Miguel Gomes – Redemption (2013)

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Synopsis
On January 21st 1975, in a village in the north of Portugal, a child writes to his parents who are in Angola to tell them how sad Portugal is. On July 13th 2011, in Milan, an old man remembers his first love. On May 6th 2012, in Paris, a man tells his baby daughter that he will never be a real father. During a wedding ceremony on September 3rd 1977 in Leipzig, the bride battles against a Wagner opera that she can’t get out of her head.
But where and when have these four poor devils begun searching for redemption? Continue reading

Alan Zweig – Vinyl (2000)

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Alan Zweig investigates the wacky world of record collecting. An odd film made by a Toronto filmmaker who interviewed record collectors in their homes and in their favourite haunt – the record store. For those who enjoyed High Fidelity and thought that Nick Hornsby’s novel was a rip off of their life story, wait until you see this one! The director’s thesis is that record collectors are obsessive compulsive and are using this pursuit to make up for something that is inherently missing from their lives. Continue reading

Dean DeBlois – Heima AKA At Home [+Commentary] (2007)

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‘heima’ is sigur rós’s first ever film, filmed over two weeks last summer when the band undertook a series of free, unannounced concerts in iceland. they hauled 40-plus people round 15 locations to the furthest flung corners of their homeland for their debut venture into live film, to create something, well, inspirational.

on their way they went to ghost towns, outsider art shrines, national parks, small community halls and the absolute middle-of-nowhere-ness of the highland wilderness, as well as playing the largest gig of their career (and in icelandic history) at their homecoming reykjavik show.

‘heima’ (icelandic for “at home” or “homeland”), truly, shows sigur rós as never before. whereas seeing the group live is normally a large-scale and sometimes overwhelming experience, making full use of lights and mesmeric visuals, ‘heima’ was always intended to reveal more of what was actually going on on stage. it does this via long-held close-ups and a rare intimate proximity, without ever once breaking the spell. Continue reading

Isaac Julien – Derek [+Extras] (2008)

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Quote:
An artist spends his or her existence examining life through their art, so why is it often so hard to use art to examine the artist’s life in turn? We’ve all seen biopics that merely scratch the surface of a creative existence, either spending too much time focusing on the travails of the individual and leaving their creations by the wayside, or flat studies of the work alone that seemingly forget that there was a person behind the words or images.

Isaac Julien’s new documentary Derek tries to have the best of everything in its portrait of painter and visionary filmmaker Derek Jarman, and for the most part, it succeeds. As a tribute to the man, Julien and his collaborators, producer Colin MacCabe and actress Tilda Swinton, let the viewer behind the curtain to see who Jarman was and what fueled his inspired works; at the same time, we see pieces of that work, and we learn what it meant to him as a person and to the culture at large. Continue reading

Kon Ichikawa – Tokyo orimpikku AKA Tokyo Olympiad [+Extra] (1965)

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Review from the Criterion website :
A spectacle of magnificent proportions, Kon Ichikawa’s Tokyo Olympiad ranks among the greatest documents of sport ever committed to film. Utilizing glorious widescreen cinematography, Ichikawa examines the beauty and rich drama on display at the 1964 Summer Games in Tokyo, creating a catalogue of extraordinary observations that range from the expansive to the intimate. The glory, despair, passion, and suffering of Olympic competition are rendered with lyricism and technical mastery, culminating in an inspiring testament to the beauty of the human body and the strength of the human spirit. Continue reading

Harun Farocki – Parallel I (2012)

Parallel I opens up a history of styles in computer graphics. The first games of the 1980s consisted of only horizontal and vertical lines. This abstraction was seen as a failing, and today representations are oriented towards photo‐realism.

“For over one hundred years photography and film were the leading media. From the start, they served not only to inform and entertain, but were also media of scientific research and documentation. That’s also why these reproduction techniques were associated with notions of objectivity and contemporaneity — whereas images created by drawing and painting indicated subjectivity and the transrational. Continue reading

Bing Wang – Feng ai AKA ‘Til Madness Do Us Part (2013)

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Wang Bing wrote:
There is no freedom in this hospital. But when men are locked inside a closed space, with iron wire fence and no freedom, they are capable of creating a new world and freedom between them, without morality or behavior restriction. Under the night-light, the bodies are like ghost, looking for their needs of love: physical or sentimental. This film approaches them at a moment where they are abandoned by their families and society. The repetition of their daily life amplifies the existence of time. And when time stops, life appears. Continue reading