Limitless Cinema in Broken English

November 7, 2008


Filed under: Uncategorized — celinejulie @ 12:37 am


1.CHILD BY CHILDREN (2008, Koji Hagiuda, Japan, 122 min)
Hagiuda directed SHINDO (A+).

2.CLARA (2008, Helma Sanders-Brahms, Germany, 110 min)

Synopsis of CLARA:

” In 1850, Robert, his wife Clara and their five children settle down in Duesseldorf where he has accepted a position as musical director. For the resourceful musician, who is considered more as one of the world’s greatest composers than a conductor, it turns out to be a bad decision. Nor is it a happy period for Clara, who is reduced to the role of housewife instead of acclaimed concert pianist performing throughout Europe to sold-out halls. That is, until she meets the young, brilliant Johannes Brahms. Clara and Johannes fall for one another. Robert, who is sick and suffering from severe depression, attempts to drown himself in the Rhine River. His life is saved and he commits himself to a sanatorium. The relationship between Brahms, who cares for the family financially, and Clara grows even more intense. When Robert dies two years later, all the obstacles seem to have disappeared for them. Clara, however, refuses to marry again. Robert’s shadow still weighs too heavy on her. But she will go on playing his and Johannes’ music in the world’s concert halls, expressing her feelings for him and for the moments of darkness they both experienced with Robert.”

3.ENDLESS NIGHT (2007, Pan Jianlin, China)
Pan Jianlin directed FEAST OF VILLAINS (2008, A+++++++++).

Synopsis of ENDLESS NIGHT from the website of Sydney Film Festival:

” Sly, confronting and highly effective, this unexpected docu-drama takes the true account of one woman’s multiple experiences of rape and constructs a series of interviews with people from all sorts of backgrounds around each accumulating case. Director Pan Jianlin adopts the unusual narrative approach of having the woman (played by Guan Na, screenwriter of Still Life, SFF 2007) shedding each horrific individual story like an item of clothing, and feeding the interviewees with updates on what is episodically revealed. Collectively, the responses actively comment on the retrogressive perception of rape in China (with strong universal overtones), and also expose the dark and socially sustained effects of gossip, judgement and rumour. The power of this film as a piece of social commentary can be found in how it enacts the very dynamics it critiques. CS”


5.THE LAST CONQUISTADOR (2008, John J. Valadez + Cristina Ibarra, documentary)
Thanks to Scott Mazak who told me about this film.

Synopsis from PBS website:

” John Houser is a man with monumental sculpture in his blood. He can remember his father working as an assistant carver on Mount Rushmore. Enthralled with the power of art, he has dedicated himself to making history come alive in large-scale public sculptures. So when the El Paso City Council commissioned a larger-than-life statue of the Spanish conquistador Juan de Oñate, Houser conceived his grandest project yet: the largest bronze equestrian statue in the world. He envisioned a magnificent and long-overdue tribute to the contributions of Hispanic culture and history to the United States.

But as recounted in the new documentary The Last Conquistador, all was not well as the statue’s dedication approached. The area’s Native Americans had their own very personal memories concerning Oñate. They recalled massacres, slavery and terror. They remembered that Oñate’s foray into New Mexico in 1598 led to the deaths of two out of every three Indians there and nearly caused the extermination of Native culture across the region.

As the film shows, the prospect that a murderer’s image would be looming over El Paso, Texas, drew increasing anger and protest. One artist proposed a companion sculpture of a giant severed foot, commemorating Oñate’s method of cutting off feet to terrorize the native inhabitants. Houser saw his grand conception transformed in a way he had not intended, caught up in a whirlwind of unresolved conflicts between races, classes and historical memories.

Neither Houser nor El Paso’s city councilors had intended any offense or controversy. The statue of Oñate was intended as part of a sculpture walk through history that would memorialize the region’s dramatic but often unrecognized history. When the storm of protest arose, they were taken by surprise. But should they have been? Had they too easily accepted a conqueror’s version of history in which the daring exploits of pioneers and colonists are celebrated, and the sins of violence are avoided or excused?

In that history, Oñate set out in 1598 from Mexico on a thousand-mile journey seeking new lands and Christian converts for Spain, along with riches for himself. He was the first governor of New Mexico and the bringer of wheat, horses, metalworking and Western civilization to what became the American Southwest. But Oñate’s brutality was well understood by his contemporaries. He was eventually recalled, tried and convicted by his own government for what today would be called crimes against humanity. He was banished forever from New Mexico, and ended up moving to Spain.

Native Americans are deeply offended by the sculpture, but many wealthy whites and Hispanics throughout the region — who trace their ancestry back to the Oñate expedition — welcome the monument and defend the bloodshed, saying that the Indians were the aggressors and that Oñate brought peace and stability to the region.

Caught in between are the Mestizos, Mexican Americans like El Paso City Councilman Anthony Cobos, who make up about 75 percent of El Paso’s population. The sons and daughters of both the Spaniards and the Indians they subjugated, Mestizos must struggle with a conflicted heritage that is both prideful and humiliating. Councilman Cobos eventually withdraws his support for the statue and pays a heavy political price.

John Houser, who had worked on his labor of love for 10 years, learns that he has glaucoma and may eventually lose his eyesight. Haunted by the heavy moral burden of his own creation and his failing health, he apologizes for being blind to the social implications of his work. “I have developed my own trap,” he says, “and I think about it day and night.”

But the damage is done. Deep wounds have been opened, and a bitter divide has deepened. In the end, many Hispanics are elated, Mestizos are frustrated that valuable public money has been used for the sculpture, and Native Americans feel that the genocide of their people matters little to the city of El Paso or to white people who walk the corridors of power.
John Houser is proud of his work, but dismayed by how it is perceived. But resilient and determined as ever, he is planning to make up for it with a statue commemorating pre-Columbian Indian life — a human figure 28 times life-size and five feet higher than the Statue of Liberty.”

6.THE MOON AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WELL (2008, Vinh Son Nguyen, Vietnam, 121 min)

7.ROUTINE HOLIDAY (2008, Li Hongqi, China, 75 min)

8.SLEEP FURIOUSLY (2008, Gideon Koppel, documentary, UK, 94 min)

9.SNAKES AND EARRINGS (2008, Yukio Ninagawa, Japan, 123 min)

10.SUMMER (2008, Kenneth Glenaan, UK)
Glenaan directed GAS ATTACK(2001, A++++++++++) and YASMIN (2004, A).


A TIME FOR BURNING (1967, Barbara Connell + William C. Jersey, documentary)
Thanks to Scott Mazak who told me about this film.

Synopsis from

” An extremely passionate and moving documentary, William C. Jersey’s A Time for Burning explores the civil rights issue from one of the least likely of vantage points–a white, middle-class congregation in Nebraska–and reveals some of the more powerful observations about race and equality to come out of the ’60s. Jersey’s focal point is the Reverend L. William Youngdahl, who attempts to inspire his parishioners–all white and Lutheran–to reach out and make a connection with black Lutherans in the state. Youngdahl quickly finds himself at the center of a conflict that mirrors the nationwide struggle, with representatives from the church, community, and protest movements speaking for and against his desire to unite those of a common faith. Rejected by all three networks, Burning’s unflinching exploration of the state of race relations in the United States and the human heart earned it an Academy Award nomination in 1968, and a place on the National Film Registry in 2005. The DVD includes commentary by and a biography on Jersey, as well as an update on activist Ernie Chambers, who is featured in the film. — Paul Gaita “


Tribute to Aurore Clement

Films starring Aurore Clement I would like to see:


2.CLOSED CIRCUIT (1978, Giuliano Montaldo, Italy)

” The setting is quite simple. An audience is watching a western in a cinema. Then suddenly a gunshot is heard and an man dies in his chair…shot. The police immediately starts an investigation and nobody is to leave the theater. The killer has to be in the building so it has to be just a matter of time that the killer will be found. But the strange thing is they cannot find him or any weapon. Further investigation reveals some strange facts and when they reenact the situation another man is killed in the same chair”

3.THE MEETING OF ANNA (1978, Chantal Akerman, France)

4.GOOD NEWS (1979, Elio Petri, Italy)

5.DEAR PAPA (1979, Dino Risi, Italy, nominated for Golden Palm)

6.L’AMOUR DES FEMMES (1982, Michel Soutter, nominated for Golden Bear)

7.INVITATION AU VOYAGE (1982, Peter Del Monte, nominated for Golden Palm)

8.THE HATTER’S GHOST (1982, Claude Chabrol, from Georges Simenon’s novel)

9.TOUTE UNE NUIT (1982, Chantal Akerman)

10.THE SOUTH (1983, Victor Erice, 95 min)

11.THE BOOK OF MARY (1984, Anne-Marie Mieville, 28 min)

12.GRADUATION PARTY (1985, Pupi Avati)

13.LE REGARD DANS LE MIROIR (1985, Jean Chapot, 240 min, co-written by Nelly Kaplan)

14.FAREWELL MOSCOW (1987, Mauro Bolognini)
Liv Ullmann won David di Donatello’s best actress award from this film.

15.STAN THE FLASHER (1990, Serge Gainsbourg, 67 min)

16.WE’RE STILL HERE (1997, Anne-Marie Mieville, 80 min)
” Two housewives discuss philosophical themes (actually an updated dialogue of Plato and Socrates) while doing the house work, the husband of one of them rehearses his part in a play (reading a 20th century philosophical text about totaliarism) at the theater. Returning home, the couple decide to go on vacation in the mountains.”

17.LOVE ME (2000, Laetitia Masson)

18.A PRIVATE AFFAIR (2002, Guillaume Nicloux)
Nicloux directed THE OCTOPUS (1998, B-) and CETTE FEMME-LA (2003, A+/A).

19.THE REPENTANT (2002, Laetitia Masson)

20.TOMORROW WE MOVE (2004, Chantal Akerman)

21.MON FRERE SE MARIE (2006, Jean-Stephane Bron)
Bron directed CORN IN PARLIAMENT: LE GENIE HELVETIQUE (2003, A++++++++++).
22.ON WAR (2008, Bertrand Bonello, 130 min)
Photo of Clement in THE BRIDESMAID (2004, Claude Chabrol)


Films directed by Will Tremper, a German director

I knew about this director from the writing of Olaf Moller in Sight and Sound magazine.

The paintings of Paul Winstanley, which look very much like photos


Wish list for Sep 2008
Film wish list for March 2008

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