Films Screened In 1995

Tim Patterson just about manages to achieve the impossible in his 'epic-grammatic' bid to explain Japan in twenty words or less (give or take a few). Take-away impressions of a complex culture occur in the speedy collision of opinion personal experience and cliche. Somewhere in amongst the assortment of pithy generalisations lies the semblance of a truth (or twenty). ... Read more
Somewhere on earth in a corner darkened by war two figures struggle to survive. Before all, duties are met. But the pull of life and the mag­netism of bodies sweep the two characters into a dance of forgetting. War seems to have no end thus only water, fire and love can clean the air in this peace promoting sand animation film. ... Read more
... ... Vienna, Christmas Eve, 1993. A nineteen year old student randomly shoots several people. Framed as a mystery, 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance unfolds in five asymmetrical chapters that eschew conventional narrative strategies and simple character-driven psychology to decon­struct what director Micheal Haneke sees as the 'progressive emotional glaciation' of his country. ... Twelve l... Read more
... ... Too often, children only understand their par­ents when it's all too late. First time director Wu Nien-jen was long established as Taiwan's top screenwriter before being moved to make this tender tribute to his father, a miner who eventually succumbed to black lung disease. ... ... ... A Borrowed Life is an epic achievement. Begin­ning in the 1940s towards the end of Japan's colonisation o... Read more
In contrast to Peh's film Meianie El Mirs adap­tion of Barbara Baynton's thunderously symbol­ist and psychologically dramatic story 1907 story adopts a narrative form but it is in her very par­ticular eccentric and surreal style. This A Dreamer may not seem precious about Baynton's status in the literary canon but it is intnguingly appro­priate to the original s hysterical foetal melodra­ma of noc... Read more
In this film from the Bush Studies project Peh conjours an ambient reading of Barbara Bayn­ton s 1907 neo Gothic short story. Perceived through a misty gauze in grainy black and white and a tinny scratched recording of a parlour song, the film evokes a deathly nostalgia with atmospheric minimalism. ... Read more
When approached to direct the American contribution to the BFi's Century of Cinema project, Martin Scorsese (a natural choice given his remarkable film knowledge and passion) decided the only possible approach he could take was a distinctly personal, idiosyncratic memoir of what American movies have meant to him. And so we have almost four hours of rivet­ing Scorcese memories and observations, all... Read more
Athens has changed over the past few years. The neighbouring nations came to town when the curtain came down... Albanians, Romanians and others... but hey, that's life in the Balkans. Faraway neighbours one day, love-hate siblings and lovers the next. It's a lively mix and the streets are thankful for it. ... For Ilias, Athens is home. His city of colour, his place in the sun. He cruises the night... Read more
Abattoirs is shot in black and white and has a very sparse sound-track. Its takes are stark there is hardly a camera movement sometimes pho­tographs are filmed. Furthermore, almost unique in the history of film the film has square pic tures which add to its intensity. ... Read more
Adachi-Ga Hara continues the afore-mentioned 'mutative approach' to story-telllng. This time, the original manga is based on a traditional Non play called Kurozuka which mines tho rich vein of Japanese witch mythology. Tezuka sets Adachi on a desolate asteroid and plays out the involving confrontation between a young space cadet and the hermit crone, leading the story to a suspenseful and sombre e... Read more
The Mississippi is one of the most rigorously controlled and engineered rivers in the world, yet in the summer of 1993 it suffered the worst flooding in its history. Fundamental questions are now being asked about whether river engi­neering really works or whether trying to tame a river actually makes floods worse. Answers must be found soon, because Bangladesh is about to launch the most ambitiou... Read more
Butoh is confronting, sexual and serene Japanese dance. This film documents a selection of stunning performances from one of its best exponents, Carlotta Ikeda. Butoh is unlike any other form of dance tearing at the flesh of social constructs and laying bare the primal and spiritual bones of us all. Strange camera angles, brilliant colour and truly surreal dance sequences brings Butoh out of the s... Read more
Akiko-san has followed her husband's career path to Scarsdale in America and finds herself uncomfortably immersed in the simmering melting pot of expatriate Japanese culture. Here a housewife is either perm-san or temp-san (a reference to her style of residence-not hair). This 'work-doc' stirs it up and the results are as 'frytening' as they are revealing. ... Read more
Akuemon is a good example of animation in the gekiga style which has developed in Japan by the start of the 60s. This was a more seriously toned adult-oriented form of manga, which stressed realistic effect and emotional impact, as opposed to the visual symbolism and hi-keyed archetypes displayed in early postwar manga. Establishing himself in the early postwar period, Tezuka defined much of that ... Read more
AIDS is now the leading cause of death among young Americans. One in five cases is diagnosed among young people. Alone Together humanises these stark statistics and allows the young voices to speak honestly and with dignity. The young people come from vastly diverse backgrounds, yet each is able to speak with sensitive and powerful insight into their past, present and futures. ... Read more
... ... Deadpan, fiercely cynical and extremely funny, Hal Hartley has cemented his reputa­tion as the US independent requiring the closest of scrutiny. This curious director creates a con­sistently fabulous feature every couple of years, wows an ever expanding audience and then sub­merges himself in the process once again. Trust, The Unbelievable Truln and Simple Men all garnered international ac... Read more
... ... Anne Frank has been described as one of the "major icons of the twentieth century" with her diary the second most-read book of Western non-fiction after the bible. ... ... ... Jon Blair's film is effective in placing Anne's story firmly in its twentieth century context. This is not just her life in Holland and her death in a Nazi concentration camp, but the impact the diary has had in the ... Read more
The TV series that started it all, from the infiltra­tion of Japanese style into Western TV anima­tion to the tradition of cartoon robots still strong in Japanese amine today. The success of Astro Boy in and outside Japan provided the cor­nerstone for the animation industry there and ensured a productive livelihood for Tezuka's independent animation company, Mushi. Incredibly kawatt (cute) to this... Read more
Rosenberger uses found amateur footage. From 1939 as a protest against the indifference of its own positivist point of view. The original film was made by a man in which sandwiched between cosy scenes of his wife and baby on a sailing holiday he filmed a passing street parade with Hitler uniforms and Nazi salutes. Retaining its original sequence the stark, jarring aesthetic of Rosenberger's rework... Read more
A stonemason engaged to decorate a Gothic cathedral is cursed and branded a heretic after he unwittingly incorporates the likeness of a witch into his work. ... In this superb example of contemporary clay animation the film maker draws on Mediaeval iconography to recreate Bruegel like scenes in a most entertaining piece of cinema. ... Read more
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