Anocha Suwichakornpong – Dao khanong AKA By the Time It Gets Dark (2016)

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By the Time it Gets Dark encompasses multiple stories of Thailand whose connections are as spiritual as they are incidental. We meet a pair of actors whose paths take them in very different directions. We meet a young waitress serving breakfast at an idyllic country café, only to later find her employed in the busy dining room of a river cruise ship. And we meet a filmmaker interviewing an older woman whose life was transformed by the political activism of her student years and the Thammasat University massacre of 1976. Continue reading

Hiroshi Shimizu – Kaze no naka no kodomo AKA Children in the Wind (1937)

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The best way to describe this film would be “bright”. The story is simple, two young boys are usurped from being the head of their gang of children by the son of the man who indicts their father on charges of embezzlement (him being fired and arrested for this.) They’re sent to live with their uncle (Takeshi Sakamoto, fast becoming my favorite Japanese actor of this decade) and spend their time thinking of ways to escape back home. Father is found innocent, and they live happily ever after. This film is beautiful, the music and the sound of the children playing are both unforgettable. It was no. 4 in the Kinema Jumpo that year, and it was adapted from a Tsubota novel (his 1939 film Four Seasons of Childhood, which contains the same characters, is also based on a Tsubota book.) The cinematography is “gliding” (a term which consistently seems to be used to describe the look and feel of his films) and more reminiscent of Arigato-San than any other film I’ve seen by him. There are also some strong similarities in plot and character to Ozu’s I Was Born But… and according to Keiko McDonald he, “tells of finding himself in tears as he read in the short story (Naoya Shiga’s “Manazuru”) about the little children shuffling along a road at night”. I watched Children in the Wind without subtitles, but more than any other unsubtitled film I’ve seen, It was extremely easy to follow along with. One of my favorites from this director, and I can’t wait to see more of his children’s films. Continue reading

Jean Delannoy – Notre-Dame de Paris AKA The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1956)

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Synopsis:
‘Paris, 1482. Today is the festival of the fools, taking place like each year in the square outside Cathedral Notre Dame. Among jugglers and other entertainers, Esmeralda, a sensuous gypsy, performs a bewitching dance in front of delighted spectators. From up in a tower of the cathedral, Frollo, an alchemist, gazes at her lustfully. Later in the night, Frollo orders Quasimodo, the deformed bell ringer and his faithful servant, to kidnap Esmeralda. But when the ugly freak comes close to her is touched by the young woman’s beauty…’
– Guy Bellinger (IMDb) Continue reading

Manuel Mur Oti – Cielo negro AKA Black Sky (1951)

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Emilia, a modest employee of a fashion house, is in love and does not hesitate to steal your business suit to accompany her boyfriend to the festival. But everything goes wrong, discovered the theft, is fired from her job and that’s not the worst.

Mur Oti was born in Vigo in 1908, the son of a prison warden who struck lucky in the spirits business and moved the family to Cuba when Manuel was 13. There the young Mur Oti developed strong relationships with his mother and two sisters, and learned to work the land as a cowboy. The former would come to influence his powerful, fully rounded women characters throughout his filmography; the latter fed into his depiction of the extremity of the Castilian climate in Orgullo – essentially a Spanish western. Continue reading

Carl Theodor Dreyer – Glomdalsbruden (1926)

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Birgit Granhøj, CarlThDreyer.dk wrote:

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Tore takes over the rundown family farm. Applying his youthful energy, he intends to make it into a big farm like Glomgården on the other side of the river, where beautiful Berit loves. Tore falls in love with her, but her father has promised her to rich Gjermund. As her wedding to Gjermund draws near, Berit runs away and seeks refuge with Tore and his parents. She soon falls deathly ill but recovers, asking for, and getting, her father’s permission to marry Tore. Jealous Gjermund is determined to prevent their wedding, however, in a dramatic climactic scene playing out around the rushing river. Continue reading