António da Cunha Telles – O Cerco AKA Besieged AKA The Circle (1970)

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Quote:
A young woman leaves her abusive husband to become the mistress of a married American living in Lisbon. He pays for her apartment, and she becomes a model. After an affair with a photographer and a small-time drug dealer, she manages to liberate herself from her dependency on male authority figures. She brings a new attitude and newfound personal freedom into her life while fighting in a society not ready to accept her views in this poignant drama. ~ Dan Pavlides, Rovi

A portrait of the Portuguese urban society of the seventies. The story of Marta, a young and pretty girl who leaves her husband in search of her true identity. She doesn’t quite know what she wants, but at least she knows what she’s escaping from. Soon she encounters financial difficulties and finds herself involved with shady characters, a situation that leads to a mysterious murder.
She is trapped…
An outstanding performance by Maria Cabral. Continue reading

Periklis Hoursoglou – O diaheiristis AKA The Building Manager (2009)

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The story of 50-something Pavlos unfolds in an unspecified modern-day Greek city, portraying the man’s midlife crisis with a light and gently ironic tone. Pavlos takes over custodial duties from his aging mother and immediately has to deal with a disaster involving a sewage pipe. The fix-it job becomes complicated and creates an apt parallel to Pavlos’s increasingly complicated personal circumstances. At heart Pavlos is gracious and kind, and he tries to be a good husband, son, and building manager. But the ensuing state of affairs turns him into a morose and angry man whose nerves sometimes snap. Will Pavlos succeed in fixing the broken sewage pipe before he can fix his own “broken” life? Director and screenwriter Periklis Hoursoglou, who plays the lead role, has shot a drama with comic touches and gentle socio-critical accents. Hoursoglou succeeds in creating a faithful, entertaining, and even touching portrait of “ordinary” interpersonal relations. Continue reading

Frederick Wiseman – Juvenile Court (1973)

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PLOT SYNOPSIS
From Allmovie
by Bhob Stewart

This 1973 Frederick Wiseman documentary, filmed at the Juvenile Court in Memphis, Tennessee, won the Columbia University School of Journalism’s 1974 Dupont Award for “Excellence in Broadcast Journalism.” In 144 minutes, Wiseman shows a wide variety of cases before the Memphis Juvenile Court, from child abuse and sexual offenses to armed robbery and foster home placement, and it examines such issues as the range and limits of choices available to the court, psychology of offenders, constitutional points, procedural questions, and community protection vs. the desire for rehabilitation. Continue reading

Nicolas Provost – L’envahisseur AKA The Invader (2011)

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Quote:
Belgium short filmmaker and visual artist Nicolas Provost brings his compelling and assured 2011 debut The Invader (L’envahisseur) to the Edinburgh International Film Festival. Acting as a refreshingly unbiased examination of illegal immigration and asylum seekers, Provost’s film is a surreal and demanding drama build around a sublime central performance by Issaka Sawadogo. Continue reading

Cecile B. Evans – Hyperlinks or it didn’t happen (2014)

Hyperlinks or it Didn’t Happen questions the identity of the mediated subject. “PHIL,” a “bad copy” of recently deceased actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, narrates a procession of bodies generated or augmented by computers. The most alluring among them is the Invisible Woman, who—like the anti-hero of Ralph Ellison’s 1952 novel Invisible Man—is invisible not because of magic but because she is unseen. She is a metaphor for all the women in the film: Yowane Haku, the synthesized, holographic pop star developed in Japan; AGNES, the bot that Evans was recently commissioned to embed in the Serpentine Galleries’ website; the Computer Girls, programmers in the 1960s; and Evans herself—all of them under-recognized workers who maintain the system that oppresses them. Continue reading

Douglas McGrath – Becoming Mike Nichols (2016)

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Anyone who ever spent any time alone with Mike Nichols will tell you he was one of the most charming men who ever lived. I had that experience once, long ago, over a four-hour lunch. Thanks to HBO’s Becoming Mike Nichols, a splendid new documentary debuting on Monday night, everyone can have their own tête-a-tête. Most of this fine film is drawn from an extended conversation between Nichols and his good friend, theater director Jack O’Brien. Their talk took place in an empty – and then filled – Golden Theater, the Broadway venue where Nichols’ fame began, with An Evening with Mike Nichols and Elaine May in 1960. The film is the product of a chance encounter between O’Brien and the writer Alex Witchel at a Manhattan dinner party in 2014. O’Brien told Witchel the celebrated director was looking frail and was never going to write a memoir. Wouldn’t it be great to capture his best memories before he was gone? Witchel repeated the idea to her husband, writer Frank Rich, who also happens to be an HBO executive. His bosses embraced the idea. O’Brien agreed to interview, Douglas McGrath was hired to direct, and within weeks they were off to the Golden. Four months later, Nichols died of a heart attack aged83. It was Nichols’ idea to do at least part of the interview in front of a live audience, and that makes his performance much more vivid than in any of his other filmed interviews. Continue reading

Aage Wiltrup – Lyntoget AKA Bullet Train (1951)

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Synopsis:
‘A dangerous prison escapee, a young Jutland woman and a bank clerk, who has just deprived his employer of some cash and is now headed abroad, meet on a lyntog (literally “lightning train”) from Arhus to Copenhagen. The prison escaper tries to deprive the bank clerk of what he’s carrying.’
– penseur Continue reading