Mahmoud Sabbagh – Barakah yoqabil Barakah AKA Barakah Meets Barakah (2016)

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A guy from the middle class meets a girl from a wealthy family and they start a romance in a country that frowns upon it.

This film was the official submission of Saudi Arabia for the ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ category of the 89th Academy Awards in 2017.

The leading actor Hisham Fageeh is probably best known for his 2013 music video No Woman, No Drive which amassed more than 14 million views on YouTube: link

The Arabic title of the film is بركة يقابل بركة‎.
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Jacques Demy – Model Shop (1969)

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While trying to raise money to prevent his car from being repossessed, George is attracted to Lola, a Frenchwoman who works in a “model shop” (an establishment which rents out beautiful pin-up models to photographers). George spends his last twelve dollars to photograph her, and discovers that she is as unhappy as he. Continue reading

Aaron Katz – Quiet City (2007)

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Stephen Holden, The New York Times wrote:
Aaron Katz’s film “Quiet City” is punctuated with images of New York at twilight that cast a mood of reflective melancholy reminiscent of the loneliness at the heart of Edward Hopper paintings. Silhouettes of television aerials against a glowing orange and purple sky; yellow traffic lights on a nearly deserted avenue; a silvery subway train in the middle distance slipping through the dusky, blue-gray light; an industrial landscape at sunset: These and other beautiful images, photographed by Andrew Reed, resonate with the characters’ lives. “Quiet City” belongs to the movie genre labeled mumblecore, so named partly because the young, nerdy characters in these films rarely address any subject outside their immediate social sphere. If they don’t actually mumble their words, the tone of their conversations is restricted to various shades of chat, much of which seems trivial. Tender and sad, “Quiet City” is a fully realized work of mumblecore poetry. Continue reading

Bernardo Bertolucci – L’assedio AKA Besieged (1998)

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Shandurai (Newton), an African refugee in Rome, pays her way through medical school as a live-in cleaner for English pianist and composer Kinsky (Thewlis). Shy and timid, he woos her with gifts and music, but she rejects his overtures; her husband’s a political prisoner in her homeland, she says. Kinsky responds with an act of love simple, profound and pivotal. Continue reading

Paul L. Stein – One Romantic Night (1930)

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Plot: A fairy-tale ball, first kisses, broken hearts, and a beautiful princess wooed by a handsome prince. So much can happen during One Romantic Night! Two great ladies of the screen who could scarcely be more dissimilar – waiflike, vulnerable Lillian Gish (in her Talkie debut), who excelled at heart-wrenching melodrama, and barrel-figured, bulldog-faced Marie Dressler, who excelled at everything – make a marvelous team as a monarchical mother and daughter in a romantic comedy about love and marriage among the crowned heads of Europe. Based on Ferenc Molnar’s play The Swan, the film was remade in 1956 featuring Grace Kelly in Gish’s role, just before she became the real-life Princess Grace of Monaco. From the DVD! Continue reading

Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson – Hjartasteinn AKA Heartstone (2016)

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Quote:
A remote fishing village in Iceland. Teenage boys Thor and Christian experience a turbulent summer as one tries to win the heart of a girl while the other discovers new feelings toward his best friend. When summer ends and the harsh nature of Iceland takes back its rights, it’s time to leave the playground and face adulthood. Continue reading