Drama

Marcel Hanoun – Une simple histoire AKA A Simple Story (1959)

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Hanoun made “Une Simple Histoire” in 1958, but it looks more like 1938, with its dark, low-contrast photography (it was shot in 16-mm.), its unglamorous realism, and its heroine with her penciled eyebrows and her unstylishly bobbed hair. The heroine (Micheline Bezançon, the only player given credit in the program, although there are several other important roles) is a poor youngish woman who, with her little daughter, comes to Paris looking for a job. She doesn’t get a job, and when, eventually, she can’t afford a place to sleep she spends a night out of doors. She is discovered by a kindly older woman who takes her in (this is where the movie actually begins), and in whose apartment, in one extended flashback, she tells her story. Read More »

Agnieszka Holland – The Secret Garden (1993)

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The 1993 remake of The Secret Garden is a beautifully produced rendition of the classic Frances Hodgon Burnett novel about a young girl (Kate Maberly) who discovers an abandoned garden on her uncle’s large Victorian country estate, as well as an invalid cousin she didn’t realize she had. With the help of a local boy, the girl sets out to restore the garden and, once it is blooming again, she discovers it has magical powers. After it has flowered, she brings her cousin to the garden, and he is magically healed. Although this version of The Secret Garden isn’t quite as strong as the original 1949 movie, the story is nevertheless moving in any format and the production is very beautiful to look at. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine @ All Movie Guide Read More »

Michael Kang – The Motel (2005)

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Writer-director Michael Kang makes his feature debut with the coming-of-age comedy, The Motel. Newcomer Jeffrey Chyau stars as Ernest Chin, a chubby 13 year-old Chinese-American boy whose mother (Jade Wu) runs a sleazy motel in upstate New York. The clientele of The Motel are predominantly prostitutes and their johns, which spurs Ernest’s budding sexual curiosity. When he’s not cleaning rooms, eavesdropping on guests, avoiding the local bully, or tormenting his little sister Katie (Alexis Chin), Ernest harbors a crush on Christine (Samantha Futerman), who works at a nearby Chinese restaurant. Ernest has entered a writing contest at school with a story about his unhappy life at The Motel, and won an honorable mention. His scornful mother thinks his writing is a waste of time, and Ernest doesn’t want her to see the story for fear that it will anger her. He’s a social misfit, so he’s intrigued when Sam Kim (Sung Kang of Better Luck Tomorrow), a Korean-American guest who frequently brings home prostitutes, befriends him. Sam takes Ernest under his wing, teaching him to drive and offering him his wisdom regarding women. Of course, Sam turns out to have his own serious issues with the opposite sex, and his advice to Ernest about Christine may not be exactly what the boy needs. Kang won the Asian American International Film Festival screenwriting competition with his script for The Motel in 2001, and the completed film was shown at the festival in 2005. The script was workshopped at the Sundance labs, where filmmaker Miguel Arteta (The Good Girl) signed on as a producer. Read More »

Paul Schrader – The Comfort of Strangers (1990)

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IMDB:
An English couple holiday in Venice to sort out their relationship. There is some friction and distance between them, and we also sense they are being watched. One evening, they lose their way looking for a restaurant, and a stranger invites them to accompany him. He plies them with wine and grotesque stories from his childhood. They leave disoriented, physically ill, and morally repelled. But, next day, when the stranger sees them in the piazza, they accept an invitation to his sumptuous flat. After this visit, the pair find the depth to face questions about each other, only to be drawn back into the mysterious and menacing fantasies of the stranger and his mate. Written by jhailey Read More »

Camilo Luzuriaga – La tigra AKA The Tigress (1990)

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Three sisters – stereotypically the whore, the saint and the virgin – own a cafe in an isolated area of Ecuador. The Tigress (the whore) has supernatural powers which she will keep as long as her younger sister remains a virgin. The Tigress becomes increasingly “macho” until her sisters forsake her and the local police move in. Read More »

Eric Rohmer – Triple agent [+Extras] (2004)

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France, 1936-37. The Popular Front wins elections, the Spanish Civil War begins, and Hitler and Stalin are manipulating and spying. The brilliant exile, Fiodor Voronin, a general at 20, is the deputy at the White Russian Military Union, probably slated to replace the aging Général Dobrinsky soon. Fiodor’s Greek wife, Arsinoé, paints and stays away from politics, befriending Communist neighbors. Her health declines; the attentive Fiodor arranges care and, against the backdrop of Stalin’s Great Purge, considers his options. He plays a chess game in which love of country, love of Arsinoé, ideology, petty jealousies, and the machinations of power roil in matters of life and death. Read More »

Pierre Grimblat – Slogan (1969)

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A successful ad man engages in illicit affairs in this romantic comedy satire. Serge (Serge Gainsbourg) is an annual winner at the advertising awards festival held annually in Venice. When he meets the pretty British woman Evelyne (Jane Birkin), he sets her up in an apartment and plans to leave his pregnant wife. The newfound love of the immensely shallow couple is shattered when Evelyne runs off to marry a speedboat racer. Serge continues working for the advertising firm and continues his search for love affairs without commitment Read More »