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Romance

Jirí Menzel – Na samote u lesa AKA Seclusion Near a Forest (1976)

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Synopsis:
Fed up with the daily hassle in the urban Prague, Oldrich Lavička, his wife and their children Zuzana and Petr decide to buy a summerhouse in a rural place, for the weekends. They reach an agreement with the 70-year old owner of the house, Komárek, to rent the place while he is suppose to move away and live with his son. The Lavička family encounters the rural life: a goat eats their cakes, villagers all wonder how can they sleep for so long while they encounter a flea plague. In the end, however, Komárek decides to stay in the house. Read More »

Jay Duplass & Mark Duplass – The Puffy Chair (2005)

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From Time Out London
‘I’ve got about 50 fuckin’ thoughts and strategies about how some shit is and I don’t know fuckin’ shit.’ Such is the lament of Josh (Mark Duplass, who co-wrote the script with director brother Jay), a would-be indie rocker turned booking agent adrift in an indefinite state of petulant post-adolescence. Josh leads his doormat girlfriend, Emily (Kathryn Aselton), and his hippy-dippy brother, Rhett (Rhett Wilkins), on a quest to retrieve an eBay purchase: the titular piece of furniture, seemingly identical to one from Josh’s youth, and therefore a big red hint about the approximate end-point of everyone’s emotional development. Holding up a mirror to slacker-manqué solipsism isn’t necessarily much more intriguing than the thing in itself, but the Duplass brothers are merciless in digging pot holes and contriving road blocks for the claustrophobic, infuriating road trip that ensues. Josh and Emily’s curdled intimacy rings painfully true, and a memorably aborted dinner early on rhymes with the film’s perfectly abrupt ending; when everyone finally shuts up, the silence is startling. 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 »

Otto Preminger – The Moon Is Blue (1953)

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Description:
Successful architect Don Gresham (William Holden) engages a young actress, Patty O’Neill (Maggie McNamara), in conversation on top of the Empire State Building, and she accepts his invitation to dinner. Dropping in at his apartment on the way, they decide to dine there as Patty announces herself an excellent cook. Don slips out to buy food, and Patty is briefly visited by his ex-fiancée, Cynthia Slater (Dawn Addams), and not too briefly, by Cynthia’s father David (David Niven), a middle-aged, practiced charmer who, on her invitation, stays to dinner. A slight accident at the table occasions Patty to change her dress for Don’s bathrobe. While Don is away placating the jealous Cynthia, David loses no time in offering Patty a proposal of marriage and a six hundred dollar gift. She accepts the latter and is surprised by Don in a grateful kiss to David. Don is still enraged with Patty when her father arrives, and, outraged to discover his daughter in a bachelor’s apartment, knocks him senseless. Read More »

Emanuele Crialese – Once We Were Strangers (1997)

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from imdb:
Antonio is a seductive, charismatic Sicilian living illegally in New York. He wanders from job to job, lives as a squatter and enjoys a carefree romantic tryst with a wealthy art dealer. When he falls in love with Ellen, a strong-willed radio talk-show host who is set to move to Paris within a few days, he decides he must find a way to keep her from leaving. Meanwhile, Antonio’s friend Apu faces a love challenge of his own. Apu is a young Indian-turned-New Yorker who was sent from his homeland with his family’s life savings to find the American dream of success and fulfillment. He works hard at odds jobs– from being a guinea pig in a drug-testing lab to dubbing porno films. Then his life is completely uprooted on the day his pre-arranged wife from India arrives in New York–the woman chosen by their families when they were children, one he hasn’t seen since he was 8 and she was 4. Apu is caught between the old world and the new–trying to find love and happiness within the confines of his pre-determined destiny. The film is about what happens when cultures clash–about expectations and reality, dreams of love and money, and life when the timing is way off. Written by {mwprods@mindspring.com} Read More »

François Truffaut – Le Dernier metro AKA Last Metro (1980)

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Paris, 1942. Lucas Steiner is a Jew and was compelled to leave the country. His wife Marion, an actress, directs the theater for him. She tries to keep the theater alive with a new play, and hires Bernard Granger for the leading role. But Lucas is actually hiding in the basement… A film about art and life. Read More »

François Truffaut – L’Histoire d’Adele H. AKA The Story of Adele H. (1975)

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Quote:

Francois Truffaut’s dramatization of the true story of Adele Hugo, the daughter of French author-in-exile Victor Hugo, and her romantic obsession with a young French officer is a cinematically beautiful and emotionally wrenching portrait of a headstrong but unstable young woman. Adele (Isabelle Adjani, whose pale face gives her the quality of a cameo portrait) travels under a false name and spins a half-dozen false stories about herself and her relationship to Lieutenant Pinson (Bruce Robinson), the Hussar she follows to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Pinson no longer loves her, but she refuses to accept his rejection. Sinking farther and farther into her own internal world, she passes herself off as his wife and pours out her stormy emotions into a personal journal filled with delusional descriptions of her fantasy life. Beautifully shot by Nestor Almendros in vivid color, Truffaut’s re-creation of the 1860s is accomplished not merely in impressive sets and locations but in the very style of the film: narration and voiceovers, written journal entries and letters, journeys and locations established with map reproductions, and a judicious use of stills mix old-fashioned cinematic technique with poetic flourishes. The result is one of Truffaut’s most haunting portraits, all the more powerful because it’s true. Read More »