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Gaspar Noé – Seul Contre Tous aka I Stand Alone (1998)

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“A grim portrait of disaffection and loneliness, Gaspar Noe’s I Stand Alone is a movie clearly conceived to make a stir. With an armed, frustrated, and hate-filled time bomb at its center, it unabashedly recalls Taxi Driver, offering its own nihilistic spin on Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece of urban anomie and redemption. For a feature debut, it’s unbelievably daring. Noe doesn’t shy away from sprucing up his familiar story with Godard-ian flourishes, including occasional intertitles, a torrent of offscreen narration, and even a warning to the audience to leave before the wrenching finale. A more jarring conceit is the frequent use of abrupt cuts and fast dollies, accompanied by gunshots on the soundtrack. Genuinely startling and somewhat misconceived, the distracting device nonetheless goes some way toward evoking the volatile mindset of the protagonist. The movie shines a light on the circumstances that breed fascist and racist impulses. As politics, it isn’t terribly illuminating: Its depiction of underclass, xenophobic rage is shocking in its brutality but hardly revelatory in its insight. As a psychological interrogation, it’s more compelling, plunging the viewer into the mind of a disturbed man without sugarcoating. It’s this brazen willingness to shove something so repellent in its audience’s face that makes I Stand Alone both a courageous movie and an unpleasant experience. Whether the movie is genuinely probing or merely preoccupied with provocation is up for debate. What’s not is the movie’s visceral impact: This unrelenting essay about a lumpen brute sticks with you, despite — or perhaps because of — its lacerating bleakness” (AMG)
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Maria Speth – In den Tag hinein AKA The Days Between (2001)

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Twenty-two-year-old Lynn lives spontaneously waiting to see what the day brings. Earning money as a dancer in a trendy nightclub allows her to release her pent-up energy. Impulsive, she has difficulty relating to her disciplined boyfriend David, a professional swimmer with a strict practice schedule. Her love life takes a turn when she meets Japanese student Koji, who shares her sense of freedom, sensuality and abandon. –Celluloid Dreams Read More »

Khushboo Ranka & Anand Gandhi – Continuum (2006)

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Continuum

This film narrates simple enjoyable stories from everyday life that explore the continuum of life and death, of love and paranoia, of trade and value, of need and invention, of hunger and enlightenment. The five moments of its childlike innocence branch out into a more intricate gamut of an urbanscape, culminating into a space where the stories no longer exist as singular threads in their own vacuum but come across and play with each other to form a larger fabric of life. Read More »

Joe D’Amato – The Emporer Caligula: The Untold Story AKA Caligula 2 (1982)

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from IMDB:

The deranged Roman emperor Gainus ‘Caligula’ (Little Boots) Caesar (12-41 A.D.) rules Rome with an iron fist and has anyone tortured and exectued for even the slightest insubordination. Mostly set during his last year of his reign, as Caligula loses support due to his brutal and crazed excess, a young Moor woman, named Miriam, becomes his lover while ploting to kill him to avenge the murder of a friend which Caligula was responsible for. But Miriam is torn between her personal vandeda against Caligula and her own personal feelings towards him despite his madness and debauched lifestyle of orgies and bloody torture murders. Written by Matthew Patay Read More »

Miguel Gomes – Aquele Querido Mes de Agosto AKA Our Beloved Month of August (2008)

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Despite a complete lack of financing and cast, driven young director Miguel Gomes is hell-bent on making a film and dives headlong into a cinematic kaleidoscope. With a camera and a small crew, Gomez travels to a remote Portuguese mountainside, where the Pardieiros music festival is under way, and begins filming the townsfolk. While the festival sets one’s eyes ablaze and toes tapping, Gomes finds a narrative slowly and sneakily emerging. Locations, songs, and characters from the documentary are recast as echoes of their former selves. Townspeople are reincarnated as members of a family band and incestuous subplots unfold. These colliding realities beg the question: Is the beginning of the film merely research for following fiction? Is truth a rehearsal for fiction here, or is it the other way around? This one-of-a-kind diptych probes the intersection of documentary and fiction filmmaking, suggesting that story and reality are echoes of one another. Ravishingly photographed and brilliantly assembled, Our Beloved Month of August is a travelogue to get lost in, an indigenous film created by tourists. It’s also a window into a fascinating filmmaking process that continues to unravel long after the credits roll. Read More »

Elia Kazan – The Sea of Grass (1947)

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This western begins with St. Louis resident Lutie Cameron (Katharine Hepburn) marrying New Mexico cattleman Col. James B. ‘Jim’ Brewton (Spencer Tracy) after a short courtship. When she arrives in “Salt Fork, NM” she finds that her new husband is considered by the locals to be a tyrant who uses force to keep homesteaders off the government owned land he uses for grazing his cattle–the so-called Sea of Grass. Lutie, has difficulty reconciling her husband’s beliefs and passions with her own. Written by kzmckeown Read More »

Bille August – Pelle erobreren AKA Pelle the Conqueror (1987)

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REVIEW by metalluk (from epinions.com):

Plot Details: Pelle The Conqueror (1987) ranks among the most critically acclaimed non-English language films of the past twenty-five years. It won the prestigious Grand Prix at the 1988 Cannes Film Festival as well as the 1988 Academy Award in the Best Foreign Film category. It is also the most commercially successful Danish film ever made. Small wonder! It is an intelligently made art work featuring magnificent photography and quietly restrained storytelling.

There is also a wonderful bit of irony in the casting of this film. The title character, Pelle, is played by Pelle Hvenegaard. While this is certainly not the first time that an actor or actress has had the same given name as the character they play, what’s special in this instance is that Pelle Hvenegaard was named after the character Pelle in the novel on which this film was later based. Thus, Pelle Hvenegaard plays his namesake in this movie.
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