Babak Anvari – Under the Shadow (2016)

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As a mother and daughter struggle to cope with the terrors of the post-revolution, war-torn Tehran of the 1980s, a mysterious evil begins to haunt their home.
Shideh (Narges Rashidi) and her family live amid the chaos of the Iran-Iraq war, a period known as The War of the Cities. Accused of subversion by the post-Revolution government and blacklisted from medical college, she falls into a state of malaise. With Tehran under the constant threat of aerial bombardment, her husband (Bobby Naderi) is drafted and sent to the frontlines by the army, leaving Shideh all alone to protect their young daughter, Dorsa (Avin Manshadi). Soon after he leaves, a missile hits their apartment building and while failing to explode, a neighbor dies under mysterious circumstances and Dorsa’s behavior becomes increasingly erratic. Shideh finds herself slowly drawn into the ensuing turmoil, struggling to cling onto what is real and what is not. Searching for answers, she learns from a superstitious neighbor that the cursed missile might have brought with it Djinn – malevolent Middle-Eastern spirits that travel on the wind.
Convinced that a supernatural force within the building is attempting to possess Dorsa, Shideh has no choice but to confront these forces if she is to save her. Continue reading

Werner Herzog – Into the Inferno (2016)

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An exploration of active volcanoes in Indonesia, Iceland, North Korea and Ethiopia, Herzog follows volcanologist Clive Oppenheimer, who hopes to minimize the volcanoes’ destructive impact. Herzog’s quest? To gain an image of our origins and nature as a species. He finds that the volcano – mysterious, violent, and rapturously beautiful – instructs us that, “there is no single one that is not connected to a belief system”. Continue reading

Peter Greenaway – The Belly of an Architect (1987)

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An American architect arrives in Italy, supervising an expedition for a French architect, Boullée, who is famous for his oval structures. Through the course of 9 months he becomes obsessed with his belly, suffers severe stomach pains, loses his wife, his unborn child and finally his own expedition. Continue reading

Adam Curtis – HyperNormalisation (2016)

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HyperNormalisation tells the extraordinary story of how we got to this strange time of great uncertainty and confusion – where those who are supposed to be in power are paralysed – and have no idea what to do. And, where events keep happening that seem inexplicable and out of control – from Donald Trump to Brexit, the War in Syria, the endless migrant crisis, and random bomb attacks. It explains not only why these chaotic events are happening – but also why we, and our politicians, cannot understand them.

‘The film shows that what has happened is that all of us in the West – not just the politicians and the journalists and the experts, but we ourselves – have retreated into a simplified, and often completely fake version of the world. But because it is all around us, we accept it as normal. Continue reading

Wayne Ewing – When I Die – The Gonzo Monument (2005)

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IMDB: “When I Die” is about the making of the Gonzo Monument to Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, and the blasting of his ashes into the heavens. The infamous outlaw journalist described his funeral plans in a clip from a 1978 BBC documentary which opens “When I Die.”. Hunter wanted a 150 foot obelisk built in his backyard from which his ashes would be shot five hundred feet into the air and explode over his beloved Owl Farm in Woody Creek, Colorado. That is exactly what happened in August, 2005, six months after Dr. Thompson committed suicide. In “When I Die” the trials, tribulations and triumphs of this elaborate funeral production are inter cut with 35mm time-lapse photography and the final pyrotechnics are in breath-taking high speed 35mm. Continue reading

Ben Rivers – The Sky Trembles and the Earth Is Afraid and the Two Eyes Are Not Brothers (2015)

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Shooting against the staggering beauty of the Moroccan landscape, from the rugged terrain of the Atlas Mountains to the stark and surreal emptiness of the desert, with its encroaching sands and abandoned film sets, a director abandons his own film set and descends into a hallucinatory, perilous adventure of cruelty, madness and malevolence. A Paul Bowles story combined with observational footage forms a multi-layered excavation into the illusion of cinema itself. Continue reading