Arthouse

Ingmar Bergman – Riten AKA Ritual (1969)



A judge in an unnamed country interviews three actors, together and singly, provoking them while investigating a pornographic performance for which they may face a fine. Their relationships are complicated: Sebastian, volatile, a heavy drinker, in debt, guilty of killing his former partner, is having an affair with that man’s wife. She is Thea, high strung, prone to fits, and seemingly fragile, currently married to Sebastian’s new partner, Hans. Hans is the troupe leader, wealthy, self-contained, growing tired. The judge plays on the trio’s insecurities, but when they finally, in a private session with him, perform the masque called The Rite, they may have their revenge. Read More »

Luc Moullet – Les Sièges de l’Alcazar (1989)



Paris, 1955. Guy, film critic of the Cahiers du Cinéma, often goes to see the films of Vittorio Cottafavi in a local cinema. One day he notices that Jeanne, film critic of “Positive “, the rival magazine, seems to be following him. He is intrigued. Read More »

Tonino De Bernardi – Médée miracle (2007)



Inspired by the Greek myth Medea in which a mother kills her own children. Set in a suburban locale, Medea finds she is incapable of killing her own kids. Read More »

Angelina Nikonova – Portret v sumerkakh AKA Twilight Portrait (2011)


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Marina (Dihovichnaya) is a gorgeous upper-crust Muscovite with an opulent wardrobe and good-looking husband to match. She’s employed as a social worker, a profession offering meager financial rewards. Thankfully her affluent father provides the supplementary income her job — and her hapless husband — cannot. Yet instead of finding contentment in her win-win situa­tion, Marina carries on an affair with her best friend’s husband, and also initiates a bizarre series of erotic encounters with a deadbeat cop who previously raped her. Read More »

Cao Guimarães – Acidente aka Accident (2006)


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With a poem consisting of twenty names of towns in Minas Gerais, Brazil, the film gains in rhythmic body and is open to the unforeseen and to the improvised. Intrigued by the names of these towns, the team for the first time goes through each of them. In a movement of immersion and submersion, the documentary is made by means of two layers of narrative – one consisting of the history of the poem and the other, of commonplace events that accidentally arise before the camera in each one of these cities. Open perception, to allow one to blend in with day-to-day life in each place, and alertness, to pinpoint any one event that can possibly relate to the poem and that can reveal to what extent life is unpredictable and accidental. Read More »

Jean-Luc Godard – Hélas pour moi AKA Oh, Woe Is Me (1993)



By 1993, cinema had become a language unto itself; it was a language that was made up of not only words, but also sounds and images. As cinema history continues, the language has expanded time after time due to the talents and experiments of master filmmakers such as Jean-Luc Godard. All throughout his vast, decade spanning career, Godard has made film upon film, and with each decade of Godard that passes by, the more radical his style becomes. If ever there was a filmmaker that I could say took the cinematic language to Joycean heights, that filmmaker is, without question, Godard. With “Oh, Woe Is Me”, Godard practically makes the cinematic equivalent of James Joyce’s “Finnegans Wake” by crafting a masterpiece that works as a perplexing jigsaw puzzle, one injected with all kinds of clever jokes as well as sections of poetic beauty. (From IMDb) Read More »

Jan Svankmajer – Spiklenci slasti AKA Conspirators of Pleasure (1996)



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Any film that cites Sigmund Freud, Max Ernst, Luis Bunuel, and the Marquis de Sade as cardinal influences clearly is not standard mall movie fare. In Conspirators of Pleasure, Jan Svankmajer has created a film that is thoroughly surreal in the truest sense of the term. Like Un Chien Andalou, this film brilliantly takes a basic human instinct — sexuality — and renders it not only very strange but also very funny. Scenes of a newswoman responding sexually to toe-sucking carp or of a policeman luxuriating in a tactile smorgasbord of nails, rubber, and fur are not easily forgotten. Yet this film is not simply an exploration in Freudian repression and sublimation; Svankmajer’s characters regard each other with knowing glances, as if recognizing the others as members of some bizarre cabal. Set in a former Eastern Bloc nation with repressive laws and prudish views on sex, their activities are given a political charge, lending their obsessions an additional subversive weight. Though definitely not a film for everyone, Conspirators of Pleasure is a masterful romp through the human subconscious and a brilliant satire on human nature. Read More »