As exciting as any Hollywood epic, Chronicles of the Years of Embers follows a poor peasant from his drought-stricken village through his first encounters with colonialism, his service in the French army in World War II and finally his participation in the nascent Algerian resistance movement. Rich and inventive, this wide-screen epic is an ambitious historical fresco of the years leading to the outbreak of the Algerian War of Independence. A rare treat this gem of world cinema has not been previously released commercially and has not been made available on video in the United States.
The potential dangers inherent in the continued increase of Islamic fundamentalism in Algeria is clearly portrayed in this European political drama. The film is set in early 1993 and takes place in a decaying neighborhood, Bab El-Oued. The central character in this scary drama is Boualem, a young baker. Throughout his neighborhood the fundamentalists, locally led by the fanatical Said, have placed loud-speakers upon the rooftops to broadcast their hateful propaganda. Unable to stand the noise any longer, Boualem destroys a speaker and tosses it into the sea. Said promptly seeks to mow him down for his impudence. Said’s sister, a liberal who resents having to wear a veil and behave in traditional ways, has been seeing Boualem. He loses his job after Said pushes his boss, who actually despises Said, but fears retaliation, to fire him. Surrounding the main plot are many sub stories, each of which sharply illustrates the dangers of fundamentalism.by Sandra Brennan Continue reading
40 years on: Mai 68
This movie was made by Uk journalist Gudie Lawaetz only 4 years after the events took place. It was not much publicized at the time and was released in VHS a decade later.
In addition to the interviews the movie uses the largest archival footage never gathered on May 68, including the famous scene “la reprise du travail aux usines Wonder” .
interviews of: Pierre Viansson-Ponte, Pierre Mendes France, Jacques Sauvageot, Alfred Kastler, Daniel Cohn Bendit, Maurice Grimaud, Alain Peyrefitte, Jacques Sauvageot, Alain Geismar, Gerard Monate, Pierre Mendes France, Georges Seguy, Alain Krivine, Maurice Clavel, Christian Fouchet, Edmond Maire, Anne Wiazemsky Continue reading
Banned By The Soviets!
Visually astonishing, erotically charged and emotionally jarring, 100 Days Before The Command is Hussein Erkenov’s courageous and stinging indictment of communism.
Five young Red Army recruits struggle for survival against the merciless violence that surrounds them on a daily basis. Their only means of saving their dignity is by preserving the humanity and compassion they share for each other.
Although not an overtly gay film, Erkenov’s 100 Days Before The Command is remarkably direct in it’s homoerotic imagery and subtexts. The film includes scenes where the soldiers share an intimacy and tenderness that is far removed from the brutality of most of their waking hours. (Amazingly, all the roles are played by real-life soldiers except for one professional actor.)
Banned by Soviet censors upon its initial release, Erkenov was forced to create his own sales company in order for the film to be screened at the 1995 Berlin Film Festival. 100 Days Before The Command is a unique entry into the world of post-cold war filmmaking from behind the former Iron Curtain.
Sebastien Grenier (Lino Ventura), a former French spy, is working as a financial analyst in Zurich and cultivating an on-going relationship with Anna Gretz (Krystyna Janda), a German teaching at the university. Then his peaceful existence starts to disintegrate when he is recruited by a top French intelligence operative (Michel Piccoli) to discover how one of their own secret agents was found out and executed in broad daylight by a gang of terrorists. Sebastien starts to work but is immediately put off by the fact that his contacts are being murdered before he can reach them. As he gets deeper and deeper into the case, he comes to realize that he is being used in an elaborate political scheme, a scheme that leads to the death of Anna and a vow to get the killers who have now ruined what is left of his life. ~ Eleanor Mannikka, All Movie Guide
As Japan nears defeat at the end of World War II, Emperor Hirohito starts his day in a bunker underneath the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. A servant reads to him a list of activities for the day, including a meeting with his ministers, marine biology research, and writing his son. Hirohito muses about the impact on such schedules when the Americans arrive but is told that as long as there is a solitary Japanese person living, the Americans will not reach The Emperor. Hirohito replies that he at times feels like he himself will be the last Japanese person left alive. The servant reminds him that he is a deity, not a person, but Hirohito points out that he has a body just like any other man. He later reflects on the causes of the war when dictating observations about a hermit crab, and then about the peace to come when composing a letter to his son. Soon enough General Douglas MacArthur’s personal car is sent to bring him through the ruins of Tokyo for a meeting with the supreme commander Continue reading
Description in English
By the 14th century, the Byzantine Empire was, if not on the verge of actual collapse, at least seriously decadent and clearly on its last legs. The hungry wolves of Europe were preparing to dine on its corpse, and as a result the Byzantine army and its allies were constantly engaged in battles and skirmishes. In this story, a widow lives in the 14th-century Byzantine village of Doxobus with her son Xenos. She forms a relationship with a village elder, and when she gives birth to the elder’s son, her son from her previous marriage is sent to live in a monastery. This is similar to his being sent to live in the streets, and is a sign that his mother either doesn’t want him or is no longer able to keep him. When the boy reaches adulthood, he chooses the life of a soldier in the Byzantine army and swiftly rises through the ranks. In fact, as a reward, he is given the governorship of his native village, proving once again that success is the sweetest revenge.