Martin Scorsese – The Age of Innocence (1993)

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This 1993 film, directed by Martin Scorsese, brings the Edith Wharton novel to life.
Here it is — all the social comment and smoldering unrequited passions originally
intended by the author. And now it’s in living color with academy award winning costume
design reflecting New York society in the 1870s.

Daniel-Day Lewis is cast as Newland Archer, the upper class young man in conflict
between social convention and desire. Michelle Pfeiffer plays the Countess Ellen Olenska,
who has already defied convention by marrying a European and is further defying
convention by leaving her husband and returning to New York. However, in spite of his
attraction to the countess, Newland Archer marries the beautiful but seemingly simple
May Welland, played by Wynona Ryder, whose outstanding performance won her an academy
award nomination. Continue reading

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Adrián Caetano – Crónica de una fuga aka Chronicle of an Escape (2006)

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Quote:
The goalkeeper of a little-known soccer team is kidnapped by a Argentinean government squad and sent to a detention center. After months of torture, he plots his escape with three other young men.

Quote:
If American moviegoers have plenty of reasons to feel icky about government-sponsored kidnappings and hidden prisons, “Chronicle of an Escape” gives them another good one, by viewing a fact-based Argentinean story through the stylized lens of a horror film. Laced with dread that builds to a thoroughly gripping third act, it should do well with art house audiences who like their history lessons to come with a shot of adrenaline. Continue reading

William Wyler – The Little Foxes (1941)

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Lillian Hellman’s play, a prime example of the “well-made” variety, is precisely the kind of successful middle-brow property that appealed to Samuel Goldwyn. He had already produced Hellman’s controversial The Children’s Hour (also directed by William Wyler, with cinematographer Gregg Toland), a play that handsomely survived a title change to These Three and the transformation of the issue of lesbianism into an illicit heterosexual affair. No major alterations were required for The Little Foxes. The film even resists the conventional “opening up” so often applied to theatrical texts, in the mistaken notion that fundamental cinematic values are expansively pictorial ones. Continue reading

John Huston – The Dead (1987)

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IMDB Summary:
John Huston’s last film is a labor of love at several levels: an adaptation of perhaps one of the greatest pieces of English-language literature by one of Huston’s favorite authors, James Joyce; a love letter to the land of his ancestors and the country where his children grew up; and the chance to work with his screenwriter son Tony and his actress daughter Anjelica. The film is delicate and unhurried, detailing a Christmas dinner at the house of two spinster musician sisters and their niece in turn-of-the-century Ireland, attended by friends and family. Among the visiting attendees are the sisters’ nephew Gabriel Conroy and his wife Gretta. The evening’s reminiscences bring up melancholy memories for Gretta concerning her first, long-lost love when she was a girl in rural Galway. Her recounting of this tragic love to Gabriel brings him to an epiphany: he learns the difference between mere existence and living. The all-Irish cast and careful period detail give the piece richness and gravity, and Donal McCann and Anjelica Huston are unforgettable as the Conroys. Continue reading

Joaquim Pinto – E Agora? Lembra-me AKA What Now? Remind Me (2013)

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Synopsis:
Joaquim Pinto has been an instrumental figure in Portuguese cinema for over 30 years, whether directing his own films, as producer or sound designer for renowned filmmakers such as Raul Ruiz, Manoel de Oliveira and Joao Cesar Monteiro.

In his newest film, What Now? Remind Me, winner of the Jury Prize at the Locarno Film Festival, Pinto, who has been living with HIV for more than two decades, looks back at his life in cinema, at his friendships and loves, and at the mysteries of art and nature — while undergoing an experimental drug treatment.

Moving freely between past and present, fact and fantasia, What Now? Remind Me is a beautiful portrait of a man looking beyond his own mortality at the world around us. Continue reading

Ramon Zürcher – Das merkwürdige Kätzchen AKA The strange little cat (2013)

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Synopsis:
Siblings Karin and Simon are visiting their parents and their little sister Clara. That evening, other relatives will be joining them for dinner. Over the course of the day, the washing machine is repaired, people sit together at the kitchen table, carry out an experiment with orange peel, talk about lungs, and sew on a button that was deliberately torn off. This sequence of family scenes in a Berlin flat complete with cat and dog creates a wondrous world of the everyday: Coming and going, all manner of doings, each movement leading to the next, one word following another. It is a carefully staged chain reaction of actions and sentences. And in between, silent gazes and anecdotes about experiences. The people act oddly even-temperedly; their dialogues are direct and unemotional. Even the pets and the material surroundings play a part. Some objects seem alive as if by magic. Commonplace actions and familiar items appear absurd and eerie in this narrative cosmos. Putting the absurdities of daily life on display and translating unspectacular events into an exciting choreography of everyday life, this film is no small feat.
(Written by Birgit Kohler) Continue reading

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