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Spain

Isaki Lacuesta – Cravan vs. Cravan (2002)

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In Chris Marker and Yannick Bellon’s Remembrance of Things to Come, a thoughtful and illuminating survey of Denis Bellon’s photo-reportage between the two world wars, the filmmakers provide a framework for the interpretation of Bellon’s artistically rendered, zeitgeist images as prescient, historical documents that, in hindsight, provide an insightful glimpse of the looming, profoundly transformative world events that would unfold at the first half of the twentieth century. However, in this subjective, often arbitrary process of contemporal assignment of the meaning of images, the intersection between logical deduction and extrapolation continues to be amorphous and untenable. Read More »

Fernando Eimbcke & So Yong Kim – Correspondencia: Fernando Eimbcke – So Yong Kim (2011)

“artdaily.org” wrote:
These two filmmakers belong to the same generation, and share an aesthetic approach and sense of humour and intimacy. Their correspondence produced an epistolary exchange that employs a minimalism of gesture and motif to follow the lives of the two filmmakers for a whole year. Read More »

Albert Serra – El cant dels ocells AKA Birdsong (2008)

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The sublime and the mundane run hand-in-hand in Birdsong, Albert Serra’s stunningly photographed, intensely contemplative re-telling of the biblical journey of the Magi. Much of the sublimity derives from the film’s visuals, superbly tactile black-and-white images alive to the textures of the rocky landscape, which, along with the precise gradations of lighting (each scene seems shot at the one exact moment of day when its creation was possible) and the rustling of wind on the soundtrack, imbues the barren land with a richness of meaning commensurate with the Magi’s divine mission. Read More »

Vicente Aranda – Fata Morgana (1965)

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“Gim is a beautiful fashion model whose life is in peril. There is a homicidal killer who seek to murder her only Gim is totally unaware of her danger. The only person who seems to be sure that the killer will strike is a professor at a local collage. A police detective also believes the killer will strike but knows not the killer nor the victim. Upon speaking to the professor he has the victims identity and must find her in the mostly deserted city populated by a small group of unusual people who attempt to thwart his search. Read More »

Myriam Mézières & Alain Tanner – Fleurs de sang AKA Flowers of Blood (2002)

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Again, it is a portrait of a woman and it gives us another glimpse of an exceptional figure. Mézières comes across as an outstanding actress, offering her body and her sufferings with a rare and profoundly moving abandon. Although the action of the film unfolds over five years, charting the development of a painful relationship between a mother and her daughter, the basic principle is to draw it all together rather than follow a psychological chronology. The relationship is apprehended as a single entity: the cracks are evident, but there is not too much emphasis on the process of disintegration. The story divides into two distinct time periods, first with mother and daughter together in the same bohemian setting, then separated by society, each facing her own choices and wanderings. However, the purpose of this time division is not so much to answer the predictable question “What will become of them?” in preparation of a pointless debate on “How can a girl live without her mother?” (and vice versa), as to show the metamorphosis of a single body, a dual mother-daughter identity, which is treated in the film less as a social couple going through ups and downs than as a single female figure with two faces. The beauty of the film lies in this constant blending of the two personalities, an on-going role-play in mother/daughter boundaries resulting in a disturbing tension between incestuous bond and transfer of identity. Read More »

Víctor Erice – El Espíritu de la colmena aka The Spirit of the Beehive (1973)

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Plot Synopsis [AMG] Widely regarded as a masterpiece of Spanish cinema, this allegorical tale is set in a remote village in the 1940s. The life in the village is calm and uneventful — an allegory of Spanish life after General Franco’s victory in the Spanish Civil War. While their father (Fernando Fernán Gómez) studies bees in his beehive and their mother (Teresa Gimpera) writes letters to a non-existent correspondent, two young girls, Ana (Ana Torrent) and Isabel (Isabel Telleria), go to see James Whale’s Frankenstein at a local cinema. Though they can hardly understand the concept, both girls are deeply impressed with the moment when a little girl gives a flower to the monster. Isabel, the older sister, tells Ana that the monster actually exists as a spirit that you can’t see unless you know how to approach him. Ana starts wandering around the countryside in search of the kind creature. Instead, she meets an army deserter, who is hiding in a barn. The film received critical accolades for its subtle and masterful use of cinematic language and the expressive performance of the young Ana Torrent. Read More »

Christophe Farnarier – El somni AKA A dream (2008)

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SYNOPSIS:
Man has shepherded his flock since the beginning of time, so long in fact that the nomadic shepherd has become part of our collective consciousness. Joan Pipa is the last in the line of a millenarian tradition on the verge of extinction. We accompany him on his last trek through the Catalan Pyrenees and as the days go by we discover the past and present of a man who loves his way of life and exudes the pleasure of life at one with nature. In recent years however, rural depopulation, industrialization, construction on an unparalleled scale, the proliferation of new roads and infrastructure and climate change have combined to put an end to a dream. Where do we go from here? Is the disappearance of nomadic shepherds a sign of progress, or are we witnessing the death of our civilization? Read More »