Sylvain George – Paris est une fête – Un film en 18 vagues (2017)

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Un film poème en 18 vagues, comme autant de scènes pour décrire Paris et ses paysages urbains traversés par un “jeune mineur étranger isolé”, les attentats, les roses blanches, l’état d’urgence, le bleu-blanc-rouge, l’océan atlantique et ses traversées, les volcans, la beat-box, la révolte, la colère, la violence d’Etat, un chant révolutionnaire, le silence, et la joie…, rien que la joie. Continue reading

Timon Koulmasis – Ulrike Marie Meinhof (1994)

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This arresting European documentary chronicles the exploits of a radical journalist who joined Germany’s most notorious terrorist group in the 1970s. Through a combination of newsreel clips, television reports, and interviews with friends and colleagues, a complex portrait of the journalist, Ulrike Marie Meinhof emerges. While the media portrays the woman, who committed suicide in prison in 1976, as courageous and tremendously self-confident, her friends remember her much differently. ~ Sandra Brennan, All Movie Guide Continue reading

Mikhail Slutsky – Imeni Lenina aka In the Name of Lenin (1932)

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In the Name of Lenin is a 14 minute single subject ‘short’ (rather than a newsreel) produced by Soyuzkinozhurnal in 1932. It was directed by Mikhail Slutskii, a member of the new ‘Stalinist’ generation of film-makers, who had only recently graduated from film school in Moscow. Continue reading

Evgeny Afineevsky – Cries from Syria (2017)

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Synopsis:
Cries from Syria is a searing, comprehensive account of a brutal five-year conflict from the inside out, drawing on hundreds of hours of war footage from Syrian activists and citizen journalists, as well as testimony from child protestors, leaders of the revolution, human rights defenders, ordinary citizens, and high-ranking army generals who defected from the government. Their collective stories are a cry for attention and help from a world that little understands their reality or agrees on what to do about it. A documentary by Evgeny Afineevsky, director of the Oscar-nominated film Winter on Fire, Cries From Syria premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Continue reading

Michael Dibb – The Country and the City: A Film With Raymond Williams [+ Extras] (1979)

An extremely dense translation to film of Raymond Williams’ 1973 book of the same title which traces images of ‘nature’ and ‘town’ through 200 years of English literature. The connections Williams establishes as he traces the history of Tatton Park near Manchester – ‘an almost perfect example of how the English country house has influenced if not dominated our images of the country’ – are often startling and the film’s style continually illuminates the overall argument. All of the details taken from writers, painters, landscape artists and from 19th and 20th history of major urban centres are placed within a framework of class-based economic history – ‘the country and the city are parts of an interacting system dominated by a single class’- and the result is a unique TV essay. Michael Dibb, the director, has worked well with Williams to ensure that every image, every snatch of sound-track plays its part in the structure.
Time Out Continue reading

John Gianvito – Vapor Trail (Clark) (2010)

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Keith Ulich wrote:
John Gianvito’s new documentary, the first of two films focusing on decommissioned, and hazardous, U.S. military bases-one named Clark, the other Subic-in Pampanga province, Philippines, takes its title (minus parenthetical) from the contrails left behind by airplanes at high altitude. A pre-credits sequence shows several such images, in addition to a rolling stream at sunrise; the driver’s-eye interior view of a car, signal clicking, as it prepares to turn (which way unspecified); and faded photographs that depict, we will come to learn, incidents and asides from the Philippine-American War (1899-1913). What connects these disparate objects/mo(ve)ments is a shared sense of impermanence-the feeling that everything we’re viewing is fleeting and, likely, soon forgotten.
The three Gianvito films I’ve seen-this, 2007’s Profit motive and the whispering wind, and, my personal choice for best of the ’00s, 2001’s The Mad Songs of Fernanda Hussein-share a fascination with, and in some way seek to redress the human propensity toward cultural-historical amnesia. Continue reading