Drama

Peter Monsaert – Offline (2012)

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After seven years in prison, Rudy Vandekerckhove has set himself two clear objectives: get back to work as a washing machine repairman, and – more importantly – become reconciled with the family he had left behind. But despite the help and support of Denise, a retired hairdresser, and his friend Rachid, his plans fail. Just when a reunion eventually comes within sight, the past gets the upper hand again, and Rudy has to take the toughest decision of his life. Read More »

László Benedek – Death of a Salesman (1951)

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Reportedly unavailable on TV or video because Arthur Miller himself was unhappy with it, this 1951 film version of the classic play nevertheless features a bravura, barn-burning performance from Fredric March, who had been Miller’s original choice to play Willy Loman on the stage. (March turned down the part, and regretted it greatly, which led to his taking the movie part.) Read More »

Aleksandr Sokurov – Krug vtoroy AKA The Second Circle (1990)

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Review from Strictly Film School

Quote:
A solitary figure trudges through the inclement weather of a vast, remote Siberian wilderness. An unyielding gust of wind brings the young man (Pyotr Aleksandrov) to his knees as he attempts to avert the caustic, sustained force of the snowstorm, momentarily obscuring him from view, erased from the harsh and desolate landscape. The stark, monochromatic image of the film then cuts to an ironically appropriate impersonal and nondescript official title sequence, as the premature sound of a knock on a door seemingly intrudes on the necessity to present information on the film’s certification. It is a subtle reminder of life’s evolving process: the intrusive nature and unexpected inevitability of death. The film reopens to a jarring, oddly lit image of the gaunt young man standing by the foot of his father’s bed in a cramped and squalid apartment. The dispatched medical technicians dispassionately confirm his father’s death from natural causes, but explain that they cannot issue a death certificate, pragmatically remarking “You should have placed him in a hospital. Everything would have been easier then.” Left alone in the apartment, the son compassionately observes his father’s inanimate countenance before preparing his father’s body for burial: selecting his best suit, bathing him in the snow in the absence of running water in the apartment, transporting his father’s body to the outpatient clinic for a death certificate examination. Read More »

Arthur Penn – The Chase (1966)

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A cluttered, erratic, uncertain movie (1966)–and, if you can see past the blowsy trappings of southern gothic, a good one. Robert Redford is the Christ-like convict who escapes from prison and heads toward his small-town home; his expected arrival (get it?) stirs a flurry of moral and social upheaval. Marlon Brando, as the sheriff, provides a gradually crumbling center of strength and certainty; the balance of the extraordinary cast includes Jane Fonda, Angie Dickinson, Janice Rule, James Fox, Robert Duvall, E.G. Marshall, and Miriam Hopkins. The screenplay is by Lillian Hellman; the direction, nervous and attentive, is Arthur Penn’s. Read More »

Ève Deboise – Paradis perdu (2012)

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Lucie, 17, lives with her father Hugo, the owner of a nursery in the south of France. Her work and her close contact with nature preoccupies her and takes her mind off her absent mother, who left a year ago without any notice. Lucie and Hugo have grown closer to one another over the past year, although their relationship is becoming as dangerous as it is comforting. Then, one day, Lucie’s mother returns unexpectedly, arousing not only Hugo’s jealousy but also his anger…

Lucie, 17 ans, vit avec son père, Hugo, dans une pépinière isolée du sud de la France. Le travail quotidien au contact de la nature les absorbe et comble le manque de la mère, partie depuis un an sans donner de nouvelles. Cette absence a resserré le lien entre père et fille, doux et étouffant, rassurant et dangereux. Mais un jour, la mère revient, provoquant la jalousie et la colère incontrôlée d’Hugo… Read More »

Shunji Iwai – Vampire (2011)

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Quote:
Simon Wade is an average young man who goes about his profession as a teacher with the same kind of dedication that he exhibits when taking care of his ailing mother. But, under the seemingly obliging surface of nice-guy Simon there lurks an entirely different side. His unquenchable thirst for fresh blood forces the young teacher to trawl websites in search of suicidal young women, whose blood he can steal. Read More »

Arthur Pierson – Home Town Story (1951)

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AMG: Home Town Story was commissioned as a pro-Big Business tract by General Motors. The story revolves around Blake Washburn, a mildly leftist newspaperman, played by Jeffrey Lynn. Returning to his home town, Washburn turns his journalistic vitriol upon the local business interests. Only after his kid sister Katie (Melinda Plowman), trapped in a cave-in, is rescued by locally produced technology, does Washburn realize the value of the capitalistic system. Home Town Story was fitfully distributed by MGM, then lapsed into obscurity. It might have remained there had it not been for the presence of a young Marilyn Monroe in a supporting part. Read More »