Arnaud Desplechin – La forêt AKA The Forest (2014)

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Based on the play by the russian playwright Alexander Ostrovsky. The film adaptation of the Comédie-Française theatre’s spectacle with their actors.
A “vibrantly spontaneous and brutally funny family drama, and a glorious tribute to acting and theater,” according to the Film Society. Continue reading

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Midi Z – Bing Du aka Ice Poison (2014)

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Faced with diminishing returns on his harvest, a poor young farmer in Myanmar pawns his cow for a moped and seeks alternative income as a taxi driver.
Among his first fares is a woman who has returned home for her grandfather’s funeral and is making a new start after escaping an arranged marriage in China.
Together, they are lured into one of the few lucrative business opportunities available in the area: selling “ice poison” (crystal meth) around town… Continue reading

Ruben Östlund – De Ofrivilliga aka Involuntary (2008)

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Involuntary is a series of stories exploring different perspectives on the power of a group over the individual. At once humorous and poignant, each situation raises questions about the value of the opinions of others: a man injured at his own party prefers to soldier on through the festivities rather than ruin the night for everyone else; a group of teenage girls pout, preen and flirt, pushing one another further in social and sexual games; a schoolteacher carries out a psychological experiment on her class to illustrate the power of peer pressure; and, at a drunken reunion a young man exploits his mates’ willingness to go with the flow to take advantage of another friend. Continue reading

Paolo Taviani & Vittorio Taviani – Allonsanfan (1973)

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Quote:
In Allonsanfan, the director/brother team of Paolo Taviani and Vittorio Taviani weave a witty and occasionally melancholic tale of 19th century radicalism in Italy. Marcello Mastroianni stars as Fulvio, a middle-aged man swept up in a extremist political movement. The more he protests that he wants no part of politics, the deeper he becomes enmeshed in the Cause. This film might make an intriguing companion piece to the earlier Mastroianni film The Organizer (63), in which he portrays one of the very radical types that his character in Allonsanfan so zealously repudiates. The title refers to the phonetic spelling of “Alons enfants,” the first two words of the French “Marseillaise”. Continue reading

John Cassavetes – A Woman Under the Influence [+Extras] (1974)

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‘A Woman Under Influence’ Stars Gena Rowlands as Frenetic Wife:The Cast

When a husband and wife need to keep saying how much they love each other, something’s apt to be awfully wrong. That nervous repetition is one of the danger signals in John Cassavetes’s “A Woman Under the Influence,” and it contains all the warning urgency of a siren. The movie played on Saturday at the New York Film Festival.

Throughout, the film dwells on the abrasions of daily living, centered in the domestic world where each individual grinds on the other’s nerves. Gena Rowlands plays a woman adrift. Her manic, likable, hard-hat husband (Peter Falk) quite hysterically keeps assuring her that everything’s fine. Meanwhile, she looks to him for her identity, asking him to tell her “what” to be, insisting that she’ll “be anything” he wants. Later, he punctuates a horrendous uproar by shouting “Just be yourself!” But she hardly has a self–beyond the bundle of symptoms that make up her hectic public persona.
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Satyajit Ray – Pather Panchali (1955)

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Sometime in the early years of the century, a boy, Apu, is born to a poor Brahmin family in a village in Bengal. The father, a poet and priest, cannot earn enough to keep his family going. Apu’s sister, Durga, is forever stealing guavas from the neighbour’s orchards. All these add to the daily struggles of the mother’s life, notwithstanding her constant bickering with old aunt who lives with the family. (IMDb)
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