Elliott Nugent – Never Say Die (1939)

Plot:
Bob Hope is being stalked by a predatory widow who is a widow of wealthy husbands many times over. Martha Raye is a Texan heiress who wants to marry her boyfriend Andy Devine, but her father is determined that she marry into royalty. To solve both their problems, Martha Raye and Bob Hope decide to marry, but will they ever find love together? Read More »

Maria Speth – Mr. Bachmann And His Class AKA Herr Bachmann Und Seine Klasse (2021)

Mr. Bachmann and his pupils (aged between 12 and 14) live in Stadtallendorf, formerly the site of a secret Second World War munitions factory and now an industrial town that’s home to generations of economic migrants. The class is representative of this history, with several recent arrivals still struggling with the language of their new home. All the while, their sexagenarian, rock band T-shirt wearing teacher’s effortlessly egalitarian approach encourages students to develop empathy for one another through openness and listening. Shot over six months, Reinhold Vorschneider’s patient cinematography works with the spontaneity of the classroom environment to lend emotional weight to even the most fleeting moments. The pacing and observational method call to mind the work of Frederick Wiseman, yet Speth’s intimate approach creates an engaging and tender drama.

Silver Bear Jury Prize and Audience Award (Berlin 2021) Read More »

Maurice Rabinowicz – Une page d’amour AKA One Page of Love (1978)

François Karwitch is a young lawyer from a wealthy but stifling Jewish family. His life is meticulously ordered, he does his routine work day after day and is about to marry Fanny, the fiancée forced on him by his parents. One day, from the window of his Brussels practice, he witnesses a scene which will turn his life upside down: the brutal internment of a man in a nearby psychiatric hospital. Shocked by the treatment given to this person he decides to learn more about him. His name is Carlos; he is a revolted blue collar; and if he has been taken to this place, it is because he killed the head of an arms factory. Read More »

Paul Haesaerts & Henri Storck – Rubens (1949)

Cinema meets art critic. In this film commissioned by the Ministry of Education, Paul Haessaerts is responsible for ensuring that the screenplay (which he wrote together with Henri Storck) and the voice-over are intelligently informative. He provides a definition of Baroque, talks about the images’ composition, refers to Rubens’ life and makes a thematic analysis of his work, its evolution and it’s influence. The content is entirely in line with the demanding guidelines that André Bazin praised when explaining the education role of cinema. The form is innovative and inventive. The animation emphasizes the paintings’ key elements and structure and visualizes the composition. The split screen makes it possible to make comparative analyses of paintings and styles. Notwithstanding this textbook virtuosity Storck develops his own method, using the camera’s movements to enter into the drama of the painting. Tracking shots, exploring the painting, stopping at a detail, fragmentation, the closeness of the bodies and the faces. The first part of the film is analytical and biographical, the second part takes us, lyrically, into the paintings and into Rubens’ world “that the film recreates before our eyes” (Paul Davay). Both parts feature a very prominently present orchestral score. Read More »

Eric Till – The Walking Stick (1970)

A young woman’s highly ordered and structured life is turned upside-down when she meets a handsome stranger at a party. Friendship soon develops into romance and for the first time in her life she is truly happy. This happiness is short lived, however, as little by little she discovers her partner has been lying to her about his past. It is soon revealed that he and his friends have been planning to rob the auction house that she works for and they require her inside knowledge in order to pull off the crime. Read More »

Christoph Schlingensief – Terror 2000 – Intensivstation Deutschland AKA Terror 2000 (1992)

This satire of post re-unification Germany follows a couple investigating the disappearance of a German social worker and the Polish family in his care. Their search takes them to the town of Rassau, where the remaining hostage takers are living undercover as a priest and a furniture wholesaler. Read More »

Bing Wang – Ta’ang (2016)

A civil war has been smouldering for decades in Myanmar’s Kokang region, which is home to the Ta’ang people (also known as the Palaung). When their lives are once again in danger in spring 2015, it’s mostly the women and children who flee over the border to China. Wang Bing accompanies a few of these communities thrown together by fate, at once modern and almost mythical and archaic. They wander the remote mountains with few possessions, camp in makeshift compounds and can sometimes earn a few yuan during the sugarcane harvest. Or they move on to the next place – which is never any better. Sometimes, around the evening campfire, they talk about what they’ve experienced – until someone says that it’d be better not to talk at all, it’s too painful. Read More »