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Films Directed by Women Challenge; Official; March 2015
Topic Started: Feb 28 2015, 05:45:43 AM (3,382 Views)
allisoncm
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Watch films directed by women through March.

Rules:
- No rewatches.
- A feature film (Anything 40 minutes or over) counts as one entry
- A total of 60 minutes of short films count as one entry
- For Mini-Series (40 minute episodes or longer) each episode counts as an entry.
- For Mini-Series with shorter episodes, the 60 minute rule applies.

Challenge runs from March 1st, 2015 - March 31st, 2015

Links (ICM-related):
Female Directors Present on the Jonathan Rosenbaum List
Official movies with a woman director

Links (not ICM-related):
Films Directed By Women
100 Films Directed by Women
Allison's Favorite Films Directed by Women
Actresses Who Have Tried Their Hand at Directing
Female Danish Filmmakers
Films Directed by French Women
Films Directed by Portuguese Women
A Female Director a Day
Female Directors in Hollywood
Female Directors on UBUWeb
Baalman78's Top 50 Female Directors

Streaming links (title/director/link):
Elsa la rose (Agnes Varda, 20 mins) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NE4yAX_jCC0
Fatso (Anne Bancroft) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjOOqjplprk

Female Polish Filmmakers (if you want to participate in this month's official Polish challenge as well):
Krystyna Gryczelowska
Danuta Halladin
Agnieszka Holland
Irena Kamienska
Dorota Kedzierzawska
Joanna Kos-Krauze
Krystyna Janda
Wanda Jakubowska
Magdalena Lazarkiewicz
Magdalena Piekorz
Barbara Sass
Malgorzata Szumowska (sometimes works under the name Malgosia Szumowska)


Participants | # of films
Perception de Ambiguity - 44
allisoncm - 31
lisa- 26
RollingWonder - 22
Fergenaprido - 12
ChrisReynolds - 12
perceval - 11
HVM - 10
3eyes - 10
cinephage - 9
jvv - 7
tomelce - 3
brokenface - 2
Melvelet - 1
Edited by allisoncm, Apr 1 2015, 05:40:16 AM.
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Perception de Ambiguity
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Because of some mofo who said that this quest would be in February on ICM I did it in February. When I noticed the mistake I had already arranged for doing the same quest on IMDb with a few other people, so I had an obligation to go through with it. I think I put enough energy into it with viewings and writeups and such to be enough for two quests, so could I maybe partake in this challenge pretending that I haven't seen the films one month too early? Everyone else would even have a 3-day advantage since February only had 28 days.
Pretty please? Posted Image
Edited by Perception de Ambiguity, Feb 28 2015, 08:11:32 AM.
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lisa-
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weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

the first one on my list will be leslie thornton's PEGGY AND FRED IN HELL cycle, which by all accounts sounds fucking amazing.
Edited by lisa-, Feb 28 2015, 08:19:23 AM.
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jvv
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I'll watch a few.
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HVM
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In. Not aiming to win (again) though. Posted Image
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perceval
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I nominated these four films for Double the Canon:

ÄLSKANDE PAR (Mai Zetterling 1964)
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If Buñuel made this it would have been a classic... one of my favorite Swedish films

GOLVEN (Anette Apon 1982)
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Dutch adoption of Virginia Woolf and likewise a exercise in cinematic syntax

TAIGA (Ulrike Ottinger 1992)
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Ottinger adopted a similar approach as Wang Bing later did with West of the Tracks, in this contemplative documentation of small-town life in Northern Mongolia

YOU ARE NOT I (Sara Driver 1981)
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Someone else said that the influence from Jarmusch ruined Driver's career and was perhaps right to say so

Here is some other films I love:

FRUITS OF PARADISE (Vera Chytilová 1970)
SINK OR SWIM (Su Friedrich 1990)
ANTI-CLOCK (Jane Arden & Jack Bond 1979)
LONG GOODBYES (Kira Muratova 1971)
THE ARCH (Shu Shuen Tong 1969)
THE GOLD DIGGERS (Sally Potter 1983)
WANDA (Barbara Loden 1970)
TOPOS (Antouanette Angelidi 1985
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allisoncm
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Perception de Ambiguity
Feb 28 2015, 08:09:15 AM
Because of some mofo who said that this quest would be in February on ICM I did it in February. When I noticed the mistake I had already arranged for doing the same quest on IMDb with a few other people, so I had an obligation to go through with it. I think I put enough energy into it with viewings and writeups and such to be enough for two quests, so could I maybe partake in this challenge pretending that I haven't seen the films one month too early? Everyone else would even have a 3-day advantage since February only had 28 days.
Pretty please? Posted Image
Technically, I would be fine with it, since the challenge is here to get people talking about films directed by women and you've completed the task already.

It will kind of be the same for me this year, bc the French challenge is in May, but I will be watching my French films in April. I'm still not sure if I'm going to watch French films in both April or May. :mw_confused: :mw_confused:
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3eyes
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I'll watch a few.

I say Go with it, Perception! After all, Feb and March are same days of the week, so who's to notice the ambiguity?
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Perception de Ambiguity
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Thanks guys and girls! :party:
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allisoncm
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I'm in too, of course. I updated the participants list.
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lisa-
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TOTAL: 2

1. maya deren shorts, 61min

i like her less celebrated stuff more. rewatched MESHES OF THE AFTERNOON too, gets 4.7/10.

  1. at land, 15min, 4.5/10
  2. a study in choreography for cinema, 4min, 3.6/10
  3. ritual in tranfigured time, 15min, 5.8
  4. meditation on violence, 12min, 6.6
  5. the very eye of night, 15min, 6.0
2. peggy and fred in hell: the complete cycle, leslie thornton, 10/10

just see the fucking thing.
Edited by lisa-, Mar 1 2015, 11:07:21 AM.
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te18
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I'll join in too.
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allisoncm
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Added a youtube link:
Fatso (Anne Bancroft) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjOOqjplprk

Feel free to share any YT links as well.
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3eyes
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Mar 1 2015, 09:11:08 AM
2. peggy and fred in hell: the complete cycle, leslie thornton, 10/10

just see the fucking thing.
I can't find it on IMDb or ICM - where does one watch it?
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Fergenaprido
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I'm in. I desperately need to beef up my numbers for films directed by women; I've seen a paltry 60 films, and not more than 2 from any individual director.

I'll try to only watch female-directed films this month (outside of the World Cup, the Awards, and films I desperately need to see before the 1001 movies poll). So my goal is 15!

1. Whale Rider (2002) dir. Niki Caro - 8/10

Surprised this isn't on any official list. At least I've got one more film for my best-of-0-official-lists ballot in July. :) I was enchanted by Castle-Hughes, even if I wasn't always fond of the story. The author has a number of books that have been adapted to film, though, and I'd like to check those out too after seeing this. Either way, this film is recommended. :)
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te18
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1. Little Women (1994) 6/10
Basically Meet Me in St. Louis without the songs and style. It's solidly directed (by Gillian Armstrong), though, and has the best female ensemble I can remember, all giving great performances. The scene with Mary Wickes scattering the rose petals over Danes' bed and stuffed toys is the definite highlight.

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Edited by te18, Mar 1 2015, 05:05:14 PM.
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lisa-
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Mar 1 2015, 04:18:15 PM
lisa-
Mar 1 2015, 09:11:08 AM
2. peggy and fred in hell: the complete cycle, leslie thornton, 10/10

just see the fucking thing.
I can't find it on IMDb or ICM - where does one watch it?
kg

i don't know how to add it to imdb.
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brokenface
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1. The Voices (Satrapi, 2014).
Was quite shocked after watching it to see this one was made by the same director as Persepolis. very different in style, to say the least!
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allisoncm
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1. Fatso (Anne Bancroft) 6.5/10 Some moments were silly, but the ending really got to the heart of the matter. Good acting for the most part.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjOOqjplprk
Edited by allisoncm, Mar 1 2015, 09:06:55 PM.
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lisa-
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TOTAL: 3

3. lourdes, jessica hausner, 6.1/10

a quadriplegic woman travels to a pilgrimage, a place where all sorts of people go in order to improve themselves, or hopefully get cured. sympathetic religiosity with an interesting narrative progression, but somewhat stuck in that awkward position between providing naturalist portrayal and creating aesthetic beauty. i love sylvie testud.
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allisoncm
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2. Cosmonauta (Susanna Nicchiarelli) 6.3/10 I liked her film, Discovery at Dawn, much better. The main character was a little bratty girl with no perspective of the world. Some points were interesting, though, and it was set in one of my favorite time periods.
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Perception de Ambiguity
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1. Naissance des pieuvres aka Water Lilies (Céline Sciamma, 2007) 7/10

Coming-of-age film about 15-year-old Marie being infatuated with the captain of a synchronized swimming team, also a girl. Problem is that this girl appears to only like boys. She realizes that Marie has romantic feelings for her and takes advantage of Marie's generosity, but gradually something like a friendship develops between the two. Can this relationship go anywhere?

Sensibly told and intimate, but with some occasional false notes which is at least part of the reason why it doesn't feel as heart-felt and personal as for example 'Emporte-moi'. Another reason might be that 'Emporte-moi' is thematically much broader, looking at the protagonist's life in general beyond just her sexuality, while 'Naissance des pieuvres' (which literally translates to "Birth of Octopussies") is pretty much focused on that. But to its credit it has a good sense of character so the film doesn't feel like it is just clinically treating an isolated subject inside a vacuum.



Earlier that month...
Edited by Perception de Ambiguity, Mar 3 2015, 03:00:52 AM.
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jvv
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1. Hartenstraat (Sanne Vogel, 2014) - 6.5/10

Predictable romantic comedy, that tries a bit hard to be quirky.
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tirefeet
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Boy is Japan ever a letdown when it comes to woman directors. Couldn't find a worthwhile name other than Naomi Kawase.
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Perception de Ambiguity
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2. Die Berührte / No Mercy, No Future (Helma Sanders-Brahms, 1981) 8/10

Aptly told episodic "street adventures" of a psychologically troubled and often suicidal woman in depressing early 80's Germany looking for love or some reason to live for. It's blurring the line between real and nightmarish, between gritty and surreal, making for a bleak but also intriguing and atmospheric film.



Earlier that month...
Edited by Perception de Ambiguity, Mar 2 2015, 10:11:16 PM.
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jvv
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2. Der Goalie bin ig (Sabine Boss, 2014) - 8/10

Good gritty drama with Goalie as the lovable loser. The use of Swytzerdütsch as the language makes it feel more real.

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HVM
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1. Les plages d'Agnès (Agnès Varda, 2008) 6/10
2. Pora umierać aka Time to Die (Dorota Kędzierzawska, 2007) 6/10
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lisa-
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TOTAL: 4

4. sink or swim, su friedrich, 8.7/10

remarkable coming-of-age autobiography narrated by a girl and matched with imagery that only sometimes relates to those memories. in particular is a reminiscence of her father, and she ultimately judges him very harshly. there's a particular sideways jab that i love, when she talks about his anthropological work on greek mythology and feminism.
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allisoncm
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3. Kobieta samotna (Agnieska Holland, 1981) 6/10 A single mother's sad struggle.
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lisa-
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TOTAL: 5

5. alice guy shorts, 60min

  1. the life of christ, 33min, 4.6/10
  2. the four year old heroine, 6min, 2.5/10
  3. the fur hat, 5min, 2.6/10
  4. the obstacle course, 5min, 3.8/10
  5. the race for the suasage, 4min, 3.4/10
  6. the glue, 3min, 3.1/10
  7. the anatomy of a draftee, 2min, 2.4/10
  8. the true jiu jitsu, 2min, 2.6/10
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Perception de Ambiguity
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3. Три тополя на Плющихе / Three Poplars at Plyuschikha Street (Tatyana Lioznova, 1967) 8-/10

Nyura is a very simple-minded but lovable, energetic and quite upbeat country pumpkin and a mother of two. After the film introduces us a little to the daily routine of her simple but hard-working life as a housewife in the idyllic country her fairly stern husband sends her to Moscow to sell some ham, buy some stuff and to check on the possibly unfaithful sister-in-law (if she has filed a divorce from her husband she won't be welcome in town anymore, if she were to show up, her brother, he promises, would give her the beating of a lifetime). Nyura is ill-equipped (especially mentally) for the journey and for the big city, with her naivety she could easily get into trouble having people (and especially men) take advantage of her. A taxi driver who shows interest in her could potentially be one such man but Nyura doesn't quite seem to grasp what's going on. How will she handle the situation? Is the taxi driver maybe a decent guy? What will happen? What COULD happen?

I'm not spoiling anything if I say that nothing dramatic happens. It's more about the what ifs. Nyura is played by Tatyana Doronina who is a plump but beautiful woman with a very expressive face. Her character isn't exactly your typical protagonist and the film does a wonderful job of putting the viewer in her mindset, the tone overall is always fairly light. We largely see her living from moment to moment, she rarely initiates things, rather she reacts to her environment without giving it much thought, and in the course of one or two days we share her little joys and worries, her little hopes and dreams (there are two excellent dream sequences that I think give us quite a bit of insight into Nyura within very little time). Like its protagonist the film has no feminist aspirations, certainly no big ones, which would have been out of place here.

I probably haven't quite communicated yet why the film is as delightful as it is. So let me point out one little moment. Nyura sits in the passenger seat of the taxi. She hasn't really exchanged a lot of words with the taxi driver yet beyond the usual formal talk. While driving she spots on a lane next to her a car with a long piece of stocking sticking out of the trunk, waving around behind the driving car. She glances at the taxi driver to check if he has noticed the car. While trying to suppress and hide her smile she contemplates if she should call his attention to the car. Finally she can't help it anymore and asks him what is sticking out of the trunk of that car over there. He looks at it and says it's a stocking after which she points at it while laughingly saying: "It looks so funny." She laughs at it some more rather quietly and still is a bit embarrassed, half-heartedly covering her mouth with one hand. When she looks at him he is completely stern, focusing on the road, probably thinking something like: "What's that broad's deal?" She, still visibly amused, moves her eyes back to the stocking but now suppresses her laughter again.


Earlier that month...
Edited by Perception de Ambiguity, Mar 4 2015, 09:49:55 AM.
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lisa-
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TOTAL: 7

6. hypocrites, lois weber, 6.4/10

the naked female body as a metaphor for Divine Truth. the first part of the metaphor wouldn't have worked in 1915, and the second part doesn't work today, so it's certainly an interesting comparison. didactic as hell, but quite unique and pretty.

7. gunvar nelson shorts, 63min

  1. my name is oona, 10min, 7.6/10

    sensational rhythmic mix of the cute and the creepy. evokes coming of age feelings too.

  2. light years, 28min, 7.4/10

    a fleeting and shattered road journey through nature and artifice, space and time, with editing that looks as though gunvor had been listening to glitch music just previously. really, the editing truly is fascinating, a combination of live action and animation.

  3. moon's pool, 15min, 8.8/10

    oh my god. incredible sexual art.

  4. take off, 10min, 7.1/10

    oh my. was not expecting that. one of the most beautifully subversive punchlines i've seen. gunvor nelson is awesome.
Edited by lisa-, Mar 3 2015, 08:09:37 AM.
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ChrisReynolds
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I will be participating in this challenge. My target will be 10 films.

I will be watching a few films from this list of horror films with female directors:
50 Must-See Horror Films Directed by Women (IMDb list version)
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Fergenaprido
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2. I've Heard the Mermaids Singing (1987) dir. Patricia Rozema - 7ish/10

Kind of a middle of the road (actually, I'm not sure I know what that term means in a film context) A somewhat mediocre lesbian drama, with strong affectation by Sheila McCarthy, who I can't remember seeing in anything else, but I think of her as a great Canadian actress; I don't know why. This film performed well at the Genies (Canadian Oscars), including wins for best actress and best supporting actress. Overall, though, it just kind of fell flat for me, though I did enjoy the way that they presented the secretive paintings of the curator.

3. The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill (2003) dir. Judy Irving - 7ish/10

This film was strongest when focusing on the birds, and weakest when focusing on the man. There are a bunch of deleted scenes and accompanying info from the DVD that I haven't watched yet, so I hope there's more interesting information there. Sadly, it won't help to improve my rating of this film.

4. The Hurt Locker (2008) dir. Kathryn Bigelow - 8ish/10

I liked it. I'm not sure why, but I did. I still need to ruminate on it some more to solidify my thoughts. Some parts were woefully predictable (i.e. if you thought someone was going to die in a particular scene, you were probably right), but other parts were fantastic. I especially liked the way it used the specialist as a window into the conflict between the two main characters. I don't know if I liked it better than Avatar, but I don't begrudge it it's wins or critical love.

Seen Films Directed by Women
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Perception de Ambiguity
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4. The Queen of Versailles (Lauren Greenfield, 2012) 6+/10

Documentary about a filthy rich man and his family having to seriously start worrying about money after the 2008 recession. Pretty interesting, especially towards the end. But it's not exactly investigative journalism, there were a lot of untapped opportunities, like for example looking closer at the lives of the eight spoiled children who unlike the parents don't know any other lifestyle and hence don't know the meaning of the word restraint but who aren't much more in the documentary than background noise. When one child's lizard dies because she neglects it and another child remarks that he didn't even know that they had a lizard this is scratching the surface of a potentially very deep barrel. There are some more wonderful nuggets like this in there - like the man saying that his wife doesn't give him strength in his worrisome situation, rather she is more like just another child that he has to care for (and I have no doubt that his statement is quite true) - but more stuff like this would have been great.

In a way it ends once it starts to become really interesting, I gladly would have watched another 100 minutes to see what the future had in store for them. Maybe I'm expecting too much, it's a charming docu, the people come off as relatable and as rather pitiful even in their excesses. One probably doesn't exactly feel sorry for them, but it ought to at least be a reminder to you that money can't buy happiness. You wouldn't really expect it but it's a bit reminiscent of 'Grey Gardens', they kind of go from being filthy rich to being rich and filthy. Well, maybe it's 'Grey Gardens' meets 'The Osbournes', not that at the end of the day the two really are all that different from each other.


Earlier that month...
Edited by Perception de Ambiguity, Mar 4 2015, 09:49:24 AM.
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5. Closet Land (Radha Bharadwaj, 1991) 3+/10

A female children book author (Madeleine Stowe) is kidnapped and finds herself in a room with a male interrogator (Alan Rickman) who appears to work for the government, accusing her that her latest book is a thinly veiled allegory of subversive nature. Trying to make her admit her guilt he uses various brutal, unethical and sexist methods.

Brought to you with the friendly support of Amnesty International 'Closet Land' is an anti-government/anti-authoritarian allegory of the most blatant kind, if you can even call it an allegory. More precisely it is about the abuse of power by the government in the form of torture in particular, and the abuse of power by authority in general. Torture in the name of the state of course is a very real thing, but in its details the theatrical scenario bears little resemblance to anything real even if one considers that it is set in the future, which this appears to be. And even taking into account the lack of a real context in the story concerning time and place, the author's behavior in this situation more often than not doesn't ring true to me.

What distinguishes this film from most other anti-authoritarian allegories is its feminist agenda which, however, comes in the form of vulgar self-victimization (Madeleine Stowe's nameless character even is credited as "Victim") and with a portion of misandry. Government is concluded to be a completely male domain. Males are per definition the victimizers and women are the victims, just like the government is per definition evil and the people are good. It also uses copious amounts of sexism as part of the interrogation/torture and a rape plot device which in a better film would probably seem fine but just adds more predictable elements to this unimaginative allegory, making them feel like cliches.

But it isn't all bad, at least towards the end it DOES have some interesting things to say that can make 'Closet Land' a nice conversation piece, most notably it forcefully drives home the point that the seeds of obedience to (male) authority and the acceptance of the (patriarchal) status quo are planted at a very young age, often through actions that may not even seem directly related to obedience to authority and so on. We unwittingly are all accomplices to the system in enforcing those ideals. Of course once the seed is planted in the impressionable child it is unlikely to go away, if anything it only grows. But this, like almost all other insights, is blatantly spelled out, in this case regrettably just after the film had made its point dramatically, if not subtly, at least as an integral part of the story.

The woman's martyrdom at the end (which is recognized as martyrdom more thanks to the swelling music and the pathos in the staging than from any heroism in her actions) is the expected final note before quoting some Amnesty International torture statistics and last but not least we get a Gandhi quote. The Amnesty International thing (the film apparently also was advertised a lot by linking it to the organization) actually wasn't meant to distract from its not very clever, on-the-nose, overzealous feminist message, at least not by director Radha Bharadwaj herself since that quote apparently was put there against her will and she opposes that her film is linked so closely to the human rights organization. Her film, after all, "ultimately has such a far-reaching scope", it would be a shame to "dismiss it as mere human rights propaganda". That's what she said.


Earlier that month...
Edited by Perception de Ambiguity, Mar 4 2015, 09:48:51 AM.
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6. Una Noche / One Night (Lucy Mulloy, 2012) 7/10

Havana: A sister and a brother in their late teens dream, like probably anybody that age in Cuba, to escape to where everyday is like a Mardi Gras, everybody party all day, no work, all play, okay. It's Miami, the city that keeps the roof blazin', which is just twelve miles off the coast. Even if the brother and his best friend (who's a macho guy who would flip if he knew that "brother" has the hots for him) possibly gets more screen time than the girl it's her voice-over that carries the film, letting us know what it feels like to be her and to live in Havana.

This Havana is vibrant. The streets are full of life, and so is the handheld camera that captures it. The images have the typical modern South American look, vibrant colors and high contrast as can for example be observed in 'Man on Fire', but it's a little less extreme here. The look perfectly accentuates the beauty of the city locations which are at once compellingly exotic and incredibly run-down. I don't know much about Cuba but 'Una Noche' very much feels like Cuba alright.


Earlier that month...
Edited by Perception de Ambiguity, Mar 5 2015, 01:07:28 PM.
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3eyes
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1. Gilane (Iran 05) - Rakhshan Bani-Etemad (co-director)

Portrait of a mother/caregiver in war-torn Iran. Searing.
Edited by 3eyes, Mar 4 2015, 03:40:07 AM.
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HVM
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3. Dolgie provody aka A Long Goodbye (Kira Muratova, 1971) 6/10
4. Le bonheur aka Happiness (Agnès Varda, 1965) 7/10

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allisoncm
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4. Krzyk (Barbara Sass) 6.5/10 This film was interesting at least. Some good performances too.
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