Drama

Otar Iosseliani – Pastorali (1975)

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synopsis

Pastorale won the International Critics’ Prize from the 1982 Berlin Film Festival. Director Otar Ioseliani was something of an outsider in the Soviet system and now lives and works in France. This film, made in 1976, was not released in the West until 1982. Iosseliani’s films show a characteristically Georgian film style; focusing more on character and mood than narrative coherence, they exhibit a characteristically whimsical humor. Pastorale explores what is truly valuable in human relationships, when one cuts away the non-essentials. The story shows what happens when a highly cultured group of musicians from a string quartet spend the summer rehearsing in a small village in the Georgian countryside. In this contemplative, idiosyncratic and somewhat humorous film, they get embroiled in local controversies, and share their gusto for living, loving and drinking with the villagers, to whom they are otherwise incomprehensible, while they rehearse and bicker among themselves. Read More »

Ingmar Bergman – Beröringen AKA The Touch [12 min longer] (1971)

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imdb plot summary:
A seemingly happy Swedish housewife and mother begins an adulterous affair with a foreign archaeologist who is working near her home. But he is an emotionally scarred man, a Jewish survivor from a concentration camp who found refuge in the U.S.,and, consequently, their relationship will be painfully difficult. Read More »

Bernard Vorhaus – Lady from Louisiana (1941)

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Plot:

Northern Lawyer John Reynolds (John Wayne) goes up against the lottery racket in 1880 corrupt Louisiana.
While on the riverboat to New Orleans, he meets and falls in love with Southern Belle, Julie (Ona Munson), General Anatole Mirbeau’s beautiful daughter. The General (Henry Stephenson) and his right-hand man Blackburn ‘Blackie’ Williams (Ray Middleton) run the popular Louisiana State Lottery Company, which support illegal activities and brothels while corrupting judges and other city officials. The battle between the men are complicated with Reynolds’ love for the General’s daughter and interrupted by torrential rain storms that breaks the levees, floods the city and threatens to destroy the city of New Orleans.

Stylishly directed by Bernard Vorhaus who had previously directed John Wayne in the memorable drama, Three Faces West. Includes an early performance by Dorothy Dandridge (Carmen Jones). Read More »

Ferenc Kósa – Tízezer nap AKA Ten Thousand Days (1967)

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The changing and turbulent history of Hungary is seen through the eyes of three men over a 30-year period in this somber drama. The three recall the highlights of their lives in flashbacks as they reminisce in the mid 1960s. The venerable trio begin their story in the 1930s, through World War II, and the decade beyond the communist invasion of 1956.

It was entered into the 1967 Cannes Film Festival where Kósa won the award for Best Director.
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Wichanon Somunjarn – Sin maysar fon tok ma proi proi AKA In April the Following Year, There Was a Fire (2012)

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Nhum is a construction foreman working in Bangkok. The political instability in Thailand has made its presence felt in all business sectors. Nhum suddenly finds himself out of jobs. He decides to head back to the northeast to attend a wedding during the Thai New Year in April — the hottest month of the year.
At the wedding in Khon Kaen, Nhum runs into Joy, a senior from his high school whom he used to have a crush on. They exchange their phone numbers.
Suddenly, we see an interview with the director’s family members, and we learn that the film itself is a semi-autobiography of the director’s life. The character of Nhum is as much a construct as it is real. From this point on, the film becomes the voyage of a young man into the labyrinths of the real and the imagined, the documentary and the fiction, the past and the present – and not only of his self but also of the Thai society writ large.
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Calin Peter Netzer – Pozitia copilului AKA Child’s Pose (2013) (HD)

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The story: Cornelia, a middle-aged high society architect, is informed by her sister-in-law that her son Barbu has killed a child in a traffic accident, and both immediately proceed to the police station where he is being held for questioning. They barge into the interrogation, all the while phoning useful contacts, and manage to change Barbu’s statement, after which they take him back to his parent’s house. In the following days, Cornelia develops various schemes to get Barbu off the hook of a trial, receiving unexpected support from Barbu’s wife (or girl-friend) Carmen, even though they thoroughly hate each other.

The accident itself is not the main story. It serves as a backdrop for highlighting the blatant disregard of the rich for the poor, the pervasiveness of corruption in Romanian society, and to illustrate how possessive and self-serving Cornelia is. Most screen time is devoted to Barbu’s ‘cutting of the post-natal umbilical cord’, his sometimes desperate, mostly half-hearted attempts to gain independence from his overprotective mother. Read More »

Evald Schorm – Pet holek na krku AKA Saddled with Five Girls (1967)

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From History of Narrative Film by David A. Cook (p712):

“Schorm’s third film of contemporary social criticism, Saddled with Five Girls, forms a kind of trilogy with Everyday Courage and The Return of the Prodigal Son. Less pessimistic than his earlier work, Saddled with Five Girls is a film of youthful love and alienation which juxtaposes its narrative with scenes from Weber’s Die Freischütz.

From 50 Major Filmmakers edited by Peter Cowie (p231):

“Five Girls to Cope With, in 1967, set out to explore that critical age of adolescence when a person’s character is formed for good or evil. Schorm examined a girl’s problems of being giving too much. She tries to buy the goodwill of her less fortunate friends; her intentions are pure, but in the difficulty of communicating she learns envy and deceit, and must decide if she will submit to double dealing or steel her life against self-deception and mediocrity. In addition to the relationship between the girl and her friends, Schorm introduces a teenage romance and the broader relationship between the girl’s parents – neatly tied together with segments of Weber’s opera, Die Freischütz. He reveals himself as a skilled psychological director with a wide range of knowledge about people. Read More »