Roberto Gavaldón – Macario (1960)

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The enigmatic B. Traven is certainly one of the most amazing figures in modern literature, as to this date his true identity remains an unsolved mystery. Better known for having written the novel “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” (the basis for John Huston’s film), the mysterious writer who claimed to be American (although clues point out to he being German) traveled to Mexico where he became fascinated with the country’s rich culture and difficult social situations. “Macario” (or “Der Dritte Gast”, literally, “The Third Guest”) is probably one of his best known works (after the afore mentioned “Treasure of the Sierra Madre”), and the source novel of one of Mexico’s most fascinating and beautiful films. Continue reading

Václav Vorlícek – Jak utopit doktora Mrácka aneb Konec vodniku v Cechách AKA How to drown Dr. Mracek (1974)

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Synopsis:
There are still water spirits among us. One group lives in Prague, led by Mr. Wassermann, who is using his wife’s family as a servants. All they need is their old house near the river. But the house is to be demolished. They have to stop it. And the only way is to drown Dr. Mrácek, who is responsible for the demolition. But he falls in love with Wassermann’s niece Jana. He changes to fish, is mistaked for water spirit from Germany, is drowned and revived again. The other problem is the flour with ears… and so on… Continue reading

Federico Fellini – Giulietta degli spiriti AKA Juliet of the Spirits (1965)

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Fellini lore has it that the master made “Juliet of the Spirits” as a gift for his wife. Like many husbands, he gave her the gift he really wanted for himself. The movie, starring a sad-eyed Giulietta Masina who fears her husband is cheating, suggests she’d be happier if she were more like her neighbor, a buxom temptress who entertains men in a tree house. Continue reading

Umit Unal – Gölgesizler AKA The Shadowless (2009)

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A barber working in Istanbul longs to be ‘both here and far, far away’. And one day, without warning, he takes himself off and disappears abruptly into the great far away. The barber settles in a far-flung village, and as chance would have it the one-time local barber, Jingle Nuri, vanished from the place years ago. The village is in the hands of the mukhtar, the elected local chief. So the new barber rents his shop and opens the doors for business. The village is not, however, the innocent village. The mukhtar finds himself dealing with one mysterious disappearance after another. Güvercin, the prettiest girl in the village, is now missing without trace. The mukhtar and his only armed man, the village guard, set about questioning everyone in the village. The mukhtar suspects Cennet’s son more than anyone else. And he beats the gentle dreamer with the soul of a poet to a pulp as he cross-examines him – which causes the boy to lose his mind. Continue reading

Bertrand Mandico – Les garçons sauvages AKA The Wild Boys (2017)

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At the beginning of the 20th century on the island of La Réunion, five adolescents of good family, enamored with the occult, commit a savage crime. A Dutch Captain takes them in charge for a repressive cruise on a haunted, dilapidated sailboat. Exhausted by the methods of the Captain, the five boys prepare to mutiny. Their port of call is a supernatural island with luxuriant vegetation and bewitching powers. Written by Ecce Films Continue reading

Henrikas Sablevicius – Atspindziai AKA Reflections [Restored] (1968)

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“Reflections” is a film created by Henrikas Šablevičius and the national television. Back then, the movie was seen as unconventional in the context of Lithuanian cinema: it employs a surrealistic etude of no clear narrative and has an extreme form. Thus, immediately after the release it was banned and had been unnoticed for almost two decades. By bringing graphic artist Stasys Krasauskas’ works to life in the conditional spaces of “Reflections”, the director, only by means of images, creates a story about human’s duality, the search for self, liberation, accepting the agency of the past and a limited opportunity to choose. Continue reading

Víctor Erice – El Espíritu de la colmena aka The Spirit of the Beehive (1973)

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Plot Synopsis [AMG]
Widely regarded as a masterpiece of Spanish cinema, this allegorical tale is set in a remote village in the 1940s. The life in the village is calm and uneventful — an allegory of Spanish life after General Franco’s victory in the Spanish Civil War. While their father (Fernando Fernán Gómez) studies bees in his beehive and their mother (Teresa Gimpera) writes letters to a non-existent correspondent, two young girls, Ana (Ana Torrent) and Isabel (Isabel Telleria), go to see James Whale’s Frankenstein at a local cinema. Though they can hardly understand the concept, both girls are deeply impressed with the moment when a little girl gives a flower to the monster. Isabel, the older sister, tells Ana that the monster actually exists as a spirit that you can’t see unless you know how to approach him. Ana starts wandering around the countryside in search of the kind creature. Instead, she meets an army deserter, who is hiding in a barn. The film received critical accolades for its subtle and masterful use of cinematic language and the expressive performance of the young Ana Torrent. Continue reading