Kaige Chen – Da yue bing AKA The Big Parade (1986)

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Synopsis:
Army volunteers train for places in China’s 1984 National Day parade, where they are expected to be a perfect marching unit.

Review:
Walter Goodman, NYT wrote:
From the impressive overhead shots of troops assembling for a march-past in Beijing’s huge central square on the 35th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China, in October 1984, to the final slow-motion close-ups of them parading, the camera of Zhang Yimou commands ”The Big Parade.” The Chinese movie, directed by Chen Kaige and on view tonight at 6 o’clock and tomorrow at 8:30 P.M. as part of the New Directors/New Films festival, holds you by its photography even as you may be getting a bit restless at the Chinese version of the good old American boot-camp movie. Continue reading

Juho Kuosmanen – Hymyilevä mies AKA The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki (2016) (HD)

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Quote:
The true story of Olli Mäki, the famous Finnish boxer who had a shot at the 1962 World Featherweight title. Immensely talented and equally modest, Olli’s small town life is transformed when he is swept into national stardom and suddenly regarded as a symbol of his country. There’s only one problem: Olli has just fallen in love. Inside of the ring, it’s Finland vs. the USA, but outside, boxing and romance become unlikely adversaries vying for Olli’s attention. This charming feature debut from Juho Kuosmanen was awarded the Un Certain Regard Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Continue reading

Magdalena Szymków – Mój dom AKA My House Without Me (2012)

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Quote:
Two women, one house. An intimate story about a Pole and a German placed by war on enemy sides and their parallel lives accidentally brought together.

The film reflects on the concepts of invaders, victim, guilt and forgiveness. It confronts different experiences and their paradoxical similarities. It deals with the controversial subject of the post-war accountings.

The visual narration is flowing, guided by memories and archives. Traditional documentation confronts experimental use of archival footage in the cinematic impression about displacement. Continue reading

Nacer Khemir – Looking for Muhyiddin (2014)

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A man (played by the filmmaker Nacer Khemir) returns home to Tunisia to bury his mother. After the burial, his father gives him an “amana” to be handed to a certain Sheikh named Muhyiddin. Taken by his father’s request, the man immediately sets out on an epic journey to find the long lost Sheikh and deliver the “amana.” Throughout the trip, he is guided by a mysterious spiritual master and the many friends of the Sheikh he encounters along the way. As the adventure unfolds, we discover the rich life of this Sheikh and his uncompromising love for humanity. For under his teachings, different beliefs, faiths, and ways of life can only converge and become one. The more we learn about Sheikh Muhyiddin, the more we understand why he is venerated across cultures and continents. Looking for Muhyiddin is a deeply lyrical odyssey into the soul of Islam through the life and work of one of its beloved mystics: Ibn Arabi. Continue reading

John Berger and Noam Chomsky – Times of Crisis (2014)

Exclusive material from writer, artist, critic John Berger and a virtual response and conversation with Noam Chomsky, Professor Emeritus of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT. This event took place at Dartmouth College as part of GRID’s 2014 Spring Public Lecture Series: Times of Crisis

Note, Berger’s material is audio only and is accompanied by still images, and Chomsky is on a live video link in this session. Continue reading

Dominik Graf – Die Freunde der Freunde AKA The Friend of Friends (2002)

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Synopsis:
Set in the boarding school milieu, the film depicts the meeting of shy Gregor and mysterious Billie. Billie has a son, her husband is in jail. Arthur, Gregor’s friend, is a serial Lothario, forever unfaithful to his girlfriend Pia. Both Arthur and Billie have had a similar mystical experience related to someone’s death. While Gregor believes that an elective affinity between two people preordains their lives, Arthur does not even subscribe to any possibility of romantic feelings between the sexes.
Arthur is a failure at school and becomes mixed up with criminal elements, Gregor goes on to attend university, and remains in pursuit of Billie who passes in and out of his life on several occasions. Continue reading

John Berger and Susan Sontag – To Tell A Story [Voices] (1983)

““Somebody dies,” says John Berger. “It’s not just a question of tact that one then says, well, perhaps it is possible to tell that story,” but “it’s because, after that death, one can read that life. The life becomes readable.” His interlocutor, a certain Susan Sontag, interjects: “A person who dies at 37 is not the same as a person who dies at 77.” True, he replies, “but it can be somebody who dies at 90. The life becomes readable to the storyteller, to the writer. Then she or he can begin to write.” Berger, the consummate storyteller as well as thinker about stories, left behind these and millions of other memorable words, spoken and written, when he yesterday passed away at age 90 himself. Continue reading