Ali Essafi – Ouarzazate movie (2001)

Ali Essafi’s bitingly comic documentary is a portrait of a small Moroccan town whose economy is driven by the many movie crews drawn by its exotic desert scenery. Turning his camera on crabby casting directors for an Italian biblical epic, would-be extras in Astérix et Obélix and an old local hand who once carried Pasolini’s bags, Essafi cannily skewers the international film industry and the disparity between movie magic and economic reality. Read More »

Ektoras Lygizos – To agori troei to fagito tou pouliou AKA Boy Eating the Bird’s Food (2012)

The Greek drama from first-time director Ektoras Lyzigos follows the life of a young man on the brink of starvation in modern-day Athens.
Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter Read More »

Simone Bitton – Rachel [+Extra] (2009)

To show solidarity with Palestinians, Amercian peace activist Rachel Corrie engaged in civil disobedience in a combat zone in the Gaza Strip; the circumstances that led to her death by bulldozer (or its debris) are still debated. Read More »

Roy Del Ruth & Willy Pogany – Kid Millions (1934)

Who’s that dodging his murderous mama, an equally murderous sheik, and the temptations of a harem full of beauties? It’s Brooklyn’s own Eddie Wilson, who comes to Egypt to claim an inheritance and finds that lots of other folks want a slice of his $77,000,000 pie. In one of his famed Samuel Goldwyn movie extravaganzas, Eddie Cantor sings, clowns and wows ‘em as Eddie. Read More »

Renars Vimba – Es esmu seit AKA Mellow Mud (2016)

A resourceful teenage girl fights – literally, on occasion – to cling to her modest dreams for the future when the realities of life in rural Latvia threaten to rent apart what’s left of her family. Not that there is much of Raya’s (Elīna Vaska) immediate clan still around. Following the death of their father, she and her younger brother Robis (Andžejs Jānis Lilientāls) live in a state of low-level warfare with their acidic paternal grandmother, in a cottage surrounded by churned mud. Raya has invested her hopes in her mother, who emigrated to the UK and has lost contact with her children. Read More »

Vladimir Kobrin – 1991 TYT AKA 1991 Here (1991)

dEvolution of Homo Sovieticus.

At the center of the film is a man-monkey inhabiting various anthropogenic spaces, such as a zoo, city streets and a farmyard. But the attributes inherent in human life (work, marriage, military service, leisure) do not release him from an animal form.
During filming in the Crimea (not far from Gorbachev’s villa), the notorious August coup occurred in Moscow and President Gorbachev was arrested and isolated on his villa. The immediate proximity to the scene could not be without impact on the film – Kobrin processed it in his own grotesque form. Read More »

Vladimir Kobrin – Posledniy son Anatoliya Vasilievicha AKA The Last Dream of Anatoly Vasilievich (1990)

The film in a metaphorical form demonstrates a model of self-devouring in a closed spiritual system, it explores intermediate state between a human and a non-human: a subhuman deprived of a divine spark.
The hero of the film is a collective image of a criminal consciousness in which we all exist. Since childhood, we live one way or another in a criminal environment.
But this criminal consciousness, criminal law, or rather, criminal lawlessness, criminal thinking, criminal morality, criminal language, hierarchy of values, in fact, also criminal – all that is our film. The film is so sad because it is a film about Russia… Read More »