Adam Curtis – All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace (2011)


Newest series of polemical essay film/documentaries by Adam Curtis is both maddening and occasionally brilliant… frustrating for their reductivism and eliptical approach to complex subjects, but frankly staggering for the allusive leaps of the narrative. Truly inspired selection of music on the soundtrack, also. Anyways:

All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace

A series of films by Adam Curtis about how humans have been colonised by the machines they have built. Although we don’t realise it, the way we see everything in the world today is through the eyes of the computers. Continue reading

Apichatpong Weerasethakul – Ashes (2012)

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Ashes contemplates love, pleasure, and the destruction of memory. The surroundings of everyday life are shared with extreme intimacy. For Apichatpong, Thailand, while full of beauty, is slowly collapsing into darkness.

“King Kong rarely barked. She had been with us since she was three months old. Every night she slept and looked around in her dreams.

We thought that our spirits were enriched by the fertile soil and the greenest leaves and the rarest insects and the abundance of humility. But came a day in March we woke up from our dream. The sky wept ashes. The rotten ground trembled as baby worms rose to taste the gray snow. Across the mountains the light of devotion shone and blinded our souls. The darkness was so bright we wept and shouted in silence. And we woke up again, and again. Continue reading

Cam Archer – Shit Year (2010)


A renowned actress (Ellen Barkin) abandons her successful career for a secluded life in the hills. But before long, she begins to fear she has only lived through the characters she has played. Reality becomes inseparable from unhinged obsessions in a hallucinatory struggle to reclaim herself. With a tour de force by Barkin, Cam Archer’s (Wild Tigers I Have Known) confirms him as one of the most distinct voices in American cinema. Continue reading

Piero Bargellini – The Lost Cinema (1966)

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Piero Bargellini was born in Arezzo in 1940. An agronomist, film lover and amateur filmmaker, he joined the “Cinema Indipendente” Cooperative in 1968 and became one of the most important figures of Italian underground cinema. His films are intensely poetic and reflect artisanal wisdom, based on his scientific knowledge of optics and chemistry. He made films like Morte all’orecchio di Van Gogh, Fractions of Temporary Periods, Trasferimento di modulazione, Gasoline, Stricnina, between 1966 and 1973, in a total identity of art and life. These works tell “the history, in its own way exemplary, of one of the secret protagonists, and of the famous victims, of the revolution of 1968.” Ideally conceived as a dialectic interface between the Italian Competition and Detours, this tribute (curated by Fulvio Baglivi with the help of Adriano Aprà) is also the way we have chosen to remember Marco Melani on the tenth anniversary of his death. Marco, who was a friend and collaborator of Bargellini’s, and who continues to be our inspiration and a “hidden” prompter, organized for the first festival in Torino (1982) a commemoration of his friend, who had recently passed away. His intent was to remove the label of “experimental”: “his cinema was cinema tout court, like that of Rossellini, Hawks, Bertolucci, Schifano, Brakhage and all the other filmmakers he loved.” Continue reading

Carmelo Bene – Salome (1972)


This experimental film by the maverick Italian director Carmelo Bene is a free adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s play Salome and is even more irreverent than the original. In this film, Bene carries the New Testament story beyond the incident with Herod, and pictures Christ nailing himself to the cross, unable (of course) to finish the task. This film uses many musical and filmic special effects and includes at least one pornographic sequence and a number of sadistic ones. ~ Clarke Fountain, All Movie Guide Continue reading

Go Shibata – NN-891102 (1999)

This film’s cryptic title refers to the atomic bombing of Nagasaki (Nagasaki Nuclear 8 [August] 9 [the day] 11:02 [the time]). A 5-year-old boy survives the fateful blast and thinks that its sound has been captured on his father’s tape recorder, only to become obsessed with reproducing it when the tape appears to be empty. A first, the sound (or its absence) continues to traumatize him as he tries all manner of experiment to reproduce it, but gradually, as he grows older, it becomes oddly comforting. This emotionally powerful film features stunningly realistic flashback scenes that capture the look and feel of actual footage that could have been shot in 1940. NN-891102 was the first feature film by Go Shibata, who is perhaps better known for his 2004 film Late Bloomer. Continue reading

Sunil Dutt – Yaadein AKA Memories (1964)


Yaadein (“Memories”) is a 1964 B&W Hindi film directed and produced by Sunil Dutt also starring himself. The only other actor in the film is Nargis Dutt, that too as a silhouette in the final scene.

This film is the first of its kind as it features only a single actor and hence has found an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records in the category of “Fewest actors in a narrative film”.

Film narrative progresses through dialogues and background music composed by Vasant Desai, who also gave the song, Dekha hai sapna koi.. (sung by Lata Mangeshkar.)

The film is soliloquy of a man who comes home to find that his wife and son are not at home, he assumes that they have left him and reminiscences his life with them, and scared of his life without them, he regrets his past indiscretions. The suspense is only revealed in the end. Continue reading