Drama

Antonio Naharro & Álvaro Pastor – Yo, también aka Me Too (2009)

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Quote:
Thirty-four-year-old Daniel is the first European with Down syndrome to have graduated from university. He starts a social services job in Seville, where he meets free-spirited co-worker Laura. They become fast friends, drawing the attention of both their co-workers and families. Their unique relationship becomes problematic when Daniel falls in love with her. But these rebellious souls refuse to bend to the rules and they find friendship and love as they have never known. Read More »

    Ming-liang Tsai – Hei yan quan aka I Don’t Want To Sleep Alone (2006)

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    Plot Synopsis by Jason Buchanan (allmovie.com)
    A homeless Chinese itinerant is attacked by thugs in Kuala Lampur, only to fall in with a group of kind but curious Bangladeshi men and other fascinating denizens of the smog-soaked city in director Tsai Ming-liang’s minimalist mediation on contemporary life in the Malaysian capitol. Hsiao-kang (Lee Kang-sheng) has been injured in a brutal street attack, and after being brought to the crumpling abode of a group of Bangladeshi men, he is nursed back to help on the musty mattress of his benevolent rescuer Rawang (Norman Bin Atun). Upon gaining the strength to venture out on his own, Hsaio-kang makes the acquaintance of pretty Chinatown waitress Chyi (Chen Siang-chyi) – who currently works and lives with her female boss (Pearlly Chua). In another part of the city, a paralyzed man (also played by Lee) is tended to by a team of nurses before being moved from the hospital to the women’s tenement. When a toxic fog descends upon the city and the citizens are sent running for cover, Hsaio-kang finds his already complicated relationship with his three new acquaintances taking on a whole new, and decidedly surreal, dimension Read More »

      Carl Theodor Dreyer – Ordet AKA The Word [+extra] (1955)

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      Plot:
      A farmer’s family is torn apart by faith, sanctity, and love—one child believes he’s Jesus Christ, a second proclaims himself agnostic, and the third falls in love with a fundamentalist’s daughter. Putting the lie to the term “organized religion,” Ordet (The Word) is a challenge to simple facts and dogmatic orthodoxy. Layering multiple stories of faith and rebellion, Dreyer’s adaptation of Kaj Munk’s play quietly builds towards a shattering, miraculous climax.

      Review:
      ‘Powerful’ doesn’t do justice to this 1955 exploration of life, death and faith from Danish master Carl Theodor Dreyer. Based on Kaj Munk’s 1932 play, ‘Ordet’ is an austere, realist work on one level as it joins a farming family in their Jutland home over a short but devastating period of time. Read More »

        Peter Strickland – The Duke of Burgundy (2014)

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        Synopsis: A woman who studies butterflies and moths tests the limits of her relationship with her lover.

        Quote:
        “This is voyeurism of a brilliant, deeply refined order. If the MPAA had a shot at rating Strickland’s fantasy, they would try to condemn it without being able to explain why.” – Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune

        “Burgundy is a keen pastiche of 1970s Euro-sleaze and high art, and looks amazing on the big screen, calmly florid, precise yet bonkers, bristling with detail. It’s preposterous, delirious and delicious.” – Ray Pride, New City

        “Stylistically, The Duke of Burgundy is an aesthete’s dream – meticulously refined, delicate as a fritillary’s wing.” – Jonathan Romney, Observer UK Read More »

          Jane Campion – Sweetie [+extras] (1989)

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          Synopsis:

          Explores sisters, in their twenties, their parents, and family dysfunctions. Kay is gangly and slightly askew, consulting a fortune teller and then falling in love with a man because of a mole on his face and a lock of hair; then, falling out of love when he plants a tree in their yard. Sweetie is plump, imperious, self-centered, and seriously mentally ill. The parents see none of the illness, seeing only their cute child. Kay mainly feels exasperation at her sister’s impositions. Slowly, the film exposes how the roots of Sweetie’s illness have choked Kay’s own development. Read More »

            Bakhtyar Khudojnazarov – Luna Papa (1999)

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            Synopsis

            “Mix some Monty Python with the violent black humour of Yugoslavian director Emir Kusturica, add a little South American magic realism, and you might have some idea of what goes on in the thoroughly strange and enjoyable Luna Papa, a movie set in the contemporary world of Central Asia. Within the context of its comic, fantastic narrative, about a pregnant teenager and her search for the father of her child whom she has never seen, there`s a darker impression of life revealed in this journey through the outlying former Soviet republic of Tajikistan where gangsterism, military brutality and violent surprises are a normal part of existence.” (Globe and Mail, February 2001) Read More »

              Jane Campion – The Piano (1993)

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              Synopsis:
              A mute woman along with her young daughter, and her prized piano, are sent to 1850s New Zealand for an arranged marriage to a wealthy landowner, and she’s soon lusted after by a local worker on the plantation.

              Review:

              Quote:
              “The Piano” is as peculiar and haunting as any film I’ve seen.

              It tells a story of love and fierce pride, and places it on a bleak New Zealand coast where people live rudely in the rain and mud, struggling to maintain the appearance of the European society they’ve left behind. It is a story of shyness, repression and loneliness; of a woman who will not speak and a man who cannot listen, and of a willful little girl who causes mischief and pretends she didn’t mean to. Read More »