Starring: Gottfried John, Hanna Schygulla, Luise Ullrich
Directed by: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Rainer Werner Fassbinder had been making feature films for three years – and already amassed a filmography that would satisfy most careers – when he decided to take on a bigger challenge. Teaming up with West German television channel WDR, he conceived of Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day, a series that would extend to five feature-length episodes to be broadcast at monthly intervals. Continue reading
THE EYE OF ISTANBUL tells the story of Ara Guler, the legendary Armenian-Turkish photographer, through the culmination of his retrospective exhibition in Istanbul. The documentary follows a non-linear narrative, which explores the artistic process and impulses of this great master. Ara’s curiosity, resourcefulness and fearlessness are revealed through a series of stories in the film. At 87 years old, Ara is a complex and unforgettable character; he is still sharp, irreverent, funny and philosophical. Although he is mostly recognized for his black and white photographs of Istanbul, he has enjoyed an international career, which has spanned over sixty years and has generated more than one million photographs. A student and a follower of Henri-Cartier Bresson, Ara’s mastery lies in capturing the stories and interactions among people at the right moment in history. Continue reading
Sacrifice (Orphan of Zhao Family): To save the only child of the Zhao Family, whose whole clan is massacred at the hands of a nefarious minister, a doctor sacrifices his own son, and later becomes intent on seeking vengeance against the minister after the child grows up. For generations, the Zhao family has wielded power, even extending over the king. In a well-planned coup, their mortal enemy TU’AN GU (Wang Xue Qi) slaughters the entire clan, determined to wipe out their influence forever. However, a solitary Zhao baby survives the massacre, and is hidden and taken home by CHENG YING (Ge You), the doctor who delivered him, to live with his WIFE (Hai Qing) and their own newborn baby. Set on revenge, and raising the Zhao child as his own, Cheng Ying bides his time, enrolling himself and the Zhao orphan (whom he calls Cheng Bo) into the service of the Tu’an Gu household. Tu’ an Gu grows very fond of Cheng Bo and makes Cheng Bo his godson… Written by BronzeKeilani26 Continue reading
A boat worker, Farrel (Juan Fernandez), spends his shore leave traveling from the port city to a rural community in the mountains build around an old saw mill. Ostensibly traveling to see his mother, Farrel takes his time and drinks enough alcohol along the way to suggest a significant confrontation is brewing. But the result couldn’t be further from the suggestion. Alonso’s single-shot observational style records only dry action—Farrel getting dressed for a night shift, packing his bags, waiting for a ride to the mountains, or pulling yet another swig from his seemingly bottomless bottle of vodka. The result is that the confrontation between Farrel, his mother, and the daughter he left in the logging camp has the same anti-dramatic weight as a shot of Farrel zipping up his handbag or eating a meal.
An angry miner revolts against the corruption of his village leaders. A migrant worker at home for the New Year discovers the infinite possibilities a firearm can offer. A pretty receptionist at a sauna is pushed to the limit when a rich client assaults her. A young factory worker goes from job to job trying to improve his lot in life. Four people, four different provinces.
Jia’s world has its own geography. It (re)organized China into a personal map, where almost everything starts and ends in the filmmaker’s native province of Shanxi. It is the starting point and the ultimate “home.” This is where Xiao Wu the pickpocket operated, where the itinerant performers of Zhantai (Platform, 2000) roamed, where the sad heroes of Ren xiao yao (Unknown Pleasures, 2002) burnt their lives out, where the migrant worker of San Xia hao ren (Still Life 2006) and Shijie (The World, 2004) came from. This is where Tian zhu ding starts and finishes at the end of a tragic “tour.” The cities of Fenyang or Datong, the countryside and the murderous privatized coal mines have long been a compass to Jia’s filmic China.
A Russian Expatriate Adrift in Berlin
The most striking image in “Gorilla Bathes at Noon,” Dusan Makavejev’s whimsical cinematic collage set in present-day Berlin, is a gigantic statue of Lenin that stands as a ludicrous anachronism in the post-Communist era. In one of the film’s zanier scenes, Victor Borisovich (Svetozar Cvetkovic), an expatriate Russian soldier and the film’s main character, impulsively hoists himself on ropes to the statue’s head to wash its face. Moments later, the police arrive and ensnare him in a net from which he protests, “Ich bin ein Berliner!”
Not long afterward, workers begin detaching the head of the statue from its body. Lifted by crane, the severed head is lowered slowly onto a flatbed truck and carted off through the streets of Berlin. So much for Communism and kitsch monuments exalting its heroes.
Edmund Kean is a popular and flamboyant British actor of the nineteenth century, addicted however to vices and in debt. He argues with the Prince of Wales, his companion in intemperance, the wife of the Danish ambassador, but eventually falls in love with Anna, a young but promising beginning actress. Continue reading