Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader wrote:
In The Fog of War, Errol Morris interviews an 84-year-old Robert S. McNamara, who served as secretary of defense under presidents Kennedy and Johnson and is widely regarded as the architect of the American war in Vietnam. There’s something undeniably masterful about the film, which also includes archival footage, but that mastery is what sticks in my craw: it’s a capacity to say as little as possible while giving the impression of saying a great deal, a skill shared by McNamara and Morris. I’m not sure what we have to gain from this — the satisfaction that we’re somehow taking care of business when we’re actually fast asleep? Continue reading
The film is set in 1905, in a time of feverish revolutionary underground activity in Poland partitioned between three neighbours. All the characters are committed anarchists. The bomb maker puts an invention together to place it at the disposal of young inexperienced terrorists fighting against Tsarist oppression. The story follows the passing of this bomb from anarchist to anarchist as several attempts are made on the life of Tsarist governor general, until, at the end, it is effectively and harmlessly defused by a bomb expert. The presence of the bomb has a destroying effect on all of the Polish revolutionaries, they either die or breakdown. Written by Polish Cinema Database Continue reading
Under the pretext of “bringing civilization”, the Turkish state launched a series of violent military operations against the city of Dersim in Kurdistan between 1937-38. Thousands of people were killed and thousands more exiled. During the massacre and banishment, hundreds of girls were given to the families of high-ranking soldiers in order to be “Turkified”. Told through the story of those missing girls, this film exposes that destructive practice, only recently acknowledged. Continue reading
We Utopians are happy / This will last forever”
Loosely framed by Plato’s invocation of the lost continent of Atlantis in 360 BC and its re-re-resurrection via a 1970s science fiction pulp novel, Atlantis is a documentary portrait of Utopia — an island that has never / forever existed beneath our too-mortal feet. Herein is folk song and pagan rite, religious march and reflected temple, the sea that surrounds us all. Even though we are slowly sinking, we are happy and content.
“Atlantis interrogates this space of fabulation without ever leaving the real island behind, finding itself caught between a portrait of place and the conjuring of a drowned paradise.”
–Erika Balsom, Artforum Continue reading
The Wind That Shakes the Barley is a 2006 British-Irish war drama film directed by Ken Loach, set during the Irish War of Independence (1919-1922) and the Irish Civil War (1922-1923). Written by long-time Loach collaborator Paul Laverty, this drama tells the fictional story of two County Cork brothers, Damien O’Donovan (Cillian Murphy) and Teddy O’Donovan (Pádraic Delaney), who join the Irish Republican Army to fight for Irish independence from the United Kingdom. It takes its title from the Robert Dwyer Joyce song “The Wind That Shakes the Barley” a song set during the 1798 rebellion in Ireland and featured early in the film.
Widely praised, the film won the Palme d’Or at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. Loach’s biggest box office success to date, the film did well around the world and set a record in Ireland as the highest-grossing Irish-made independent film ever. Continue reading
Russia, 1912. Sick of the conditions under which they have to toil for a meagre salary, the workers at a factory are on the brink of rebellion. The flashpoint comes when one of their number hangs himself after having been unjustly accused of stealing a tool by his foreman. The workers walk out on mass, refusing to return until their managers have agreed to their terms. The factory owners, fat industrialists with a taste for luxury, are infuriated by this illegal revolt and resolve to bring the workers to heel – by any means possible… Continue reading
In Allonsanfan, the director/brother team of Paolo Taviani and Vittorio Taviani weave a witty and occasionally melancholic tale of 19th century radicalism in Italy. Marcello Mastroianni stars as Fulvio, a middle-aged man swept up in a extremist political movement. The more he protests that he wants no part of politics, the deeper he becomes enmeshed in the Cause. This film might make an intriguing companion piece to the earlier Mastroianni film The Organizer (63), in which he portrays one of the very radical types that his character in Allonsanfan so zealously repudiates. The title refers to the phonetic spelling of “Alons enfants,” the first two words of the French “Marseillaise”. Continue reading