Nacer Khemir – Tawk al-Hamama al-Mafkoud AKA The Dove’s Lost Necklace (1991)

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This second feature in Nacer Khemir’s Desert Trilogy is a visually ravishing folktale reminiscent of “The Thousand and One Nights.” The story revolves around Hassan, who is studying Arabic calligraphy from a grand master. Coming across a fragment of manuscript, Hassan goes in search of the missing pieces, believing that once he finds them, he will learn the secrets of love. With the help of Zin, a lovers’ go-between, he meets the beautiful Aziz, Princess of Samarkand. After encountering wars, a battle between false prophets and an ancient curse, he learns that an entire lifetime would not suffice for him to learn the many dimensions of love. Read More »

Vasili Shukshin – Kalina krasnaya AKA The Red Snowball Tree (1973)

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Drama of a man who tried to live a new life. Yegor Prokudin (Vasili Shukshin) is a child of a street who grew up in a criminal gang. While he was free, he did not lose his innocent, joyful heart, but many years in prison have taken away his joy in living. The film opens on the occasion of his release from prison. Soon, he discovers love with a village peasant girl, Lyuba (Lidia Fedoseeva-Shukshina), who was lettering him in jail and restores his will to live and fills him with an enthusiasm for rural life. There are dark shadows on his way for better being – his past and his old mother he never visited from childhood times. (Actually, the scene where Lyuba talks to his mother was shooted with non-acting old village women) Their idyll is short-lived, as his former associates will not leave him alone.
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Eduardo Nunes – Sudoeste aka Southwest (2012)

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In a secluded Brazilian coastal village, where everything seems to stand still, Clarisse watches her life over the course of a day, unlike those around her who live that day just like any other. She tries to understand her obscure reality and the destiny of the people around her in a circling, disturbing sense of time. Read More »

Yaël André – Quand je serai dictateur aka When I Will Be Dictator (2013)

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Once a common medium to record home movies and holiday souvenirs, the memory of Super-8 film is now disappearing fast. Yaël André has recycled a wealth of random Super-8 footage into a fake biography, with a cheeky off-screen voice.
There are only two protagonists in this film, and both remain invisible. There is the narrator, who addresses us in a confidential tone. And there is ‘George’, his imaginary friend. But there are many more personae: the imagined lives of a an adventurer, a psychopath, a perfect mother, an accountant and an invisible man…
Although the film appears divided into short thematic chapters, its real strength lies in the associative flow that guides us along a surrealist chain of thoughts, hypotheses and dreams. In the images, the decades from the 1940s to the present day appear all mixed up.
Yaël André’s storyline and editing technique make us see these anonymous and quite generic home movies with a fresh eye, as if they were the first of their kind. The combination of text and images results in a bizarre meditation on truth and fiction, life and death, grief and joy. Read More »

Jean-Julien Chervier – La Fonte des neiges (2009)

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When twelve-year-old Léo arrives at the naturist camp that his mother’s dragged him to, he thinks he’s going to pass out. Until he meets Antoinette and her magic mushrooms… Read More »

Pascale Ferland – Ressac (2013)

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After searching in vain for a job in the small seaside town where he was born, Édouard is forced to head off to the big city. He reluctantly leaves behind his mother-in-law Dorine, his wife Gemma and his beloved daughter Chloé. The weight of his absence is felt by all three women. Soon the news arrives of his unexplained death.

Beyond the confusion, guilt and anger that accompany such an event, there is the love, hope and idealism of youth, unfulfilled desires and the dreams they share of a better future … but when Gemma discovers the unusual legacy left by her late husband, she thinks she’s finally found the key to happiness. But what is happiness in the eyes of others? And how do we achieve it? Read More »

Icíar Bollaín – También la lluvia AKA Even The Rain (2010)

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The politics of the past and present begin to merge during the making of a motion picture in this drama from director Icíar Bollaín. Spanish movie director Sebastián (Gael García Bernal) and his producer Costa (Luis Tosar) have arrived in Bolivia to shoot a picture about Columbus’ exploration and exploitation of the New World. While Sebastián has come to Bolivia for realistic scenery, Costa has chosen the location for the cheap and abundant supply of labor. An open casting call for extras attracts far more people than the picture needs, but when Costa tries to send them away, one would-be actor, Daniel (Juan Carlos Aduviri), makes a strong and eloquent case for fair treatment of the locals, and Sebastián casts him as Hatuey, the chief of a native tribe who fought the invading Spaniards. As Sebastián stages scenes of revolt against would-be colonists, a real battle is brewing in Colombia — the government has privatized the national water works, and the price of water has jumped by 300 percent, leading to protests and riots in the streets of Cochabamba. Daniel is one of the activists protesting price gouging for something as essential as water — will Sebastián and his colleagues join him in speaking out against this injustice? También la Iluvia (aka Even the Rain) was an official selection at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival. Read More »