Kon Ichikawa – Hi no tori AKA Firebird: Daybreak Chapter (1978)

This extraordinarily complex film is not only a send-up of every samurai film ever made, it is also an extrapolation of the value of life. The Yamatai, represented by Prince Susano-O and elderly advisor Sumuke, hire Yumihiko of Matsuro to hunt the phoenix so that Queen Himiko, sister of Susano-O can have eternal life. Read More »

Bing Wang – Tie Xi Qu: West of the Tracks – Part 3: Rails (2003) (DVD)

Wang Bing’s West of the Tracks is a nine hour, three part documentary about the decline of Chinese state-run heavy industry.

In 1999 Wang Bing, not long graduated from Beijing’s Film Academy, arrived at the Tie Xi industrial district of Shenyang with little more than a tiny DV camera he didn’t even own. Tie Xi (the name literally means ‘west of the tracks’) was at the time China’s oldest and largest industrial centre, built by the Japanese in World War II, nationalised come the end of the war and subsequently taken over by the newly-founded Communist party. Read More »

Rainer Werner Fassbinder – In einem Jahr mit 13 Monden AKA In a Year of 13 Moons (1978)

Quote:
Elvira Weishaupt, once a burly working-class butcher named Erwin, has made an enormous sacrifice for love. She has undergone a sex change for a romantic interest who has abandoned her, and she now must struggle to reconcile her past life with her present identity. The emotionally fractured Elvira visits influential acquaintances and old haunts in hopes of putting the pieces of her life back together — and of confronting her lost love. Read More »

Pedro Costa & Thierry Lounas – Où gît votre sourire enfoui? AKA Where Does Your Hidden Smile Lie? (2001)

Documentary about Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub. While Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub assemble the third version of “Sicilia!”, Pedro Costa films a “reassembly comedy.” Behind their patience at work, tender and violent, the two filmmakers reveal a certain idea of the cinema, their cinema and their married life. Pedro Costa takes us to the center of his own cinema, in a unique space-time trip, and offers cinephiles the most beautiful gift he can dream of: participating in the interior, in the act of cinematic creation.
Read More »

Patrice Leconte – Tandem (1987)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Michel Mortez is going to and fro France to compere a radio game he created 25 years ago. He is famous among the average Frenchmen. But he is also a poker. Rivetot, his assistant and technician, always goes with him. He is the only one to know what really lies under Mortez’s appearance of playful don Juan. When the programme is condemned by the managers, Rivetot delays as long as possible the moment he will have to announce it to Mortez… Both malicious and tender, this bitter comedy also shows nostalgia. Read More »

Thomas Schamoni – Ein großer graublauer Vogel AKA A Big Grey-Blue Bird (1970)

This critically well-received independent German film production was made and first seen in 1970, but did not receive general release until 1971. A group of five scientists have invented a machine which will unravel the whole fabric of time and space but have managed to blot the full memory of their achievement from their minds. They did this to prevent the complete destruction of space-time as we know it. However, they also programmed themselves to remember everything if someone uses the key words “a big grey-blue bird.” Gangsters bent on world domination and a young documentary film-team track down these scientists, each attempting to learn their secrets for completely different reasons. Read More »

John Boulting – Lucky Jim (1957)

Plot
Jim Dixon (Ian Carmichael) feels anything but lucky. At the university he has to do the bidding of absent-minded and boring Professor Welch (Hugh Griffith) to have any hope of keeping his job. Worse, he has managed to get entangled with boring and neurotic Margaret Peel, a fellow teacher. All-in-all, the pub is the only friendly place to be. His misery is completed at a dreadful weekend gathering of the Welch clan by the arrival of son Bertrand (Terry-Thomas). Betrand is loud-mouthed and boorish, but has as companion the delightful Christine Callaghan, the sort of marvellous and unattainable woman Jim can only dream about. Read More »