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1991-2000

Agnès Varda – Les demoiselles ont eu 25 ans AKA The Young Girls Turn 25 (1993)

A recital becomes part of the French culture; 25 years later the performers return to the village where it was first launched.

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Jeff Feuerzeig – Half Japanese: The Band That Would Be King (1993)

Jad and David Fair are Half Japanese, “The World’s Greatest Underground Band” and the most unlikely pair of rock heroes as can be imagined. Half Japanese play their hearts out on rooftops and nursing home back porches while overzealous fans and rock critics plot the next Beatlemania that never comes. A conspiracy of the Corporate Rock world? Perhaps. Read More »

Tom Tykwer – Lola rennt AKA Run Lola Run (1999)

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Pieces of the Action

A low-budget no-brainer, Run Lola Run is a lot more fun than Speed, a big-budget no-brainer from five years ago. It’s just as fast moving, the music is better, and though the characters are almost as hackneyed and predictable, the conceptual side has a lot more punch. If Run Lola Run had opened as widely as Speed and it too had been allowed to function as everyday mall fodder, its release could have been read as an indication that Americans were finally catching up with people in other countries when it comes to the pursuit of mindless pleasures. Instead it’s opening at the Music Box as an art movie.

Why try to sell an edgy youth thriller with nothing but kicks on its mind as an art movie? After all, it’s only a movie–a rationale that was trotted out for Speed more times than I care to remember. The dialogue of Run Lola Run is certainly simple and cursory, but it happens to be in subtitled German–which in business terms means that it has to be marketed as a film, not a movie. And of course nobody ever says “It’s only a film,” just as no one ever thinks of saying “It’s only a concert,” “It’s only a novel,” “It’s only a play,” or “It’s only a painting.” Because they’re omnipresent, movies almost oblige us to cut them down a peg or two just so we can breathe around them. Read More »

Mark Piznarski – The 60’s (1999)

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The Herlihys are a working class family from Chicago whose three children take wildly divergent paths: Brian joins the Marines right out of High School and goes to Vietnam, Michael becomes involved in the civil rights movement and after campaigning for Bobby Kennedy and Eugene McCarthy becomes involved in radical politics, and Katie gets pregnant, moves to San Francisco and joins a hippie commune. Meanwhile, the Taylors are an African-American family living in the deep South. When Willie Taylor, a minister and civil rights organizer, is shot to death, his son Emmet moves to the city and eventually joins the Black Panthers, serving as a bodyguard for Fred Hampton. Read More »

Yesim Ustaoglu – Iz AKA The Track (1994)

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Kemal is a plainclothes policeman investigating a suicide whose face has been obliterated. He becomes obsessed with the real appearance of the dead man. Read More »

Romain Goupil – Lettre pour L… (1994)

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She was 18, they were in love, lived together 10 years. 20 years letter she
sends him a letter. She’s sick, does not talk much about her, but asks him
a question “When will you make a good movie ?”. He then takes his camera and
tries to speak of other things, about cinéma, their early political combats
and what became of them. Through his hesitations, his interrogations, he
draws the bitter image of an era. Moscow, Gaza, Berlin, Belgrade, Sarajevo,
Paris, Sarajavo again. A way to stay with her, to retail life. Read More »

Cyril Collard – Les Nuits fauves aka Savage Nights (1992)

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Quote:
Adapted from director Collard’s own novel, Les Nuits fauves won the filmmaker a French César for Best Debut Director just days after he died of AIDS-related illness (the film took four Césars, including Best FIlm, in 1993). Read More »