Entertainment

Un cuento chino - Chinese Take-Away
Sebastián Borensztein
Argentina
90′
A comedy that chronicles a chance encounter between Robert and a Chinese named Jun who wanders lost through the city of Buenos Aires in search of his uncle after being assaulted by a taxi driver and his henchmen.
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Sage femme - The Midwife
Martin Provost
France
117′
Claire is a single mother with a grown-up son. She’s a dedicated midwife who is completely wrapped up in her job. Although the maternity ward where she works is to be closed, she turns down a job offer from a larger clinic because she cannot reconcile their methods with her own ideas about midwifery. In the midst of all this upheaval she receives a phone call that rekindles memories of her youth. Béatrice, her late father’s former mistress, asks to meet her. Béatrice is a true bohemian – loud, colourful, egocentric and completely different to the focussed, helpful Claire. The younger woman asks herself why, after all these years of silence, Béatrice has suddenly decided to approach her for help, and is at first less than enthusiastic. Martin Provost has made a name for himself with powerful portraits of women (Séraphine, Violette). Sage Femme revolves around the encounter between two headstrong women, perfectly cast with two of French cinema’s grandes dames. A dramatic comedy about the need for change, and the question of whether steak, pommes frites and red wine is really what one would call a healthy lunch.
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Truman
Cesc Gay
Spain
109′
Julián receives an unexpected visit from his friend Tomás, who lives in Canada. The two men, accompanied by Julián's faithful dog, Truman, will share emotional and surprising moments prompted by Julián's complicated situation.
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Ein launischer Sommer (1968)
Jiri Menzel
Czech Republic
76′
Capricious Summer is a Czechoslovak comedy directed by Jiří Menzel. It is based on the novel Rozmarné léto (Summer of Caprice) by the Czech writer Vladislav Vančura. It was listed to compete at the 1968 Cannes Film Festival, but the festival was cancelled due to the events of May 1968 in France. The film depicts a humorous story of three men, a colonel, a priest and a bath-keeper, during rainy summer days.
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Lerchen am Faden (1969)
Jiri Menzel
Czech Republic
94′
Larks on a String is a Czech film directed by Jiří Menzel. The movie was banned by the Czechoslovak government. It saw release in 1990 after the fall of the Communist regime. Menzel tells the stories of various characters considered bourgeois by Czechoslovakia's communist government in the 1950s, who have been forced to work in a junkyard for the purposes of re-education.
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Closely Watched Trains (1966)
Jiri Menzel
Czech Republic
89′
The young Miloš Hrma, who speaks with misplaced pride of his family of misfits and malingerers, is engaged as a newly trained station guard in a small railway station during the Second World War and the German occupation of Czechoslovakia. He admires himself in his new uniform, and looks forward, like his prematurely-retired railwayman father, to avoiding real work. The sometimes pompous stationmaster is an enthusiastic pigeon-breeder with a kind wife, but is envious of the train dispatcher Hubička's success with women. Miloš holds an as-yet platonic love for the pretty, young conductor Máša. The experienced Hubička presses for details of their relationship and realizes that Miloš is still a virgin. The idyll of the railway station is periodically disturbed by the arrival of the councillor, Zednicek, a Nazi collaborator, who spouts propaganda at the staff without success. At her initiative, Máša spends the night with Miloš, but in his youthful excitability he ejaculates prematurely before achieving penetration and then is unable to perform sexually; and the next day, despairing, he attempts suicide. He is saved, and a young doctor explains to him that ejaculatio praecox is normal at Miloš's age. The doctor recommends Miloš to "think of something else" (at which point Miloš volunteers an interest in football), and to seek the assistance of an experienced woman. During the nightshift, Hubička flirts with the young telegraphist, Zdenička, and imprints her thighs and buttocks with the office's rubber stamps. Her mother sees the stamps and complains to Hubička's superiors, and the ensuing scandal helps to frustrate the stationmaster's ambition of being promoted to inspector. The Germans and their collaborators are on edge, since their trains are being attacked by the partisans. A glamorous Resistance agent (a circus artist in peacetime), code-named Viktoria Freie, delivers a time bomb to Hubička for use in blowing up a large ammunition train. At Hubička's request, the "experienced" Viktoria also helps Miloš to resolve his sexual problem. The next day, at the crucial moment when the ammunition train is approaching, Hubička is caught up in a farcical disciplinary hearing, overseen by Zednicek, over his rubber stamping of Zdenička's backside. In Hubička's place, Miloš, liberated by his experience with Viktoria from his former passivity, takes the time bomb and drops it from a semaphore gantry, that extends transversely above the tracks, onto the train. A machine-gunner on the train, spotting Miloš, sprays him with bullets, and his body falls onto the train. With the Nazi collaborator Zednicek, winding up the disciplinary hearing, dismissing the Czech people as "nothing but laughing hyenas" (a phrase actually employed by the senior Nazi official Reinhard Heydrich, the implicit retort to his jibe comes in the form of a huge series of explosions that destroys the train. Now Hubička and the other railwaymen are indeed laughing - to express their joy at the blow to the Nazi occupiers - and it is left to a wistful Máša to pick up Miloš's uniform cap, hurled across the station by the power of the blast. (wp)
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Shortcuts - Postriziny (1981)
Jiri Menzel
Czech Republic
98′
Brewery owner Francin lives in a happy marriage with the all too beautiful Maryška. His life is turned upside down by the unexpected visit of his eccentric brother Pepin. Maryška finds a kindred soul in Pepin and falls into the modernization pull of the 1920s, to which she can't help but give in. Shortcuts, the film adaptation of a story by Bohumil Hrabal, became very successful with the audience in Czechoslovakia.
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La muerte de un burócrata (1966)
Tomás Gutiérrez Alea
Cuba
84′
The story begins with the death of a model worker, who is buried with his labor card as a badge of honor. However, his widow is told she needs that card to claim the benefits she is entitled. The story then takes several surreal turns, as the family of the dead man try to recover the precious card from the grave.
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Porto
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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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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Satte Farben vor Schwarz
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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Virgin Mountain
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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with bonus
Medianeras
Gustavo Taretto
Argentina
90′
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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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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with bonus
Un amor
Paula Hernández
Argentina
100′
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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Melaza
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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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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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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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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On the Path
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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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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On Body and Soul
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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La belle saison
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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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
117′
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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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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Neruda
Pablo Larraín
Chile
108′
An inspector hunts down Nobel Prize-winning Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda, who becomes a fugitive in his home country in the late 1940s for joining the Communist Party.
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Closely Watched Trains (1966)
Jiri Menzel
Czech Republic
89′
The young Miloš Hrma, who speaks with misplaced pride of his family of misfits and malingerers, is engaged as a newly trained station guard in a small railway station during the Second World War and the German occupation of Czechoslovakia. He admires himself in his new uniform, and looks forward, like his prematurely-retired railwayman father, to avoiding real work. The sometimes pompous stationmaster is an enthusiastic pigeon-breeder with a kind wife, but is envious of the train dispatcher Hubička's success with women. Miloš holds an as-yet platonic love for the pretty, young conductor Máša. The experienced Hubička presses for details of their relationship and realizes that Miloš is still a virgin. The idyll of the railway station is periodically disturbed by the arrival of the councillor, Zednicek, a Nazi collaborator, who spouts propaganda at the staff without success. At her initiative, Máša spends the night with Miloš, but in his youthful excitability he ejaculates prematurely before achieving penetration and then is unable to perform sexually; and the next day, despairing, he attempts suicide. He is saved, and a young doctor explains to him that ejaculatio praecox is normal at Miloš's age. The doctor recommends Miloš to "think of something else" (at which point Miloš volunteers an interest in football), and to seek the assistance of an experienced woman. During the nightshift, Hubička flirts with the young telegraphist, Zdenička, and imprints her thighs and buttocks with the office's rubber stamps. Her mother sees the stamps and complains to Hubička's superiors, and the ensuing scandal helps to frustrate the stationmaster's ambition of being promoted to inspector. The Germans and their collaborators are on edge, since their trains are being attacked by the partisans. A glamorous Resistance agent (a circus artist in peacetime), code-named Viktoria Freie, delivers a time bomb to Hubička for use in blowing up a large ammunition train. At Hubička's request, the "experienced" Viktoria also helps Miloš to resolve his sexual problem. The next day, at the crucial moment when the ammunition train is approaching, Hubička is caught up in a farcical disciplinary hearing, overseen by Zednicek, over his rubber stamping of Zdenička's backside. In Hubička's place, Miloš, liberated by his experience with Viktoria from his former passivity, takes the time bomb and drops it from a semaphore gantry, that extends transversely above the tracks, onto the train. A machine-gunner on the train, spotting Miloš, sprays him with bullets, and his body falls onto the train. With the Nazi collaborator Zednicek, winding up the disciplinary hearing, dismissing the Czech people as "nothing but laughing hyenas" (a phrase actually employed by the senior Nazi official Reinhard Heydrich, the implicit retort to his jibe comes in the form of a huge series of explosions that destroys the train. Now Hubička and the other railwaymen are indeed laughing - to express their joy at the blow to the Nazi occupiers - and it is left to a wistful Máša to pick up Miloš's uniform cap, hurled across the station by the power of the blast. (wp)
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Ajami (2009)
Scandar Copti and 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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A Separation
Asghar Farhadi
Iran
123′
Simin wants to leave Iran with her husband Nader and daughter Termeh. She has already made all the necessary arrangements. Nader, however, is having second thoughts. He is worried about leaving behind his father, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. For this reason he decides to call off the trip altogether. As a result of Nader’s decision, Simin decides to sue for divorce at the family court. When her request is rejected, however, she refuses to live with Nader, moving instead into her parents’ home. Termeh decides to stay with her father, hoping that her mother will soon come back to live with them.Nader finds it difficult to cope with the new situation - not least because it turns out to be so time-consuming. And so he hires a young woman named Razieh to look after his father. This young woman is pregnant and has accepted the job without her husband’s knowledge. One day, Nader arrives home to find that not only has his father been left alone, he has also been tied to a table! When Razieh returns, a blazing row ensues, the tragic consequences of which not only shatter Nader’s life, but also the image his daughter Termeh has of her father.
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On Body and Soul
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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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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Dersu Uzala (1975)
Akira Kurosawa
Japan
136′
A military explorer meets and befriends a Goldi man in Russia’s unmapped forests. A deep and abiding bond evolves between the two men, one civilized in the usual sense, the other at home in the glacial Siberian woods. The film won the 1976 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, the Golden Prize and the Prix FIPRESCI at the 9th Moscow International Film Festival and a number of other awards.
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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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Firemen's Ball (1967)
Milos Forman
Czech Republic
73′
A volunteer fire department throws a party for their former boss with the whole town invited, but nothing goes as planned.
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Lunana - A Yak in the Classroom
Pawo Choyning Dorji
Bhutan
109′
Struggling with his profession as a teacher, Ugyen is sent to Lunana in northern Bhutan for his final year of training. With a warm welcome, the local children try to win him over but they do not have much time...
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The Milk of Sorrow (2009)
Claudia Llosa
Peru
94′
When her mother dies, Fausta is forced to face her fears, that she got as ababy with the milk of her mother. Fausta now sets out on a journey - a journey that will lead her out of her fear and into freedom. Peruvian director Claudia Llosa’s film addresses a dark era of her country’s history. It won the Golden Bear in Berlin and was nominated for the Oscars in 2010.
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with bonus
Hyènes (1992)
Djibril Diop Mambéty
Senegal
111′
In Colobane, people expect the return of Linguère Ramatou, a former local girl now rumored to be richer than the World Bank. But her generosity has its conditions: she offers a check of ten billion for the death of Dramaan Drameh who refused to admit that he was the father of her child 30 years ago. "Life made made me a whore, now I'm turning the world into a brothel" she tells the citizens of Colobane.
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The mirror - Zerkalo (1975)
Andrei Tarkowski
Russia
107′
Alyosha, a 40-year-old filmmaker, falls seriously ill. He remembers his past and collects the memories that marked his life: the house of his childhood, his mother waiting for the improbable return of her husband, the poems of his father, his wife and his son that he has not seen for a long time, the tumult of the Second World War.
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Dersu Uzala (1975)
Akira Kurosawa
Japan
136′
A military explorer meets and befriends a Goldi man in Russia’s unmapped forests. A deep and abiding bond evolves between the two men, one civilized in the usual sense, the other at home in the glacial Siberian woods. The film won the 1976 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, the Golden Prize and the Prix FIPRESCI at the 9th Moscow International Film Festival and a number of other awards.
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