Lina Wertmüller – Notte d’Estate Con Profilo Greco, Occhi a Mandorla, e Odore di Basilico aka Summer Night (1986)

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DVD Verdict Review :

After a weak effort at an English-language film (A Night Full of Rain, with a miscast Candice Bergen), Wertmüller needed to reclaim her reputation. Hence, Summer Night, a recapitulation of Swept Away with fancier dress.

Signora Bolk (Mariangela Melato), a rich woman who fancies herself an ecological activist, hires a former intelligence operative (Roberto Herlitzka, camping it up with an eyepatch and plastic hand, as if he had walked out of a ’60s spy farce) to help her kidnap an eco-terrorist (Michele Placido, because, well, maybe Giannini was busy that week). She chains her prize up in a room, then seduces him. It is all supposed to be funny, I suppose. Continue reading

Jordi Cadena & Judith Colell – Elisa K (2010)

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At eleven, everything in Elisa’s life will lose its innocence. One day whilst her father is asleep and her brother is on a swing outside, her father’s friend will rape her, as she cries he tells her if she stops he’ll give her a silver bracelet. It’s from that moment on she will forget what happened to her for a very long time.

Fourteen years and four months later she remembers. Scared, she calls her mum, “Help me, I’ve remembered something terrible.” Breaking many rules of cinema and featuring unconventional narration throughout, Eliza K is a heartbreaking story that asks the question of how this young woman will carry on with her life. Continue reading

Wojciech Marczewski – Zmory aka Nightmares (1979)

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Plot / Synopsis
Set before the first Wold War in part of Poland under Austrain occupation, the story of a young boy in primary school who later grows up to become a rebellious, poetic-minded teen in the same school when the national movement toward liberation is under way. The story of a country where church amd state work together to suppress the human spirit.

As an independent state, Poland did not exist before the First World War. Parts of it were claimed by the Austro-Hungarian Empire, parts by the Russian Empire, and the remaining portion went to the German Empire. In this story, a Polish boy’s education under the pre-war Austrian occupation is the subject. He finds all the pro-Empire, pro-Church indoctrination hard to stomach but is powerless to really rebel against it except in quiet ways. The teachers consciously engage in many cruel acts, and the boy’s only recourse is in poetry. Later, as a grown man, he is finally able to do something to throw off his nation’s oppressors. ~ Clarke Fountain, Rovi Continue reading

Péter Gárdos – Szamárköhögés AKA Whooping Cough (1987)

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Plot Synopsis by Sandra Brennan
A 10-year-old Hungarian boy and his grandmother cope with the bloody Budapest uprising of 1956 that led to the Soviet takeover of the country. When the October battles begin, the boy and his family are forced to remain in their homes. The grandmother spends her days reading, and the boy is thrilled to be out of school. While they await the end of the curfew, many things befall the lad and his family.” Allmovie Continue reading

Fredi M. Murer – Höhenfeuer AKA Alpine Fire (1985)

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Storyline

A year on an Alpine farm: an older couple have two children, Belli, who wanted to be a teacher, and the younger Franzi, deaf, and although he works like a man, child-like. Belli teaches him. In his work, he can become frustrated, so when he throws an expensive mower over a cliff in a fit of pique, his father banishes him to the outskirts of the farm, where he uses pubescent energy to break rocks and build walls and cairns. (It’s the tradition of the father’s family, called “The Irascibles” by neighbors, to spend puberty doing this.) Belli visits him and they begin sleeping together. By winter, the boy is back in the house and Belli is pregnant. Soon her parents must know. Written by jhailey. Continue reading

Antoinette Beumer – De gelukkige huisvrouw AKA The Happy Housewife (2010)

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ferdyonfilms.com wrote:
CIFF 2010: The Happy Housewife (De gelukkige huisvrouw, 2010)

Director: Antoinette Beumer

2010 Chicago International Film Festival

By Marilyn Ferdinand

“I hate actors,” the cinephile said to me after a screening of a personal essay film that had no actors in it at all. I vaguely understood what he was saying, that actors are tricksters whose presence can take away from the sincerity of a film. As someone who treasures the films of Robert Bresson, the Neorealists, the Nouvelle Vague directors, as well as a slew of more contemporary films that use nonprofessionals, I find the unstudied spontaneity of the performances helps me appreciate the film as a whole rather than focusing on the accomplishments of a single performer. Continue reading

Agustí Villaronga – Pa negre aka Black Bread (2010)

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Quote:
In the harsh post-war years’ Catalan countryside, Andreu, a kid that belongs to the loser side, finds the corpses of a man and his son in the forest. The authorities want his father to be made responsible of the deaths, but Andreu tries to help his father by finding out who truly killed them. In this search, Andreu develops a moral consciousness against a world of adults fed by lies. In order to survive, he betrays his own roots and ends up finding out the monster that lives within him. Continue reading