Lucian Pintilie – Reconstituirea aka Reconstruction (1968)

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Synopsis:
After two friends drunkenly injure a waiter, the police force them to recreate their crime for an “educational” film—with disastrous results. Immediately banned
in communist Romania, Reenactment is one of the key films of the Romanian
cinema (voted best Romanian film of all time by 40 Romanian film critics)
and stands among the exemplary works of its region and time. Continue reading

Srdjan Karanovic – Virdzina aka Virgina (1991)

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The story takes place in Yugoslavia at the end of the 19th century, in an isolated village near the Adriatic sea. Because of the extreme patriarchal culture there is a superstition that families without male heirs are cursed. When the wife of a farmer gives birth to their fourth daughter, father decides that the child will be brought up to become a so-called “Virgina” and that she will live as a man, so that she can work and be the family heir. This heartbreaking story of Virginas life is told with strong words, augmented with harsh inviroment. Continue reading

Hector Babenco – At Play in the Fields of the Lord (1991)

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PLOT SYNOPSIS
In a remote branch of the Brazilian Amazon, Americans Lewis (Tom Berenger) and Wolf (Tom Waits) are stranded when their plane runs out of gas. They are kept company by an evangelist missionary (John Lithgow) and his wife (Darryl Hannah). The preacher and his followers want to preach to the primitive Niaruna Indians, while others are interested in the Niaruna for more diabolical reasons-specifically, business concerns that would like to claim the Indians’ land for development. The local police chief cuts a deal with the mercenaries Lewis and Wolf: if they will agree to bomb the Niarunas out of existence, they will be paid enough money to leave the country. Instead, Lewis, part Native American himself,aligns himself with the Niarunas. From this moment on, he and the tribe are doomed. A long-standing pet project of producer Saul Zaentz, At Play in the Fields of the Lord was adapted from the best-selling novel by Peter Matthiesen. Continue reading

Jean-Denis Bonan – La femme bourreau AKA A Woman Kills (1968)

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Synopsis:
‘Paris, in the 1960s. A series of crimes troubles the public tranquility. On March, 22, 1968, Hélène Picard, a prostitute sentenced to death two years before for several murders, is killed by executioner Louis Guilbeau. Immediately, the violent crimes, similar to Hélène’s ones, go on again. In parallel, Louis is having an affair with the police woman in charge of the investigation… What are the obscure relations hidden behind the executioner and the mysterious killer? Who is this dark man in reality?’
– UniFrance Continue reading

Michelangelo Antonioni – Le amiche AKA The Girlfriends (1955)

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Quote:
Michelangelo Antonioni’s Le Amiche opens with an aerial shot of Turin, Italy that, in the moment, could easily be mistaken as simply a cheery, picturesque backdrop for the credits sequence. Retroactively, though, the image proves deceptive and even misleading in its suggestion of peace and tranquility. Antonioni’s 1955 film interrogates the detrimental socio-economic dimensions of modernity in Turin by moving an assortment of characters through confrontations and conversations in drawing rooms and cafés, and outside on beaches and in alleyways, so that a character’s elation or devastation must be understood in relation to the place where it occurs. Le Amiche is filled with characters asking one another “why” something is happening, but for the director, “where” is always the most optimal question. Continue reading

Gaston Biraben – Cautiva aka Captive (2003)

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Quote:
“Cautiva” features a solid performance by 23-year-old Barbara Lombardo that goes a long way in making up for the telenovela script.

Lombardo, who had small role in “The Motorcycle Diaries,” is amazingly believable as Cristina, a teenager who discovers that the man and woman who raised her are not her real parents.

Cristina’s biological parents were among the 30,000 Argentines who “disappeared” under the military dictatorship that ruled the country in the 1970s. She was born in prison on the day Argentina won the World Cup in 1978. Continue reading

Alain Tanner – Jonas et Lila, à demain (1999)

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Jonas et Lila: A Demain
by Paul Kalina March 2000 Senses of Cinema

So far at least, new millennium events appear to have produced little of lasting value, apart from early retirement packages for those well placed in the IT sector.

But there has been one legacy cinephiles are likely to relish. With great foresight, Swiss director Alain Tanner commemorated the new millennium and the 25th birthday of his fictional character Jonas, born of course during Tanner’s 1976 film Jonas qui aura 25 en l’an 2000 (Jonas Who Will Be 25 In The Year 2000), with a follow-up film, Jonas et Lila: A Demain (1999). Continue reading