Roman Polanski – The Pianist (2002)


Plot Synopsis: A brilliant pianist, a Polish Jew, witnesses the restrictions Nazis place on Jews in the Polish capital, from restricted access to the building of the Warsaw ghetto. As his family is rounded up to be shipped off to the Nazi labor camps, he escapes deportation and eludes capture by living in the ruins of Warsaw. Read More »

Roman Polanski – The Tragedy of Macbeth (1971)


Roman Polanski’s version of Shakespeare’s tragedy about a Scottish lord who murders the king and ascends the throne. His wife then begins hallucinating as a result of her guilt complex and the dead king’s son conspires to attack MacBeth and expose him for the murderer he is. Read More »

Sergei Loznitsa – Schastye moe AKA My Joy (2010)


“My Joy” is a tale of truck driver Georgy. Georgy leaves his home town with a load of goods, but he is forced to take a wrong turning on the motorway, and finds himself in the middle of nowhere. Georgy tries to find his way, but gradually, against his will, he becomes drawn in the daily life of a Russian village. In a place, where brutal force and survival instincts overcome humanity and common
sense, the truck driver’s story heads for a dead end… Read More »

James Foley – Reckless (1984)


James Foley’s (At Close Range, Glengarry Glen Ross) first film, as well as Aidan Quinn’s, this flashy, empty, very 80’s movie features Quinn and Daryl Hannah in a midwestern, steel-mill version of Romeo and Juliet. Shot by Fassbinder, Scorsese and Redford’s DP, Michael Ballhaus, and written by Chris Columbus (Gremlins, The Goonies, director of Home Alone 1 and 2, the first two Harry Potter films, and the classic, Bicentennial Man), it is filled to the brim with hideous, yet hilarious dialogue, mostly via setting up “tough guy” Aidan Quinn and his motorcycle antics, who, no matter how old he was at the time, always looks 35, betraying the notion that he’s a high school student. Hannah looks amazing throughout (and nude), with this and Splash, one wonders if she ate at all in 1984. Features a very silly/spazzy/awesome prom dance sequence cut to “I might like you better if we slept together,” no surprise the guy who edited it ended up directing Purple Rain. This movie is the very personification of 80’s MTV. Be happy that you can experience it, because your life would be meaningless without it. Read More »

Robert Kramer – Ice (1970)



A pioneering work that blurred the boundaries between fictional and documentary styles, Ice was hailed by filmmaker and Village Voice critic Jonas Mekas as “the most original and most significant American narrative film” of the late sixties. An underground revolutionary group struggles against internal strife which threatens its security and stages urban guerrilla attacks against a fictionalized fascist regime in the United States. Interspersed throughout the narrative are rhetorical sequences that explain the philosophy of radical action and serve to restrain the melodrama inherent in the “thriller” genre. (Harvard Film) Read More »

Juanita Wilson – As If I Am Not There (2010)



A harsh dose of cinematic realism about a harsh time-the Bosnian War of the 1990s-
Juanita Wilson’s drama is taken from true stories revealed during the International Criminal
Tribunal in The Hague. Samira is a modern schoolteacher in Sarajevo who takes a job in
a small country village just as the war is beginning to ramp up. When Serbian soldiers
overrun the village, shoot the men and keep the women as laborers (the older ones) and
sex objects (the younger ones), Samira is subjected to the basest form of treatment
imaginable. Read More »

Nelson Pereira dos Santos – Rio Quarenta Graus aka Rio 40ºC (1955)


“As important to Latin American cinema as Godard’s A bout de souffle was to European film” (Toronto I.F.F.), Nelson Pereira dos Santos’s down-and-dirty, samba-fuelled Rio, 40 Degrees was one of the first Brazilian features to realistically, sensitively, sympathetically depict the plight of Brazil’s impoverished black population. The film follows five different peanut vendors from the slums as they make their way on a hot summer’s day through five different regions of Rio: Copacabana, Sugar Loaf, Corcovado, Quinta da Boa Vista, and Maraca†a. The beneficent influence of neorealism is apparent in the film’s admirable use of location shooting and non-professional actors; its engaging slice-of-life cross-section of Brazilian society and social class is set to a lively pop music score. Banned by Rio’s Chief of Police for it depiction of “marginal elements,” Rio, 40 Degrees was only released after a loud campaign by artists and intellectuals — becoming the first cause celebre of Brazil’s Cinema Novo. “A mix of comedy, drama and melodrama, dos Santos has fashioned an enduring landmark, a film that still retains its freshness and original vitality” Read More »