage. Due to the poor conditions of the original material some scenes couldn’t be totally restored. This optical restoration will enable such defects to be minimized through digital treatment in the future. Restoration was made from March 2003 through September 2004 by Francisco Sergio Moreira, under the supervision of the original director, Vlamidir Carvalho with Myrna Brandão and Carlos Augosto Brandão from the Brazilian Cinema Researchers’ Center. Continue reading

Thomas Heise – Vaterland AKA Fatherland (2002)

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“Vaterland” is a key work in Thomas Heise’s filmography. In the beginning a voice over reads the letters his father Wolfgang and his brother sent their family from a labour camp. When they were 19 they had been sentenced to a labour camp for so-called «jüdische Mischlinge», Jewish half-breed. The camp was located in Straguth, in the surroundings of Zerbst, State of Saxony-Anhalt. At the time of the shooting the village counted about 290 inhabitants. Maybe the most «Fordian» movie by Thomas Heise. Continue reading

Celine Danhier – Blank City (2010)

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Directed by French newcomer Celine Danhier, BLANK CITY captures the idiosyncratic, explosive energy of the “No Wave Cinema” and “Cinema of Transgression” movements. Stark and provocative, the films drew name and inspiration from the French New Wave, as well as Film Noir, and the works of Andy Warhol and John Waters. Filmmakers such as Jim Jarmusch, Eric Mitchell, Beth B, Charlie Ahearn, Lizzie Borden and Amos Poe showcased the city’s vibrant grit, and bore witness to the rising East Village art and rock scenes and the birth of hip hop. Short, long, color or black-and-white, their stripped-down films portrayed themes of alienation and dissonance with a raw and genuine spirit, at times with deadpan humor or blurring lines between fiction and reality. From Amos Poe’s enigmatic The FOREIGNER to James Nares’ comedic ROME 78 to Beth B & Scott B’s political BLACK BOX — the No Wave Movement was as varied as it was lively. Continue reading