Jean-Pierre Limosin – Abbas Kiarostami – Verités et songes (1994)

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Description: This documentary by French director Jean-Pierre Limosin is the first Spanish edition of the renowned “Cinéma, de notre temps” series. In this episode, Abbas Kiarostami talks about his life and work. Summarising his approach to filmaking, Kiarostami said:

“A filmmaker has to be conscious about his responsibility. I always wish to remind the audience that they are watching a film. You see, it is very dangerous to make the audience more emotionally engaged than they need to be. In the darkness of the cinema, people are so innocent. It makes them feel that everything is closer and stronger. That is why we should not make them even more emotional: People need to think when they watch films, not to be robbed of their reason … I make half movies. The rest is up to the audience to create for themselves.” Continue reading

Abbas Kiarostami – ABC Africa (2001)

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Plot
Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami has often concerned himself with children striving to make the best of difficult circumstances, and this documentary finds him capturing a real-life corollary to the fictional tales of his best-known work. At the request of the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development, Kiarostami traveled to Africa to make a film about the work of the Uganda Women’s Effort to Save Orphans, a volunteer group established to provide food, shelter, and care for the more than one-and-a-half-million children left to fend for themselves in a nation torn apart by war, poverty, and the AIDS epidemic. While Kiarostami’s first visit was planned so he could see the country and map out what he would film, he brought along some digital video equipment, and upon arrival, he was so struck by what he saw that he immediately began to record the events around him, in which the tragedies of this struggling nation were contrasted with the warmth and boundless optimism of the children looking for a better life. (Mark Deming, All Movie Guide)
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Rupert and Ulrike Pöschl – Vimbuza Chilopa (1991)

“Shows different healing ceremonies among the Tumbuka of Malawi, who attribute illness (vimbuza) to spirit possession. Documents nightlong exorcism rituals of singing, clapping, and drumming during a full moon, culminating in an animal sacrifice (chilopa) at dawn. Portrays the interaction of patients, healers, and village community, and includes an interview with a patient” Continue reading

Gianni Celati – Strada Provinciale delle Anime (1991)

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Quote:
“First, some back­ground information on the making of the film. Celati had spoken for some time about his wish to make what he called a “pseudo-documentary.” That is, the “realism” of the documentary would be maintained in terms of overall structure and style, but the film would be constructed according to a highly self-conscious artistic vision. In a recent interview, Celati was asked what aspects of the documentary interest him the most, and he responded: “Non credo molto ai documentari, perché l’idea che le immagini ti mostrino davvero come è fatta la realtà appar­tiene a un modo di pensare che non è il mio. A me sembra che i documentari siano racconti come tutti gli altri. Però mi piace poco anche l’idea di ‘fiction’ in cui il cinema è irrimediabilmente incastrato” (“Il sentimento dello spazio” 25-26). Clearly, the mixing of “real” documentary and “fictional” art film forms acts on both, blurring the boundaries between life and art, internal and external. Continue reading

Eric Rohmer – Les Métamorphoses du paysage AKA Changing Landscapes (1964)

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One of Rohmer’s most obscure works (the IMDB’s is the only filmography which lists it), a black-and-white short film, “Changing Landscapes” (“Metamorphoses du paysage”), made for TV in 1964. It appears to be part of a series with the overall title Vers l’unité du monde: L’ère industrielle. It’s a series of shots of the countryside and its transformation into an urban landscape, with a voiceover (in French, subtitled into English). The end credits call it “Une émission de Maurice Schérer” (i.e. Rohmer, using a variation of his real name). The cinematography is credited to Pierre Lhomme, a DP of some distinction but one who never worked on any of Rohmer’s features. “Changing Landscapes” is full-frame, running 22:20. It’s in remarkably good condition, with only a few scratches here and there. This tele-essay will no doubt be much too dry for a general audience, but Rohmer fans and completists will be glad to have it. (DVDTimes) Continue reading

Isaac Julien – BaadAsssss Cinema: A Bold Look at ’70s Blaxploitation Films (2002)

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from rottentomatoes
“Produced by the Independent Film Channel (IFC), this documentary by filmmaker Isaac Julien takes a look at blaxploitation films, and the huge cult following that has built up around them. Interviews with some of the original actors and directors of the genre are featured, including Richard Roundtree, Pam Grier and Melvin Van Peebles; Latter day fan Quentin Tarantino also offers his opinions. The explosive mixture of incredible fashions, hairstyles, comedy, sex, action and music contained in these films has won millions of fans all over the globe, find out why in BAASASSSSS CINEMA!” Continue reading