Drama

Robert Guediguian – La Ville est tranquille AKA The Town Is Quiet (2000)

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From Stephen Holden review in NYT: “In his unsettling urban panorama, “The Town Is Quiet,” the director Robert Guédiguian invests the French port city of Marseille with the same epic sense of drama that infused Robert Altman’s “Nashville.” Raw, wrenching and more starkly tragic than Mr. Altman’s satire, “The Town Is Quiet” evokes a similar vision of a city as a teeming organism in violent, spasmodic flux.
Like “Nashville,” the film is a sprawling mosaic of interlocking stories whose characters run the social gamut, from right-wing upper- class politicians to young North African immigrants to blue-collar dock workers. As much as the director grasps the anxieties of the city’s well-heeled establishment, his sympathies lie with the sufferings of its underdogs, the struggles of its working class and the dreams of newcomers pouring into the city through its teeming harbor. If his identification with the common people recalls Frank Capra, the go-for-broke passion with which he expresses that vision is closer to Pier Paolo Pasolini.” Read More »

Ulrich Seidl – Paradies: Liebe (2012)

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Quote:
The premiere of the first part of Ulrich Seidls PARADISE trilogy was celebrated in this year’s competition of the Cannes Film Festival with great success. The film tells the story of Teresa (Margarethe Tiesel), a 50-year-old Austrian from Vienna who travels as a sex tourist to Kenya in search of love. On the beaches of Kenya they´re known as Sugar Mamas: European women to whom black beach boys offer sex to earn a living. The movie of Ulrich Seidl deals about older women and young men, the market value of sexuality, the power of skin color, Europe and Africa, and the exploited, who have no choice but to victimize other victims.

PARADISE: Love is the opener in a trilogy about three women in one family who take separate vacations: one as a sex tourist, another as a Catholic missionary (PARADISE: Faith) and the third at a diet camp for teenagers (PARADISE: Hope.) Three films, three women, three stories of longing. Read More »

Mikko Niskanen – Käpy selän alla AKA Under Your Skin (1966)

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Mikko Niskanen’s famous new wave film about the ’60s urban intellectuals who get faced in the Finnish countryside with loads of beer.

Review via Siffblog (Land of the Midnight Sauna: Part One, by Kathy Fennessy):

Quote:
In regarding the Finnish New Wave, it’s tempting to look for antecedents to Aki Kaurismäki’s pitch-black comic style. On the basis of Mikko Niskanen’s Skin, Skin (1966) and Eight Deadly Shots (1972), however—I’ve also seen Jörn Donner’s Sixtynine 69 and Anna—Kaurismäki’s miserablist masterworks, like Drifting Clouds (1996) and The Man Without a Past (2002), seem more idiosyncratic than ever.

To be sure, humor abounds in Skin to Skin, AKA Skin, Skin, but it isn’t brushed with blackness, while Eight Deadly Shots is downright Bressonian in its tragic trajectory; humor isn’t part of the equation at all. Only six years separate the two, but they couldn’t have less in common, and feel like the products of separate sensibilities. (The NWFF will also be screening Niskanen’s Song of the Scarlet Flower from 1971.) Read More »

Sam Peckinpah – Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1988 Turner Library version) (1973)


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An aging Pat Garrett is hired as a lawman on behalf of a group of wealthy New Mexico cattle barons–his sole purpose being to bring down his old friend Billy the Kid. (IMDB) Read More »

Edward L. Cahn – Hong Kong Confidential (1958)


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Secret agent Casey Reed (Gene Barry) goes undercover as a smarmy lounge singer (replete with cheezy white jacket!) in Hong Kong to find a missing arab prince.

Quote:
Director Edward L. Cahn always knew how to make lemonade from a lemon; his B pictures of the late 1950s displayed a raw energy that many of his higher-budgeted films of the 1930s lacked. Hong Kong Confidential is a backlot cheapie starring Gene Barry and second-feature stalwarts Beverly Tyler and Allison Hayes. Barry plays a secret agent, in Hong Kong to rescue an Arabian prince from his kidnappers. The villains, of course, are Soviet spies, easily recognizable by their baggy suits and flabby accents. Also in the cast of Hong Kong Confidential is Ed Kemmer, who’d once starred in that baby-boomer favorite Space Patrol. Read More »

Matías Bize – En la cama aka In Bed (2005)

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Synopsis:
After meeting at a party, Daniella (Blanca Lewin, Eternal Blood) and Bruno (Gonzalo Valenzuela) go to a cheap motel for a little after-party fun. They don’t know the other’s name yet, but the sex is great. Their post-coital musings reveal more than their names, however. The stranger next to them affords each the freedom to open up and discuss their wildest philosophies and deepest fears. Between bouts of love-making and more discussion, they become more personal, and soon they breach the wall of anonymity. When their darkest secrets come out, they threaten the euphoria and emotional safety for the possibility of something more. Read More »

Darezhan Omirbayev – Kairat (1992)

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Kairat, the first feature film from „Kazakh new wave“ film director Darezhan Omirbaev, tells the story of a young man from a village in Kazakh steppe and his initiation into life in the big city.

KAIRAT
Darezhan Omirbaev, Kazakhstan, 1991; 72m
“This 34-year-old filmmaker has invented an entire universe,” wrote Jean-Michel Frodon in Le Monde, and he was right. Darezhan Omirbaev may well have been inspired by Bresson and Hitchcock, but he has indeed created his very own universe in the five films he’s made since the late 80s. The disconnected events of his films are simple – a boy travelling on a train from the steppe to the city, riding on a bus, going to a movie and brushing bare arms with his date, wandering through a train yard. But every form, every movement, every gesture seems to have found its precise poetic place, and the emotional terrain contained within his first feature feels as vast as an ocean. Kairat is the name of Omirbaev’s autobiographically inspired hero, who moves through life exactly as many of us do when we’re adolescents – awkwardly, in bewildered confusion, guarding a wealth of emotions deep within us like a buried treasure. One of the best films of the 90s. Read More »