Ben Rivers & Ben Russell – A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness (2013)

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Synopsis:
A Spell follows an unnamed character through three seemingly disparate moments in his life. With little explanation, we join him in the midst of a 15-person collective on a small Estonian island; in isolation in the majestic wilderness of Northern Finland; and during a concert as the singer and guitarist of a black met al band in Norway.

Marked by loneliness, ecstatic beauty and an optimism of the darkest sort, A Spell is a radical proposition for the existence of utopia in the present.

Starring musician Robert AA Lowe (best known for his intense live performances under the name Lichens) in the lead role, A Spell lies somewhere between fiction and non-fiction – it is at once a document of experience and an experience itself, an inquiry into transcendence that sees the cinema as a site for transformation.
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Jean Delannoy – Notre-Dame de Paris AKA The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1956)

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Synopsis:
‘Paris, 1482. Today is the festival of the fools, taking place like each year in the square outside Cathedral Notre Dame. Among jugglers and other entertainers, Esmeralda, a sensuous gypsy, performs a bewitching dance in front of delighted spectators. From up in a tower of the cathedral, Frollo, an alchemist, gazes at her lustfully. Later in the night, Frollo orders Quasimodo, the deformed bell ringer and his faithful servant, to kidnap Esmeralda. But when the ugly freak comes close to her is touched by the young woman’s beauty…’
– Guy Bellinger (IMDb) Continue reading

Chantal Akerman – Golden Eighties AKA Window Shopping (1986)

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Synopsis:
Three young women at a hair salon all like the son of the clothing store proprietors across the mall. Although Robby is selfish and shallow, he’s appealing to Lili, the salon’s manager, who’s trendy and also the salon-owner’s moll; to Mado, who’s innocent and sweet; and to Pascale, who’s intelligent but passive and downcast. Robby’s dad tells him to grow up and see beyond the mercurial Lili, so he proposes suddenly to Mado. She’s delighted, but the day before the wedding, Lili returns to give Robby another look. In the background, a Yank who was a soldier in France in World War II returns to Paris and tries to recapture the love of his wartime sweetheart, Robby’s mom.
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Denis Héroux – Jusqu’au cou AKA Treading Water (1964)

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Quote:
The adventure of a young university student confronted with love and the Quebec separatist movement of the 60s. Denis Héroux, who directed this film while in university, says, ”I realized my strongest characters, those who oriented the film almost against my will, were ardent separatist, sometimes even terrorist. But I was stuck with them and had to continue following them.” Continue reading