Jannicke Systad Jacobsen – Få meg på, for faen AKA Turn Me On, Dammit! (2011)

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TURN ME ON, DAMMIT! is a whimsical and refreshingly honest coming of age story about the blossoming sexuality of a teenage girl. The feature debut of Jannicke Systad Jacobsen, the film won the Best Film prize at Norway’s national film awards, the Amandas, as well as Best Screenplay at the Tribeca Film Festival and Best Debut Film at the Rome Film Festival.

15-year-old Alma (Helene Bergsholm) is consumed by her out-of-control hormones and fantasies that range from sweetly romantic images of Artur, the boyfriend she yearns for, to down-and-dirty daydreams about practically everybody she lays eyes on. Alma and her best friend Sara live in an insufferably boring little town in the hinterlands of Norway called Skoddeheimen, a place they loathe so much that every time their school bus passes the sign that names it, they routinely flip it off. After Alma has a stimulating yet awkward encounter with Artur, she makes the mistake of telling her incredulous friends, who ostracize her at school, until Sara can’t even be seen with her. At home, Alma’s single mother is overwhelmed and embarrassed by her daughter’s extravagant phone-sex bills and wears earplugs to muffle Alma’s round-the-clock acts of self-gratification. Continue reading

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Mike Leigh – Mr. Turner (2014)

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Mr. Turner explores the last quarter century of the great if eccentric British painter J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851). Profoundly affected by the death of his father, loved by a housekeeper he takes for granted and occasionally exploits sexually, he forms a close relationship with a seaside landlady with whom he eventually lives incognito in Chelsea, where he dies. Throughout this, he travels, paints, stays with the country aristocracy, visits brothels, is a popular if anarchic member of the Royal Academy of Arts, has himself strapped to the mast of a ship so that he can paint a snowstorm, and is both celebrated and reviled by the public and by royalty. Continue reading

Aki Kaurismäki – La Vie de bohème AKA The Bohemian Life (1992) (HD)

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Based on the same 19th-century novel (Henri Murger’s Scenes de la Vie de Boheme) that inspired Puccini’s opera, the story is about three down-and-out losers doomed to penury and artistic obsession. There’s Albanian painter Rodolfo (Matti Pellonpää), playwright Marcel (Andre Wilms) and composer Schaunard (Kari Väänänen). Their problems are exactly the same: no rent or food money and the futile struggle to be recognized.

It doesn’t help Marcel that he refuses to reduce his 21-act play to commercial size or that the chances of Schaunard’s latest work making it (it’s called The Influence of Blue on Art) seem remote. Continue reading

Stéphane Lafleur – Tu dors Nicole AKA You’re Sleeping Nicole (2014)

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Making the most of the family home while her parents are away, Nicole, 22 years old, is enjoying a peaceful summer with her best friend Véronique. When Nicole’s older brother shows up with his band to record an album, the girls’ friendship is put to the test. Their vacation takes an unexpected turn, punctuated by a heatwave, Nicole’s growing insomnia and the persistent courtship of a 10-year-old boy. Continue reading

Alberto Rodríguez – 7 vírgenes AKA 7 Virgins (2005)

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A 48-hour leave from reform school brings life lessons for the teenage protagonist of “7 Virgins,” a street-kids piece that combines energy and delicacy to striking and subtle effect. The best Spanish movie of its type since Fernando Leon’s 1998 “Barrio,” pic rises above genre standard with scrupulous attention to detail and an engaging central tandem. Downsides are lapses into sentimentality and visual deja vu, and an occasional inability to exploit the emotional potential. “Virgins” should snuggle up in plenty of fest beds, with arthouse interest a certainty in Spain-friendly territories.

Sixteen-year-old Tano (Juan Jose Ballesta from “Pellet” and “4th Floor”) is picked up from the Seville reform school by his ultra-taciturn brother Santacana (Vicente Romero), who warns Tano to avoid trouble. But once Tano gets back in touch with his irrepressible buddy, wide-grinning Richi (Jesus Carroza), within minutes, they are on the run in a shopping mall after stealing a wallet to buy a TV set — a wedding-gift for Santacana. Continue reading

David Lynch – Inland Empire (2006)

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There are, in the movies, few places creepier to spend time than in David Lynch’s head. It is a head where the wild things grow, twisting and spreading like vines, like fingers, and taking us in their captive embrace. Over the last three decades these wild things have laid siege to us even as they have mutated: the deformed baby of “Eraserhead” evolving into the anguished distortions of “The Elephant Man,” the Reagan-era surrealism of “Blue Velvet,” the serial home invasion in “Twin Peaks” and the meta-cinematic masterpiece “Mulholland Drive,” a dispatch from that smog-choked boulevard of broken dreams called Hollywood. Continue reading

Agnieszka Holland – Goraczka aka Fever (1981)

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The film is set in 1905, in a time of feverish revolutionary underground activity in Poland partitioned between three neighbours. All the characters are committed anarchists. The bomb maker puts an invention together to place it at the disposal of young inexperienced terrorists fighting against Tsarist oppression. The story follows the passing of this bomb from anarchist to anarchist as several attempts are made on the life of Tsarist governor general, until, at the end, it is effectively and harmlessly defused by a bomb expert. The presence of the bomb has a destroying effect on all of the Polish revolutionaries, they either die or breakdown. Written by Polish Cinema Database Continue reading