Documentary

Harutyun Khachatryan – Sahman AKA The Border (2009)

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A poetic docu-drama based on real events witnessed by Armenian master Khachatryan. He reflects on the tragedy that befell his people during the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the 1990s, after the Soviet Union fell apart. He does so without words or indeed human protagonists, through the story of a buffalo who is found stuck in a ditch in the countryside. He is brought to a nearby farm where animals, farmers and refugees are gathered to hide and recover from the conflict. All regard him with great suspicion. We follow life on the farm and in the surrounding villages through the eyes of the buffalo over the course of a year, with the changing of the seasons and the slow rhythm of the place. (WARSAW FILM FESTIVAL) Read More »

Roland Klick – Deadlock [+Custom Extras] (1970)

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“DEADLOCK is fantastic. A bizarre, glowing film.” – Alejandro Jodorowsky

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!

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A Sort Of Modern German Version Of “The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly”, 11 September 2000
Author: jlabine von San Francisco

In 1970, it seems as if Roland Klick set out to emulate Sergio Leone’s “The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly”, mixing it with Michelangelo Antonioni’s “Zabriskie Point” to create a modern Sauerkraut Western (without horses, but rather a truck and a car). The story stars three characters, Marquard Bohm as the “Kid” (The Good), Siegurd Fitzek as “Mr. Sunshine” (The Bad), and Mario Adorf (can be seen in Dario Argento’s “The Bird With The Crystal Plumage” as the reclusive cat eating painter) as “Mr. Dump” (The Ugly) (who again plays a reclusive man who lives in a dump??). The story begins with the Kid, who has just pulled off a heist (with a bullet wound in the arm), and is carrying millions of dollars in a case. Wandering aimlessly through the sunbaked desert, (he finally passes out and is left for dead) until Mr. Dump drives along and finds him and the money. Once back at Mr. Dump’s residence (a sort of abandoned junk yard), the Kid warns Mr. Dump, that Mr. Sunshine (who apparently is the ringleader of this heist) will be coming for his money. Thus begins the cat and mouse story, of who will get the case of money. Mr. Dump also has two neighbors, an older (and apparently sexually crazy) woman and her pretty (but feral) daughter (who is obviously sexually curious of the Kid).
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Leonard Bernstein – Little Drummer Boy: Essay on Mahler by Leonard Bernstein (1985)

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Wow!–I just finished watching “The Little Drummer Boy.”
Previously I had thought that I knew quite a bit about Gustav Mahler, but Leonard Bernstein showed me more.

What Bernstein does is show you–through biographical commentary and excerpts from Mahler’s music–just what it was that made this masterful composer and conductor so obsessed with Life and Death.

Yes, part of it was Mahler’s being born Jewish, and part was seeing so many of his brothers and sisters die so early in life. But Bernstein shows us how Mahler was, like most of us, striving to try to come to terms with life–to understand why death has to come and deprive us of the joys of life.

To give you an idea of how concrete, knowledgeable and specific this program is, Lenny takes a few minutes, using musical excerpts, to illustrate how there is a funeral march in each of Mahler’s nine symphonies. Read More »

Victor A. Turin – Turksib [+Extras] (1929)

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Turksib: bold and exhilarating, Turksib charts the building of the Turkestan-Siberian railway. Presented in the English version prepared in 1930 by John Grierson, with an evocative new score by Guy Bartell (Bronnt Industries Kapital). Read More »

Thom Andersen – Get Out of the Car (2010)

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Get Out of the Car is a response to my last movie, Los Angeles Plays Itself. I called Los Angeles Plays Itself a ‘city symphony in reverse’ in that it was composed of fragments from other films read against the grain to bring the background into the foreground. Visions of the city’s geography and history implicit in these films were made manifest. Read More »

Rob Lemkin & Thet Sambath – Enemies of the People (2009)

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The Khmer Rouge slaughtered nearly two million people in the late 1970s. Yet the Killing Fields of Cambodia remain unexplained. Until now. Enter Thet Sambath, an unassuming, yet cunning, investigative journalist who spends a decade of his life gaining the trust of the men and women who perpetrated the massacres. From the foot soldiers who slit throats to Pol Pot’s right-hand man, the notorious Brother Number Two, Sambath records shocking testimony never before seen or heard. Having neglected his own family for years, Sambath’s work comes at a price. But his is a personal mission. He lost his parents and his siblings in the Killing Fields. Amidst his journey to discover why his family died, we come to understand for the first time the real story of Cambodia’s tragedy. Read More »

Peter Nestler – Ödenwaldstetten (1964)

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Portrait of a small south German village and its residents in the early sixties.
Rural culture is undergoing a transformation caused by the intrusion of the industrial world. Gestures at work and words of its inhabitants.

“COUNTER (HI)STORIES”
From the start, Nestler’s films attest how an observational description of reality can become an authentic art form. He consistently refuses to comply with the insistence of television editors and directors to provide explanatory comments of the pictures through neutral narration. Nestler insists on leaving things and testimonies of people standing side by side before the camera. But one who violates the unwritten policy conditions that come along as formal laws of the medium (motto: “people will not understand it…”) will be placed on the index. So he never became a TV reporter. In March 2007 he was dedicated a retrospective at the Paris Cinéma du réel documentary film festival at the Centre Pompidou for this. “My first films in the early 60s (that weren’t ‘political’) contained something that was irritating, disturbing the peace, especially in the films Mülheim (Ruhr), Ödenwaldstetten (both 1964) and Von Griechenland (1965). I was cut off the money supply, and so I moved to Sweden”, thus Nestler 1998 laconically. from ray Filmmagazin Read More »