Christoph Hochhäusler – Dreileben – Eine Minute Dunkel AKA One Minute of Darkness (2011) (HD)

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The Dreileben trilogy comes to a nail-biting close with director Christoph Hochhäusler’s expert thriller, which also brings escaped felon Molosch—a peripheral character in the first two parts—into sharp focus. Hot on the killer’s trail, grizzled police inspector Marcus (Eberhard Kirchberg) tries to put himself inside the mind of the criminal, even as he begins to wonder if the condemned man really is guilty as charged. Meanwhile, as Molosch (brilliantly played by Stefan Kurt) flees deeper into Dreileben’s possibly enchanted forest, he has an unexpectedly tender encounter with a young runaway girl—scenes that echo the Frankenstein story and transform One Minute of Darkness into a dark, memorably strange fairy tale. Continue reading

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Christian Petzold – Barbara (2012)

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Summer in the GDR in 1980. Barbara, a doctor, has submitted an application to emigrate to the West. She is punished by being posted away from the capital to a hospital in a small town. Jörg, her lover in the West, is busy planning her escape via the Baltic Sea. It’s a waiting game for Barbara. Her new flat, the neighbours, summer and the countryside no longer hold any charms for her. Although she is attentive to her young patients in the department for pediatric surgery under her new boss, André, she is deliberately cool to her colleagues. Her life, she thinks, will begin later. Continue reading

Woody Allen – Radio Days (1987)

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Woody Allen’s gentle and nostalgic tribute to the glory days of radio and coming-of-age during World War II plays like Fellini’s Amarcord filtered through Neil Simon. The nominal star is Seth Green as Joe, a teenage Jewish boy, growing up with a house full of relatives in Brooklyn. Allen cuts between Joe’s working class Brooklyn neighborhood and the glittery and glamorous world of radio in Manhattan. Joe’s favorite radio hero is The Masked Avenger, and he dreams of getting The Masked Avenger Secret Decoder Ring. Using all the money they have collected for Israel, Joe and his friends buy the ring, much to the shock of his mother (Julie Kavner) and the local rabbi. His father (Michael Tucker), a business failure embarrassed to be seen driving a taxi, is an ineffective and distant man. His uncle Abe (Josh Mostel) is obsessed with eating. His Aunt Bea (Dianne Wiest) is obsessed with getting married. All together, these relatives make up a rather chaotic life in Brooklyn for Joe. Interspersed with these family relations are vignettes of radio lore –from the cigarette girl (Mia Farrow) who wants to strike it big in radio, to the “Name That Tune” jackpot telephone call answered by a burglar, who guesses the right answer and wins the victimized homeowners a cornucopia of valuable prizes.
Paul Brenner @ allmovie.com Continue reading

Christoph Hochhäusler – Unter dir die Stadt (2010)

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A man and a woman at an art exhibition share a fleeting moment of attraction, which neither can act upon. Days later, a chance second meeting leads to an innocent coffee and the two strangers – both married – toy with their unexplainable fascination for each other. Svenja is curious and finds herself in a hotel room with Roland, but she does not consummate an affair. A powerful executive at the large bank where Svenja’s husband works, Roland is used to getting what he wants. He manipulates the transfer of her husband to Indonesia to replace a recently murdered bank manager. Unaware of Roland’s actions, Svenja now ceases to resist… Continue reading

Stefan Uher – Slnko v sieti Aka The Sun in a Net (1962)

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A student, Oldrich “Fajolo” Fajtak, has a romantic attachment to two girls: his hometown love Bela, and Jana – a lover whom he meets during a summer job on a collective farm. One storyline of the film peels layers off Bela’s permanently tense home life marked by her blind mother’s helplessness, her father’s past break with his father who lives in the village where Fajolo is finding some consolation in the arms of his new lover Jana. As Fajolo begins to pry into Bela’s grandfather’s secrets, she, in turn, allows her new boyfriend Peťo to read and deride Fajolo’s remorseful letters from the farm. This lovers’ triangle provides the film with several oppositions: town and country, intelligentsia and worker, collective and personal truth in communist Czechoslovakia. The potential symbolism of the film appeared ominous to the Communist authorities bent on banning the film, but the nascent political thaw helped the filmmakers prevail and the release of “The Sun in a Net” became its harbinger in Czechoslovak film and culture.
Stanislav Szomolányi’s location cinematography and Ilja Zeljenka’s musique concrète score remain striking. Continue reading

Christian Petzold – Dreileben – Etwas Besseres als den Tod AKA Beats Being Dead (2011)

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A big hospital on the outskirts of a small city in the middle of the Thuringian Forest. Here Johannes carries out his alternative national service. The head physician, a family friend, has recruited him. Johannes gets to know Ana. During the night of their first embrace, a sex offender escapes from the hospital. His flight and the police’s hectic search accompany the story of Johannes and Ana – a love story transcending boundaries, without a future. Continue reading

Gonzalo Castro – Invernadero (2010)

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Tal cual podría sugerir el sentido más estricto de un invernadero, esto es, un lugar donde las plantas o alguna otra especie se confina para afianzar mejor que en el exterior los ribetes de su propio génesis, en “Invernadero”, el film de Gonzalo Castro, el escritor mexicano Mario Bellatin quedará en evidencia en el funcionamiento de sus momentos coyunturales. Un retrato de los núcleos básicos de su cotidianidad: su prótesis de metal, diálogos con personas de su entorno, relaciones entre lo material, la verdad y el complot, teorías disparatadas, todo funciona a modo de estrategia narrativa donde lo documental fundamenta una posible ficción. Y con un actor sin par, el propio Bellatin. Continue reading

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