Epic

Akira Kurosawa – Shichinin no samurai AKA Seven Samurai [+commentary] (1954)

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Quote:
In 16th century Japan, protracted feudal wars have created a prevailing sense of lawlessness. Bandits have organized into formidable armies that scavenge the countryside in search of villages to loot. One morning, a band of thieves arrive at the outskirts of a farming community, but is persuaded to delay their attack until the barley has been harvested. A peasant farmer overhears their plan, and summons the villagers for a town meeting. The farmers seek counsel from the village elder (Kuninori Todo) who advises them to hire “hungry samurai” who would protect their village in exchange for meals. But the task of finding formidable samurais who will accept such a meager compensation proves to be a difficult task. One day, the farmers witness a middle-aged ronin (masterless samurai) named Kambei Shimada (Takashi Shimura) single-handedly rescue an abducted child by relying solely on his cunning intelligence and precise technical skill. Kambei has grown weary of fighting, but the plight of the farmers wins his sympathy, and he agrees to take up their seemingly hopeless cause. Read More »

L. Krishnan – Raden mas (1960)

Quote:
Between the end of the Second World War and the early 1960s, the Cathay Organization and Shaw Brothers produced a string of films in Singapore, that were made for the Malay-speaking audience in what was then called Malaya. Both companies are today better know for their Cantonese Kung Fu flicks and other genre movies, that they started to produce when they moved to Hong Kong after Singapore separated from the Malay federation and became an independent, Chinese-dominated city state in 1963. This was the end of this “Golden Age of Malay cinema”, since it became difficult to distribute Singapore-made films in Malaysia due to political pressure. Read More »

Grigoriy Aleksandrov & Sergei M. Eisenstein – Staroye i novoye aka The Old and the New aka The General Line (1929)

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The horseless Marfa Lapkina, together with the local agronomist and other poor peasants, organizes a dairy farm in the village. However, local kulaks are actively resisting the project and any success it could provide. Old poor people also resists, not understanding the meaning of camaraderie and what their unification could bring to them… Read More »

Lav Diaz – Ebolusyon ng isang pamilyang Pilipino AKA Evolution of a Filipino Family (2004)

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An intimate
made with uncompromising and austere seriousness, Lav Diaz’s “Evolution of a Filipino Family” patiently and methodically observes the collapse and hopeful revival of a poor farming clan, meant to symbolize a nation’s history spanning 1971 to 1987. Ten-hour running time, radically slow pace and hyperminimalist mise en scene will excite international cinephiles at the most daring fests and showcases, which are the only conceivable venues outside of homevid. Read More »

Gabriel Axel – Den røde kappe AKA Hagbard and Signe AKA The Red Mantle (1967)

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Hagbard and Signe / The Red Mantle

By Roger Ebert / October 30, 1968
Prentoulis films presents an ASA Film Movie Art Europe co-production, directed by Gabriel Axel from a screenplay by himself and dialog by Frank Jaeger. Produced by Bent Christensen and Johan Bonnier. Photographer in color by Henning Bendtsen.

“Hagbard and Signe” is a beautiful, lean, spare film, which reaches back into the legends of the past to find its strength. I think it must be reckoned the sleeper of the year; I had not heard of it previously, either under the present title or as “The Red Mantle” (its title as the Danish entry at Cannes). Read More »

Lav Diaz – Ebolusyon ng isang pamilyang Pilipino AKA Evolution of a Filipino Family (2004)

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An intimate epic made with uncompromising and austere seriousness, Lav Diaz’s “Evolution of a Filipino Family” patiently and methodically observes the collapse and hopeful revival of a poor farming clan, meant to symbolize a nation’s history spanning 1971 to 1987. Ten-hour running time, radically slow pace and hyperminimalist mise en scene will excite international cinephiles at the most daring fests and showcases, which are the only conceivable venues outside of homevid. Read More »

Amanzhol Aituarov – Prikosnoveniye (1989)

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MDB: Nice and sad Fairytale

I was pretty surprised to see this rare Kazach film. First of all it touches upon great Asian folk atmosphere and has wonderful music, partly composed by master of soviet electronic music Edward Artemeyev. The director shows great visionary in the film. Some parts of the film are made in colour-the rest are black and white. The story is also something new for me: a blind bagger-girl meets a steppen killer, who decides to protect her on her hard life way. They meet a lot of dangers and wise old men and stayed alive after really creepy moments. Finally they reached the girl’s motherland. Here the ways of them two separate really dramatically. One can see some gore moments in this philosophic tale. Read More »