City of Pirates
(La Ville des pirates, France/Portugal, 1983)
Raúl Ruiz’s City of Pirates is (de)composed under the sign of Surrealism, with its trust in ecstasy, scandal, the call of the wild, mystification, prophetic dreams, humour, the uncanny. Given the surprising swerves and disorientations evoking Buñuel and Dalí, and the confidence in a poetic discourse recalling Eluard and Péret, one wonders if Ruiz didn’t elaborate his scenario using the Surrealist mode of automatic writing. Troubled, graceful Isidore – Ducasse and Duncan? – is a purely Surrealist heroine, part Ophelia, Salomé, Bérénice, prone to trances, somnambulism, hysterical seizure, contact with the ‘other side’. Her calm violence links her to the real life murderesses – Germaine Berton, the Papin sisters – exalted by Breton’s circle, and by Jacques Lacan. Indeed, Lacan’s notion of a psychoanalysis in which the analyst stays off his patient’s wavelength, inspired by the idea of ‘surrealist dialogue’ in which paired monologues at cross purposes strike sparks of meaning off each other, underpins the scatty trajectory of Ruiz’s own graphomania, snared this time as the tale of a Pirate’s City. Continue reading
On the eve of the First World War, a wealthy count, Forbek, builds a rocco pleasure dome in the French countryside. He invites his wife and his friends to live a life of idyllic seclusion inside the dome. In 1982, the same dome is the venue for a teaching seminar attended by a number of teachers with some radical ideas for educating children. Both Forbek and the seminar’s organisers are striving for similar things, the creation of a better world. Both are doomed to failure…
taken from here
This second feature in Nacer Khemir’s Desert Trilogy is a visually ravishing folktale reminiscent of “The Thousand and One Nights.” The story revolves around Hassan, who is studying Arabic calligraphy from a grand master. Coming across a fragment of manuscript, Hassan goes in search of the missing pieces, believing that once he finds them, he will learn the secrets of love. With the help of Zin, a lovers’ go-between, he meets the beautiful Aziz, Princess of Samarkand. After encountering wars, a battle between false prophets and an ancient curse, he learns that an entire lifetime would not suffice for him to learn the many dimensions of love. Continue reading
In a secluded Brazilian coastal village, where everything seems to stand still, Clarisse watches her life over the course of a day, unlike those around her who live that day just like any other. She tries to understand her obscure reality and the destiny of the people around her in a circling, disturbing sense of time. Continue reading
Little Shop of Horrors, Russian Style
By Oleg Liakhovich The Moscow News
On the heels of the XXVI Moscow International Film Festival came an event even more pompous and widely publicized – the premiere of a movie meant to spark a revival of Russia’s popular cinema while giving Hollywood a battle royale on its own terms
Night Watch (Nochnoy Dozor in original Russian) depicts the on-going struggle between the magical forces of good and evil in present-day Moscow. The movie was eagerly awaited by fans and became an object of an intense advertising campaign in all media. Its US $3mln budget – an incredible sum for a local movie – and plentiful special effects, also a novelty for Russian cinema with its established traditions of inexpensive quality dramas and solid adaptations of literary classics, were to make Night Watch Russia’s equivalent of an American summer blockbuster. The producers actually went as far as officially calling it “the first Russian blockbuster” long before it had the chance to appear on screen. Even Russia’s own Oscar winner and self-styled national sage director Nikita Mikhalkov, while admitting that the film “wasn’t his thing”, said that it was “cool” and called it Russia’s “answer to Quentin Tarantino”. Serious praise indeed – after all, only a dirty mind would suspect Mikhalkov of still being sore at old Quentin for “stealing” his Palme d’Or in Cannes back in 1994.
Lightsaber, Anyone? Continue reading
Eve Charlier is poisoned by her husband, an unscrupulous state official, so that he can marry her younger sister. At the same moment that she dies, a political agitator, Pierre Dumaine is shot dead by a police informer on the eve of an uprising against the state. Eve and Pierre meet up in the afterlife, where they can observe the world of the living but cannot alter anything. When they appear to fall in love, they are allowed to return to the land of the living for one more day. If they can prove that they love each other sincerely, they will be permitted to live out the rest of their lives together. Otherwise…
Once upon a time, under the reign of the three kingdoms, there was a woman who tempts a Buddhist priest named Cho. She is a one-thousand-year-old fox who intends to reincarnate as a human being. Not knowing this, Cho lives with the fox. But in the end, they get separated harboring sadness of unfulfilled love in this world.
- Written by KCCLA Continue reading