Drama

Béla Tarr – Panelkapcsolat aka The Prefab People (1982)

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“It’s the rawness of the film that makes us believe we are unquestionably seeing the truth.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A heavy going realistic slice of life domestic drama that is filmed in black and white. It’s a followup to Béla Tarr’s other domestic strife tales Family Nest and The Outsider. This one keys in on marital strife. It’s about a struggling young couple’s confrontations and their own inability to freely communicate with each other. Tarr was evidently influenced by the works of Ranier Werner Fassbinder and John Cassavettes. Read More »

    Doris Wishman – Hideout in the Sun (1960)

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    Synopsis: Two brothers rob a bank and take a young girl hostage. They find out that the girl is a nudist, so they force her to take them to a nudist colony so they can hide out. Read More »

      Michael Haneke – Benny’s Video (1992)

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      Quote:
      The second part of Haneke’s “glaciation trilogy” begins with a buzz and a bang: the white noise of a television screen snow shower and then the bang of a pig being shot on the subsequent home video. Benny’s Video is the most accessible film of the trilogy, but still never departs from Haneke’s powerful concoction of brutal images and laconic montage. Benny is a neglected son of rich parents in Vienna. He spends his days and nights in his room lost in a cobweb of video equipment, cameras, monitors and editing consoles. He keeps his shades drawn at all times and experiences the outside world mediated through the camcorders he has set up outside his windows. He obsessively reviews the farmyard killing of a pig in forward and reverse, slow motion and freeze-frame. Intermittently, he flips through channels full of news on neo-nazi killings, toy commercials, war films and reports on the incipient war in Yugoslavia. One day he meets a girl at the video store and invites her back to his empty house. He shows her the stun-gun used to kill the pig and shoots her with it. The girl’s death is shot visually out of the camera’s frame although the audience is privy to excruciating minutes of screams and whimpers. In the end, Benny foils his parents’ perversely cynical attempt to cover up the murder. Read More »

        Peter Brosens & Jessica Hope Woodworth – Khadak (2006)

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        Set in the frozen steppes of Mongolia, Khadak tells the epic story of Bagi, a young nomad confronted with his destiny to become a shaman. A plague strikes the animals and the nomads are forcibly relocated to desolate mining towns. Bagi saves the life of a beautiful coal thief, Zolzaya, and together they reveal the plague was a lie fabricated to eradicate nomadism. A sublime revolution ensues. Read More »

          John Ford – The Sun Shines Bright (1953)

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          Plot:

          John Ford’s remake of his 1934 Will Rogers vehicle, Judge Priest, combines three Irvin S. Cobb stories about the kindly Kentucky magistrate William Priest (Charles Winninger).

          Set in 1905 Kentucky, it focuses on the judge’s battle for reelection against Yankee prosecutor Horace K. Maydew (Milburn Stone). Despite the judge’s popularity, it’s possible that his generosity and sense of justice may cost him the election. First he tries to persuade the eminent General Fairfield (James Kirkwood) to admit that he’s kin to Lucy Lee (Arleen Whelan), whose questionable background makes her a subject for ridicule. Next he faces down an angry lynch mob accusing a black man of a heinous crime – the frustrated vigilantes, dispersed by the gun-wielding judge, vow vengeance at the polls. Read More »

            Tomás Gutiérrez Alea – Memorias del subdesarrollo AKA Memories of Underdevelopment (1968)

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            Plot Synopsis
            Sergio, a wealthy bourgeois aspiring writer, decides to stay in Cuba even though his wife and friends flee to Miami. Sergio looks back over the changes in Cuba, from the Castro Revolution to the missile crisis, the effect of living in an underdeveloped country, and his relations with his girlfriends Elena and Hanna. Memories of Underdevelopment is a complex character study of alienation during the turmoil of social changes. The film is told in a highly subjective point of view through a fragmented narrative that remembles the way memories function. Read More »

              Béla Tarr – Kárhozat aka Damnation (1988)

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              Synopsis:
              In a small Hungarian town lives Karrer, a listless and brooding man who has almost completely withdrawn from the world, but for an obsession with a singer in the bar he frequents. Tarr’s immaculately photo-graphed and composed film is about eternal conflict: the centuries old struggle between barbarism and civilisation. Read More »