Peter Bogdanovich – The Thing Called Love (1993)

Description: Miranda “no relation” Presley is a singer-songwriter from New York City who comes to Nashville to make it big in country music. As do 10,000 fellow hopefuls. After arriving in the Music City after a long bus ride, Miranda makes her way top the Bluebird Cafe, a local watering hole with a reputation as a showcase for new talent. The bar’s owner, Lucy, takes a shine to the plucky newcomer, and gives her a job as a waitress. Miranda befriends three fellow hopefuls: shy Connecticut cowboy Kyle, Southern belle Linda Lue and James Wright, a cocky Texan with brooding good looks and a tormented artist attitude. A love triangle between Miranda, Kyle and James ensues. Together they embark on a rocky ride down Music city´s well-worn highway of hope, heartbreak and the thing called love. Read More »

Claude Lelouch – Les Misérables (1995)

This is one of the greatest films ever made. Mark my words. History will bear me out.
Acclaimed French filmmaker Claude Lelouch, whose classic examinations of intimate emotions
include the Oscar-nominated “A Man and A Woman,” paints a sweeping portrait of the human
condition in his epic drama “Les Miserables,” a twentieth-century tale inspired by the
nineteenth-century masterpiece of French writer Victor Hugo. Lelouch’s “Les Miserables”
focuses on two French families who struggle, hope, suffer and ultimately find love and
friendship in the face of nearly insurmountable odds.
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James Ivory – The Remains of the Day (1993)

A rule bound head butler’s world of manners and decorum in the household he maintains is tested by the arrival of a housekeeper who falls in love with him in pre-WWII Britain. The possibility of romance and his master’s cultivation of ties with the Nazi cause challenge his carefully maintained veneer of servitude. Read More »

Pedro Almodóvar – Tacones lejanos aka High Heels (1991)

Pedro Almodovar’s films are an acquired taste, and with “High Heels” I am at last beginning to acquire it. Although the fashionable Spanish director’s most famous film, “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown,” is a favorite of many people, I had a curious experience with it: I simply could not engage it.

I saw it once, twice, three times finally in frustration and despair, and yet was unable to relate to anything on the screen. It slipped past me insubstantial as a ghost. His next film, “Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!,” seemed like one of those meaningless exercises the writers in the New York weeklies call “postmodernism,” as if that explained anything.

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Moussa Touré – Toubab Bi (1991)

Plot Synopsis:
Soriba Samb (Oumar Diop Makena) is a Senegalese who has just received a much sought after internship to study filmmaking in Paris. In this story, Soriba heads to Paris, accompanied by the five-year old son of a friend who he believes to be still living in Paris. On arrival he struggles to find the boy’s father. In addition to coping with his new internship, Soriba has to also spend time tracking down the boy’s father ‘Issa’. Soriba eventually finds ‘Issa’ but only to discover that he is running a prostitution ring and actually has no intention of leaving Paris. This is deeply disturbing to Soriba as the fate of the young boy now hangs squarely in the balance. Soriba sets out to change this and invokes the spirits of his ancestors to transform ‘Issa’s’ wayward living so he can care for his son and return to Senegal.

1991: Namur International Festival of French-Speaking Film: Golden Bayart for Best Actor Read More »

Ki-duk Kim – Paran daemun AKA Birdcage Inn (1998)

With a red-light district in Seoul being demolished, the residents there find they have to relocate. Jin-a opts to leave Seoul and heads to the eastern city of Pohang. There she takes up residence in a boarding house run by a small family. Besides the parents, there is a daughter attending university and a son in high school. At first Jin-a is very happy there, however she continues to sell her body driving her into confrontation with the repressed daughter, Hye-mi. Things go from bad to worse when Jin-a meets Hye-mi’s boyfriend…

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Giuseppe Tornatore – Malèna aka Malena [Uncut] (2000)

From the New York Times:
December 25, 2000

Federico Fellini may be gone. And the bloom may have faded from those gorgeous strutting goddesses of Italian cinema, Gina Lollobrigida, Sophia Loren and Claudia Cardinale. But in the nostalgic imagination of Giuseppe Tornatore it will always be the 1960’s, when these deities who helped put Italian movies on the map cast their lusty spell.

Mr. Tornatore, who is still best known for the Oscar-winning ”Cinema Paradiso,” is no Fellini. If his world view falls far short of Fellini’s transcendent human carnival, his better films are similarly hot-blooded celebrations of flesh and fantasy infused with a zesty Roman Catholic sense of sin and redemption.

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