Ki-duk Kim – Arirang (2011)

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Korean filmmaker Kim Ki-duk bares his tortured, inebriated soul in “Arirang,” and it’s not a pretty sight. An experience that can be likened only to being stuck next to a drunk in a bar who keeps reminding you he used to be famous, all his friends are bastards and he now understands the meaning of life, pic might have proved therapeutic to make, but it’s a grind to watch, even for fans of the maverick writer-director’s work. Kim’s rep will inevitably ensure further fest bookings for what is essentially one long whine, but theatrical distribution anywhere looks highly unlikely. Continue reading

Frederick Wiseman – Crazy Horse (2011)

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Synopsis
Celebrated documentary director Frederick Wiseman spent ten weeks with his camera exploring one of the most mythic places dedicated to women, ‘CRAZY HORSE’. This legendary Parisian cabaret club, founded in 1951 by Alain Bernardin, has become, over the years the Parisian nightlife ‘must’ for any visitors, ranking alongside the Eiffel tower and the Louvre.

Wiseman’s impeccable eye allows us to enter into this intriguing international temple of the Parisian club world and to discover what makes the CRAZY HORSE tick: elegance, perfectionism and a grueling schedule (with 2 shows a night and 3 on Saturdays, 7 days a week). The film takes us to the final curtain up, and the unveiling of the brand new show. DESIR is created by the greatest French choreographer Philippe DECOUFFLE and is an artistic, modern, humorous and colorful outburst that is the pinnacle of ‘NUDE CHIC’. Continue reading

Göran Olsson – The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 (2011)

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The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975

“You’re either part of the solution or part of the problem,” Eldridge Cleaver is often quoted: as documentaries go, “The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975″ solves a few common production problems with its origins, drawing on a splendid cache of black-and-white and color 16mm interviews, shot in the United States by Swedish journalists with a seemingly radical bent, and unearthed in 2005. (To paraphrase another figure, this potential revolution was televised, even if only in Scandinavia.) Göran Hugo Olsson’s documentary of fierce, open exchanges with Black Power Movement figures captures the moment’s intensity (and intermittent naiveté) from its subjects, including Stokely Carmichael, Bobby Seale, Angela Davis, Cleaver and William Kunstler. (The crispness of the long-unseen footage is startling.) Earnest activism and protest meet setbacks, as the historical record already shows. Yet these curious Swedes, gaining the trust of their subjects, captured invaluable, contemporary reflections of a turbulent time, after the early days of the civil rights movement, when filling the streets was thought a way to prompt societal change. Continue reading

Byambasuren Davaa – Das Lied von den zwei Pferden AKA The Two Horses of Genghis Khan (2009)

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Summary
A promise, an old, destroyed horse head violin and a song believed lost lead the singer Urna back to Outer Mongolia. Her grandmother was forced to destroy her once loved violin in the tumult of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. The ancient song of the Mongols, “The Two Horses of Genghis Khan”, was engraved on the violin’s neck. Only the violin’s neck and head survived the cultural storm. Now it is time to fulfill the promise that Urna made to her grandmother. Arrived in Ulan Bator, Urna brings the still intact parts of the violin – head and neck – to Hicheengui, a renowned maker of horse head violins, who will build a new body for the old instrument in the coming weeks. Then, Urna leaves for the interior to look there for the song’s missing verses. But she will be disappointed. None of the people whom she meets on the way appears to still know the old melody of the Mongols. Written by silke Continue reading

Albert Serra & Lisandro Alonso – Correspondencia: Albert Serra & Lisandro Alonso (2011)

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the original dvdr announce wrote:
This filmic exchange is based on two works that reflect on the way each director films, on the crew and the actors, on the way they see and make cinema. Albert Serra took the characters of Honor de Cavalleria and his regular team of collaborators to follow in the steps of Quixote. Lisandro Alonso returned to La Pampa province to film his work, for which he recalls Misael Saavedra, the lead of his first film, La Libertad. Continue reading

Colin K. Gray – Freedom’s Fury (2006)

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Freedom’s Fury is a documentary about the Hungarian water polo team of the 1956 Melbourne Olympics and the the effects of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution on the lives of the team members, with their infamous match with the Soviet team in the main focus.
The film is made up of a series of archive and recreated footage and short snippets of interviews with people directly or indirectly involved with the revolution or water polo. The material discussed is perhaps a little too extensive to fit into a ninety-minute-long documentary, but the interviews with the surviving members of both Hungarian and Soviet teams make Freedom’s Fury a memorable viewing experience. Continue reading

Agnès Varda – Agnès de ci de là Varda (2011)

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Quote:

La cinéaste a longé des fleuves inconnus, filmé des élagueurs d’amendoeiras à Copacabana, exploré des lieux oubliés comme les Watts Towers à Los Angeles ou une friche artistique sur une terrasse à Saint-Pétersbourg…
Son projet ? Filmer la vie et l’art contemporain là où il se trouve (musées, expositions, biennales), en donnant la parole à des artistes comme Soulages, Boltanski, Messager, Barcelo, Pierrick Sorin ou bien à d’autres comme Monsieur Bouton de Lyon, ou Kikie Crêvecoeur de Bruxelles.
Croisés en route, Manuel de Oliveira improvise une danse au Portugal et Carlos Reygadas évoque ses parties de foot au Mexique…
Des carnets de voyages dans lesquels Agnès Varda se livre entre deux entretiens, avant d’assembler, de façon originale, sa récolte d’images et d’impressions. Un cinéma plein de fantaisie, d’humour et de talent, de-ci de-là. (arte.tv) Continue reading