Rimas Tuminas – Uncle Vanya (2010)

Winner of 2010 Golden Mask for Best Russian Theatre Performance.

Anton Chekhov
Vakhtangov Theatre, Moscow

Director: Rimas Tuminas
Composer: Faustas Latenas
Set designer: Adomas Yacovskis

Rimas Tuminas’s production was enthusiastically greeted by Moscow critics – not only for its undoubted merits but also because Uncle Vanya gave a positive response to the ‘accursed question’: is it possible at all to breathe life into a half-dead academic theatre today? Yes, it’s possible, answers the Vakhtangov Theatre but only in case there is a powerful director that is able to sweep his actors along with him. In Uncle Vanya there are a lot of witty solutions and paradoxical psychological moves. Rimas Tuminas seems to reflect Chekhov’s ‘scenes of rural life’ in secret false mirrors of otherness, and for this reason his performance turned out to be darkly eccentric. And you ask yourself: is it really that those on the stage are not ghosts of the country seat? Continue reading

Jean-Luc Godard – Puissance de la parole aka The Power of Speech [uncut] (1988)


Puissance de la parole is a 25 minutes film made by J-L Godard in 1988. Was financed by France Telecom as a commercial but the company never used for advertising… The film was never officially distributed nor broadcast.

The title is ispired by a Edgar Poe short story (in New extraordinary stories). Godard take some lines from the dialog of Agathos and Oinos and turns it into a classical Godard couple dialog… Continue reading

Ken Loach – It’s a Free World… (2007)

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Fresh from the great success of The Wind that Shakes the Barley, his Palme d’Orwinning story of the “Irish Troubles,” Ken Loach returns to a contemporary setting with an absolute zinger of a film. Sharp, incisive, provocative and engaging, It’s a Free World… is also a wonderfully balanced piece of filmmaking from a director who has often been accused of having a political axe to grind.

It’s a Free World… is based upon the plight of Eastern European migrants who provide a cheap labour pool for wealthier European Union nations. The story centres around the brash and blonde Angie (Kierston Wareing), who is laid off from a recruiting company that brings workers from Poland to the United Kingdom. Angie persuades her flat-mate and long-time friend Rose (Juliet Ellis) to take a huge leap into the void and start their own recruiting agency. They buy a computer, create a website and, with Rose working out of their “office,” Angie sets out every day on the company’s new motorbike to build a clientele. Before long, they have a comfortable little business going. Foreign workers are easy to find, and Angie’s charm, guile and guts get them hired by contractors looking to shave costs at every turn. They know they are treading a fine line of legality, but Angie and Rose have a pact: they will only deal with legal immigrants. But, as they say, stuff happens! Continue reading

Ingmar Bergman – Aus dem Leben der Marionetten AKA From the Life of the Marionettes (1980)


From “Wiki”

From the Life of the Marionettes (German: Aus dem Leben der Marionetten) is a 1980 film directed by Ingmar Bergman. The film was produced in West Germany with a German language screenplay and soundtrack while Bergman was in “tax exile” from his native Sweden. It is filmed in black and white apart from two colour sequences at the beginning and end of the movie. It is set in Munich. The title is a quotation excerpted from a passage in The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi:

“Most unfortunately in the lives of the Marionettes there is always a BUT that spoils everything”.

Unlike Collodi’s story, however, Bergman’s is unremittingly bleak in tone. Continue reading

John Korty – The People (1972)


Shy, introverted eager-beaver young school teacher Melodye Amerson (sweetly played by the adorable Kim Darby of Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark fame) takes a job at a remote, quiet rural farming community that’s isolated from the rest of the world. The job proves to be far more difficult and challenging than she initially figured: the students are extremely terse, reserved and uncommunicative, the other townspeople are every bit as reticent, mysterious and unapproachable, and everyone lives by a strict code which leaves Melodye feeling confused and alienated. Continue reading

Christian Petzold – Polizeiruf 110: Kreise (2015)


German review by T. Groh:

[…] Ein Meta-Fernsehkrimi. Für dieses Vorhaben bietet der BR-“Polizeiruf” um Kommissar von Meuffels einem etablierten Auteur wie Christian Petzold das ideale Experimentierlabor: Schon die Initialzündung im Jahr 2011 (Dominik Grafs “Cassandras Warnung”) setzte einen deutlichen Akzent, der sich im weiteren Verlauf der Reihe bestätigte: Der Münchner “Polizeiruf” (mit weiteren Beiträgen u.a. von Hans Steinbichler, Leander Haußmann, Hendrik Handloegten, Jan Bonny, nochmal Graf) ist im Wesentlichen ein Regieformat, das Reibeflächen zwischen Formatvorgabe und individueller Handschrift nicht nur zulässt, sondern offen sucht. In verlässlicher Regelmäßigkeit entstanden hier die besten oder wenigstens interessantesten Fernsehkrimis der vergangenen Jahre. Und mit dem von Matthias Brandt kongenial verkörperten Kommissar von Meuffels etablierte sich eine der spannendsten, trotz gedämpftem Spiel facettenreichsten Ermittlerfiguren. […] Continue reading

William A. Graham – Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones (1980)


This two-part TV movie was, of course, sparked by the November 1978 mass suicide of 913 people at the South American religious “colony” of Jonestown. The catalyst for this tragedy was cult-leader Reverend Jim Jones (played by Powers Boothe, who won an Emmy for his performance), head of the so-called People’s Temple. The film traces the life of Jones from his days as an idealistic 1960s activist. He drifts into penny-ante confidence scams and bed-hops from woman to woman, before electing to pass himself off as a modern messiah–eventually believing his own feverish sermons. The climactic scenes are chillingly staged in a near-documentary fashion, with Puerto Rico and Georgia substituting for Guyana. Ned Beatty plays the ill-fated Representative Leo Ryan, while James Earl Jones has a cameo as 1930s religious-leader Father Divine; most of the other main characters are composites of real people. Originally broadcast April 15 and 16, 1980, The Guyana Tragedy was adapted by Ernest Tidyman from the Washington Post and Charles A. Krause’s Guyana Massacre: An Eyewitness Account. Continue reading