Film festivals are by their nature notoriously cut off, isolated in such a manner they rarely function as the best place to fully appreciate or accurately evaluate the merit of new works. Laurent Cantet’s astonishing “L’emploi du temps” (“Time Out”) suffers from no such equivocation. It is a masterpiece, the best film shown in this strong festival.
Cantet’s debut feature “Human Resources,” distributed in the U.S. through the Shooting Gallery Film Series, was a marvel of political urgency, social verisimilitude and human conflict. Outlined with some of the same Oedipal struggles of that film, “Time Out” is a perfectly made, emotionally piercing and artistically accomplished examination of the desperation and despair of an essentially good and caring man driven to craven, absurd acts of self-delusion. With echoes of Michelangelo Antonioni’s “The Passenger,” the movie presents a terrifying and gripping portrait of a man so alarmed at what he has become that he invents an idealized portrait to cover up his faults and limitations. Continue reading
Synopsis (Written by Theo Angelopoulos):
A, an American film director of Greek ancestry, is making a film that tells his story and the story of his parents. It is a tale that unfolds in Italy, Germany, Russia, Kazakhstan, Canada and the USA. The main character is Eleni, who is claimed and claims the absoluteness of love. At the same time the film is a long journey into the vast history and the events of the last fifty years that left their mark on the 20th century. The characters in the film move as though in a dream. The dust of time confuses memories. A searches for them and experiences them in the present. Continue reading
71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance (German: 71 Fragmente einer Chronologie des Zufalls) is a 1994 Austrian drama film directed by Michael Haneke. It has a fragmented storyline as the title suggests, and chronicles several unrelated stories in parallel. Separate narrative lines intersect in an incident at the last of the film: a mass killing at an Austrian bank. The film is set in Vienna, October to December 1993.
The film is divided into a number of variable-length “fragments” divided by black pauses, and apparently unrelated to each other. The film is characterised by quite a lot of fragments that take form of video newscasts unrelated to the main storylines. News footages of real events are shown through video monitors. Newscasts report on Bosnian War, Somali Civil War, South Lebanon conflict, Kurdish–Turkish conflict, and molestation allegations against Michael Jackson. Continue reading
Bristling with potent erotic imagery, this exquisite film from Spanish director Bigas Luna tells the tale of a young girl’s sexual enlightenment. When fifteen-year-old Lulu succumbs to the advances of one of her brother’s friends, Pablo, she soon finds herself in the back of his car, having her first sexual experience. Years later, when Pablo returns to Spain from teaching in the States, the two meet again and get married. Once married, they create their own private universe, spending their time making love, away from the complications of the real world. Continue reading
After a 23-year hiatus, The Dance of Reality marks the triumphant return of Alejandro Jodorowsky, the visionary Chilean filmmaker behind cult classics El Topo and The Holy Mountain. In the radiantly visceral autobiographical film, a young Jodorowsky is confronted by a collection of compelling characters that contributed to his burgeoning surreal consciousness. The legendary filmmaker was born in 1929 in Tocopilla, a coastal town on the edge of the Chilean desert, where the film was shot. Blending his personal history with metaphor, mythology, and poetry, The Dance of Reality reflects Jodorowsky’s philosophy that reality is not objective but rather a “dance” created by our own imaginations. Continue reading
Dr. Amin Jaafari is an Israeli Palestinian surgeon, fully assimilated into Tel Aviv society. He has a loving wife, an exemplary career, and many Jewish friends. But his picture-perfect life is turned upside down when a suicide bombing in a restaurant leaves nineteen dead, and the Israeli police inform him that his wife Sihem, who also died in the explosion, was responsible. Convinced of her innocence, Amin abandons the relative security of his adopted homeland and enters the Palestinian territories in pursuit of the truth. Once there, he finds himself in ever more dangerous places and situations. Determined, he presses on seeking answers to questions he never thought he would be asking.
An ordinary village in Northern China, the last day of the winter vacation. Four idle, aimless adolescents gather at Zhou Zhixin’s home, a friend who lives with his father, brother and nephew. Like most contemporary teenagers, these youths want to enjoy their last day of holiday and simply hang out in this place where nothing ever seems likely to happen. Their conversations are desultory and they sometimes seem to argue for argument’s sake. One of them, Laowu, talks frankly with his girlfriend about how teenage love might affect their studies, while Laobao questions school’s value and relevance to real life. Continue reading