Guy Maddin – Odin’s Shield Maiden (2007)

His latest, a 5-minute experiment titled Odin’s Shield Maiden is quite beautiful if not all that thematically engaging. Essentially, it’s a series of black-and-white shots of several women mourning the drowning of a guy named Mundi near the shore. The photography is, needless to say, stunning, and Maddin’s lyrical rhythms are spot on. Still no Heart of the World (2001)–or even My Dad is 100 Years Old (2005)–but wonderful to watch, anyway. Continue reading

Khushboo Ranka & Anand Gandhi – Continuum (2006)

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Continuum

This film narrates simple enjoyable stories from everyday life that explore the continuum of life and death, of love and paranoia, of trade and value, of need and invention, of hunger and enlightenment. The five moments of its childlike innocence branch out into a more intricate gamut of an urbanscape, culminating into a space where the stories no longer exist as singular threads in their own vacuum but come across and play with each other to form a larger fabric of life. Continue reading

Pier Paolo Pasolini – Appunti per un film sull’india AKA Notes for a Film on India (1968)

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here’s very little about this film on the internet. Pasolini travels to India to make notes about a future film he planned on making. He examines differences between the modern India and the historical one found in its mythologies and vedic texts by posing a particular question based on a didactic anecdote that no longer seems to apply in a twentieth century world. This ‘prehistory’ forms most of the first part of the film. The second part covers a modern India marred by social divisions, overpopulation and poverty. Pasolini keeps his focus on the human tragedy involved at all times. Continue reading

Abbas Kiarostami – Rangha AKA The Colours (1976)

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Abbas Kiarostami, director of such somber films as Taste Of Cherry, is the last person one would suspect of dabbling in goofy formalist instructional movies. Nevertheless, that’s what he does here. A color is brought up – red, for example. Then various red things are shown, starting with that which is found in nature and going from there. And so on for various colors. Also, a boy with a pistol shoots different colored bottles of water and the same boy is the last survivor of a car chase. This is rather inconsequential but fun – like Seseme Street for simpleminded adults. Continue reading

Janet Bergstrom – Murnau’s 4 Devils: Traces of a Lost Film (2003)

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One of the cinema’s Holy Grails, Murnau’s lost Four Devils (1928) starred Janet Gaynor, fresh from Sunrise, in a circus drama set in Paris. In this 40-minute documentary, UCLA film scholar Bergstrom reconstructs the film through stills, set blueprints, and production drawings. Continue reading

Eric Rohmer – Les Métamorphoses du paysage AKA Changing Landscapes (1964)

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One of Rohmer’s most obscure works (the IMDB’s is the only filmography which lists it), a black-and-white short film, “Changing Landscapes” (“Metamorphoses du paysage”), made for TV in 1964. It appears to be part of a series with the overall title Vers l’unité du monde: L’ère industrielle. It’s a series of shots of the countryside and its transformation into an urban landscape, with a voiceover (in French, subtitled into English). The end credits call it “Une émission de Maurice Schérer” (i.e. Rohmer, using a variation of his real name). The cinematography is credited to Pierre Lhomme, a DP of some distinction but one who never worked on any of Rohmer’s features. “Changing Landscapes” is full-frame, running 22:20. It’s in remarkably good condition, with only a few scratches here and there. This tele-essay will no doubt be much too dry for a general audience, but Rohmer fans and completists will be glad to have it. (DVDTimes) Continue reading