Daniel Clowes – Ghost World (1997)

from the Fantagraphics website:
“Ghost World avoids all the clichés of the gen-X genre, presenting a melancholy, affecting portrait of two teen-age girls, best friends whose intertwined lives afford them a certain sanity, while the threat of separation brings home the tenuousnes of their shared reality.”

“[Clowes] demonstrates that the medium, in the hands of an expert, can generate narratives as complex and textured as any work of fiction”
—SPIN ONLINE

“Clowes’s comics unsettlingly combine scathing hilarity and queasy, misanthropic nastiness.”
—WORLD ART

“Clowes creates serious dramatic work that happens to be in comics form… It could well make him the famous artist that he might not want to be.”
—PRINT

“[Clowes] spells out the realities of teen angst as powerfully and authentically as Salinger did in Catcher and the Rye for an earlier generation.”
—VILLAGE VOICE Read More »

Charles Burns – Black Hole (1995 – 2005)

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Quote:
November 7, 2005 | “Everything’s either concave or -vex,” the Danish poet Piet Hein once wrote, “so whatever you dream will be something with sex.” In Charles Burns’ decade-in-the-making graphic novel “Black Hole,” the natural concavity and -vexity of everything leaps out at you: Nearly every image is a sexual metaphor, with the distorted clarity and mutability of a nightmare. And sex in “Black Hole” also means body horror, sickening transformations and loss. The first page’s abstraction — a thin, wobbling slit of light on a black background — opens up to become wider and fleshier, then to become a blatantly vaginal gash in a frog on a dissecting pan (surrounded by pools and pearls of liquid). That’s only the beginning of the book’s array of weenie roasts and clumsy tongues and trees leaning away from each other like spread legs. Read More »

Claude Sautet – Vincent, François, Paul… et les autres AKA Vincent, François, Paul and the Others (1974)

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Description: Three friends face mid-life crises. Paul is a writer who’s blocked. François has lost his ideals and practices medicine for the money; his wife grows distant, even hostile. The charming Vincent, everyone’s favorite, faces bankruptcy, his mistress leaves him, and his wife, from whom he’s separated, wants a divorce. The strains on the men begin to show particularly in François and Paul’s friendship and in Vincent’s health. A younger man, Jack, becomes attractive to Lucie, François’s wife. Another young friend, the boxer Jean, who’s like a son to Vincent and whose girlfriend is pregnant, has taken a bout with a merciless slugger. Has happiness eluded this circle of friends?

Written by {jhailey} Read More »

Yasujiro Ozu – Banshun aka Late Spring (1949)

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Plot from allmovie by Hal Erickson

Veteran Japanese writer/director Yasujiro Ozu’s second postwar production was 1949’s Late Spring or Banshun. Chisu Ryu plays another of Ozu’s realistic middle-class types, this time a widower with a marriageable daughter. Not wishing to see the girl resign herself to spinsterhood, Ryu pretends that he himself is about to be married. The game plan is to convince the daughter that they’ll be no room for her at home, thus forcing her to seek comfort and joy elsewhere. What makes this homey little domestic episode work is the rapport between Chisu Ryu and Setsuko Hara, who plays the daughter. Late Spring is no facile Hollywood farce; we like these people, believe in them, and wish them the best. Read More »

Diego Rísquez – Orinoko, nuevo mundo (1984)

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The Orinoko: main character in the film. The first part is set during the pre-conquest and is represented as an earthly paradise. A shaman has precognitive visions: go to Columbus and the Catholic missionary in 1498. Read More »

Algimantas Puipa – Vilko Dantu Karoliai aka A Wolf Teeth Necklace (1997)

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Quote:
“A famed Lithuanian painter expresses the torment of his youth through his paintings. But lately, even his work provides no solace, for he falls into a deep mid-life crises and can find no inspiration. This grim, earnest and arty drama looks back upon his formative years, the joy of which were destroyed by Stalin’s policies. The darkness began for him when his father was arrested for being an enemy of the state and sent to a Siberian prison. The boy and his remaining family become social pariahs, and the only way his mother can support them is to prostitute herself to the local police and politicians. Eventually the young painter is sent to the countryside, but even there, he cannot escape the fear and oppression. To cope, he becomes hard and cynical; his mother too changes dramatically and when the father finally returns home, he finds himself among virtual strangers.” Read More »

Konstantin Lopushansky – Gadkie lebedi aka The Ugly Swans (2006)

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Based on the novel of the same title by the Strugatsky brothers

“Konstantin Lopushansky was a student of classic Soviet director Andrei Tarkovsky, and master’s influence is highly visible in “The Ugly Swans” — not just as a ghost in the background, but as full-fledged foreground presence. Which is not to deny Lopushansky his originality. More than anything, it’s a sign of a certain artistic style being handed down over the generations… The film is …aesthetically outstanding and emotionally moody in a way that’s very hard to gauge… Tarkovsky would have been proud.” (Tom Birchenough, “The Moscow Times”)
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