Edgardo Castro – La noche (2016)

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Gritty journey through the sexual underbelly of Buenos Aires, with graphic depictions of the highs and lows in one man’s quest for intimacy.

The story tells, from an accentuated hyper-realistic aesthetic, the life of Martin, a man in his forties who is desperately lonely and seeks, through sex, some company, to spend that time of which nothing seems to be expected. Under this constant desolation, he finds in cocaine, alcohol and in some other orgy a state of momentary pleasure every night. Continue reading

Marco Bellocchio – Fai bei sogni AKA Sweet Dreams (2016)

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With the innocuously titled Sweet Dreams (Fai bei sogni), Italian director Marco Bellocchio stages a gentle, eminently watchable return to some of the key themes that have haunted his 50 years of filmmaking, particularly the scarring left by a dysfunctional family and maternal love gone awry. The story of a 9-year-old boy who loses his beloved mother is a much simpler, more direct film than the thematically rich My Mother’s Smile (2002), and has none of the churning family anger of Fists in His Pocket (1965). But based on journalist Massimo Gramellini’s best-selling autobiographical novel, it has an emotional unity and urgency that holds the attention, only flagging in the last innings of a surprisingly compact drama running well over two hours. Continue reading

Lina Wertmüller – Mimì metallurgico ferito nell’onore AKA The Seduction of Mimi (1972)

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Mimi is a Sicilian dockworker who loses his job when he votes against the Mafia candidate in what he thinks is a secret ballot. He leaves his wife behind and goes to Turin, where he meets and moves in with Fiore, a street vendor and Communist organizer. They have a child, he works non-union jobs, and again he comes to the Mafia’s attention. This time they’re impressed, promoting him to a supervisor’s job back in Sicily. He must keep Fiore and the child a secret, which is fine with Fiore, as long as he never makes love to his wife. He doesn’t, and when she becomes pregnant, he knows he’s a cuckold. His personal revenge and the Mafia’s tentacles then intertwine in tragicomic ways. (IMDb) Continue reading

John Sayles – Passion Fish (1992)

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Character and dialogue are the driving forces in writer-director John Sayles’ movies. In Passion Fish, Sayles delivers a quality screenplay, and Mary McDonnell and Alfre Woodard do his script justice with some of the most accomplished work of their careers. McDonnell — who also stood out in the director’s Matewan — brings surprising originality to the role of the haggard, self-pitying accident victim, and Woodard never becomes a stereotypical provider of “tough love.” Vondie Curtis-Hall and Sayles regular David Strathairn offer colorful supporting turns. Passion Fish was the director’s simplest, most elegant work since his second feature, 1983’s Lianna. McDonnell and Sayles would be nominated for Academy Awards, and Sayles would also be nominated for his screenplay. ~ Brendon Hanley, All Movie Guide Continue reading

Jacques Rivette & Suzanne Schiffman – Out 1, noli me tangere (1971)

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Though Jacques Rivette’s Out 1 is often described as a time capsule, it hardly functions as a medium for concrete historical research. The 1971 film takes place in a major global city (Paris in the late ’60s) for all of its 13 hours, but it’s notable for how radically disconnected it is from the quotidian texture of metropolitan life—from matters like what any of its characters do to make a living, how they get around, what their typical routine is, what they eat or drink, or what they do in their downtime. Continue reading