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Abdul Latif Salazar – Al-Ghazali: The Alchemist of Happiness (2004)

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Exploring the life and impact of the greatest spiritual and legal philosopher in Islamic history, this film examines Ghazali’s existential crisis of faith that arose from his rejection of religious dogmatism, and reveals profound parallels with our own times. Ghazali became known as the Proof of Islam and his path of love and spiritual excellence overcame the pitfalls of the organised religion of his day. His path was largely abandoned by early 20th century Muslim reformers for the more strident and less tolerant school of Ibn Taymiyya. Combining drama with documentary, this film argues that Ghazali’s Islam is the antidote for today’s terror. Written by Abdul Latif Salazar Read More »

Desmond Davis – Smashing Time (1967)

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SMASHING TIME is a 1967 comedy film starring Rita Tushingham and Lynn Redgrave. It is a satire on the 1960s media-influenced phenomenon of Swinging London.
It was written by George Melly and directed by Desmond Davis. The supporting cast included Ian Carmichael, Michael York, Jeremy Lloyd, Anna Quayle, Irene Handl and Arthur Mullard.

Brenda (Tushingham) and Yvonne (Redgrave), two girls from the North of England, arrive in London to seek fame and fortune. However, their image of the city is quickly tarnished when they are robbed of their savings. Determined not to let her chance slip, Yvonne visits Carnaby Street in the hope of catching the eye of a trendy photographer, whilst Brenda gets a job in a ‘greasy spoon’ cafe.

Yvonne does get spotted by a trendy photographer, Tom Wabe (Michael York), but for all the wrong reasons; she is singled out for being poorly dressed. Read More »

Elio Espana – Bob Dylan and the Band: Down in the Flood (2012)

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Interesting doc about Dylan and the Band’s collaboration from 65 through 76. Interviews with Garth Hudson, John Simon, Barney Hoskyns, Syd Griffin etc. Rare footage from IOW 69, Tour 66. Sound excerpts from unreleased Basement Tapes. Read More »

Stephen Quay & Timothy Quay & Keith Griffiths – The Eternal Day of Michel De Ghelderode (1981)

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Using the tricks of the Flemish playwright’s own trade–puppetry, masks, and a Breughelesque sense of bizarre carnival, the collaborators succeeded in bringing about a rich and sardonic humor lurking at the edge of the playwright’s macabre, death-obsessed imagination in an allusive homage. Read More »

Ken Loach – Play For Today: The Rank and File (1971)

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Synopsis:
When a pay discrepancy continues without any resolution, glass factory workers turn to their union for support. But when it is not forthcoming, they take things into their own hands. Read More »

Ben Rivers – Trees Down Here (2018)

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To build and create in a way that is open rather than closed: this stated ideal, heard at the beginning, is good for both art and architecture, and holds also for the film itself in its mysterious, associative construction. The images, in their pictorial diversity (black-and-white and colour, sharp and blurry), centre on Churchill College, home to many innovative thinkers since 1960; also seen are a designer’s drawings, owls and snakes, trees and walls. The soundtrack, with rustles, murmurs and clicks, includes words by John Cage and John Ashbery. There’s no story, no schema: only the openness to sensation and connection. Read More »

John T. Davis – Hobo (1991)

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A hobo works and wanders, a tramp dreams and wanders, and a bum drinks and wanders.

Irish director John T Davis stashes a camera in his bedroll, catches out, and rides the rails from Minneapolis to Seattle with Beargrease, a part-time hobo and full time philosopher, who narrates their way through the incredible scenery of the Northwest and gives us his views on life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The pair meet up several other men living life on the margins: in particular a scene in which Duffy – an ex-corporate executive now living under a bridge in Spokane & collecting cans – describes how he got there is riveting.

Hobo is an American classic. I think is sums up what is wrong at times with the US and what makes the US great all at the same time. Read More »