Tag Archives: 1990s

Manoel de Oliveira – O Dia do Desespero AKA The Day of Despair (1992)

Quote:
In 1992 Oliveira made O Dia do Desespero, which deals with the last days and suicide of Romantic novelist Camilo Castelo Branco and is based largely on the writer’s letters. Most of it was filmed in the house where Castelo Branco in fact committed suicide. The film opens, midway through the credits, with a 50-second static shot of a pen-and-ink portrait of the writer. Other portraits, always shot with a static camera, punctuate the film’s narrative, lending it a documentary tone from the outset. Read More »

François Ozon – Les amants criminels AKA AKA Criminal Lovers (1999)

French bad boy director François Ozon, who caused a stir with his controversial first feature Sitcom (1998) and his shorts A Summer Dress (1997) and See the Sea (1997), creates a dark and brooding tale of transgression and sexuality for his second feature outing. Alice (Natacha Régnier) is a bored, spoiled high schooler with a gorgeous body and a sociopathic mind. She persuades one of her suitors, the naive and trusting Luc (Jeremie Renier), to murder another suitor, the handsome, rakish Said (Salim Kechiouche). Read More »

Eric Khoo – Shier lou aka 12 Storeys (1997)

Synopsis:
In a high-rise, a young man jumps to his death. His ghost remains in the building, observing and consoling three households. San San, fat, silent, and alone, hears the ghost of her mother constantly upbraid her. She futilely seeks the friendship of a wealthy woman with whom she was raised. Ah Gu, a tofu soup vendor, is at odds with Lily, his materialistic wife, a Chinese immigrant who longs for something he cannot provide. Meng spouts every moralistic bromide of the striving middle class, wears a T-shirt reading “My block is the cleanest,” and is unhinged by his teenage sister May (“Trixie” to her boyfriend) who won’t study, parties all night, and seems doomed by youth culture. Read More »

Joe Berlinger & Bruce Sinofsky – Brother’s Keeper (1992)

The first feature-length effort by documentary filmmakers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, Brother’s Keeper unfolds a strange-but-true story about a most unorthodox family. 59-year-old Delbert Ward lives with his brothers Bill, Roscoe, and Lyman on a dairy farm near the upstate New York village of Munnville. Barely able to function on an adult level, the Ward brothers keep to themselves, ignored and shunned by their neighbors. When older brother Bill dies on June 5, 1990, the authorities determine that his death was not from natural causes. Suspected of a mercy killing, Delbert is charged with second degree murder. Read More »

Susanne Ofteringer – Nico Icon (1995)

A documentary about the model, actress and singer, Nico. She is probably best known for her association with Andy Warhol and the Velvet Underground – and for her heroin addiction. However, this film is full of clips and interviews with those who knew her, we learn about her beginnings as a model and a bit part in La Dolce Vita, her affair with Jim Morrison, her son with Alain Delon, later living in the UK where smack was high grade and dirt cheap.

There’s plenty of archive footage and despite the above description, its not sensationalist, it does also focus on her music. Read More »

Aki Kaurismäki – Kauas pilvet karkaavat AKA Drifting Clouds (1996)

Synopsis:
A married couple struggles with the repercussions of unexpected unemployment in this wry comedy drama from Finnish filmmaker Aki Kaurismaki. Ilona, the wife, works as restaurant hostess and her husband Lauri drives a tram. Though the couple has recently lost a child, they both seem at peace and happy. One night Ilona comes home and finds that Lauri has purchased a beautiful television on credit. Shortly thereafter disaster strikes when Ilona’s workplace closes and Lauri gets caught in a maelstrom of downsizing. Neither is able to find suitable work right away and as time crawls by, they become humiliated and testy with each other. Read More »

Cheng-sheng Lin – Mei li zai chang ge AKA Murmur Of Youth (1997)

Quote:
Recent Taiwanese cinema has almost had a monopoly on the kind of angst that permeated so many European art films of the 1960’s. The anomie that envelops Lin Cheng-sheng’s ”Murmur of Youth” in a mist of melancholy has everything to do with the collision of traditional and modern values in a boom economy. The film follows two college-age girls, both named Mei-li, from different backgrounds, who end up working side by side as ticket takers in a movie theater in a teeming shopping arcade. Read More »