Yuxin Zhuang – Ai qing de ya chi AKA Teeth of Love (2007)

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Synopsis:
An experienced TV drama screenwriter and a professor at the Beijing Film Academy, Zhuang Yuxin makes his debut feature Love Teeth in 2006, winning much applause from critics. Praised as the female version of the award-winning In the Heat of the Sun, Love Teeth also documents the rapid social and economic changes in Mainland China after the disastrous Cultural Revolution. The notions of love, pain, and memory recur when the film unfolds a woman’s history of three romances that all end in physical as well as psychological pain. Officially selected for the Deauville Asian Film Festival 2007 in France, Love Teeth also won the Best Feature at the 14th Beijing Student Film Festival. Continue reading

Robert Bresson – Pickpocket (1959)

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Quote:
Michel is an inscrutable young man – neatly dressed, mild mannered, intelligent – hardly the type whom one would suspect to be a pickpocket. And perhaps, that is reason that he does it. Robert Bresson’s Pickpocket is a well crafted, austere, and taut film of a man driven by his self-destructive compulsion. We first encounter Michel (Martin LaSalle) at a Paris racetrack, stealthily fingering through the clasp of a woman’s handbag, reaching in, pocketing her money. A wild, almost euphoric gaze comes over his impassive face, heightened by the cheering crowd as the horses approach the finish line. Soon, his compulsion consumes him. His friend, Jacques (Pierre Leymarie) furnishes him with contacts for employment opportunities, but he does not follow through. Continue reading

Aleksey Fedorchenko – Angely revolyutsii AKA Angels of Revolution (2014)

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Five friends – a poet, an actor, a painter, an architect and a primitivist film director – are five red avant-garde artists who try to find the embodiment of their hopes and dreams in the young Soviet state. The Revolution is boiling up like a bottle with apple cider: winged service dogs and heart-shaped potatoes, dead Semashko, the People’s Commissar for Health, and cheerful angels, love for the Tsar and love for the young secretary Annushka, executions and pregnancies – everything is interlaced and inseparable! Continue reading

Lav Diaz – Florentina Hubaldo, CTE (2012)

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Quote:
With its depiction of cruelty and woe, Florentina Hubaldo, CTE is one of Diaz’s darkest films, the third of a trilogy about trauma and its aftermath (after Death in the Land of Encantos and Melancholia).The title character is a woman held captive by her father who has forced her into a life of prostitution. Her story is intertwined with that of a couple of fortune hunters digging for buried treasure in a narrative scheme that is revealed only gradually. With chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) a progressive degenerative disease found in individuals who have received multiple head injuries, the film’s title becomes a diagnosis of the physiological reasons for Florentina’s mental decline. She herself is clearly an allegorical stand-in for the long-suffering Filipino people. The film’s brutality is a cry of anger at 300 years of colonial plunder and misrule. Continue reading