Stephen Frears – One Fine Day (1979)

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George Phillips, a middle-aged Londoner, works as an estate agent for the firm of Frobisher, Rendell and Ross. His home life is soured by clashes with his wife over whether their teenage son’s girlfriend should be allowed to sleep over at their house, a situation the timid, melancholic George dislikes but hasn’t the guts to forbid. His professional life is dominated by his attempts to find a buyer for Sunley House, a once-fashionable 1960s office block which has lain unoccupied for over a year. When his wife leaves for Colchester to look after her elderly father, George avoids conflict with his son by sleeping over at Sunley House. Meanwhile, his workplace rival, a younger man called Rycroft, is also trying to find a buyer for Sunley House (and thereby usurp George’s place in the firm). One morning George finds himself locked in and has to crash through a window to escape. When Rycroft finds the broken window, he sets out to find the culprit. Read More »

Jan Svankmajer – Otesánek AKA Little Otik (2000)

When a childless couple learn that they cannot have children, it causes great distress. To ease his wife’s pain, the man finds a piece of root in the backyard and chops it and varnishes it into the shape of a child. However the woman takes the root as her baby and starts to pretend that it is real. When the root takes life they seem to have gained a child; but its appetite is much greater than a normal child. Read More »

Harun Farocki – Industrie und Fotografie (1979)

Farocki frequently chooses a single news photo as his pretext. In his film he explains convincingly that ‘learning from images’ is not so much a question of having power over the image or a consistent subject-position towards the image, which would allow the filmmaker access to complete knowledge. Instead he insists on pursuing photography’s separation of reference and discourse, by proving this to be a separation of the subject as well as a separation within the subject itself. The modern notion of representation, at least that which we owe to cinema, is based on iconicity, similarity and probability. Read More »

Hollis Frampton – Hapax Legomena I: Nostalgia (1971)

Quote:
As its name suggests, Nostalgia is autobiographical. Its maker, HOLLIS FRAMPTON, is recognised as one of the leading figures of the New American Cinema, a contemporary of Michael Snow, Paul Sharits and George Landow. This film, made in 1971 and itself part of a larger work called Hapax Legomena relates to a period between 1958 and 1966- before Frampton was known as a film-maker and was working mainly in still photography. Twelve photographs are presented as ‘documents’ of that period. A number are of friends in the New York art world, others are images that were of aesthetic interest. The tone throughout is dry and ironic. Read More »

Jan Svankmajer – Prezít svuj zivot (teorie a praxe) AKA Surviving Life (Theory and Practice) (2010)

Eugene, an aging man, leads a double life: one real – the waking life he spends in the company of his wife of many years, Milana – and the other in his dreams, his sleeping hours being devoted to a recurring evolving dream of a beautiful young woman, Evgenia. Seeking to perpetuate his dream life, he goes to see a psychoanalyst, who attempts to provide an ongoing interpretation of his experiences. On the wall there are portraits of Freud and Jung, which become animated, alternately applauding, disapproving or fighting over her interpretations. The latest film from practising surrealist animator Jan Svankmajer is a mix of cut-out animation from photographs and live action segments, combining real actors with their animated photographs, against black and white backdrops of photographed Czech buildings. Read More »

Lav Diaz – Siglo ng pagluluwal AKA Century of Birthing (2011)

An artist struggles to finish his work. A storyline about a cult plays in his head. Fundamentalism will destroy the world. The artist destroys his muse in the process. He redeems her in the end. Read More »

James Hill – Skyhook (1958)

Skyhook is a typical example of a trade test film, in that it documents industrial activity, in this case the use of helicopters to transport equipment to build an oil rig in Papua New Guinea. The idea that environmental damage is a small price to pay for economic growth was a common assumption expressed in several films of this period. BP would attempt to redress the balance in 1970 with the groundbreaking documentary film The Shadow of Progress. Read More »