Limitless Cinema in Broken English

July 6, 2007


Filed under: Uncategorized — celinejulie @ 6:05 pm




1.TO PAINT OR MAKE LOVE (2005, Jean-Marie Larrieu + Arnaud Larrieu, A+) FRANCE

2.A SUNDAY IN THE COUNTRY (1984, Bertrand Tavernier, A+) FRANCE
Synopsis from

“In France, before WWI. As every Sunday, an old painter living in the country is visited by his son Gonzague, coming with his wife and his three children. Then his daughter Irene arrives. She is always in a hurry, she lives alone and does not come so often… An intimist chronicle in which what is not shown, what is guessed, is more important than how it looks, dealing with what each character expects of life”

3.DECEMBER BRIDE (1990, Thaddeus O’Sullivan, A+) IRELAND
Not available as DVD

Synopsis from

“In the early 1900s, Sarah (Saskia Reeves) and her mother go to work on a farm in rural Ireland as servants. The father of the family dies in an accident, but Sarah stays on with the two brothers. Her relationship with them becomes more complex and involved, to the chagrin of her mother and everyone else in the community. Eventually Sarah renounces the church and bears a child by one of the two men, but refuses to name the father. The three become pariahs in the town, as one brother is savagely beaten at an Orange Society gathering. December Bride goes a long way in dealing with what one character calls “the three curses of Ireland: England, religion, and drink.” Its slow pace, florid dialogue, and dreary narrative are offset by the thought-provoking nature of the story. Director Thaddeus O’Sullivan uses the Emerald Isle’s gorgeous settings to full advantage in his shot compositions, with the landscape almost seeming like a separate character at times. Those who can live with the film’s admittedly poky tempo will be rewarded with an absorbing tale of a hard life in 1909 Ireland. –Jerry Renshaw”


Synopsis from

“An unusual mix of lyrical filmmaking in golden hues and gauzy images with shocking, brutal violence, Flight of the Innocent gives a kid’s-eye view of a war among crime families in Southern Italy. Resourceful schoolboy Vito (Manuel Colao), the youngest son in a mob family of kidnappers, is the sole survivor of a massacre that lays waste to his entire rural household. He flees to Rome to find his cousin, while a vicious scar-faced killer (Federico Pacifici) is on his trail, haunted by the face of his family’s latest victim, a boy no older than he. Though clever and patient, Vito remains a boy whose innocence is threatened by the corruption around him, his world shattered by murder, fear, and the guilt over his family’s crimes, which he attempts to atone for in a personal act of penitence. It’s a startlingly beautiful film filled with poetic images and a sense of wonder constantly shattered by violence, a beautiful visual irony that tends to overwhelm the more difficult conflicts of the narrative and may ultimately splinter the film’s potential audience. The lyrical delicacy of the film hardly fits the he-man attitude of most action cinema, and the explosive, brutal violence will likely turn away much of its art-house audience. –Sean Axmaker”

5.CALENDAR (1993, Atom Egoyan, A+) ARMENIA

6.ULTRANOVA (2005, Bouli Lanners, A+) FRANCE

7.UNKNOWN PLEASURES (2002, Jia Zhangke, A+) CHINA

8.JEAN DE FLORETTE (1986, Claude Berri, A) FRANCE

Synopsis from

“A truly impressive French film destined to become a modern masterpiece, Jean de Florette is an evocative adaptation of the highly regarded French novel. Two 1920s farmers engage in a bitter rivalry as one tries to tend to a plot of land and the other deviously undermines his efforts in order to conceal a valuable spring. The peasant farmer (Gerard Depardieu) who comes to the countryside to tend the land he has inherited is a naive and trusting soul seeking only to provide for his wife and daughter, while his neighbor (Yves Montand) is intent on doing whatever he can to discourage and demoralize the farmer so that he can take the land for himself. This simple tale unfolds in a wrenching fashion to a tragic conclusion, bringing forth questions about human nature and the prevalence and price of greed. Along with its follow-up, Manon of the Spring, this film will leave an indelible impression on anyone who sees it. –Robert Lane”

9.TIERRA (EARTH) (1995, Julio Medem, A) SPAIN

Synopsis from

“Angel, an exterminator recently released from a mental hospital, comes to rid a small Spanish town of tiny grubs in the soil. The local wine-making industry has found these pests responsible for giving their product an “earthy” taste that has divided local opinion. While in town, Angel becomes involved with two beautiful and very different women, and impacts their lives on a grand scale. Can either of these women accept the fact that Angel travels with a “ghost” of himself, or that he routinely speaks with the deseased townspeople?”

10.KOKTEBEL (2003, Boris Khlebnikov + Alexei Popogrebsky, A) RUSSIA

11.BIG EDEN (2000, Thomas Bezucha, A) MONTANA

Synopsis from

“Big Eden has won the audience awards at just about every gay and lesbian film festival there is. Henry (Arye Gross) is an artist living in New York but still carrying a torch for the guy he had a crush on in high school. When his grandfather has a stroke, Henry returns to his Montana hometown, Big Eden, where he rediscovers friends he hasn’t seen in years. His high school crush has since married, had children, and divorced–and seems ready to take some very different steps with his life. Big Eden is one of those implausibly tolerant towns where lesbians kiss each other in public and old coots in cowboy hats try to play matchmaker with bashful queers. Still, it’s this sweet warmth in Big Eden that has made it a festival crowd-pleaser. –Bret Fetzer”

12.THE STORY OF THE WEEPING CAMEL (2003, Byambasuren Davaa + Luigi Falorni, A) MONGOLIA

13.WHAT IS LIFE? (C’EST QUOI LA VIE?) (1999, Francois Dupeyron, A) FRANCE

14.UNDER THE SUN (1998, Colin Nutley, B+) SWEDEN
Synopsis from

“Olof lives alone on his family’s farm after the death of his mother. Unable to read and write, he is dependent on his younger friend, Erik, who helps him in the afternoons. Once a sailor, Erik brags of having known hundreds of women. Out of the blue, Olof advertises in the local paper for a young lady housekeeper, and Ellen, a middle-class city woman, arrives to take over the house and, as the summer goes on, Olof’s heart and Erik’s desire as well.”


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