Robert Lepage – La Face cachée de la lune AKA The Far Side of the Moon [+extra] (2003)

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Synopsis:

Forty-something Quebeçois Philippe Roberge is floundering in his life. He believes that no one listens to him or takes him seriously. A graduate student in Philosophy of Scientific Culture, he has just failed his Ph.D. dissertation for the second time, his theory of interest in outer space being a narcissistic response from man being widely rejected throughout the community. To make ends meet, he works selling newspaper subscriptions. And he has a cordial but basically non-existent relationship with his ex-wife. Philippe examines his life in response to the recent death of his mother coupled with his dissertation beliefs. Although she lived in a care home, he acted as her primary caregiver. His only remaining family is his younger gay brother, André, the two who could not have more different temperaments. As such, they do not get along. Following his mother’s death, Philippe’s thoughts about his life are influenced by three major incidents: being invited to speak at a major conference in Russia by a cosmonaut who he idolizes, entering a contest on sending messages into outer space, and receiving information regarding the nature of his mother’s death.
— IMDb. Continue reading

Bent Hamer – 1001 Gram (2014)

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Quote:
When Norwegian scientist Marie attends a seminar in Paris on the actual weight of a kilo, it is her own measurement of disappointment, grief and, not least, love, that ends up on the scale. Finally Marie is forced to come to terms with how much a human life truly weighs and which measurements she intends to live by.

The international prototype kilogram of 1889, the mother of all kilos, is today kept in a vault at Bureau International des Poids et Mesures BIPM in Paris. It is the last physical weight reference still in use and the national prototypes must from time to time be transported from their respective countries to Paris in order to be recalibrated Continue reading

Theodoros Angelopoulos – O thiasos aka The Traveling Players (1975)

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Here is an excellent overview of the film that provides a ton of background information that greatly helps in understanding this outstanding film.

from Jump Cut, no. 10-11, 1976, pp. 5-6
copyright Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media, 1976, 2004

“In THIASSOS even though we refer to the past, we are talking about the present. The approach is not mythical but dialectical. This comes through in the structure of the film where often two historical times are dialectically juxtaposed in the same shot creating associations leading directly to historical conclusions… Those links do not level the events but bypass the notions of past/present and instead provide a linear developmental interpretation which exists only in the present.”
— Theodoros Angelopoulos Continue reading

Rainer Werner Fassbinder – Mutter Kusters’ Fahrt zum Himmel aka Mother Kusters Goes To Heaven (1975)

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Mother Küsters’ Trip to Heaven (German: Mutter Küsters’ Fahrt zum Himmel) is a 1975 German film written and directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder. It stars Brigitte Mira, Ingrid Caven, Karlheinz Böhm and Margit Carstensen. The film was shot over 20 days between February and March of 1975 in Frankfurt am Main.

Emma Küsters (Mira), a working-class woman lives in Frankfurt with her son and daughter-in-law. While she is doing outreach work assembling electric plugs, Frau Küsters learns that her husband Hermann (a tire-factory worker for twenty years) has killed his supervisor and then committed suicide. It later becomes apparent that Mr. Küsters had become temporarily insane after hearing layoff announcements. Continue reading

Anthony Mann – The Great Flamarion (1945)

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Synopsis (All Movie Guide)

This ambitious independent production was packaged by producer W. Lee Wilder, brother of Billy Wilder, and distributed by Republic. The title character, played with relish (and a bit of mustard) by Erich Von Stroheim, is an arrogant vaudeville artiste specializing in a trick-gunshot act. A dyed-in-the-wool misogynist, Flamarion at first pays little attention to his beautiful assistant Connie (Mary Beth Hughes)-just as well, since Connie is already married to Flamarion’s other assistant, Al Wallace (Dan Duryea). Bored with marriage, Connie begins playing up to her boss, the result being the “accidental” death of Al during Flamarion’s act. Having committed murder for Connie’s sake, Flamarion fully expects to be sexually compensated-but he doesn’t know the treacherous Connie as well as the late Al did. Future cult favorite Anthony Mann’s direction is rather perfunctory, suggesting perhaps that he was somewhat intimidated in the presence of the flamboyant Von Stroheim. — Hal Erickson Continue reading

Sam Peckinpah – Straw Dogs [+Extras] (1971)

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Synopsis:
Upon moving to Britain to get away from American violence, astrophysicist David Sumner and his wife Amy are bullied and taken advantage of by the locals hired to do construction. When David finally takes a stand it escalates quickly into a bloody battle as the locals assault his house.

Quote:
Straw Dogs is a 1971 psychological thriller directed by Sam Peckinpah and starring Dustin Hoffman and Susan George. The screenplay by Peckinpah and David Zelag Goodman is based upon Gordon M. Williams’s 1969 novel “The Siege of Trencher’s Farm” Peckinpah’s 1971 film Straw Dogs was one of the most controversial of his legendary career.. The film’s title derives from a discussion in the Tao Te Ching that likens the ancient Chinese ceremonial straw dog to forms without substance. Continue reading

Lars von Trier – Dogville (2003)

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Late one night, a beautiful and well-dressed young woman, Grace, arrives in the mountainous old mining town of Dogville as a fugitive; following the sound of gunshots in the distance which have been heard by Tom, the self-appointed moral spokesman for the town. Persuaded by Tom, the town agree to hide Grace, and in return she freely helps the locals. However, when the Sheriff from a neighbouring town posts a Missing notice, advertising a reward for revealing her whereabouts, the townsfolk require a better deal from Grace, in return for their silence; and when the Sheriff returns some weeks later with a Wanted poster, even though the citizens know her to be innocent of the false charges against her, the town’s sense of goodness takes a sinister turn and the price of Grace’s freedom becomes a workload and treatment akin to that of a slave. But Grace has a deadly secret that the townsfolk will eventually encounter.
Written by Neil Hillman. Continue reading