Cinematheque Season 2 May to November This year is the 50th anniversary of 1968, the year of protest. All around the world movements arose against oppression; racial, cultural, sexual, generational, colonial and against both communism and organised capital and their military wings.  It was the last great expansive hope for a re-ordering of power around a true equality, which might necessitate uprisings to bring about.   In Something in The Air; May 1968, we show the deep frisson sparking this surge for change with films from or about 1968 as well as films within and about the uprisings which allows for both an immediacy and a critical distance.  It was also the year black American discontent organised to become revolutionary, and so we bring you the Black Experience. A timely collection of films in the age of Black Lives Matter.  A number of the films from this period were banned, censored or reviled upon release.   In that coolest of uprisings in Paris, the spark was not a political coup or such but the dismissal of the head of the French Cinematheque, seen as a right wing government’s act against what was important to young people, the greatness of cinema. So like all Cinematheques we again bring you a survey of what is transcendental in cinema: its masters, its leading experimenters, its national movements and its significant players.   Curated and notes written by Gail Kovatseff, Adele Hann and Nicholas Godfrey.

The Colour of Pomegranates

If The Colour of Pomegranates were a building, it would be a world heritage site. Parajanov’s masterpiece stands as a monument of ‘poetic cinema’, an edifice composed of tableaux in the vein of Persian and Armenian miniatures.  Its images are finely balanced between the sacred and the profane, between exquisite spirituality and gleeful vulgarity. The tableaux present episodes, recalled or imagined, from the life of the 18th-century Armenian poet-troubadour Sayat Nova but (as the opening caption insists) the film not a conventional bio-pic. The film is also a paean to Armenia’s history and culture.  Tony Rayns

 

Restored in 2014 by Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata and The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project, in association with the National Cinema Centre of Armenia and Gosfilmofond of Russia. Restoration funding provided by the Material World Charitable Foundation and The Film Foundation.

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Soleil O

Born in Mauritania in 1936, by 18, Med Hondo was training as a chef in Morocco before emigrating to France in 1959.  He also found small roles in film and television, observing the film-making process.  In these years, on a miniscule budget, and part financed by taking dubbing work on American movies, Hondo began making Soleil Ô, a film capturing his experiences of looking for a better life in Paris. The process took four years, but the result was accepted into Critics Week in Cannes, 1970. Possibly equally angry films were made at the time but Hondo shows from the start his powers as a real filmmaker.  He thinks in images, not polemics.

Restored by Cineteca di Bologna at L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory in collaboration with Med Hondo. Restoration funded by the George Lucas Family Foundation and The Film

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The Night of Counting the Years

The only feature film of Egyptian director, Chadi Abdel Salam, The Night of Counting the Years is based upon the true story of an Upper-Egyptian clan that robbed a cache of mummies. Visually ravishing, yet austere and poetic, The Night of Counting the Years shows influences from the later work of one of Salam’s mentors and financiers on this project, Roberto Rossellini.

Five years ago, 475 critics, writers, novelists and academics chose The Night of Counting the Years as the greatest Arab film ever made. After initial festival screenings, it all but disappeared with only poor 16mm prints in circulation until its 2009 restoration by the World Cinema Foundation and Bologna’s Cinema Ritrovato.

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In a Year with 13 Moons

Fassbinder’s 38th film was made near the end of his tragically short career. Made as a reaction to the suicide of the director’s former lover, Armin Meier, it follows the last few days in the life of transsexual Erwin/Elvira, paying one last visit to people and places with personal meaning. Probably the most intensely personal film Fassbinder ever made, its brutal honesty has caused it to be described as a film which makes Salo look like Mary Poppins. “Its only redeeming feature is genius” (Vincent Canby, The New York Times) David Hare

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Le Crime de Monsieur Lange

One of Renoir’s greatest and most-loved films, made in 1936 against a background of full throttle government reform of workers’ rights and the development of co-operative workplaces.  It tells of the life of the residents of a working class courtyard and their travails in the nearby printing shop owned by the evil Batala. The restoration now shows off Renoir’s most fluid film of that era, with its dynamic editing and use of depth of field.

In François Truffaut’s words: Of all Renoir’s films Monsieur Lange is the most spontaneous, the richest in miracle of camerawork, the most full of pure beauty and truth. In short it is a film touched by divine grace.

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In a Lonely Place

The place is Hollywood, lonely for scriptwriter Dixon Steele, (Humphrey Bogart) who is suspected of murdering a young woman until girl –next-door (Gloria Grahame) supplies him with a false alibi. The noir atmosphere of deathly paranoia frames one of the screen’s most adult and touching love affairs. As ever Ray composes with symbolic precision, confounds audience expectations and deploys the heightened lyricism of melodrama to produce a meditation on pain, distrust and loss of faith. Never were despair and solitude so romantically alluring. Time Out.

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Sudden Fear

RESCHEDULED DUE TO TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES

Like many under recognized treasures, David Miller’s Sudden Fear fits into and defies different genres. Sudden Fear opens with heiress/playwright Myra Hudson (Joan Crawford) axing Lester Blaine (Jack Palance) from her latest Broadway production. In spite of this he contrives to woo and wed her. Lester’s pose as besotted husband is quickly revealed when his mercenary ex, Irene Neves (Gloria Grahame), shows up.

With the arrival of Grahame, the pleasures of Sudden Fear multiply further as a study of contrasting approaches to Golden Age screen acting. In the words of unimpeachable critic and Grahame acolyte Boyd McDonald, the actress had “the sullen, bored walk and talk of someone who can’t be shocked, isn’t afraid, and just doesn’t give a shit.”   Village Voice.

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The Big Heat

Lang’s noir thriller retains its shocking power in this drum tight and violent revenge film directed with muscular clarity and force. Glenn Ford plays a straight-arrow police detective named Bannion. He takes on the criminals who control the politics in his town and has an implacable hatred for the gang headed by Mike Lagana (Alexander Scourby) and his right-hand man Vince Stone (Lee Marvin).

The film is as deceptive and two-faced as anything Lang ever made, with its sunny domestic tranquility precariously separated from a world of violence. This is one of the inspired performances of Grahame. She plays the disenchanted girlfriend of arrogant and abusive Stone (Lee Marvin) with a wonderfully cool lightness, a woman who finds herself impressed with the way Bannion stands up to the bullies. But she is to meet a horrible fate, and in some ways this is the single most shocking moment in Lang’s career.

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Human Desire

A Korean War vet returns to his job as a railroad engineer and becomes involved in an affair with a co-worker’s wife following a murder on a train where they meet.

Fritz Lang was one of the noir genre’s best exponents. This is terrific tale of quiet desperation which expresses overwhelming intensity and perverse randomness of human desire. It re-unites Glenn Ford and Gloria Grahame after Lang’s The Big Heat the previous year. Grahame was a great actress, sadly under-rated and in this film, she’s something more than just another femme fatale. She is as much a victim — of drunken husband Broderick Crawford — as she is a villain, and her actions are as much out of self-preservation as they are wickedness. Her and Crawford’s relationship is one that is finely etched, and probably the most interesting aspect of the film.

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Three Monkeys

Regarded as Ceylan’s first expansive work where he tackles a larger canvas, in this slow burning thriller the inequalities in Turkish society are exposed as is the inescapable dependency of the poor on the goodwill of the privileged. In order to hide his crime, a wealthy, aspiring politician strikes a bargain with his desperate driver. But later on meeting the driver’s beautiful wife, the driver’s sacrifice has not been enough, and the now failed politician still has more to take from him.

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Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

In this daring film, covering a night and the beginning of a new day, a convoy drives across the Anatolian plane to recover a buried body. Inside are a murder investigation’s stock characters: police officers, medical examiners, prosecutors and the two murderers themselves. In the dark and indistinguishable landscape, the prisoners become muddled and cannot quickly find the grave. So the waiting and the endless conversations go-on, seemingly about nothing but also about everything as they slowly reveal subtle relationships, complex histories and unexpected motives. ‘Ceylan displays pure, exhilarating mastery in this film: it is made with such confidence and flair.” The Guardian.  Grand Prix Winner, Cannes.

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Winter Sleep

An ex-actor lives the life of a manor lord in a mountain village, sharing his worldly insights through a pompous column in the local newspaper. As  a local property owner his morality is tested against the poor struggling around him, and as his moral sheen wears thin so does his dependent young wife and sister weary of him.  “In fits and starts, this is a stunning picture. At its best, Winter Sleep shows Ceylan to be as psychologically rigorous, in his way, as Ingmar Bergman before him.” The Guardian. Palme d’Or winner.

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Day Break

A key film in the French poetic realism movement of the 1930s, Daybreak reteams star Jean Gabin with director Marcel Carné after the earlier Port of Shadows (1938). A hard-boiled depiction of an ill-fated romance leading to madness and murder, Day Break anticipates Hollywood’s nihilistic film noir turn, and was banned in France, having been deemed too nihilistic. It was later remade in Hollywood as The Long Night (1947), starring Henry Fonda.

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The Grand Illusion

Released on the eve of the Second World War, Jean Renoir looked back to the ‘War to End all Wars’ with this tale of camaraderie between French officers interned in a German prisoner-of-war camp. Starring a grizzled Gabin and silent cinema great Erich von Stroheim, The Grand Illusion proved controversial throughout Europe upon its released due to its anti-war perspective, and ironic critique of class. It is now recognised as one of the most moving anti-war films. Renoir’s celebrated mobile camera is on full display in a film which has influenced directors ranging from Orson Welles to Wes Anderson.

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The Sicilian Clan

Effortlessly channelling late-60s Euro-crime cool, The Sicilian Clan teams Jean Gabin and his frequent co-star Lino Ventura with a smouldering Alain Delon. Gabin plays mob boss Vittoria, plotting an elaborate globe-trotting diamond heist. Delon is recently released from prison, and soon becomes involved with Vittorio’s daughter Jeanne, (Irina Demick), while Ventura is the cop on the gang’s tail. With a score by Ennio Morricone.

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Blow Out

The recipe for this is two parts Antonioni’s Blow Up and one part Coppola’s The Conversation. Sound man (John Travolta) witnesses and accidentally records what may be the assassination of a president hopeful then suddenly finds himself in danger. An unsettling story about a one-man pursuit against rampant political corruption. 

De Palma’s film’s are known for their strong sense of visual style but even by this standard Blow Up is unique. The cinematographer was Vilmos Zsigmond, who’s other collaborations with De Palma include ObsessionBonfire of the Vanities and The Black Dahlia.

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Scarecrow

Contrary to rumours that this is second-string American new wave, this Pacino-Hackman double-hander is a freewheeling masterpiece. Gene Hackman and Al Pacino giving the performances of their lives as two drifters who team up in the hope of setting up a carwash business in Pittsburgh.

It’s a wonderfully muted performance from Pacino. The guys ride the boxcars; they get drunk and laid and into trouble. They even wind up in prison – briefly. And their chaotic, fragile friendship is all that they have. This is a jewel of American cinema.  Peter Bradshaw  The Guardian

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The Deer Hunter

The Deer Hunter is a three-hour masterpiece, winner of five Academy Awards, in three major movements. It is the story of a group of friends  (Robert De NiroJohn Savage and Christopher Walken) and the record of how the war in Vietnam entered several lives and altered them terribly forever.

The Deer Hunter is said to be about many subjects: about male bonding, about mindless patriotism, about the dehumanizing effects of war, about Nixon’s “silent majority.”  Not once does anyone question the war or his participation in it: This passivity may be the real horror at the centre of American life, and more significant than any number of hope‐filled tales about raised political consciousness. What are these veterans left with? The big answers elude them, as do the big questions.

‘The film has been stunningly photographed by Vilmos Zsigmond, who provides visually a continuity that is sometimes lacking in the rest of the movie.” New York Times.

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The Hired Hand

Peter Fonda followed Easy Rider with this understated western, his directorial debut. Fonda stars as a reluctant gunslinger who returns home and attempts to reconnect with the wife he left behind many years ago (a show-stealing Verna Bloom). Unusual in its sensitive depiction of a woman’s life in the old west, the film also features memorable supporting performances from Warren Oates and Severn Darden. Zsmigmond’s lyrical landscape photography combines with the score from Bruce Langhorn (Bob Dylan’s ‘Mr Tambourine Man’), and the film’s languorous crossfades, resulting in a gently psychedelic, pastoral vision of the past.

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The Piano

A gothic masterpiece, infused with a darkly romantic frisson, The Piano is full of striking and highly affective images. Equally artistically successful as financial, it won the Palm d’Or and academy awards for its three key women artists (Jane Campion [also nominated for best director], Holly Hunter and Anna Paquin). Michael Nyman’s sound track was also a best seller.  Accompanied by her young daughter and piano, Ada, a mute, is sold into marriage to a stranger in faraway New Zealand. Her new husband sells her piano in pique. Ada attempts to get it back from Baines, the white man gone partly savage, played by Harvey Keitel, whose career’s renaissance was just underway.

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Charlie’s Country

Arguably one of Australia’s greatest actors, David Gulpilil began cowriting this partially autobiographical work while in gaol. It follows Charlie’s return to his country and a world that is increasingly no longer his. “Equal parts ethnographic and poetic, this eloquent drama’s stirring soulfulness is laced with the sorrow of cultural dislocation but also with lovely ripples of humour and even joy.” It also poignantly captures moments in Gulpili’s remarkable career, which began as a teen in Nicholas’ Roeg’s masterpiece Walkabout.

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La Haine

Regarded as one of the most searing French films of all time, La  Haine, has never lost the incredible relevancy, which saw it launch to a prolonged ovation at Cannes (winner Best Director) before going through French cultural complacency like a wrecking ball.. A story of injustice and alienation, La Haine is set over 19 consecutive hours in the lives of three young adults living in the impoverished, multi-ethnic French projects. The urban realism is heightened by the black and white cinematography.

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The Dreamers

One of the themes of The Dreamers is the passion and folly of youth, not just youth as a universal aspect of the human condition, but youth in Paris in the spring of 1968, one of those enchanted historical dawns when, to quote Wordsworth, “to be young was very heaven.”

It begins as an American exchange student falls under the spell first of the Cinemathque Française and then of two of the cinephiles he meets there, twin brother and sister, Louis Garrel (Theo) and Eva Green (Isabelle). The Dreamers is well suited to Mr. Bertolucci’s chief preoccupations. He has long been fascinated by the unwitting or reluctant participation of flawed, passive individuals in grand political and social dramas, from Italian Fascism (The Conformist; 1900) to Chinese Communism (The Last Emperor). 

The Dreamers, which is disarmingly sweet and completely enchanting, fuses sexual discovery with political tumult by means of a heady, heedless romanticism that nearly obscures the film’s patient, skeptical intelligence. A.O Scott  New York Times

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After May (Apres Mai)

‘In contemporary French and European cinema, the events of May 1968 live stubbornly on – intensely debated and treasured and re-mythologised. A whiff of tear gas is a madeleine. For wasn’t it cinema itself, and the attempted sacking of the Cinématheque Française chief Henri Langlois, that helped spark the Paris uprising?

The action takes place in 1971 when the revolutionary spirit is still present, but beginning to be coloured by lassitude, anger, violence and a nagging sense that livings have to be earned and careers built. This is a great-looking movie with a sure sense of time and place; it is obviously a personal, and in fact, autobiographical work about Assayas’s own youth. ’ The Guardian.

An enthralling look at the post-60s disconnect between art, politics, and love.

Winner Best Director and Best Screenplay Venice FF 2012.

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Daisies

Daisies is a touchstone of the Czech New Wave that could perhaps best be described as a feminist, psychedelic, surreal Eastern European answer film to Howard Hawks’ Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Jonathan Rosenbaum is typically right on the money when he calls it “one of the most exhilarating stylistic and psychedelic eruptions of the ’60s.”

It follows the absurdist attitude of two hotheaded women who try to break the propriety of society by engaging in a comedic series of pranks where nothing is off limits. The movie’s visual bedazzlement is a riot of shifting colour filters, animated flash-frames and all manner of other visual effects. On the other hand Adrian Turner for Time Out canned the depiction of the girls who spend ‘an entire movie causing havoc in restaurants and nightclubs, ripping off unsuspecting men and generally eating and behaving like pigs.” You decide.

 

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May Fools (Milou en Mai)

Although this gentle country-house comedy is farcical in structure (with the various members of the Vieuzac family lapsing into indiscretion and conflict as they strive to sort out the estate after the death of the mother of Piccoli’s sexagenarian aristocrat), genuine black humour is held at bay by Malle’s refusal simply to condemn his characters’ wealth, blinkered conservatism or selfishness.

His huge, unsentimental affection for both bucolic milieu and characters is perhaps surprising given that the time is May 1968. Stranded by strikes and unable to hold a proper funeral for the corpse, the clan philander, the family fall out, and finally flee for the hills in absurd fear of Commie atrocities. It’s less political satire, though, than a partly nostalgic evocation of an era; The Rules of the Game (Renoir) and Weekend (Godard )may be ancestors, but the tone is more akin to Goretta or Truffaut.  Time Out.

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If….

‘Although it openly lifts the plot and symbolism of Jean Vigo’s 1933 Zero de Conduit, a film that was considered so incendiary that the French authorities banned it until 1945, “If…” is a true British classic.

“If…” taps into the revolutionary spirit of the late 60s. Each frame burns with an anger that can only be satisfied by imagining the apocalyptic overthrow of everything that middle class Britain holds dear.

Malcolm McDowell heads the cast as Mick, a teenage schoolboy who leads his classmates in a revolution against the stifling conformism of his boarding school.

Winner of Palme d’Or, Cannes, 1968.

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Monterey Pop

Fifty years on, what Monterey Pop offers contemporary audiences is a powerful reminder of a largely absent world, a glimpse into an era that begat one of the last collective gasps of romantic utopianism of our time.

The first true rock-doc and arguably the best, Monterey Pop preserved a number of remarkable performances by a stellar roster of British and Bay Area bands (namely the Animals, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Country Joe and the Fish, Jefferson Airplane, and the Who (featuring Keith Moon going apeshit in the chaotic midst of A Quick One While He’s Away). Even greater breakthrough revelations were supplied by soul singer Otis Redding and, setting his guitar on fire in the course of performing Wild Thing, Jimi Hendrix. This last spectacle flummoxes Pennebaker enough that he makes a non-sequitur cut to Mama Cass serenely crooning a ballad.

 

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The Firemen’s Ball

The Firemen’s Ball was banned “permanently and forever” by the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia in 1968, as Soviet troops marched in to suppress a popular uprising. It was said to be a veiled attack on the Soviet system and its bureaucracy, a charge Forman, (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Amadeus) who died in April this year, prudently denied at the time but later happily agreed with. Telling a seductively mild and humorous story about a retirement fete for an elderly fireman, the movie pokes fun at citizens’ committees, the culture of thievery and solutions that surrender to problems. Restored film courtesy of Czech National Film Archive.

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China is Near (La Cina E Vicina)

A pair of working class lovers – a secretary and an accountant, scheme to marry into the rich landed gentry. Their targets are a professor, Vittorio Gordini Malvezzi, who is running for municipal office as a Socialist candidate, and his sister Elena, a great lady who lets every man in town climb on top of her but won’t marry because socially they’re all beneath her.

China is Near was Italian filmmaker Marco Bellocchio’s second feature film. The director and the film’s lead actress Elda Tattoli wrote the script for this smart scathing satire on modern-day sex and politics.

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The Emperor Jones

The Emperor Jones was the film that established Paul Robeson (1898-1976) as a screen star, the first African-American leading man in mainstream movies. Neither Robeson nor playwright Eugene O’Neill were strangers to the breaking of artistic barriers, although Robeson ultimately paid a great price for it. The play was a surreal tale of a man succumbing to temptation and greed. He escapes to an island in the West Indies (Haiti) and in two years makes himself “Emperor” of the place.

The releasing the film in New York was a triumph but the rest of the country was problematic. In the South, the response was virulent, sparking a number of lynchings in the weeks before it opened. For many decades, it was impossible to see this 1933 film even on television, because of the level of repression of Robeson by a racist FBI and Federal government. The film remained in a disjointed and dilapidated condition until its restoration in 2002.

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Wattstax

The legendary “black Woodstock,” now restored and digitally remixed is a documentary of the epochal 1972 concert at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum mounted by black record label Stax to help rebuild Watts after the ’65 riots. Featuring incendiary performances by Isaac Hayes, Albert King, Rufus and Carla Thomas, the Staple Singers, the Emotions, the Bar-Kays and other greats of soul, R&B and gospel it is intercut throughout with biting humour from a then little-known Richard Pryor.

Wattstax is more than a concert film as it incorporates footage from the ’65 riots, images of clapboard churches and abandoned storefronts and interactions among neighbours, friends and activists. It captures a heady moment in mid-1970s, “black-is-beautiful” African-American culture when Los Angeles’s black community came together just seven years after the Watts riots to celebrate its survival and a renewed hope in its future.

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Cotton Comes to Harlem

Cotton Comes to Harlem spearheaded the blaxploitation revolution in the early 1970s: These were mainstream studio films, a number of which were made by black filmmakers, intended primarily for an urban black audience. Ossie Davis, an actor known for his roles in films as diverse as Malcolm X and Bubba Ho-Tep, directed and co-wrote the script for this slam-bang action-comedy, adapting a prime slice of pulp material from expatriate novelist Chester Himes. What’s more, Cotton Comes to Harlem emphasizes, more emphatically even than standard blaxploitation fare, the tumult of race relations in the era of the civil rights movement, and also deals frankly with internecine tensions within the black community in Harlem. As the film’s Back-to-Africa evangelist might inquire: “Is that black enough for you?” Slant Magazinef

 

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Do the Right Thing

In this masterful film Spike Lee has fused political message, gripping drama and community comedy with finesse. Whether or not you agree with his provocative views (and late in the movie some of his conclusions could upset the most open-minded of viewers), there’s no doubt about the film’s sheer power and taut originality. It stars Ossie Davis, director of Cotton Comes to Harlem.

‘This is radical filmmaking at its best; it’ll have you arguing — and laughing — all the way home’.  Washington Post.

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Mysterious Object at Noon

This first feature by Weerasethakul is a hybrid of fiction and drama where a folk story is slowly re-told and re-enacted through an exquisite corpse technique.  Screening at a number of major festivals including HKIFF and Vancouver, it was the film that launched his international reputation. “audaciously uncatergorisable” Criterion.

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Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

This Cannes Palm d’Or winner secured Weerasethakul reputation as a master filmmaker, though the win was also not without some controversy.  In this film of high aesthetics, an old Thai farmer, Uncle Boonmee, is dying from kidney failure.  In these last days of his imperfect life, the veil between the mundane and the spirit world recedes bringing the dead and memories of past existences into the present.  “ (the) aura of the uncanny—the spirit life entering the everyday—is strangely affecting” The New Yorker.

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Cemetery of Splendour

In this film the spirt world again unfolds into the present.  A group of soldiers employed in digging up a building site for a government project fall ill with a mysterious kind of sleeping sickness. It is said they have disturbed the cemetery of dead kings, and the soldiers begin to channel both the kings and their old worlds.  “Sublime” The Guardian.

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A Time to Live, a Time to Die

This deeply autobiographical film was inspired by Hou’s childhood, as his family migrated to Taiwan, fleeing the Chinese Civil War. A Time to Live and a Time to Die chronicles a childhood and adolescence in rural Taiwan, and the struggle to adapt to a new society and its expectations and rituals, while also learning about life and death. Hou observes the passing of the years with an unhurried realism, finding profound meaning in the small gestures of everyday life.

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Dust in the Wind

Hou continued to mine an autobiographical vein in his next film, set in an impoverished village. Dust in the Wind charts the development of a high school romance, interrupted by years of forced military service. Hou continues to develop the stately long take visuals and elliptical storytelling that would become his directorial hallmarks, in this keenly-felt story of loneliness and regret.

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A City of Sadness

Hou’s early career is capped by this masterpiece, A City of Sadness. Hong Kong star Tony Leung Chiu-Wai (best known for his later collaborations with Wong Kar-wai) bears mute witness as his family becomes embroiled in street level crime, anti-government uprisings, and the resultant Kuomintang crackdowns in the years after the Japanese occupation of Taiwan. Set in back-room gambling parlours and hospital hallways, Hou’s visuals have rarely been more beautiful, as he ambitiously evokes the epic sweep of history.

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Yi Yi: A One and a Two

Following our Hou Hsiao Hsien season, we now celebrate the end of the Cinémathèque year with the final film from another major artist of the Taiwanese New Wave, the sadly missed Edward Yang. Like A City of Sadness, Yi Yi is filmmaking on an epic scale, interweaving the stories of several generations of a Taiwanese family living in present-day Taiwan. Over the course of three hours, Yang touches on the thrill of new love, the shock of sudden ailment, the tensions between modernity and tradition, and the rituals that bind families together. A life affirming film delivered with good humour and grace, and spanning the full range of human emotion, Yi Yi is tinged with the sadness of Yang’s premature death.

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