Parviz Kimiavi – Baghé sangui AKA Garden of Stones (1976)

Synopsis:
Darvish Khan, a deaf-mute shepherd living in the desert, has a mystical vision in a dream in which he encounters a saint. When he awakens, he finds himself clutching a large stone. Grateful for the vision, he aims to pay homage and begins to construct an unusual monument in its honor. After his wife tells a neighbor that it is miraculous place, news of his ‘garden of stones’ spreads and people from neighboring villages come to see it. The result wreaks havoc upon Darvish Khan’s life. Bagh-e Sangi won the Silver Bear prize for the best film at the 1976 Berlin Film Festival and was shown at the Tehran, London and Paris film festivals. It was recently included at #20 on a list of the 27 best Iranian films, as selected by 14 Iranian directors for the 2014 Fribourg International Film Festival. Read More »

Lav Diaz – Melancholia (2008)

Melancholia (Lav Diaz, 2008)

Lav Diaz’s Melancholia is an eight-hour meditation of sorts on the maddening persistence of sadness in this world, can logically be divided into three parts and an epilogue. The first part details the experiences in Sagada of Julian (Perry Dizon), Alberta (Angeli Bayani) and Rina (Malaya Cruz) as they refashion themselves into different drastic identities as part of the radical process that Julian created in order for them to cope with the losses of their loved ones. The second part is set in Manila, with Julian and Alberta living their real lives and addressing the scenarios and situations that accompany their melancholic predicament. Read More »

Lukas Dhont – Girl (2018)

Quote:

Determined 15-year-old Lara is committed to becoming a professional ballerina. With the support of her father, she throws herself into this quest for the absolute at a new school. Lara’s adolescent frustrations and impatience are heightened as she realizes her body does not bend so easily to the strict discipline because she was born a boy. Read More »

Kazuo Kuroki – Kamiya Etsuko no seishun aka The Youth of Kamiya Etsuko (2006)

“Very sweet, wryly funny in spots, but always haunted by war (described sparingly but never shown). It was based on a stage play and betrays its theatrical roots in some of the pacing and staging. It’s slow, perhaps too slow for action film fans, but it’s not boring. Rather, it’s delicate and precise like tea ceremony. Read More »

Mahamat-Saleh Haroun – Abouna (2002) (720P)

Quote:
Abouna is a gently heartbreaking look at the lives of two boys growing up impoverished and fatherless in Chad. Filmmaker Mahamat-Saleh Haroun mixes in telling bits of documentary realism with his story of the two boys’ lackadaisical search for their father. The filmmaker takes his time with the tale, lingering on details, like a long shot of the two boys meandering across a field, roughhousing and walking on their hands. Haroun also pointedly displays posters for Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid, Idrissa Ouedraogo’s Yaaba, and Jim Jarmusch’s Stranger Than Paradise outside the little movie theater that the boys visit. Read More »

Xu Tao – People of the Grasslands aka People on the Steppe aka People on the Prairie (1953)

‘This movie was adapted according to the homonymy fiction by Malaqinfu. There was a pair of lovers in a big plain, shepherdess Sarengewa and hunter Sangbu. They were dear to each other, worked arduously, and built their pleasant life with their hands. Secret agent Baolu did something bad, and persuade Sarengewa’s father Baiyire to retreat from Huzhu group, Baiyire refused him understandingly. Then Baolu thought up another trick: he cut the rope of the livestock balustrade under the cover of storm, frightened livestock escaped all around. Read More »

Rafi Pitts – ShekarChi AKA The Hunter (2010)

A man turns to violence after losing those he loves most in this taut drama from Iran. Ali (Rafi Pitts) is a reformed criminal who lives in a small flat in Tehran with his wife Sara (Mitra Hajjar) and their young daughter Saba (Saba Yaghoobi). While he’s grateful for the chance to support his family honestly, Ali doesn’t much care for his job as a night watchman or the noise and stress of city life; Ali heads off to the woods and clears his mind by hunting as often as he can. One day, Ali comes home from work to an empty apartment; he has no idea when his family has gone, and when they don’t return, he goes to the police. Read More »