Emanuele Crialese – Terraferma (2011)


29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Two women, an Island dweller and a foreigner: one dramatically influences the life of the other. But they both share the same desire for a different future, a better life for their children and the dream of the mainland. Terraferma is the desired destination of those travelling by sea, but it may also turn out to be an island with its deep-rooted traditions.
The Pucillo family has to come to terms with immobility: Ernesto is 70 years old and he’d do anything to avoid having to scrap his fishing boat. His grandson Filippo is 20. His father was lost at sea and he finds himself caught up “in time“ between his grandfather Ernest and his uncle Nino, who gave up fishing in favour of “baiting“ tourists. His young, widowed mother, Giulietta, senses that this island’s frozen, immutable time has turned them all into strangers and that there is no future for her nor for her son Filippo. For there to be a future they must have the courage to leave. Read More »

Chantal Akerman – Saute ma ville AKA Blow up my town (1968)


29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
I saw this first film by Ackerman on french channel Arte and I was fascinated by its simplicity of conception and execution. Ackerman gives a wonderfully quiet example of small, no-budget, personal short film which can be a lesson for any young and fresh student of film or anyone with a great passion( but not much means) for film-making and recording the world with a camera. young Ackerman plays in the film and from the first minutes you get the mood and the means together as the soundtrack of the film is solely composed of constant humming of some tune by -supposedly- the main character who is a lonely girl living in an apartment. This is one of the most ingenious approaches to the composition of film music I have ever heard! and you wonder if it has been repeated again. We follow the girl entering the building, up the stairs and into her small kitchen and very soon realize that we will only see HER. She keeps humming and even makes appropriate noises when attending to things in the kitchen. The obsession with the kitchen leaves one wondering ” Can a kitchen really drive someone mad?”. Here domestic life of a lonely woman seems like an unbearable and crushing prison with no hope of redemption( a theme that Ackerman returns to it later with great force).When the girls cooks and cleans and gradually makes a mess of everything you get a comical view of quiet breakdown rarely seen. Fixed camera position is in accord with a claustrophobic mood and also relates to a documentary style camera which the film emulates to some extent. This is a film about what we may -and usually will- call domestic hell ,though it never loses sight of intrinsic humor of the situation. I love Ackerman’s performance and her determination to be a filmmaker, standing on her own feet and making an amateur film a must-see. Read More »

René Vautier – Avoir 20 ans dans les Aurès AKA To Be Twenty in the Aures (1972)


29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Summary
In 1961, a group of pacifist Bretons are sent to fight in France’s war against Algeria. Reluctant warriors, they are moulded into killing machines by the inspirational lieutenant Perrin and soon find their first taste of conflict. One of the group continues to rebel against the folly of the war and goes on the run with an Algerian prisoner. For all concerned, the experience will not be easily forgotten – for those that survive, that is… Read More »

Chantal Akerman – Nuit et jour aka Night and Day (1991)


29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Synopsis
Jack and Julie live in a bare flat in Paris. At night, Jack drives a taxi while Julie wanders around the city, and in the day they make love. One day Julie meets Joseph, the daytime driver of the taxi, and soon Julie is spending her nights with Joseph and her days with Jack.. Read More »

Chantal Akerman – Les Années 80 AKA The Eighties (1983)


29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

IMDB:
Another Masterpiece by Chantal Akerman, 18 November 2009
10/10
Author: kubrick2899 from Concord, North Carolina

THE EIGHTIES marks the turning point in Chantal Akerman’s career. It stands as the end of her more experimental films of previous years and as the beginning of her more mainstream efforts of later years. The bulk of the film consists of auditions and rehearsals for a musical. In the final act, we get to see some segments of that musical. It’s a wholly original and brilliant motion picture experience. Like most of Akerman’s films, though, it’s not for everyone. Her films are experiences for those who aren’t into mainstream cinema. The songs in the film are catchy and unforgettable, and it’s a special treat to see Akerman herself pop in a few times and give the performers some direction. The only downside of this film is that it’s only available on an old VHS. The Criterion Collection has gotten a hold on her earlier films; maybe some day they’ll get a hold of this one, as well. Another interesting aspect to this film is that it serves as a prelude to her next feature film, GOLDEN EIGHTIES or WINDOW SHOPPING. Read More »

Chantal Akerman – La chambre (1972)


29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

. . . It is always the act of isolation from another space that brings into sharp focus Akerman’s themes and aesthetics. Jacques Polet has pointed out that the 360-degree pan in La Chambre maps out a literal movement of encirclement completed once the pan reverses, as if the camera had demarcated the minimally essential space for the performance . . .

— from essay on Akerman by Ivone Margulies found here. Read More »

Lech Majewski – The Mill and the Cross (2011)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
Here is a film before which words fall silent. “The Mill & the Cross” contains little dialogue, and that simple enough. It enters into the world of a painting, and the man who painted it. If you see no more than the opening shots, you will never forget them. It opens on a famous painting, and within the painting, a few figures move and walk. We will meet some of those people in more detail.

The painting is “The Way to Calvary” (1564), by the Flemish master Pieter Bruegel the Elder. We might easily miss the figure of Christ among the 500 in the vast landscape. Others are going about their everyday lives. That’s a reminder of Bruegel’s famous painting “Landscape With the Fall of Icarus,” about which Auden wrote of a passing ship “that must have seen something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky, had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.” Extraordinary events take place surrounded by ordinary ones. Read More »