Branko Schmidt – Put lubenica aka The Melon Route (2006)

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Quote:
One of the most terrible ills of our time, people trafficking, follows the so-called Balkans Route for smuggling people into the West. Bosnian and Croatian papers often carry stories about groups of illegal immigrants discovered by the police, and just as frequent are the news of such imimigrants’ deaths. The Melon Route is inspired by the true story of twelve illegal immigrants who drowned in the river Sava on the border of Bosnia and Croatia. This event has been enlarged in the script, and seen through the eyes of a young Chinese girl, who loses her father in the accident. She enters into a tenuous relationship with an ex-Croatian Army soldier, a cured drug addict suffering from PTSD, who lost everything in the war. The linguistic and cultural barriers between the two protagonists give an added dimension to the film, shot through by the painful realization that it is hard to carry an inescapable burden: one’s place of birth. Read More »

Hiroshi Teshigahara – Otoshiana aka Pitfall [+Extras] (1962)

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Synopsis
Mysterious goings-on twist and turn this effective but slightly uneven drama of murder and intrigue into a Gordian knot, skillfully woven by director Hiroshi Teshigahara. One day an impoverished miner is taken aback when he notes that he is being followed around by some stranger dressed in white. He and his son run away from the haunting vision, and the miner eventually gets sent on a job to a specific village. When he arrives with his son, he discovers that there is only one woman living in the village and suddenly the man in white shows up and murders the miner. His son witnesses the act but is not seen himself. Then the killer pays off the woman to identify the murderer as a union leader, while the victim himself is passed off as a rival union leader — whom he uncannily resembles. From that point onward, the plot thickens considerably as the two real union leaders start to investigate the tragedy.
~ Eleanor Mannikka, All Movie Guide Read More »

Nader Takmil Homayoun – Iran: A Cinematographic Revolution (2006)

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Today Iranian cinema is one of the most highly regarded national cinemas in the world, regularly winning festival awards and critical acclaim for films which combine remarkable artistry and social relevance. Iran: A Cinematographic Revolution traces the development of this film industry, which has always been closely intertwined with the country’s tumultuous political history, from the decades-long reign of Reza Shah Pahlevi and his son, the rise of Khomeini and the birth of the Islamic Republic, the seizure by militants of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, and the devastating war with Iraq. Read More »

Michel Drach – Les violons du bal aka Violins At The Ball (1974)

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Plot : In this WW II drama based on an autobiographical story by director Michel Drach, a Jewish boy and his family living in Nazi occupied France, attempt to escape the cruel invaders. Later the boy grows up to become a filmmaker obsessed with chronicling his childhood….

Awards : Best Actress for Marie-José Nat in Cannes Film Festival, 1974. Read More »

Jon Jost – Sure Fire (1990)

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IMDB user review

fascinating
31 July 2007 | by (peacecreep) (United States)

Shot on 16mm in rural Utah in the early 90’s, Sure Fire is obscure American cinema at its finest. Josts style is very unique, containing many long scenes of dialogue, and beautiful photography of landscapes. This film contains some of the longest, most engaging monologues I’ve ever seen or heard, courtesy of the lead actor, Tom Blair. Blair is an amazingly strange actor that really gets into his roles. All I can really say is watch him work, it is fascinating.

The story was developed in accordance with the people Jost met in Utah and what was going on in their lives and the area at the time. The story concerns Tom Blair’s character, Wes, wanting to sell real estate to people moving to his town from California. It goes on to explore his relationship with the people close to him.

At times, the film feels like a weirder version of Twin Peaks, and that’s a very good thing. But it is no doubt a singular vision by a truly underground filmmaker. It is hard to find, but worth the hunt. -James Sinclair 7/07 Read More »

Andrew James & Joshua Ligairi – Cleanflix (2009)

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AllRovi
The true story of a handful of Mormon movie buffs and their efforts to clean up Hollywood hits (and make money doing it) are chronicled in this documentary from filmmakers Andrew James and Joshua Ligairi. In Utah, a state where a significant number of residents are members of the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints, a number of video store owners found it difficult to find popular films that their customers would find suitable for family viewing. One shop stepped forward with the notion of creating edited versions of recent hits, with nudity, adult language, drug use and violence clipped out using digital editing software. Calling their product “Cleanflix,” the sanitized versions of titles such as Titanic, The Big Lebowski and The Matrix were an immediate success, and a number of other Utah video stores followed suit. However, when Cleanflix and similar services began making their product available via mail order and the internet, not everyone was happy about it. The studios that owned the copyrights on the original films filed suit against the edited video services, asserting they were selling films that were not rightfully theirs, and a number of leading filmmakers (including Steven Spielberg, Steven Soderbergh and Martin Scorsese) launched a well-publicized campaign against movies being edited by outside parties for commercial use. Some of the edited movie dealers continued to operate in defiance of legal injunctions, though one found himself involved in a most unexpected scandal. Cleanflix was an official selection at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival. Read More »

Tayfun Pirselimoglu – Saç AKA Hair (2010)

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Fate brings together two unhappy people in this drama from Turkish filmmaker Tayfun Pirselimoğlu. Hamdi makes and sells wigs from a small shop in Istanbul. Hamdi isn’t much of a businessman, and doesn’t care much about his shop — or anything else for that matter since he was diagnosed with cancer. One day, a middle-aged woman named Meryem comes into Hamdi’s shop; she has long and beautiful hair, and informs him that she wants to sell it. Hamdi is struck by the woman’s barely concealed anger and sadness, and he wants to know more about her. Read More »