Johan van der Keuken – To Sang Fotostudio + Leven met je ogen aka Living with your eyes (1997)

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Description: Those familiar with van der Keuken’s films are aware of his extraordinary capacity to observe with a camera, to make the everyday magical and to slowly reveal the marvelous complexity of individuals’ lives. In his captivating new short, the delightful van der Keuken focuses on photography, in particular the extraordinary figure of a Chinese immigrant portrait photographer. A man of great authority, To Sang poses his various clients, all of whom work on the same street, with a precise sense of what constitutes a good photograph. He “directs” his clients into old- fashioned poses with a deft series of gestures: a Pakistani daughter stands between her visiting mother and father, a Kurdish son with his parents, a Surinamese travel agent sits alone. For van der Keuken, these photographs are “dream images,” more revealing of illusions and role-playing than reality. To Sang Fotostudio is not only a reflexive meditation on what an image is but also a complex portrait of a colorful, diverse neighborhood. Continue reading

Johan van der Keuken – De Weg naar het Zuiden AKA The Way South (1981)

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The coronation of Queen Beatrix on the eve of May Day in 1980 provides a salient point of departure for Johan van der Keuken’s The Way South, a cultural interrogation into the intertwined sociopolitical landscape of immigration, dislocation, underprivilege, and class division. Continuing on the prevailing theme of economic disparity between the continental north and south (in such essay films as Diary, The White Castle, and the The New Ice Age), van der Keuken encounters his first destination within a short distance from his home in Amsterdam, where a unused office building on Kinker Street has been converted to a communal squat by activists (who see their action as a pragmatic solution to the affordable housing shortage by making use of existing real estate that would otherwise remain unoccupied). Facing an imminent siege by riot police to force their eviction, the squatters discuss the logistics of their staged resistance, from rounding up volunteers for round the clock sentry duty to guard the main entrance, to installing reinforcing screens in order to thwart a surprise intrusion from unsecured windows. Intercutting a shot of the activists protesting in the street with footage of a public rally celebrating the country’s liberation in 1945, van der Keuken presents the activists’ defiant expression of freedom within the irony of self-imprisonment that reveals their idealistic act of resistance. Continue reading

Sabine Bürger, Steve Roden & Machinefabriek – Lichtung (2010)

Synopsis
The ‘Lichtung’ exhibition was a three-way project centered around an audio-visual installation. The American visual and sound artist Steve Roden and the Dutch sound artist and musician Rutger Zuydervelt provided the audio whilst the German visual artist Sabine Bürger provided the video element. Additionally each of the artists exhibited examples of their own work on paper addressing the interface between the audio and the visual. Continue reading

Arthur Maria Rabenalt – Am Abend nach der Oper AKA In the Evening After the Opera (1945)

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Quote:
This totally forgotten film is adapted from a story by Franz Nabl who also provided the basis for Der verzauberte Tag. The story is about a rich murderer (Siegfried Breuer) who killed his wife out of jealousy nd tries to start a new life. He meets a young woman (Gusti Huber) and marries her without telling her the secret directly. She feels there’s something wrong and things get complicated when a dubious individual not only gets the legal papers which prove the husband has been a convict, but also falls in love with the young woman.
The film not only boasts an intelligent script and great performances, but is very well shot and directed. The lighting is often elaborate, intertwining with the sumptuous set design, while an inquisitive camera slides through the rooms. This one is a must see and should be a strong incentive for German users to consider buying the box. Continue reading

Gabriel Mascaro – Boi Neon AKA Neon Bull (2015)

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Quote:
We tend to view sex as a private, forbidden theater that’s detached from the remainder of life, rather than the origin of our life that courses through other acts. Films reflect this sentiment, of course. In most cinema, sex scenes scan as movies onto themselves, cordoned off from the rest of the narratives, though Neon Bull offers a confident refutation to this literal-minded squeamishness. Everything in this film is sensual, understood to be a subsumed sex act, with actual sex serving as a contextualizing catharsis. Continue reading

Thomas Arslan – Der schöne Tag aka A Fine Day (2001)

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Synopsis:

A Fine Day is, after the films Geschwister and Dealer, the third part in a trilogy about the living conditions of Turkish youth growing up in Germany.

Deniz is 21-years-old, lives in Berlin, works as a dubbing speaker and wants to become an actress. A Fine Day describes a long, labyrinth-like day in the life of Deniz. A day in which she experiences everything that takes place around her with a feverish intensity. The separation from her boyfriend Jan, her relationship to her family, her work, the promise of a new friendship and summer in the city.

A Fine Day is the story of a young woman’s search for happiness, her feelings and her ideas about love. Continue reading

Stephen Poliakoff & Charles Sturridge – Runners (1983)

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RUNNERS (1983)
Produced in 1983, it was originally headed for a cinema release but apparently that never happened and it ended up being shown as a TV movie only.

In Stephen Poliakoff’s first film script, Tom Lindsay (James Fox) searches for his 13-year-old daughter, Rachel (Kate Hardie), two years after she ran away from their Midlands home. After an anonymous tip-off, he spots her, but the reunion is not what he has expected or hoped for…. Continue reading