Keigo Kimura – Fûten Rôjin nikki aka Diary of a Mad Old Man (1962)

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Quote:

Diary of a Mad Old Man is the journal of Utsugi, a seventy-seven-year-old man of refined tastes who is recovering from a stroke. He discovers that, while his body is decaying, his libido still rages on — unwittingly sparked by the gentle, kindly attentions of his daughter-in-law Satsuko, a chic, flashy dancer with a shady past. Pitiful and ridiculous as he is, Utsugi is without a trace of self-pity, and his diary shines with self-effacing good humor. At once hilarious and of a sadness, Diary of a Mad Old Man is a brilliant depiction of the relationship between eros and the will to live — a film of the tragicomedy of human existence. Read More »

Youssef Chahine – Awdat al ibn al dal AKA The Return of the Prodigal Son (1976)

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In this Andre Gide adaptation, an activist is released after many years in prison and returns home, shaking up established relationships among his family members at the farm governed by his strict father. Demonstrating Chahine’s eclecticism, this is an elegant melodrama, exuberant musical, layered allegory, and profound portrait of personal and political disillusionment. (www.bam.org) Read More »

Jean-Marc Vallée – Café de Flore (2011)

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From IMDb :

A love story between a man and woman. And between a mother and her son. A mystical and fantastical odyssey on love.

From Toronto International Film Festival official website :

*** This description contains spoilers ***

Jean-Marc Vallée returns to French-language filmmaking with this powerful and unconventional love story that weaves together two disparate narratives to create a tale of emotion and destiny. The stories center on a devoted mother (Vanessa Paradis) of a young boy with Down syndrome in 1969 Paris, and a successful DJ (Kevin Parent) who is going through an emotional divorce in present-day Montreal. Read More »

Ken Russell – Mahler (1974)

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Director Ken Russell made a number of biographical films of composers’ lives including The Music Lovers, (about Tchaikovsky) and Lisztomania. Russell embellished the other films with certain characteristic flourishes, which include a focus on the composers’ sexual obsessions, poetically telling anachronisms, and scenes which show Richard Wagner in a bad light. The story of Mahler is recounted in a much less complex and flamboyant manner and is a relatively reverent study of the life and work of Austrian composer Gustav Mahler, here played by Robert Powell. The film tackles the touchy dilemma of Mahler’s Jewishness in the anti-Semitic atmosphere of 19th-century Vienna. He converts to Christianity, which has no effect on his brilliant musical output but which eats away at his physical and mental well-being. Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) was a conductor and composer of the late Romantic era and specialized in huge symphonic works. Though his works were performed widely during his lifetime, they were less and less-often played until Leonard Bernstein’s active campaign on their behalf brought him renewed recognition as a composer of the first rank, every bit the peer of Brahms or Stravinsky. Read More »

Werner Nekes & Dore O. – Beuys (1981)

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Beuys 1981
11 min.
Format 16 mm colour

The term ‘visual arts’ that is prevailing in modernity is really a symptom for the reduction of perceptional categories within the human creativity as a whole. An anthropological conception of art – and I have proved for instance in sculptural theory that you hear a sculpture before you see it, that consequently the auditive element is not just an equal part, but a constituent of the perception of plastic art – confronts you with the task of exploring the conception of creativity in all directions, of spreading it out and substantiating it anthropologically. So for instance, the human creativity potential as a whole doesn’t only comprise the recognition criteria in thought, but it also comprises the sensational categories in the middle of the soul, that is, the moving element, and it positively comprises the will potential in human will. It is this interpretation of human creativity potential, beginning with the triple position, the connections of will, sense, and thought categories, which will get you to the more differentiated position of considering the perception, too, and thus the connection of human senses, discovering that for example seeing, the visual sense, the auditory sense, the static sense, the architectonic sense, the haptic sense, can be thought forward into the sense of feeling, the sense of will, the sense of thinking, and many other still to be developed senses. Read More »

Takashi Miike – Kenka no hanamichi: Oosaka saikyô densetsu AKA The Way to Fight (1996)

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Kazuyoshi Tamai, a High School student in Osaka is a street fighter who can do serious damage. So far he has had no trouble wiping up the floor with the competition. One night, he sees several young men getting beaten up on the street. When he finds out the ringleader behind the beating is Takeshi of Tennan High School, he rushes to challenge him. But through a series of events, he is unable to fight him. Years later, Kazuyoshi has become Japan’s bantamweight boxing champ, while Takeshi is the toast of the pro-wrestling world. The two brawlers are about to meet at last in the match of their lives! Read More »

Ousmane Sembene – Mandabi AKA The Money Order (1968)

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A money order from a relative in Paris throws the life of a Senegalese family man out of order. He deals with corruption, greed, problematic family members, the locals and the changing from his traditional way of living to a more modern one.

From Time Out:

A political film criticising the type of bureaucracy that has arisen in post-colonial Senegal. A money order is sent to an unemployed, illiterate relative by a hard-working lad seeking his fortune in Paris. But all attempts to cash the money order are frustrated: the man’s illiteracy and ignorance of finance allow him to be exploited by those with education. The power is in the hands of the clerks and intellectuals, who use their knowledge for private advantage. Although the film can be criticised for the relative gentleness of its attack, Sembene succeeds in pointing up the divisiveness created by the colonial heritage. The French-colonised elite are now busy oppressing and colonising their own people. Shot in Wolof, the local language, the film asserts Senegalese culture against the rapacious way of the West. Not surprisingly it proved popular with the ‘people’, but was ignored by the bourgeois when originally released. Read More »