Nima Javidi – Melbourne (2014)

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The film recounts the story of a young couple on their way to Melbourne to continue their studies. However, just a few hours before the departure of their flight, they are unintentionally involved in a tragic event.

Quote:
This remarkable debut feature by Nima Javidi naturally reminds one of Asghar Farhadi’s films, with its strong sense of drama, tremendous actor interpretations and mature writing that does not compromise the integrity of any of the characters. But there is also something particularly “new generational” about it in the way it harnesses the choice in front of affluent young Tehranians: to stay in Iran and own up its problems or to leave the country to start life anew. The inciting event in the film that dramatizes this choice stops the train of life dead in its tracks, exposing its protagonists to the unbearable “nowness” of the present. It is a terribly universal predicament in which time freezes around the material reality before you and all plans for the future and memories of the past seem like a remote, inaccessible country, a crisis that makes you want to either regress in time (“wish mother were here”) or to jump to a future day when the clouds have cleared, a moment where husband and wife see each other’s innermost character in all its stark nakedness. Though the couple might physically arrive at the eponymous neverland, the utopia it once represented is irrevocably lost. – The Seventh Art Continue reading

Aage Wiltrup – Lyntoget AKA Bullet Train (1951)

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Synopsis:
‘A dangerous prison escapee, a young Jutland woman and a bank clerk, who has just deprived his employer of some cash and is now headed abroad, meet on a lyntog (literally “lightning train”) from Arhus to Copenhagen. The prison escaper tries to deprive the bank clerk of what he’s carrying.’
– penseur Continue reading

Michael Beach Nichols & Christopher K. Walker – Welcome to Leith (2015)

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Story
This stunning feature documentary chronicles the attempted takeover of a small town in North Dakota by notorious white supremacist Craig Cobb. As his behavior becomes more threatening and tensions soar, the residents desperately look for ways to expel their unwanted neighbor. With incredible access to both longtime residents of Leith and white supremacists, the film examines a small community in the plains struggling for sovereignty against an extreme vision. Continue reading

Atom Egoyan – Remember (2015)

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Quote:
Atom Egoyan’s ongoing search for his own best form makes no real breakthrough in “Remember,” a state-hopping Nazi-hunt mystery that puts a creditably sincere spin on material that is silly at best. At worst, tyro writer Benjamin August’s screenplay is a crass attempt to fashion a “Memento”-style puzzle narrative from post-Holocaust trauma. Toggling variables of disguised identity and dementia, as Christopher Plummer’s ailing German widower travels across North America in search of the camp commander he recalls from his time in Auschwitz, the pic is riddled with lapses in logic even before a stakes-shifting twist that many viewers might see coming. Crafted in utilitarian fashion by Egoyan, “Remember” does little to earn the poignancy of Plummer’s stricken performance — though that asset, plus a button-pushing premise, could attract reasonable interest from older arthouse auds. Continue reading

François Truffaut – Tirez sur le pianiste AKA Shoot the Pianist (1960)

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Quote:
A hapless pianist at a jazz club gets caught up with the mob, when his older brother who owes money to them comes to him for help. Eventually, the piano player and his girlfriend become pawns in middle of a dangerous game.

Truffaut first read David Goodis’s novel in the mid-1950s while shooting Les Mistons when his wife Madeleine Morgenstern read it and recommended it to him. He immediately loved the book’s dialogue and poetic tone and showed it to producer Pierre Braunberger, who bought the rights. Truffaut later met Goodis in New York City, where the novelist gave Truffaut a vintage viewfinder from his brief experience as a 2nd Unit Director on a U.S. film. Continue reading