Politics

Mohsen Makhmalbaf – The President (2014)

The President is the story of a dictator of an imaginary country in the Caucasus, who is forced to escape following a coup d’état, and begins a journey to discover his country in the company of his five-year-old grandson. The two travel across the lands that the President once governed. Now, disguised as a street musician to avoid being recognized, the former dictator comes into contact with his people, which he comes to know from a different point of view. Read More »

Patricio Guzmán – La cordillère des songes AKA The Cordillera of Dreams (2019)

Quote:Winner of the Best Documentary award at the Cannes Film Festival, master filmmaker Patricio Guzmán’s The Cordillera of Dreams completes his trilogy (with Nostalgia for the Light and The Pearl Button) investigating the relationship between historical memory, political trauma, and geography in his native country of Chile. It centers on the imposing landscape of the Andes that run the length of the country’s Eastern border. At once protective and isolating, magisterial and indifferent, the Cordillera serves as an enigmatic focal point around which Guzmán contemplates the enduring legacy of the 1973 military coup d’état. Read More »

Kurt Maetzig – Ernst Thälmann – Sohn seiner Klasse AKA Ernst Thälmann – Son of the Working Class (1954)

This historical-biographical film begins in the first days of November 1918 on the western front. News comes to the soldiers of a revolutionary uprising in Kiel. Young Thälmann, a soldier against his will, would like to join the expanding conflict on the side of his comrades in Hamburg. As the revolution becomes threatened by the betrayal of the right-wing Social Democrats and the splintering of the working class, he nevertheless tries unremittingly to unite the workers. The reactionaries grow ever stronger and the neediness of ordinary people multiplies. In this dire situation, the Hamburg police commissioner would like to block the unloading of a ship full of provisions that were sent from Petrograd as a message of solidarity. But Thälmann prevails in unloading it. The high point and conclusion of the first part of the Thälmann films is established at the Hamburg Uprising in October 1923. Read More »

Kurt Maetzig – Ernst Thälmann – Führer seiner Klasse AKA Ernst Thälmann – Leader of the Working Class (1955)

The second part of the Ernst Thaelmann films encompasses the time period between 1930 and Thaelmann’s murder in 1944. It shows Thaelmann’s battle to achieve a united front with all German workers against the National Socialists, his arrest following Hitler’s seizure of power and the eleven years of his incarceration, in which he unwaveringly clings to his beliefs until his death. An attempt to free him on the part of his comrades ends disastrously, and a corrupt offer of freedom from Goering himself receives Thaelmann’s refusal. Read More »

Scandar Copti & Yaron Shani – Ajami (2009)

Synopsis:
Ajami is an area of Jaffa where Arabs, Palestinians, Jews and Christians try to live together in an atmosphere that is -to say the least – electric. Omar, an Israeli Arab, struggles to save his family from elimination by a gang of extortionists. He also courts a beautiful Christian girl, Hadir, but marrying her is far from obvious. Malek, an illegal Palestinian worker, tries to collect enough money to pay for his mother’s operation. Dando, an Israeli cop, does his utmost to trace his missing brother who may have been killed by Palestinians. Binj, Malek and Omar’s Arab friend, suffers from being rejected by other members of his community for mixing with an Israeli girl. All of them will meet violence, most of the time … with violence. Read More »

Marc Allégret – Sous les yeux d’occident AKA Under Western Eyes (1936)

Un étudiant que la politique n’intéresse pas, parce qu’il a par pitié recueilli un camarade qui lutte contre l’impérialisme russe, est placé devant un dilemme, être terroriste ou mouchard. Il choisit de trahir, mis de peur que ce ne soit révélé, est obligé de se livrer à l’espionnage. Read More »

Alain Tanner – La Salamandre (1971)

Synopsis:
‘Two men, arty though somewhat staid, are drawn to the spirited and quixotic Rosemonde, a young working-class woman whom they meet because they’re writing a teleplay about a minor but curious event in which either her uncle was wounded while cleaning his rifle or she shot him. Pierre is a free-lance journalist hired to write the script; he’s short of time so he asks a Bohemian novelist friend, Paul, to help. Pierre wants facts and tracks down Rosemonde for interviews that lead to other explorations; Paul only wants to imagine her and needs little more than her name to do so. But he does meet her, and she entangles him, too. Did she cause the shooting? Is she venomous or innocent?’ Read More »