Spain

Jesus Franco – Paula-Paula [+Extras] (2010)

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What you first need to understand before watching Jess Franco’s Paula-Paula is that it’s not a normal movie. There’s not script, there’s a beginning and ending, but something else in between. It’s actually what the title say it is, an audiovisual experience that could belong in an art gallery. I’ve seen stuff like this at the Museum of Modern Art in Stockholm, but this might be a little bit more sleazy…

It begins with the arrest of a young woman, Paula, who claims she’s been working at a sex club since she was five, first with her dad, and later together with another woman named Paula – and now she killed her. The police, played by a butch Lina Romay, is skeptical about it, and seem to almost let her go. No one cares about her, another crazy woman… There’s a cut to the interaction between Paula and Paula, in something that seem to be the first Paula’s apartment. They dance, there’s long psychedelic mirror-effects, slow-motion and an amazing jazz score by Friedrich Gulda (given to Franco by the children of Gulda, the composer himself is dead) and slowly it leads to the expected ending… Read More »

José María Nunes – Sexperiencias (1968)

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Although allusions to François Truffaut’s Jules and Jim and Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless suggest José María Nunes’s affection for French New Wave, Sexperiencias finds greater kinship with Nagisa Oshima’s fractured, interconnected themes of sexual and social revolution. In a way, young hitchhiker, María (María Quadreny) is also a stand-in for accidental revolutionary, Motoki in The Man Who Left His Will on Film, a cipher who, in trying to capture the rhythms of everyday life (albeit through photography rather than filmmaking), is politicized by an atmosphere of unrest. Finding momentary connection with an outspoken activist, Antonio (Antonio Betancourt), María’s life is upended when her lover is imprisoned for dissent. Restless and adrift, she embarks on an affair with a nurturing, middle-aged engraver, Carlos (Carlos Otero), only to find her newfound life of comfort and stability at odds with the chaos of the world around her. But while Oshima’s melding of fact and fiction captures the spirit of an internal revolution, Nunes’s revolution is a distant one – a reminder of an empowered other reality that can be turned inward to incite change – galvanized by geopolitical headlines that dominated the local newspapers of 1968: Prague Spring and the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, May 68 protest, the coup in Panama, the turning of the tide in the Vietnam War with Lyndon Johnson’s decision not to seek re-election. Incorporating an incongruous soundtrack of nature sounds, assorted music, and ambient noise, Nunes creates a disorienting environment that is literally out of sync – the separation between image and sound implicitly reflecting the disconnection between the reality of Franco-era Spain and its projected image. Framed against the bookending reference to the U.N.’s adoption of the nonbinding Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1968, the question of enforcement becomes an ironic coda to the problem of inaction, where the struggle is not in the ability to speak, but in an unwillingness to listen. Read More »

Christian Molina – Diario de una ninfómana aka Diary of a Sex Addict (2008)

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Quote:
A chronicle of the life of a middle-class French girl’s sexual adventures, her then fall into prostitution, and her ultimate redemption

Quote:
Val is an attractive, well educated and well off 28 year old. Whats more shes very sexually liberated and constantly on the hunt for new encounters to satisfy her endless sexual curiosity and desire. She sleeps with whoever she wants, whenever she wants to, ending up making sex into a lifestyle; a lifestyle that leads her to find both love and a career in prostitution. In both she experiences the extreme. Read More »

Isabel Coixet – Cosas que nunca te dije AKA Things I Never Told You (1996)

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Plot:
Ann’s boyfriend leaves her in Prague after suddenly announcing that he doesn’t love her anymore. Lonely, Ann calls a helpline and meets another man, depressed and unhappy. A sensitive and carefully written love story.

Some reviews:
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Isabel Coixet directs and writes an off-beat comedy/drama about the search for love amidst the misery of existence, that succeeds in its efforts to be cute. Lili Taylor is an over educated camera shop clerk at a loss after being dumped by her foreign correspondent boyfriend in Prague via telephone, who out of the blue mentions he doesn’t love her anymore. Into the picture steps a lonely real estate salesman, Andrew McCarthy, temporarily working for dad after his relationship ended with him being dumped. He works nights as a volunteer for Hope Line to gain insight into his own depression, and takes Taylor’s desperate suicide call on the hot-line. They form a relationship when he goes into her camera store and they meet without realizing they spoke to each other. To complicate things further, Taylor makes some embarrassingly foolish video-tapes to send to her lover in hopes of explaining herself more to him. But the videos are stolen by the shy delivery boy Alexis Arquette, who has a secret crush on her.
An engaging and meaningful narrative follows along with likable performances and some plot surprises, as the overall tone remains quirky enough to veer away from the traps of sitcom.
It was filmed in St. Helens, Oregon. Read More »

Bigas Luna – La Teta y la luna aka The Tit and the Moon (1994)

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Plot Synopsis [AMG] This Spanish/French film presents a loving ode to a woman’s breasts and the three men who love them. The fairy tale is told from the viewpoint of 9-year old Tete, who jealous of his new brother’s access to his mother’s breasts, implores the moon to give him a nurturing breast of his own. French cabaret performers Estrellita, the Queen of Stuttgart, and her jealous husband Maurice, come to town with their surprisingly vulgar act. When Tete sees Estrellita, he knows his wish has been granted. Trailer-park electrician Miquel is also very attracted to Estrellita’s charming chest and begins serenade her. Tete gets to sample her charms after he brings her a frog. Read More »

José Luis Guerín – Innisfree (1990)

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Description:
A documentary focused on the modern-day village of Innisfree, the location used by legendary director John Ford for his Irish romance The Quiet Man.

Innisfree (from the Gaelic Inis Fraoich, the heather island) is the name of a tiny island in Lough Gill, to the south ­east of Sligo town, which was immortalised by Yeats in one of his best ­ known poems, ” The Lake lsle of Innisfree ” (The Rose, 1893). Written at a time when the poet lived in London with his family, and “felt very homesick” (Kirby, 1977: 46), “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” expresses a nostalgic longing for a simple country life apart from the stresses of urban life that places it within a pastoral tradition. Read More »

José Luis Guerín – Guest (2010)

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Filmmaker Jose Luis Guerin documents his experience during a year of traveling as a guest of film festivals to present his previous film. What emerges is a wonderfully humane and sincere portrayal of the people that he meets when he goes off the beaten track in some of the world’s major cities. (IMDB Plot Summary) Read More »