Various director / artists – Kunst im Exil AKA Arts in Exile (1962-1989)

Nine short stories that together amount to a play time of 3h20m.

Presented here are nine short films that feature: film director Slatan Dudow; actor Martin Brandt; authors Erich Fried, Erich Weinert, and Arnold Zweig; photographer Walter Ballhause; cartoonist Leo Haas; and journalist Egon Erwin Kisch. Original interviews with the artists, close family members, and friends are combined with little-known historic film material. All produced in the GDR. Continue reading

Giovanni Pastrone – Cabiria (1914)

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Standing out from all the stumbling efforts toward a new expression of cinema, Giovanni Pastrone’s story of the Second Punic War, Cabiria , demands special attention. Compared to the other colossal Italian spectacles of its time, it had an integrity and sense of purpose. From the beginning it was regarded as something special, and its premiere at the Teatro Vittorio Emmanuele, Turin, on 18 April 1914 was a great occasion. The film’s accompanying score by Ildebrando Pizzetti, performed by an orchestra of 80 and a choir of 70, added to the excitement. Viewed today, the film has lost little of its epic poetry to the zeitgeist, though the acting performances may seem dated. Continue reading

Youssef Chahine – Hadduta misrija AKA An Egyptian Story (1982)

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Boldly blending personal and political histories, intercutting its fast-moving fictional scenes with documentary footage, this sort of sequel to Alexandria – Why? follows the fortunes of Chahine’s charismatic film-maker hero and alter ego, forced to review his past and learn to love himself by a critical open-heart operation. The occasionally clumsy central conceit – Yehia/Chahine standing trial for his life during surgery – is amply offset by the energy and style of this indulgent, exuberant, and immensely likeable self-portrait. Continue reading

David Cronenberg – eXistenZ (1999)

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Quote:
Allegra Geller, the leading game designer in the world, is testing her new virtual reality game, eXistenZ with a focus group. As they begin, she is attacked by a fanatic assassin employing a bizarre organic gun. She flees with a young marketing trainee, Ted Pikul, who is suddenly assigned as her bodyguard. Unfortunately, her pod, an organic gaming device that contains the only copy of the eXistenZ game program, is damaged. To inspect it, she talks Ted into accepting a gameport in his own body so he can play the game with her. The events leading up to this, and the resulting game lead the pair on a strange adventure where reality and their actions are impossible to determine from either their own or the game’s perspective. Continue reading

Harry Watt – West Of Zanzibar (1954)

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Plot Synopsis by Hal Erickson:
No relation to the 1928 Lon Chaney vehicle of the same name, the British West of Zanzibar was filmed on location in East Africa. Game ranger Bob Payton (Anthony Steel) makes it his mission in life to capture the head of a vicious ivory-smuggling racket. Payton tracks his quarry through some of the most treacherous passages of the Zanzibar territory. Despite such obstacles as crocodiles and rhinos, Steel finally corners the villain, who turns out to be. . . Well, the ending needn’t be spoiled here. The most fascinating aspect of West of Zanzibar is its accuracy in depicting native customs and values. Continue reading

Srdjan Dragojevic – Lepa sela lepo gore AKA Pretty Village, Pretty Flame (1996)

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Plot:

At the Belgrade army hospital, casualties of Bosnian civil war are treated. In the hospital they remember their youth and the war. Two young boys, Halil, a Muslim, and Milan, a Serb, have grown up together near a deserted tunnel linking the Yugoslav cities of Belgrade and Zagreb. They never dare go inside, as they believe an ogre resides there. Twelve years later, during the Bosnian civil war, Milan, who is trapped in the tunnel with his troop, and Halil, find themselves on opposing sides, fatefully heading toward confrontation. Continue reading

Júlio Bressane – Garoto (2015)

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A girl, a boy, a murder, some great landscapes, the sound of wind. Like a young couple on the lam film shot by Straub/Huillet. It achieves a beauty few films can.

Quote:
Boy meets girl at the end of the world. Once again, Julio Bressane stages the beginning of life itself as a stylized and dysfunctional yet mysteriously minnellian dance. O Garoto, element of the collective project Telha brilhadora, that comprises also O prefeito by Bruno Safadi, O espelho by Rodrigo Lima and Origem do mundo by Moa Batsow, is a film that has at its core a mischievous insurgent sexual energy that bristles and sparks relentlessly poetic hybris. Those who are not familiar with Bressane’s work may be puzzled by the minimalistic approach and its reiterative patterns, but it is obvious that O Garoto (The Kid) is just a different kind of educaçao sentimental Continue reading