Milcho Manchevski – Majki aka Mothers (2010)

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*Macedonian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards

Two nine-year-old girls report a flasher to the police even though they never saw him. Three filmmakers meet the only residents of a deserted village – an elderly brother and sister who have not spoken to each other in 16 years. Retired cleaning women are found raped and strangled in a small town.

The fiction slowly turns into a documentary.

Marking the return of Milcho Manchevski, ‘Mothers’ portrays all types: dedicated, neglectful, loving, absent. Through these women, Manchevski renders the faces of human tragedy and joy.

Employing an innovative structure, the three stories in ‘Mothers’ highlight the delicate relationships of truth and fiction, of drama and documentary. What is the nature of truth?

Directed with a keen eye for contemporary Macedonia, the film eschews neat narrative devices and pushes the viewer to confront their own definitions of filmic reality.

In a traditional structuralist manner, the structure of the film itself (two parts fiction and one part documentary) becomes part of its message. Continue reading

Sang-soo Hong – Book chon bang hyang AKA The Day He Arrives (2011)

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Sang-Joon is a professor in the film department at a provincial university. He goes to Seoul to meet his senior, Young-Ho, who works as a film critic. Sang-Joon stays in a northern village in Seoul for 3 days. (IMDb) Continue reading

Alain Tanner – Requiem (1998)

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Description: Paul, the narrator, has a rendezvous at noon on a sweltering Sunday. The person he has invited is none other than the great Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa… who is no longer among the living. It leads to a whole series of encounters between living Lisboans… and phantoms of the past, as the barriers of conventional time fall away to allow the people of today and yesterday to meet and communicate. Continue reading

Alain Tanner – La Salamandre (1971)

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A journalist recruits a novelist friend to help him rustle up a quick TV script based on a news item in a local paper about a man who accused his niece of shooting and wounding him. She claimed the gun went off while he was cleaning it; eventually dropped for lack of evidence, the case was never resolved. The novelist (Denis) sets out to create the script from imagination, while the journalist (Bideau) goes after the facts. But dedicated to a celebration of instinctive revolt, the film is less concerned with what happened than with the girl herself; and Bulle Ogier conveys volumes in the part as the film counterpoints her view of society with its varying view of her. There is, for instance, a scene where she has a job as sales-girl in a shoe shop, and without warning begins to caress the legs the customers present to her: it’s a gesture that’s at once funny, profoundly erotic, incongruous, and deeply shocking, and one that places both Rosemonde and the world she finds herself living in. A rare treat, infused with a rich and unforced vein of quiet humour. Continue reading

Alain Tanner – Les Années lumière AKA Light Years Away (1981)

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In the year 2000, Jonas is 25 years old and lives in Ireland. Disillusioned with his life as a pub barman, he decides to give up everything and live with a mysterious old man, Yoshka, at a run down garage in the middle of no-where. At first, the old man taunts Jonas, giving him useless tasks to do, such as attending a derelict petrol pump. This drives the young man to distraction and he tries to kill himself. Impressed by his young disciple, Yoshka finally decides to share with him his fantastic secret… Continue reading

Alain Tanner – Le Milieu du monde AKA The Middle of the World (1974)

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Summary
Paul, a high-flying engineer, is proud to have been born in a Swiss town the locals refer to as the Centre of the World. He is running for a local election when he meets Adriana, a young Italian waitress in a café. Although he is married, Paul starts to have a passionate love affair with Adriana, and is soon prepared to give up everything for her. However, the young waitress realises that it is not she that Paul loves but a self-made fantasy… Continue reading

Alain Tanner – La vallée fantôme (1987)

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An ageing writer Paul is determined to make a film but he cannot decide on the subject or location. Instead, he chooses to concentrate his efforts on finding the actress who will star in the film, believing that she will define the lead character and content of the film. He recruits a young man, Jean, to try to find an Italian actress, Dara, whom he has lost sight of. Jean finds Dara in a small Italian town, serving in a modest restaurant, but she refuses to return to acting… Continue reading