François Ozon – Le temps qui reste AKA Time to Leave (2005)

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Diagnosed with terminal cancer and given only a short while to live, a successful fashion photographer embarks on one final journey in the second of three films in a trilogy about death and mourning from French director Franחois Ozon (the first entry in the the trilogy was Under the Sand) . After passing out during a particularly grueling photo shoot, high profile shutterbug Romain (Melvil Poupaud) is shocked to discover that his body has been ravaged by a fully metastasized cancer that will soon kill him. Without revealing the cause for his erratic behavior, the shell shocked Romain commences to alienate his entire family and ditch his handsome young boyfriend before connecting with affable waitress Jany (Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi) at a roadside cafי while en route to his grandmother’s house. Upon arriving at the home of the one family member he knows will be joining him shortly in death, Romain’s naked vulnerability is met with a gentle ear and sound advice. Once again meeting with the kindly Jany on his way to his ultimate fate, Romain and the waitress strike up an unusual bargain. Continue reading

Urszula Antoniak – Nude Area (2014)

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Love doesn’t unfold like a story. Only the first and the last chapter are known. Love starts from Love and ends in letting go. In between there is tenderness and cruelty, waiting and fulfilment, ecstasy and disappointment. If love is a discourse, these are her figures of speech. An adolescent love between two girls. Childish cruelty is mixed with full blown sensuality. Dreams and life reflect and complete each other. The end is known, the story will be told after the love is gone. Continue reading

Robert Beavers – The Hedge Theater (1986-90/2002)

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The Hedge Theater, USA 1986-90/2002, 19 min

Cast: Robert Beavers, Gregory J. Markopoulos

Beavers shot The Hedge Theatre in Rome in the 1980s. It is an intimate film inspired by the Baroque architecture and stone carvings of Francesco Borromini and St. Martin and the Beggar, a painting by the Sienese painter Il Sassetta. Beavers’ montage contrasts the sensuous softness of winter light with the lush green growth brought by spring rains. Each shot and each source of sound is steeped in meaning and placed within the film’s structure with exacting skill to build a poetic relationship between image and sound. (Susan Oxtoby, Toronto International Film Festival) Continue reading

George Sluizer – Twee vrouwen AKA Twice A Woman (1979)

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Laura (Bibi Andersson) has long been divorced from her theater-critic husband Alfred (Anthony Perkins), though they still see one another from time to time. One day, while working at the icon museum she directs, Laura strikes up a conversation with Sylvia (Sandra Dumas). The two take a shine to one another immediately, and soon they are in bed together. This begins to lead to problems, because Sylvia is young and still lives at home with her parents, who are beginning to suspect something has been going on. Ex-husband Alfred chimes in, saying that Laura should be more careful. By this time, Alfred and Sylvia have also become lovers, as Laura soon discovers. ~ Clarke Fountain, All Movie Guide Continue reading

Wiktor Grodecki – Telo bez duse AKA Body Without Soul (1996)

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An unflinching portrait of life on the post-Communist streets of Prague where young men find it all too easy to pick up extra money as porno models and hustlers. Their clients consist largely of German, Swiss, and Dutch tourists in search of cheap sex – and for additional income they make pornos on the side. Along the way they are ripped off, abused, and degraded until they simply wear out. Continue reading

Jules Herrmann – Liebmann (2016)

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The teacher Antek Liebmann moves to the French countryside to leave his former life in Germany behind. He soon gets a job and finds himself in a new relationship. But the strange energy of a near-by artists residency and an unexpected visitor from Germany make him realise he cannot escape his memories. He has to find his own way to confront the ghosts of his past. Continue reading

Russ Meyer – Beyond the Valley of the Dolls [+Extras] (1970)

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This film is a sequel in name only to Valley of the Dolls (1967). An all-girl rock band goes to Hollywood to make it big. There they find success, but luckily for us, they sink into a cesspool of decadence. This film has a sleeping woman performing on a gun which is in her mouth. It has women posing as men. It has lesbian sex scenes. It is also written by Roger Ebert, who had become friends with Russ Meyer after writing favorable reviews of several of his films.

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It’s deadpan-droll throughout (with at least as many highly quotable lines as Rocky Horror), cod-moralistic, carefully balanced between satire and melodrama, gratuitously focused on women with outsize breasts, and shot and edited with astonishing mastery. Much of Meyer’s film language, as Ebert points out, is redolent of ‘pure’ silent cinema: to-the-point storytelling and earnestly expressive performances, plus montage sequences worthy of Slavko Vorkapich.

— Tony Ryans, Sight & Sound Continue reading