Ilya, a Russian composer, played by Yury Solomin, meets a beautiful woman named Yuko, a Japanese pianist. The music they share makes them feel close to each other and fall in love. However, the long distance between the two countries and the difference of their lives constitute problems they need to consider. A very romantic story accompanied by enchanting musical pieces. Perfect for when you are in the mood for dreams and contemplation.
One-of-a-kind filmmaker-philosopher Terrence Malick has created some of the most visually arresting movies of the twentieth century, and his glorious period tragedy Days of Heaven, featuring Oscar-winning cinematography by Nestor Almendros, stands out among them. In 1910, a Chicago steel worker (Richard Gere) accidentally kills his supervisor and flees to the Texas panhandle with his girlfriend (Brooke Adams) and little sister (Linda Manz) to work harvesting wheat in the fields of a stoic farmer (Sam Shepard). A love triangle, a swarm of locusts, a hellish fire—Malick captures it all with dreamlike authenticity, creating at once a timeless American idyll and a gritty evocation of turn-of-the-century labor.
In a small provincial town, Blanche Ferrand and her uncle own a shop which sells seed and birds. Blanche resents her drab milieu but has no difficulty attracting male suitors who might offer her an escape. One of these is Martin Roumagnac, a building contractor who falls passionately in love with Blanche as soon as he sees her. Blanche appears to reciprocate Martin’s love but, without his knowing, she allows herself to be courted by a wealthy consul, whose wife is grievously ill. The consul proposes that after his wife’s death Blanche should marry him. When Martin learns of this he is thrown into a murderous frenzy…
One reason to want to watch this movie is to see perform one of the most talented actresses of her generation, Nastassja Kinski. Others: Her traumatized husband coming back from WWII, a perfectly suited role for Mr John Savage. The plot is simple and misleading, The scenes full of suspense yet stealing our breath at the least expecting moment. This movie reminds us of what acting used to be and how subtlety creates miracles. Simple and excellent. Continue reading
Pieces of the Action
A low-budget no-brainer, Run Lola Run is a lot more fun than Speed, a big-budget no-brainer from five years ago. It’s just as fast moving, the music is better, and though the characters are almost as hackneyed and predictable, the conceptual side has a lot more punch. If Run Lola Run had opened as widely as Speed and it too had been allowed to function as everyday mall fodder, its release could have been read as an indication that Americans were finally catching up with people in other countries when it comes to the pursuit of mindless pleasures. Instead it’s opening at the Music Box as an art movie.
Why try to sell an edgy youth thriller with nothing but kicks on its mind as an art movie? After all, it’s only a movie–a rationale that was trotted out for Speed more times than I care to remember. The dialogue of Run Lola Run is certainly simple and cursory, but it happens to be in subtitled German–which in business terms means that it has to be marketed as a film, not a movie. And of course nobody ever says “It’s only a film,” just as no one ever thinks of saying “It’s only a concert,” “It’s only a novel,” “It’s only a play,” or “It’s only a painting.” Because they’re omnipresent, movies almost oblige us to cut them down a peg or two just so we can breathe around them. Continue reading
Sunflower, or as it is known in Italian I Girasoli, is a movie about how time continues to march on after war whether or not a person’s life does. Casualties on the battlefield is one way in which we discuss how brutal and total a war’s destruction was, but Sunflower offers another way to look at things: the collateral damage, which pertains not just to those civilians who are accidentally killed but to those whose lives are shattered by being in the general area. It makes the horrors of World War II in Italy accessible to us by focusing on how time marches on and leaves behind the broken emotional pieces of a man and a woman.
Vittorio de Sica, the maestro behind such classics as Marriage Italian Style and Yesterday Today and Tomorrow, directs this Italian film with his two favorite stars, Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni, in a story that blends harsh neo-realist imagery with sentiment, touches of comedy and melodrama. Admittedly, the film could easily come across as overtly melodramatic, even sophomoric. And I could see where others might view the film as such. But de Sica was a wonderful director, and combing these kinds of tones and dealing with these storylines was his bread and butter. For me, the melodrama and sentiment is part of the specific Italian flavor in his films. It is also of historical note to point out that Sunflower was the first Western film to be shot in the Soviet Union. Continue reading
The story concerns a young couple who “meet cute” at a fairground. As they dance the night away, the boy expresses his love for the girl, resulting in a startling reaction. The film is unabashedly sentimental, but the performances of the two leads transcend the storyline’s gooier passages. Korhinta was Hungary’s primary entry in the Cannes Film Festival of 1956 — yet another feather in the cap of director Zoltan Fabri, who went on to helm such classics as The Boys from Paul Street and The Fifth Seal.