The married Bongwan leaves home in the dark morning and sets off to work. The memories of the woman who left weigh down on him. That day Bongwan’s wife finds a love note, bursts into the office, and mistakes Areum for the woman who left. Continue reading Sang-soo Hong – Geu-hu AKA The Day After (2017)
Winner of the Critics Prize in Venice in 1970, Barbara Loden’s Wanda (1970) was, as the New York Times meekly puts it, “a critical hit but failed to create excitement at the box-office” (New York Times, September 6, 1980, 261).
Shot in cinema-verité style on grainy 16mm film stock, Wanda tells the story of the unlikely partnership between a coal-mining wife from Pennsylvania (played with sensitivity and brio by the filmmaker herself), dumped by her husband and the men she met while drifting, and a petty crook on the rebound (Michael Higgins), who convinces her to pull a major “bank job” with him. The film was released in one theatre in New York, Cinema II, and never shown in the rest of the country (Interview, Proferes). Ten years later, Wanda was “already forgotten in the United States,” but “much admired in Europe” (Kazan, 1988, 807). It was screened in the “Women and Film” event at the 1979 Edinburgh Film Festival and in Deauville in 1980. Loden died of cancer on September 5, 1980, “the day [she was] booked to fly to Paris-Deauville. Her death was announced from the stage of the Festival” (Kazan, 1988, 809). Continue reading Barbara Loden – Wanda (1970)
A sequel to Laleli’de Bir Azize, and with the collaboration of practically the same team, Gemide is the story of four sailors who sit around the ship and spend their time smoking pot. Their routine life turns upside down when one of them gets mugged and badly beaten. Continue reading Serdar Akar – Gemide AKA On Board (1998)
The young, successful employee Alex knows finally, what he wants from life – actually, what he doesn’t want: Its life. It bores him to death. Each day the same, which is subjected to the capitalism of the local industry. In a violent fight against his own reason Alex floats now in a sump of the Nihilismus and the uncommon everyday life of a new life, which keeps something new ready behind each corner. In a world, in which one is squeezed into cages, only the egoist can survive… Continue reading Peter Jaitz – Rimini (2009)
It hardly needs saying that the adjective in the title is about as accurate as the one in Haneke’s Funny Games. Happy End is a satirical nightmare of haute-bourgeois European prosperity: as stark, brilliant and unforgiving as a halogen light. It is not a new direction for this film-maker, admittedly, but an existing direction pursued with the same inspiration as ever. It is also as gripping as a satanically inspired soap opera, a dynasty of lost souls. The movie rehearses almost all of Haneke’s classic themes and visual ideas: family dysfunction, inter-generational revenge, the poisonous suppression of guilt and the return of the repressed. There is the horror of death combined with a Thanatos-like longing for its deliverance – one line in particular shows how Happy End has been inspired by the climactic moment of his previous film, Amour. There is the distinctive preoccupation with surveillance and video recording as technologically unsparing moral reproaches to what we choose not to see in our own behaviour. And Haneke combines this with a new interest in the affectless visual texture of social-media livestreaming, instant messaging, and YouTube supercuts. Continue reading Michael Haneke – Happy End (2017)
Stone Wedding (Nunta de piatra) is made of two distinct segments directed by two different directors. The first part (M. Veroiu) depicts the miserable life of a widow in Romania at the beginning of the century. The second part (D. Pita) is about a bride on the day of her wedding. The best part of both movies is the soundtrack by Dorin Liviu Zaharia, Dan Andrei Aldea and Sfinx. Continue reading Dan Pita & Mircea Veroiu – Nunta de piatra AKA The Stone Wedding (1973)
In a chic nightclub, a navel officer admires his new love, the singer Stella Maria. A fellow officer warns him not to get involved with this woman and tells the tragic story of a sailor who lost everything because of his love for her. Some years before, in the port of Toulon, a sailor, Jean, met Stella in a bar. The two danced and instantly Jean realised he was love. The sailor later traced Stella to her home in St Tropez where, having forced his way into her bedroom, he spent the night with her. Some days later, Jean saw Stella in the company of another man. Driven by jealousy, he deserted his post and decided to put an end to his days… Continue reading Jean Godard – Pour un soir..! (1931)