Patrick Vollrath – Alles wird gut AKA Everything Will Be Okay (2015)

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Synopsis:
A divorced father picks up his eight-year-old daughter Lea. It seems pretty much like every second weekend, but after a while Lea can’t help feeling that something isn’t right. So begins a fateful journey.

Review:
Cinema as a mode of fabricated observation can be fascinating because, unless instructed to do so, the camera doesn’t judge. This is the key to entering Patrick Vollrath’s powerful domestic drama Everything Will Be Okay, which chronicles a divorced father’s initially fun day out with his daughter during which life-altering decisions are made. The movie opens with Michael (Simon Schwarz, “About a Girl”) impatiently waiting for young daughter Lea (Julia Pointner) outside her mother and stepfather’s home. He’s itching to go and can’t wait to get her in the car and race her off to the toy store, an innocent start to their time together. Continue reading

Michael Haneke – Das Schloß AKA The Castle (1997)

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Quote:
It was just a matter of time before Michael Haneke and Franz Kafka crossed paths. The Castle, the Austrian filmmaker’s made-for-TV version of the Czech writer’s famous unfinished novel, promises an intriguing meeting between these two dedicated misanthropes, yet despite the overlapping bleakness of their worldviews, the film is notable mostly as an example of how somebody can follow a work to the letter and still miss its essence. K. (Ulrich Mühe) comes in from the cold, summoned by the mysterious officials at “the Castle” to an isolated village for a position as land surveyor; instead he finds himself reluctantly engaged to forlorn barmaid Frieda (Susanne Lothar), saddled with a couple of dolts (Felix Eitner and Frank Giering) for assistants, and trudging in circles in the snow, helplessly trying to unscramble the tortuous snafu that’s made him “superfluous and in everybody’s way.” Haneke’s last Austrian picture before his departure to France and richer, less offensive films (The Time of the Wolf, Caché), The Castle is something of a companion piece to the director’s deplorable, hectoring Funny Games, even bringing back the earlier film’s tormented couple for another round of inexplicable distress. Continue reading

Edward Berger – Jack (2014)

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Quote:
Breakfast, younger brother fed and dressed, off to school, all in haste. Great responsibility for a ten year old, great fun in places too; later going playing in the park with mother and her friends but then her two boys, Jack and Manuel, taking the U-Bahn home well after dark as Sanna’s evening continues.

Eventually this domestic arrangement collapses, an accident leads to corridors inhabited by social workers, new rules, a new home, a new struggle. Continue reading

Rainer Werner Fassbinder – Ich will doch nur, daß ihr mich liebt AKA I Only Want You to Love Me (1976)

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Quote:
A man is interviewed by a sympathetic woman. His tale unfolds, of hard work that never pleases his parents, of a father who denigrates his efforts, of an indifferent mother. He builds them a house. Instead of offering their flat to him and his bride, they give the flat up, so he goes to Munich to work in construction, bringing his wife who is soon pregnant. They buy things on credit; he works overtime. He shows up with flowers and expensive gifts. When construction slows and he works less overtime, he cannot adjust his spending habits: he needs to be loved. Pressures mount. When he snaps, and violence ensues, who will be his victim? Continue reading

Werner Schroeter – Goldflocken (1976)

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Werner Schroeter’s rhapsody of excess leaps from 1949 Cuba to contemporary France to points in between, while its feverishly shifting visual style evokes and parodies everything from kitschy Mexican telenovelas to silent French art films.

Film en quatre épisodes : Cuba, Drame du rail, Coeur brisé et La Trahison. Dans Flocons d’or, qui traite de la mort, l’héroine Montezuma est l’épouse française d’un gros propriétaire terrien qui se droque. L’action se déroule à Cuba vers la fin des années 40. Des quatre épisodes du film, un seul comporte une ironique lueur d’espoir. Continue reading

Rainer Werner Fassbinder – Angst vor der Angst aka Fear of Fear (1975)

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For a long, in-depth review; see Jim’s Reviews link

From Bill’s Movie Emporium:
The story presented in Angst Vor Der Angst isn’t original by any means, although in 1975 I’m sure it had some originality to it. Originality doesn’t matter though, because Angst Vor Der Angst is about a quality director taking a relatively simple subject and turning it into a great movie. Angst Vor Der Angst is a dramatic tale, yet it is a tale we can relate to. Some of the characters may seem cliche, but they aren’t over the top and most of us have had a domineering mother-in-law or a bothersome sister-in-law in our lives. Continue reading

Dennis Cooper & Zac Farley – Like Cattle Towards Glow (2015)

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Quote:
The film’s violence is the genuinely spiritual kind. A loud expression of the alienation that hums constantly in the elevator music to modern life. (John Farley, Full Stop)

The novels, writings and performance works created by prolific, transgressive and author Dennis Cooper describe a world in which desire, aggression, loneliness and power swirl, in which characters teeter on the brink of immolation and where love and violence fuse. In its first partnership with San Francisco’s new Alamo Draft House, Cinematheque is thrilled to welcome Cooper and co-director Zac Farley for the local premiere (and pre-DVD release screening) of Like Cattle Towards Glow (2015), a similarly visionary examination of these overwhelming obsessions. Continue reading