Johnnie To – Du zhan aka Drug War [+Extra’s] (2012)

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After losing control of his car and crashing into a local restaurant, a man loses consciousness on the street. Later, while working on a case, the police’s anti-drug division captain, Zhang Lei (Honglei Sun), realizes that the man in the crash is drug lord Tian Ming (Louis Koo). In order to avoid the death penalty, Tian Ming helps the police put a stop to the entire drug trafficking circuit, but just as soon as the police are ready to make a large bust, Tian Ming makes a decision that shocks everyone involved.
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Noam Chomsky vs Michel Foucault – Human Nature: Justice versus Power [Excerpt] (1971)

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International Philosophers’ Project 1971

Interviewer: Fons Elders

Aired on Dutch television, hence the additional subs. Debate took place in the US according to this.

Quote:
In 1971, American linguist/social activist Noam Chomsky squared off against French philosopher Michel Foucault on Dutch television … the program was entitled ‘Human Nature: Justice Vs. Power’ and offered sharp contrasts between the more traditional view of ‘human nature’ and what would become a postmodernist perspective … Chomsky, following a rationalist lineage going back to at least Plato, believes that there is a foundational ‘nature’ and that its positive aspects (love, creativity, recognizing and embracing justice) must be realized, while Foucault remains skeptical of any such notion… for him, the issue is not so much whether ‘justice’ or ‘human nature’ ‘exists,’ but how they have historically (and currently) function in society … in regard to justice, he says (this is not included in the clips): “… the idea of justice in itself is an idea which in effect has been invented and put to work in different types of societies as an instrument of a certain political and economic power or as a weapon against that power…” The point of any political struggle, for Foucault, is to alter the ‘power relations’ in which we all find ourselves (youtube user hiperf289) Read More »

Naoko Ogigami – Rentaneko aka Rent-a-Cat (2012)

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Sayoko rents out cats to help lonely people fill the emptiness in their hearts. She walks along the banks of the river with a megaphone promoting her service and her animals in a handcart. It turns out that Sayoko is lonely too, ever since the death of her grandmother. All she has left is her cats. However, one day a young man shows up from Sayoko’s past. He follows her home and suddenly Sayoko’s life seems to completely fall apart. Read More »

Clarence G. Badger – The Ropin’ Fool (1922)

In Ropin’ Fool (1922) Rogers plays Ropes Reilly, a cowboy who ropes anything that moves until a lynch mob decides to use Reilly’s rope for a hanging party, with Reilly as the guest of honor. Motion Picture World wrote: “Plentiful use of slow motion photography shows how it is done and dispels any possible belief that the stunts are faked. No audience can help but marvel as Rogers throws a figure eight around a galloping horse, or lassoes a rat with a piece of string, or brings to term a cat melodiously inclined.” Later Rogers would wryly claim fame as America’s “Poet Lariat.”
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Bruno Dumont – Camille Claudel, 1915 (2013) (HD)

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Winter, 1915. Confined by her family to an asylum in the South of France – where she will never sculpt again – the chronicle of Camille Claudel’s reclusive life, as she waits for a visit from her brother, Paul Claudel.
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Luis Buñuel – Abismos de pasión AKA Wuthering Heights (1954)

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Quote:
Unlike William Wyler’s inferior 1939 film adaptation, Luis Buñuel’s Abismos de Pasión is more than a literate extrapolation of Emily Bronte’s gothic masterpiece Wuthering Heights, which certainly must count as one of the five greatest novels of the English language. Though not overtly surreal, Buñuel’s minor classic is fraught with the kind of feverish contradictions typically heir to his cinematic dogma. Critic Manny Farber observed in his eulogy for Val Newton (published in The Nation back in April of 1951) how Jacques Tourneur’s The Leopard Man gives “the creepy impression that human begins and ‘things’ are interchangeable and almost synonymous and that both are pawns of a bizarre and terrible destiny.” Farber felt the Surrealists had never been able to transform the psychological effects of their dramas into a realm of the non-human but, four years later, Buñuel would accomplish something similar with his very Latin rendition of Bronte’s classic. The film’s dreary exteriors (the trees without leaves, the buzzards on constant alert) evoke a landscape of spiritual unrest, a breezy gateway between the living and the dead. While the film arouses the dreaminess of the original text, death signifies more than the lead couple’s transcendence of the flesh—it’s also a fascinating wish fulfillment. Read More »

Benoît Jacquot – Villa Amalia (2009)

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“From the opening rain-swept scene, in which a distraught woman, Ann (Huppert), follows her longtime b.f. Thomas (writer-director Xavier Beauvois) to his mistress’ house, actress and camera coexist in urgent lockstep. Ann’s refusal to process her lover’s betrayal radically disconnects her from any sense of continuum, her jerky, determined movements mirrored by disruptive closeups, and gaps in time and space open up between scenes as every action fades to black.

Ann discards all vestiges of her successful career as a composer/pianist — walking out in the middle of a concert, burning her sheet music and celebrated CDs. She sells her austerely luxurious Paris apartment and disposes of everything in it, turns off her phone, closes out her accounts and disappears, the camera recording every painstaking phase of the unexpectedly hard work involved. The only link she retains to her past is a long-lost childhood friend (Jean-Hugues Anglade), whom she unexpectedly runs into on the night she discovers her b.f.’s infidelity.
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