Love stories

Ajami (2009)
Scandar Copti, Yaron Shani
Israel
120′
Jaffa’s Ajami neighborhood is a melting pot of cultures and conflicting views among jews, muslims and christians. Back and forth in time, and through the eyes of various characters, we witness how impossible the situation actually is …
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Alive (2009)
Artan Minarolli
Albania
90′
Twenty-two-year-old Koli is studying at Tirana university. When he hears of his father’s death, he returns to his native mountain village in the north to attend the funeral. During a walk through the countryside of his childhood, someone takes a shot at him. In a state of shock, the young man discovers that he is part of a blood feud sparked by his grandfather sixty years earlier. He goes to see the family to whom, according to custom, he owes his life - and, in doing so, he makes the acquaintance of the murderer whom fate has determined will take it. Away from his modern urban environment, Koli suddenly finds himself in a world of ancient, inexorable rituals, from which he is unable to extricate himself even after his return to Tirana. How deeply entrenched in people are the traditions of their forebears? And to what extent are they able to accept them as part of their modern, superficial lifestyle? How far-reaching is the perception of one’s own destiny and affinity with one’s roots? Director Artan Minarolli dedicated his film drama to the eighty-six illegal immigrants who drowned off the coast of Italy during an attempt to flee their native country in March 1997.
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El rey de San Gregorio (2006)
Alfonso Gazitúa Gaete
Chile
80′
“The King of San Gregorio” is a story about a pure and simple love. The film talks about the life of Pedro Vargas – who plays himself – a 30 years-old man living in the slum of San Gregorio and presents a physical handicap and a certain grade of mental disability. Nevertheless, none of these factors will stop him from being the protagonist of this beautiful love story with his “princess” Cati, a girl who has a severe mental disability. As any other romantic drama, there are antagonists who do not approve this love. Pedro’s mother, María is hard to accept that her man-son is in love and she is even willing to prevent the relationship. Besides, the frustrated sister of the female protagonist, Marta, fears the sexual arouse of Cati, interfering in her relation with Pedro. Nevertheless, Pedro struggles for being with his princess, entrusting to God and to the wise advices of Juan, an old man who teaches him how to believe in love. • Pedro Vargas - Chief Character Known as “the King” in San Gregorio hood, Pedro Vargas is a 30 years-old man, who presents a certain grade of physical and mental handicap. Nevertheless, he is a very sensitive, romantic and optimistic person. He strongly wishes to live the intense love he feels for his princess Cati, in a place beyond clouds. Cati, the princess – (María José Parga) She is Pedro’s sweetheart. She is a very beautiful green-eyed girl of a naïve aspect. She is 28, but looks younger since she is especially delicate. She presents a severe handicap, because of a poliomyelitis she underwent when she was 3. Due to this illness, she nearly can’t speak and when she does, she uses very short words. She is always laughing and it seems she is always thinking about another thing. The only thing she wants is to be with Pedro and when her sister forbids it, she cries and has violent attacks of nerves. She has a kind of obsession with the Dorothy, the character of the “Wizard of Oz” • María – (Gloria Münchmeyer) Explosive and melancholic, María - Pedro´s mother and his main antagonist - is a 64 years -old widow who works as a domestic servant. Her strong black eyes are her most outstanding feature. She is very over-protective with Pedro, not only due to his handicap, but also because he is her only child. In this context, María emphatically objects his son´s relationship with Cati. • Marta – (Giselle Demelchiore) Marta is Cati´s sister and the second antagonist in the story. She is 34 and in spite of being very pretty, she looks neglected, dark and sad. Due to the mother desertion, Marta takes care of her sister and it is the reason why she has postponed herself deciding to live alone with no boyfriend. She fears for Cati´s relationship with Pedro and especially for her sister sex life. • Juan – (Andrés Rillón) He is Pedro’s mentor and he is the one who will help Pedro to achieve his goal of being with Cati. He is 73, bald, with a neglected face and he moves in a noisy and old wheelchair. He is hypochondriac and has an ironic sense of humor.
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Hana Yori mo Naho (2006)
Hirokazu KORE-EDA
Japan
128′
The time is 1702. A young samurai, Aoki Sozaemon (Okada Junichi) has left his countryside hometown, and is now living in Edo (now Tokyo), in search of Kanazawa Jubei (Asano Tadanobu), the man who killed his father. He is living in a dilapidated tenement house, in the poor quarters of the city of Edo. His neighbors in the so-called "row houses" are all good, solid folk who can never even hope to rise out of the squalor of their surroundings. Sozaemon, the provincial samurai, becomes friends with a variety of characters including a habitual drunk, an unsuccessful would-be petty official, a ragman, a perky girl, a doctor, and a scrivener. As the relationships between the characters unfold we are led deeper in the blossoming love story of Sozaemon and the beautiful widow, Osae (Miyazawa Rie). Although he has never forgot his task to find his father's enemy and to succeed in his vengeance, being around Osae and her son, Sozaemon feels a warm feeling inside, which leads to doubts about the entire act of revenge. However, to walk away from the "revenge-act (ADAUCHI)", could actually bring his entire family down, not only without the reward from the Shogun, but also, as a samurai, to be unsuccessful on revenge would be an act of cowardice, and a disgrace to the entire family name. Sozaemon, still not being able to decide on if he should take the act of revenge, goes on with his everyday life, teaching the neighborhood children mathematics, reading and writing. He wonders whether he can ever enjoy life without the specter of revenge and swordplay. With the discovery of the rich meaningful life rather than the meaningless death of a warrior, Sozaemon, together with his strange friends at the tenement row house, decides to plot an act of the lifetime...
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Herencia (2001)
Paula Hernández
Argentina
92′
Peter travels from Germany to Buenos Aires to find the woman he fell head over heels in love with some time ago and who wants to live with. But he doesn't know much more about her than her name, an address that is no longer true, and the memory of enchanting moments. He meets Olinda, who runs a local restaurant and was herself stranded in Argentina half a century ago in search of her great love.
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La belle saison (2015)
Catherine Corsini
France
106′
1971. Delphine, the daughter of farmers, moves to Paris to break free from the shackles of her family and to gain her financial independence. Carole is a Parisian, living with Manuel, actively involved in the stirrings of the feminist movement. Their encounter turns their lives upside down.
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Love And Honor (2007)
Yoji Yamada
Japan
122′
Shortly after assuming his post as food taster, Shinnojo loses his eyesight. The fish that was given to the head of the clan was poisoned. Prior to this, Shinnojo had held an inferior position in the ruler’s entourage. Realising that not only will he remain blind until the end of his days, but he must now relinquish his position and will need assistance for rest of his life, Shinnojo becomes dejected and melancholy. His wife, Kayo, is the only one able to prevent him from committing suicide: "I can’t imagine life without you. But, go ahead and kill yourself. If you do so, I will follow you immediately", is her response. Touched by her loyalty, Shinnojo gives up his plan to take his own life. Shortly afterwards, Shinnojo’s uncle advises him that, since he is no longer able to work, Shinnojo should ask Kayo to go to Shimada, the influential steward of the estate, and ask for his help. As time goes by, Shinnojo begins to get used to being blind. But then one day his aunt Ine tells him of a rumour she has heard about Kayo’s infidelity. Madly jealous, Shinnojo, who loves his wife and had always trusted her, orders his old servant, Tokuhei, to follow Kayo. Tokuhei discovers that the rumour is true. Having noticed that she was being watched, Kayo admits to having committed adultery with Shimada, explaining that the steward demanded her body in return for supporting Shinnojo. Throwing his wife out of the house, Shinnojo prepares himself for one last battle.
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Loves of a Blonde (1965)
Milos Forman
Czech Republic
80′
The head of a shoe factory persuades the army to hold manoeuvres nearby: So his workers can meet men at a ball. But the pot-bellied reservists are anything but attractive. Utilizing a brief hint of freedom, The Love of a Blonde throws an undisguised, humorous and tender look at Czechoslovakia in the 1960s and the ridiculousness of its functionaries.
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with bonus
Medianeras (2011)
Gustavo Taretto
Argentina
90′
Bonus: 3 short movies (Una vez mas, Hoy no estoy, Medianeras)
Mariana, Martìn and the city of Buenos Aires. Martìn and Mariana live across from each other on the same block, but never meet. They pass each other, not knowing about the other’s existence. She goes up the stairs as he goes down the stairs; he gets on the bus just as she gets off the bus. They go to the same video rental shop, but a video rack separates them; they sit in the same row at the cinema, but the auditorium is dark. The city brings them together, and, at the same time, keeps them apart. Director Gustavo Taretto told the story of Mariana, Martìn and the city of Buenos Aires once before: «MEDIANERAS is a short film that received 40 awards worldwide - a short film with a feature film hidden inside. Our aim is to bring the feature to light. In the film EL SOL DEL MEMBRILLO (QUINCE TREE OF THE SUN), Víctor Erice reflects, among other things, upon Antonio López’s obsession with painting a tree that he had planted and seen growing in his garden. The tree changes with the passing of time, the seasons, and especially in different shades of light. MEDIANERAS is my tree. I planted it over four years ago, and I’ve been watching it grow since then. Following the analogy with the painting, the short film unveils the gesture in the stroke, the artist’s palette, the trunk which holds it in place, the main branches and the colour of its leaves. Now, with the feature, the moment has arrived for going into detail, for exploring depth and hues, ambiguities and contradictions. The story changes in exactly the same way as the city that serves as its setting: Buenos Aires. Some of the scenes wither away, while others bloom.» (Gustavo Taretto)
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Melaza (2012)
Carlos Lechuga
Cuba
82′
Money and love worries of swimming teacher Aldo and rum factory worker Monica in Melaza, the cradle of Cuban sugarcane. With tangible love for Cuba, the director takes a fresh look at his struggling characters: you can also learn to swim in a piscina without water. In the Cuban village of Melaza, named after the once flourishing sugarcane fields, time stands still. Even when all kinds of things happen, nothing ever changes. The State pretends to take care of everything, but it shuts the rum factory and makes swimming lessons impossible. There's no use complaining, think the inhabitants, that’s just how it is. Melaza is the heartwarming love story of Aldo and Monica, a photogenic couple who live in a much too small cottage with their fat daughter and grumpy grandma. They try very hard to earn some extra money. Their attempts finally get the couple into deeper and deeper trouble. But together, the lovers manage to pull through it. New talent Carlos Lechuga tells his critical story with humour and sparse dialogue, taking us on a journey to the beauties of rural Cuba. Far from the hotels and from Havana, but with a reality familiar to everyone who has ever been to Cuba - or faced a shortage of cash. (Filmfestival Rotterdam)
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On Body and Soul (2017)
Ildiko Enyedi
Hungary
116′
Two introverted people find out by pure chance that they share the same dream every night. They are puzzled, incredulous, a bit frightened. As they hesitantly accept this strange coincidence, they try to recreate in broad daylight what happens in their dream.
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On the Path (2010)
Jasmila Zbanic
Bosnia and Herzegovina
100′
Luna and Amar are a couple. Their relationship is under great strain. First of all, Amar loses his job for being drunk at work. Luna is very worried and has little hope of realising her fragile dream of having a child with Amar. But her fears for their future increase when Amar takes on a well-paid job in a Muslim community hours away from where they live.Only after quite some time has elapsed during which they have had no contact with each other, is Luna allowed to visit Amar in this community of conservative Wahhabis in its idyllic lakeside location. She notices that the men and veiled women live in strict segregation and are closely watched. Luna asks Amar to return home with her but Amar insists that life in this isolated community of faithful followers has brought him peace and also keeps him from drinking. When he returns home a few weeks later, Luna realises that Amar’s attitude to religion has fundamentally changed. Amar claims that his only interest is to become a better person, but Luna finds it extremely difficult to follow his line of thinking. She begins to question everything that she has believed in, even her desire to have a child. As the wounds of a tragic war-filled past continue to haunt her, Luna tears herself apart searching if love is truly enough to keep her and Amar together on the path to a lifetime of happiness.
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Porto (2016)
Gabe Klinger
Portugal
73′
Jake and Mati are two outsiders in the northerly Portuguese city of Porto who once experienced a brief connection. A mystery remains about the moments they shared, and in searching through memories, they relive the depths of a night uninhibited by the consequences of time.
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Satte Farben vor Schwarz (2010)
Sophie Heldmann
Germany
82′
The love story of an elderly couple. Having arrived at the end of their lives, the two 74-year-old protagonists take the liberty of making their own decisions concerning life and death. They stage their demise exactly as they staged their lives. After fifty years spent together, they don’t go because they have to, but because they want to.
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with bonus
Un amor (2012)
Paula Hernández
Argentina
100′
Bonus: Interview with Paula Hernández
Does love at first sight exist? This may certainly be the case, but sometimes you need time to be sure of this love. This film describes such a story about getting to know somebody and falling in love as a teenager, and about meeting again many years later. It begins in the 70s, in the summer in a small town by the river. Bruno and Lalo are teenagers and good friends. They hang around together in the heat, until one rainy day Lisa turns up, a beautiful young woman who capriciously and quick-wittedly turns the heads of both boys - and then decides on one of them. Three decades later she is back again and finds the friends from her youth living in differing situations. "I am single now", she says, but I can't get the picture of the three of us out of my head. No, she is certainly no longer the same Lisa for both men as she was back then. The pictures and memories that one had of one another, are these still any use in the present? What was it like back then, this love? What did we want, what happened to us? They ponder these questions in front of the camera, giving voice to their memories. How does a love story and history fit together? Can you carry on where you left off three decades ago? These and other questions are pondered by this film about making friends and falling in love as a teenager, and of meeting again many years later. The wonderfully easy-going triangle of their adolescence can probably not be revived. But what about unique and true love from back then? Paula Hernández’ film is also an experiment about how feelings are linked to the spirit of the time the ups and downs of life, in which light, air and sun play a not insignificant role. An intensive, thoughtful, atmospherically very emotionally intoned film about love and about time, which gives this love a new dimension.
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Virgin Mountain (2015)
Dagur Kari
Iceland
92′
Like a young bird yet to find the courage to lift its wings, Fúsi (43) lives alone with his mother, where they've always lived.
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