Cecil B. DeMille – The Cheat (1915)

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Description: One of the early De Mille’s melodramas: love triangle, fruvolous wife, demonic Japanese tempter… But besides all that melodramatic rubbish it’s one of the most innovative films of the era. De Mille actively experimented with lighting, cutting, and framing to extend narrative technique. “The Cheat” featured probably the first use of so called “psychological editing: cutting not between two simultaneous events but to show the drift of a character’s thoughts. A must see. Continue reading

Abbas Kiarostami – ABC Africa (2001)

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Plot
Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami has often concerned himself with children striving to make the best of difficult circumstances, and this documentary finds him capturing a real-life corollary to the fictional tales of his best-known work. At the request of the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development, Kiarostami traveled to Africa to make a film about the work of the Uganda Women’s Effort to Save Orphans, a volunteer group established to provide food, shelter, and care for the more than one-and-a-half-million children left to fend for themselves in a nation torn apart by war, poverty, and the AIDS epidemic. While Kiarostami’s first visit was planned so he could see the country and map out what he would film, he brought along some digital video equipment, and upon arrival, he was so struck by what he saw that he immediately began to record the events around him, in which the tragedies of this struggling nation were contrasted with the warmth and boundless optimism of the children looking for a better life. (Mark Deming, All Movie Guide)
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Yôji Yamada – Otôto AKA About Her Brother (2010)

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Quote:
Ginko (Yoshinaga Sayuri) seems to be living the good life: She’s the respectable owner of a neighborhood drug store in Tokyo, and her daughter Kaharu (Aoi Yu) is about to get married to a doctor. However, Koharu’s wedding day also brings homes Ginko’s younger brother Tetsuro (Tsurube Shofukutei), a failed actor and a hard drinker who shows up causing trouble. Having covered for him all her life, Ginko is ready to disown her burdensome younger brother, but some things are easier said than done… Continue reading

Melvin Frank & Norman Panama – Above and Beyond (1952)

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Plot:
The story of Colonel Paul Tibbets, the pilot of the Enola Gay, the bomber that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Although unaware of the full potential of this new weapon, he knows that it is capable of doing tremendously more damage than any other weapon used before, and that the death toll resulting from it will be enormous. He is reluctant to be the person who will end so many lives, but if using it may bring an end to the war, then not doing so may result in even more lives being lost in continued ground assaults as the fighting goes on. At the same time, the intense secrecy surrounding this mission leaves him with no one he can express his thoughts and doubts to, not even his wife. As time goes on, the pressure upon him only increase. Written by Jean-Marc Rocher Continue reading

Paolo Taviani & Vittorio Taviani – Kaos (1984)

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THIS VERSION IS COMPLETE (3h 09′) AND INCLUDES EPISODE ‘JAR’.

The film consists of four stories plus epilogue, set in 19th-century Sicily. THE OTHER SON – A mother spends her life waiting for news from her two sons (emigrated to America) while ignoring her third, because he is the reincarnation of the bandit who raped her. MOON SICKNESS – a newly-wed peasant girl discovers that her husband goes mad every full moon. She arranges for a male friend to protect her, but they end up in bed together just as the moon emerges from behind a cloud. THE JAR – a rich landowner hires a master craftsman to repair a giant olive jar, but the craftsman gets trapped inside. REQUIEM – villagers band together in an attempt to force their landlord to let them bury their dead. CONVERSATIONS WITH MOTHER – the writer Luigi Pirandello talks with his aged mother about a story he always wanted to write, but which he never managed to capture in words. Continue reading

Enrique Urbizu – 6 Películas para no dormir: Adivina quién soy aka 6 Films to Keep You Awake: A Real Friend (2006)

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Synopsis: “Estrella, a girl of ten, has lived alone with her mother Angela since her father died when she was very small. She is a lively and sociable child, but she spends a lot of time alone at home. Too much. Estrella enjoys fantasy and horror stories and, in order to exorcise the fear that the ‘big monsters’ cause her, she makes friends with them: she gives them a body, talks to them, they go to school with her, they protect her…. One day, Estrella makes friends with a new companion, a vampire. But could it be that this ‘friend’ is not merely a product of the girl’s imagination?” Continue reading

Merzak Allouache – Harragas AKA Burn (2009)

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Description from IMDB:
“Set in the northern Algerian port city of Mostaganem. The title refers to the hordes of refugees, the ‘Harragas’, who smuggle themselves out of the country via any means possible. Here we meet one such group, Rachid, Nasser and Imene who pay a smuggler, Hassan, to take them to Spain in his rickety boat. Along with a group of African and Arab migrants, they are risking all they have to cross the stormy Straits.” Continue reading