Even more so than The Orchid Gardener, this film anticipates Lars von Trier’s later work. The cross-wielding figure who emerges in the final shot before the end title in The Orchid Gardener appears here as “the Jew” who keeps the garden in the cloister where Menthe’s would-be mistress attempts to make her “remember” the things that they have lived together in a series of images that play with expectations about dominance. Continue reading
Die Parallelstraße is one of the most mysterious pioneer films of the New German Cinema. It was produced by GBF, a production company for innovative industrial and promotional films and received awards in inter national film festivals. French critic Robert Benayoun called it “a philosophical thriller, a western of meditation which compensates for a whole year of inevitable manifestations of stupidity,” Jacques Rivette put it on his list of the most important films of 1968. The DVD presents for the very first time this “unjustly forgotten masterpiece of the New German Cinema” (Martin Brady) as well as several rare shorts by Ferdinand Khittl (1924-1976) which show his talent for innovative film experiments. Continue reading
Undeniably one of the strangest drug-related movies ever made (not to mention the title itself!). Dr Fink is a quite ruthless and cynic college professor. One of his students, is addicted to heroin. The professor invites him to his villa along with his wife to spend the weekend. The psychedelic, surreal and sleazy situations that take place have to be seen! One of the rarest, weirdest and most obscure Italian exploitation films of all time. Continue reading
The title refers to a rare etching of Dutch artist Rembrandt. Jon A. English plays a young musician who expresses his love for former girl friend Barbara Hammes by presenting her with a Xeroxed copy of the Rembrandt etching. Though Hammes is touched, she doesn’t want to get back together with English. And that’s what passes for a plot in this collection of loosely related visual anecdotes, recording the separate day-to-day existences of English and Hammes. Devotees of director Jon Jost will uncover profundities in every scene; those who aren’t so taken by Jost will scratch their heads and wonder what all the shouting is about.allmovie Continue reading
IMDB user review
31 July 2007 | by (peacecreep) (United States)
Shot on 16mm in rural Utah in the early 90′s, Sure Fire is obscure American cinema at its finest. Josts style is very unique, containing many long scenes of dialogue, and beautiful photography of landscapes. This film contains some of the longest, most engaging monologues I’ve ever seen or heard, courtesy of the lead actor, Tom Blair. Blair is an amazingly strange actor that really gets into his roles. All I can really say is watch him work, it is fascinating.
The story was developed in accordance with the people Jost met in Utah and what was going on in their lives and the area at the time. The story concerns Tom Blair’s character, Wes, wanting to sell real estate to people moving to his town from California. It goes on to explore his relationship with the people close to him.
At times, the film feels like a weirder version of Twin Peaks, and that’s a very good thing. But it is no doubt a singular vision by a truly underground filmmaker. It is hard to find, but worth the hunt. -James Sinclair 7/07 Continue reading
« I was thinking about light and its relation to water and to life, and also its opposite – darkness or the night and death. I thought about how we have built entire cities of artificial light as refuge from the dark. »
Video treats light like water – it becomes a fluid on the video tube.
Water supports the fish like light supports man. Land is the death of the fish. Darkness is the death of man. »
Bill Viola, 1981
Hatsu-Yume (First Dream) is Bill Viola’s masterpiece, the greatest work by one of the most important video artists in the world. A spiritual allegory equating light and dark with life and death. Hatsu-Yume was produced in Japan in 1981 while Viola was artist-in-residence at the Sony Corporation. The title refers to Japanese folklore, wherein things done on the first day of a new year are significant. But the tape is not to be taken literally as a dream. For Viola, it’s more like the aboriginal concept of dreamtime, the creation of the world. That’s why, as a whole and in its parts, Hatsu-Yume progresses from darkness to light, stillness to motion, silence to sound, simplicity to complexity, nature to civilization. There are two interwoven themes: the dark water world of fish, and Buddhist rituals invoking the souls of dead ancestors. As in a dream, we frequently can’t tell if these wordless streams of image and sound are unfolding in real time, slow-motion or time-lapse. A work of extravagant pictorial beauty, Hatsu-Yume represents the most painterly use of light in the history of video. Form is content: the light that lures fish to their death protects human life. At once ominous, majestic, mystical and deeply spiritual, Hatsu-Yume is the work of a visionary poet of image and sound. Continue reading
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. Continue reading