The Fall of the American Empire

Denys Arcand, Canada
128 minutes
In his mid-30's, Pierre-Paul may have a doctorate in philosophy, but is still working as a courier - proof to him that he is too intelligent to be successful because in this world, only the dumb succeed. But then, he happens to witness a robbery gone thoroughly wrong in the course of which most of the participants end up dead.
6.
Margreet Honig - True Singing
Stefan Haupt
Switzerland
60′
Margreet Honig, eighty-four years old, is an internationally sought-after Dutch singing teacher. She teaches all over Europe and works with world-famous singers. She has developed her very own way of working, which is a pleasant contrast to the usual music education, which is fixated on perfection and performance. Her approach is therefore highly topical, also in relation to social changes in the areas of education and pedagogy.
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9.
Short films - Markus Imhoof (1968)
Markus Imhoof
Switzerland
75′
Happy Birthday Markus Imhoof (Switzerland, 1968, 9 Min.) On his 16th birthday, Röbi Keller crashes his father's car. He tells the police how it happened. Markus Imhoof's film is an exemplary portrayal of how, in 1967, the young people abandon the ‘golden mean’ sung about by their parents' generation, which leads them into the machinery of the capitalist bourgeoisie. The leading role is played by his later cameraman Lukas Strebel. Rondo Markus Imhoof (Switzerland, 1968, 42 Min.) The documentary film deals with the problems of the Swiss penal system. It uses an individual case to illustrate the mechanisms to which a prisoner is subjected in the prison. In addition, the film shows the past life of the prisoner, his previous crimes and relapses, as well as his constant conflicts with the social environment. The 40-minute film is a collage of image sequences, photos, interview statements, quotations and sound elements. Ormenis 199+69 Markus Imhoof (Switzerland, 1969, 25 Min.) The documentary produced with the financial support of the cavalry associations draws a critical picture of the mounted troops. The film raises the question of whether this type of weapon is still timely or just an unrealistic symbol of Swiss military will.
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11.
Que tan lejos (2006)
Tania Hermida
Ecuador
91′
Self-discovery journey of two girls in their mid twenties while they travel along the Ecuadorian mountains and coasts. Esperanza (Hope) and Tristeza (Sadness) will not find postcard views or perfect love, but their journey will teach them there’s a world beyond that.
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12.
Looking for Muhyiddin
Nacer Khemir
Tunisia
183′
A man returns home to Tunisia to bury his mother. After the burial, his father gives him an “amana” to be handed to a certain Sheikh named Muhyiddin. Taken by his father’s request, the man immediately sets out on an epic journey to find the long lost Sheikh and deliver the “amana.”
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Fremont

Babak Jalali, United States
92 minutes
A fortune biscuit of a film: with endearing characterisation, charming humour and subliminal depth, Babak Jalali tells the story of a young Afghan woman in search of a new home in the USA - and creates feelings of happiness. Carried and inspired by laconic humour reminiscent of Jim Jarmusch and Ari Kaurismäki and featuring The Bear star Jeremy Allen White and the discovery Anaita Wali Zada.
4 weeks ago
Fluchtgefahr (1975)
Markus Imhoof
Switzerland
101′
Danger of escape shows the story of 23-year-old Bruno Kuhn, who is sent to prison for a stupid offence into which he slips. He begins there as one of the lowest in the social pecking order of the prisoners. He is a small fish that is not taken seriously at first. But slowly he begins to accept his role. He learns to assert himself and to strike back
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4 weeks ago
Short films - Markus Imhoof (1968)
Markus Imhoof
Switzerland
75′
Happy Birthday Markus Imhoof (Switzerland, 1968, 9 Min.) On his 16th birthday, Röbi Keller crashes his father's car. He tells the police how it happened. Markus Imhoof's film is an exemplary portrayal of how, in 1967, the young people abandon the ‘golden mean’ sung about by their parents' generation, which leads them into the machinery of the capitalist bourgeoisie. The leading role is played by his later cameraman Lukas Strebel. Rondo Markus Imhoof (Switzerland, 1968, 42 Min.) The documentary film deals with the problems of the Swiss penal system. It uses an individual case to illustrate the mechanisms to which a prisoner is subjected in the prison. In addition, the film shows the past life of the prisoner, his previous crimes and relapses, as well as his constant conflicts with the social environment. The 40-minute film is a collage of image sequences, photos, interview statements, quotations and sound elements. Ormenis 199+69 Markus Imhoof (Switzerland, 1969, 25 Min.) The documentary produced with the financial support of the cavalry associations draws a critical picture of the mounted troops. The film raises the question of whether this type of weapon is still timely or just an unrealistic symbol of Swiss military will.
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1 month ago
Looking for Muhyiddin
Nacer Khemir
Tunisia
183′
A man returns home to Tunisia to bury his mother. After the burial, his father gives him an “amana” to be handed to a certain Sheikh named Muhyiddin. Taken by his father’s request, the man immediately sets out on an epic journey to find the long lost Sheikh and deliver the “amana.”
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1 month ago
Without Identifying Features - Sin señas particulares
Fernanda Valadez
Mexico
99′
Magdalena hasn’t heard from her son in months — not since he left their town to cross the border into the United States. The authorities want her to sign her son’s death certificate, but an encounter with a bereaved parent makes Magdalena realize that she cannot live without knowing his fate. She begins an odyssey across Mexico, though areas of violence and desolation, chasing any available lead despite being warned not to publicly ask such questions. Along the way, she meets and travels with recently deported Miguel, who finds himself journeying home through a changed country. Grappling with the painful issue of migrants disappearing on their way to the U.S., writer/director Fernanda Valadez’s ambitious feature debut employs a tremendous economy of film language as it traverses across a varied contemporary Mexican landscape, expanding as our emotional experience of Magdalena’s journey swells to meet her own. The solemn Sin Señas Particulares punctuates its contemplation of family and loss with fleeting moments of human connection, allowing one woman’s aching personal story to encapsulate the weight of a tremendous real-world humanitarian crisis.
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3 months ago
Love of Fate
Pierre-Alain Meier
Switzerland
88′
1.5 million Syrians have had to flee to Lebanon. Their only hope for a lasting solution is to participate in a resettlement program. Two families are on the verge of departure for Germany. But as they take the final step, fate intervenes. One of the two families will not leave in the end. When fate strikes, there is no escape. There are cures for disease, there is none for fate.
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3 months ago
Let's talk, Grandmother (1989)
Djibril Diop Mambéty
Senegal
34′
Djibril Diop Mambéty followed and filmed the shooting of Yaaba, Idrissa Ouédraogo's (Burkina Faso, 1989) second feature film. A documentary full of humorous anecdotes regarding the dangers of shooting in Burkina Faso.
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Without Identifying Features - Sin señas particulares
Fernanda Valadez
Mexico
99′
Magdalena hasn’t heard from her son in months — not since he left their town to cross the border into the United States. The authorities want her to sign her son’s death certificate, but an encounter with a bereaved parent makes Magdalena realize that she cannot live without knowing his fate. She begins an odyssey across Mexico, though areas of violence and desolation, chasing any available lead despite being warned not to publicly ask such questions. Along the way, she meets and travels with recently deported Miguel, who finds himself journeying home through a changed country. Grappling with the painful issue of migrants disappearing on their way to the U.S., writer/director Fernanda Valadez’s ambitious feature debut employs a tremendous economy of film language as it traverses across a varied contemporary Mexican landscape, expanding as our emotional experience of Magdalena’s journey swells to meet her own. The solemn Sin Señas Particulares punctuates its contemplation of family and loss with fleeting moments of human connection, allowing one woman’s aching personal story to encapsulate the weight of a tremendous real-world humanitarian crisis.
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with bonus
Que tan lejos (2006)
Tania Hermida
Ecuador
91′
Self-discovery journey of two girls in their mid twenties while they travel along the Ecuadorian mountains and coasts. Esperanza (Hope) and Tristeza (Sadness) will not find postcard views or perfect love, but their journey will teach them there’s a world beyond that.
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The Beekeeper - O melissokomos (1986)
Theo Angelopoulos
Greece
122′
In THE BEEKEEPER, alienation and despair have so mestastasized in the film's central figure that he's virtually one of the walking dead. Spyros, a man soured by a secret, incestuous love for his daughter, on the day of her wedding, gives up his position as a schoolteacher, his wife, his home and his city to take up again the profession of his father and grandfather before him traveling across Greece to the town in which he was born and first learned to tend the bees, following the traditional beekeeper's route, looking for flowers that will produce the best honey, a wanderer obsessed by his job. Like a bee returning to its hive after searching for food he visits his old friends and his childhood home looking for threads to bind him to the present. He drives from town to town revisiting his old haunts and comrades relighting and reliving his history in his memory, trying to reconcile his past ideals with a swiftly changing nation that makes him feel uncomfortable. At some point he picks up a promiscuous young hitchhiker who sporadically tags along with him during his journey and seems to represent a new generation without memory and unconcerned with the past, drifting from one place to the next, flitting between the blinking lights of motor vehicles, gas stations, diners, cheap hotels and traffic signs along the dark, wet glistening roadways of present-day Greece. He becomes obsessed by her. She both irritates and entices him. What he seeks in her is a contact with the future. But for her the future is a casual encounter with the next moment. In the impossibility of their relationship there is a profound despair of a man without a future. He senses a rupture, but it's not the traditional one of the conflict of generations. It's really a rupture of language. He cannot communicate, even with love, with the body. From that comes his crisis of despair. Toward his end, he takes refuge in an abandoned cinema called the Pantheon. There, mocked by the sterile white screen above him, he tries - and fails - to bring himself to life in an attempt to connect sexually with the young hitchhiker but there can be no connection between these people from different worlds, either physical or emotional. For Spyros the past is everything, for her it is nothing. In Angelopoulos' words, «It's the conflict between memory and non-memory.» In the long run she only reminds him of his loneliness and isolation. Unable to come to come to terms with the present, betrayed by the past, wary of the future, Spyros falls back into silence and isolation and returns to his hives, abandoning himself to the stings of his bees.
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The Voyage (El viaje) (1992)
Fernando Solanas
Argentina
133′
A young man living in a cold southern village in South America, decides to start a trip looking for his father. By doing this he discovers unexpected facts about his Latin American essence.
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Malaria
Parviz Shahbazi
Iran
89′
A young girl informs her father she’s been kidnapped and asks him to bring the ransom money. Panicked, her father and brothers go to Tehran to look for her. They are unaware, however, that the girl has in fact eloped with her boyfriend and now spends her time in the company of a band of street musicians. Following the arrest of the band leader and full of the love for her boyfriend, the young girl descends an uncertain path.
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Nostalghia (1983)
Andrei Tarkowski
Italy
126′
Andrei Gortchakov, a Russian writer, travels through Italy in the footsteps of a fellow composer to write his biography. With great sensitivity for the emotions of those who are far from their country, Andrei Tarkovski, supported by his Italian co-writer Tonino Guerra, draws a meeting of cultures and periods.
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Once Upon A Time In Anatolia
Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Turkey
157′
Life in a small town is akin to journeying in the middle of the steppes: the sense that "something new and different" will spring up behind every hill, but always unerringly similar, tapering, vanishing or lingering monotonous roads...
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with bonus
Salt of this Sea (2008)
Annemarie Jacir
Palestine
105′
Soraya, 28, born and raised in Brooklyn, decides to return to live in Palestine, a country that her family was exiled from in 1948. On arriving in Ramallah, Soraya tries to recover the money left in an account by her grandparents but meets with refusal from the bank. Her path then crosses that of Emad, a young Palestinian whose ambition, unlike hers, is to leave the country for good. To escape the constraints linked to the situation in Palestine but also to earn their freedom, Soraya and Emad take things into their own hands, even if this means breaking the law. In this quest for life, we follow their trail through the History of a lost Palestine. Annemarie Jacir is telling not only or simply the story of a woman that comes to visit a region where her grandparents lived («here!»), no, the palestinian filmmaker is taking us as viewers deep into that, what facts and figures could never describe. It is this strong atmosphere, she has been creating, that touches us, it's the images of a well known situation, but again, not only the images in the photografic sense, she reaches in the way she's telling this little journey a level of inside view, that has in it's silent, feverish and constantly instabile way breathtaking and heartstopping moments. SALT OF THIS SEA is one of those movies, that give us an inner view of a situation that we all know somehow and where we run out of words to discribe. And this seems to me today much more important then to repeat what we know. Annemarie Jacirs movie is touching, because it goes under the surface even by simply showing surfaces, it goes under the surface by having a wonderful actress who is able to speak not only in words. And it goes there because she did put together so many little visible and invisible elements, without pointing them out: They are simply there, from the first moment, and they speak for themselves each of them and all together. The filmmaker created a kind of soft explosive that is not blessing but touching.
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Theeb
Naji Abu Nowar
Jordan
100′
In the Ottoman province of Hijaz during World War I, a young Bedouin boy experiences a greatly hastened coming of age as he embarks on a perilous desert journey to guide a British officer to his secret destination. In 1916, in the Hejaz Province of the Ottoman Empire, the young Bedouin Theeb (Jacir Eid) is learning from his elder brother Hussein (Hussein Salameh) the skills for everyday survival in their harsh environment. Immersed in a way of life that has endured for centuries, the brothers are unaware of the tremendous upheavals taking place at the fringes of their world: the First World War is raging in Europe, the Ottoman Empire is coming undone, the Great Arab Revolt is brewing, and the British officer T.E. Lawrence is plotting with the Arab Prince Faisal to establish an Arab kingdom. When British officer Edward (Jack Fox) and his Bedouin guide Marji (Marji Audeh) stumble wayward into their tribe's camp, the two brothers' destiny is forever changed. Abiding by the Bedouin custom that guests cannot be refused aid, Hussein is assigned to accompany the two strangers to their destination - with the uninvited Theeb, eager for adventure, following close behind. The ensuing journey, filled with danger and hardship, will result in Theeb's greatly hastened maturation in a culture where a man's honour and righteousness determines his inclusion or expulsion from the community.
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Messidor (1979)
Alain Tanner
Switzerland
123′
Project initially entrusted to Maurice Pialat, who had already begun to film it under the title of “Meurtrières” (see the special edition of Les Inrockuptibles devoted to Pialat), Messidor is based on a crime story which hit the headlines in France in the 1970s: two adolescent girls run away and go on a criminal spree which ends in their deaths. On the face of it, this subject is remote from the world we associate with Tanner, since a violent story of this kind and its social background would seem to impose the realistic, even naturalistic form always shunned by the Swiss director. Moreover, Tanner is instinctively averse to filming physical violence. “Killing a person”, he says, “is generally a gratuitous special effect.” Consequently, of all Tanner’s films Messidor is the only one in which someone dies of non-natural causes. It is also Tanner’s most sombre work, characterised by a despair unmitigated by his usual verbal and situational humour. This is because Tanner accepted the project only on condition that he could recast the original idea and use this violent story as a vehicle for more personal preoccupations: the limits of freedom (already treated in his previous film) are here related to the girls’ frantic flight in the Swiss countryside. What interests him is the possible sullying of this place of excessive peace and quiet, now transformed into a field of experience and criminal fun-and-games by the two characters.
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