Comedy

Ariel (1988)
Aki Kaurismäki
Finland
72′
A Finnish man goes to the city to find a job after the mine where he worked is closed and his father commits suicide.
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Aurore (2017)
Blandine Lenoir
France
89′
A French woman hits menopause, quits her job as waitress, and feels everything going downhill. But then she meets her old love from before she got married, had 2 daughters and got divorced. Is this a new beginning?This film is the story of the collective struggle to build this bridge. It is a celebration of human labour!
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Barakah Meets Barakah (2016)
Mahmoud Sabbagh
Saudi Arabia
88′
If you were to ask a group of film experts which country is currently the least appropriate setting for a hilarious, truly wacky romantic comedy, the chances are that Saudi Arabia would come out on top. But their guesses would be wrong, as Barakah yoqabil Barakah provides more than enough evidence to the contrary. He’s a municipal civil servant from Jeddah whose origins are humble to say the least, while she’s a wild beauty, the adopted daughter of a rich couple whose marriage has suffered due to their lack of biological children. He’s also an amateur actor in a theatre company rehearsing a production of "Hamlet", while she functions as a crowd-puller for her stylish adoptive mother’s boutique and runs her own boisterous, widely-seen vlog. Fate brings them together - in an environment hostile to dating of any kind. But the two of them show breathtaking ingenuity to circumvent the system of tradition, etiquette and religious police - with the crucial help of a quirky midwife and a pink push up bra. Barakah yoqabil Barakah is a film for anyone who’s always wanted to know just what else is going on in Saudi Arabia
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Blind Dates (2013)
Levan Koguashvili
Georgia
99′
Sandro is a forty-something teacher and still lives with his parents, who constantly meddle in his private life. He shows little interest in the blind dates his friend Iva pressures him to go on. On an outing to the Black Sea, he falls in love with the hairdresser Manana. When her husband Tengo is released from jail early, Sandro’s predicament takes on absurd dimensions. He gets caught up in wild family disputes and feels compelled to move Natia, pregnant with Tengo’s child, into his parents’ home. Wrong conclusions and misunderstandings are the driving force of this melancholy comedy, in which everyone meddles with everything but no one really listens, which only leads to yet further confusion. When in doubt, they all argue together with true ferocity, the situation invariably ending in intense outbursts. Levan Koguashvili’s second feature is thus in keeping with the best traditions of Georgian cinema. The narrative tone stays calm, as the events come thick and fast. Unsentimental, with various ellipses and allusions, and shot with wonderful colour compositions and an incredible feel for space, architecture and cityscapes, the film ultimately attains extraordinary profundity.
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Chevalier (2015)
Athina Rachel Tsangari
Greece
105′
In the middle of the Aegean Sea, on a luxury yacht, six men on a fishing trip decide to play a game. During this game, things will be compared, measured and blood will be tested. Friends will become rivals, but at the end of the voyage, when the game is over, the winner will wear the victorious signet ring: the "Chevalier".
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Cinco dias sin Nora (2009)
Mariana Chenillo
Mexico
92′
Before dying, Nora devises a plan to make José, ex-husband, take care of her funeral. But she misses something-the only flaw in the plan, a mysterious photograph left under the bed, will lead to an unexpected outcome that will remind us that sometimes the greatest love stories are hidden in the smallest places.
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Closely Watched Trains (1966)
Jiri Menzel
Czech Republic
89′
The young Miloš Hrma, who speaks with misplaced pride of his family of misfits and malingerers, is engaged as a newly trained station guard in a small railway station during the Second World War and the German occupation of Czechoslovakia. He admires himself in his new uniform, and looks forward, like his prematurely-retired railwayman father, to avoiding real work. The sometimes pompous stationmaster is an enthusiastic pigeon-breeder with a kind wife, but is envious of the train dispatcher Hubička's success with women. Miloš holds an as-yet platonic love for the pretty, young conductor Máša. The experienced Hubička presses for details of their relationship and realizes that Miloš is still a virgin. The idyll of the railway station is periodically disturbed by the arrival of the councillor, Zednicek, a Nazi collaborator, who spouts propaganda at the staff without success. At her initiative, Máša spends the night with Miloš, but in his youthful excitability he ejaculates prematurely before achieving penetration and then is unable to perform sexually; and the next day, despairing, he attempts suicide. He is saved, and a young doctor explains to him that ejaculatio praecox is normal at Miloš's age. The doctor recommends Miloš to "think of something else" (at which point Miloš volunteers an interest in football), and to seek the assistance of an experienced woman. During the nightshift, Hubička flirts with the young telegraphist, Zdenička, and imprints her thighs and buttocks with the office's rubber stamps. Her mother sees the stamps and complains to Hubička's superiors, and the ensuing scandal helps to frustrate the stationmaster's ambition of being promoted to inspector. The Germans and their collaborators are on edge, since their trains are being attacked by the partisans. A glamorous Resistance agent (a circus artist in peacetime), code-named Viktoria Freie, delivers a time bomb to Hubička for use in blowing up a large ammunition train. At Hubička's request, the "experienced" Viktoria also helps Miloš to resolve his sexual problem. The next day, at the crucial moment when the ammunition train is approaching, Hubička is caught up in a farcical disciplinary hearing, overseen by Zednicek, over his rubber stamping of Zdenička's backside. In Hubička's place, Miloš, liberated by his experience with Viktoria from his former passivity, takes the time bomb and drops it from a semaphore gantry, that extends transversely above the tracks, onto the train. A machine-gunner on the train, spotting Miloš, sprays him with bullets, and his body falls onto the train. With the Nazi collaborator Zednicek, winding up the disciplinary hearing, dismissing the Czech people as "nothing but laughing hyenas" (a phrase actually employed by the senior Nazi official Reinhard Heydrich, the implicit retort to his jibe comes in the form of a huge series of explosions that destroys the train. Now Hubička and the other railwaymen are indeed laughing - to express their joy at the blow to the Nazi occupiers - and it is left to a wistful Máša to pick up Miloš's uniform cap, hurled across the station by the power of the blast. (wp)
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Ein launischer Sommer (1968)
Jiri Menzel
Czech Republic
76′
Capricious Summer is a Czechoslovak comedy directed by Jiří Menzel. It is based on the novel Rozmarné léto (Summer of Caprice) by the Czech writer Vladislav Vančura. It was listed to compete at the 1968 Cannes Film Festival, but the festival was cancelled due to the events of May 1968 in France. The film depicts a humorous story of three men, a colonel, a priest and a bath-keeper, during rainy summer days.
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Firemen's Ball (1967)
Milos Forman
Czech Republic
73′
A volunteer fire department throws a party for their former boss with the whole town invited, but nothing goes as planned.
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God Exists, Her Name Is Petrunya (2019)
Teona Strugar Mitevska
North Macedonia
100′
Tell them you’re 24’, advises Petrunya’s mother as her daughter heads off to another interview. But Petrunya is 31; moreover, she has studied history, a subject that no one in Macedonia seems to need. So there she sits in front of her potential employer, a factory owner, who looks down on her floral dress and refuses to take her seriously. On her way home - naturally, she did not get the job - Petrunya decides to take the plunge. It is Epiphany and, like every year, the young men of the city are diving for the holy cross that the priest has thrown into the icy river. This time, Petrunya is quicker than everyone else and ends up holding the trophy aloft for the TV cameras. For one whole day and one night, she will defend the cross, accompanied by much public commotion and against the closed ranks of the male world. Teona Strugar Mitevska delivers an angry yet melancholic satire that questions the status of democratic change in Macedonian society and passes scathing judgement on representatives of the church, the judiciary and the media. The film’s sympathies are all with the determined woman who asserts herself against archaic traditions and paralysing opportunism.
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Hana (2006)
Hirokazu KORE-EDA
Japan
128′
The time is 1702. A young samurai, Aoki Sozaemon (Okada Junichi) has left his countryside hometown, and is now living in Edo (now Tokyo), in search of Kanazawa Jubei (Asano Tadanobu), the man who killed his father. He is living in a dilapidated tenement house, in the poor quarters of the city of Edo. His neighbors in the so-called "row houses" are all good, solid folk who can never even hope to rise out of the squalor of their surroundings. Sozaemon, the provincial samurai, becomes friends with a variety of characters including a habitual drunk, an unsuccessful would-be petty official, a ragman, a perky girl, a doctor, and a scrivener. As the relationships between the characters unfold we are led deeper in the blossoming love story of Sozaemon and the beautiful widow, Osae (Miyazawa Rie). Although he has never forgot his task to find his father's enemy and to succeed in his vengeance, being around Osae and her son, Sozaemon feels a warm feeling inside, which leads to doubts about the entire act of revenge. However, to walk away from the "revenge-act (ADAUCHI)", could actually bring his entire family down, not only without the reward from the Shogun, but also, as a samurai, to be unsuccessful on revenge would be an act of cowardice, and a disgrace to the entire family name. Sozaemon, still not being able to decide on if he should take the act of revenge, goes on with his everyday life, teaching the neighborhood children mathematics, reading and writing. He wonders whether he can ever enjoy life without the specter of revenge and swordplay. With the discovery of the rich meaningful life rather than the meaningless death of a warrior, Sozaemon, together with his strange friends at the tenement row house, decides to plot an act of the lifetime...
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Hedi Schneider steckt fest (2015)
Sonja Heiss
Germany
92′
A model family's happy life unexpectedly goes off the rails when the carefree Hedi suddenly starts having panic attacks. First mental illness and then drug dependency – the happiness that these happy-go-lucky thirty-somethings once took for granted suddenly seems unattainable, and their world fragile and uncertain.
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In Her Eyes (2011)
Xiaolu Guo
China
109′
A successful screen adaptation of a novel by renown Chinese writer, Xiaolu Guo, UFO in her Eyes is a hyper-vivid portrait of chaotic contemporary Chinese society. Has a flying saucer come to disrupt life in a village or is it simply the fantasy of an illiterate, attractive single lady? Starring Udo Kier.
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La Vie de Bohème (1992)
Aki Kaurismäki
Finland
103′
Marcel (André Wilms) is an impoverished Parisian poet and playwright who is evicted from his extremely modest room after he is unable to pay rent for it. While roaming the streets of Paris, he meets Rodolfo (Matti Pellonpää), a painter from Albania who is almost equally poor and is in the country illegally. They quickly discover they are kindred spirits since they both share the same love for art without much regard for their worldly well-being. The two eventually make another friend in Schaunard (Kari Väänänen), an Irish composer who is now renting Marcel's former room. The three friends help each other in the daily struggle to survive by sharing whatever little money they have among each other in order to maintain a basic and simple standard of living. Rodolfo's life is interrupted when he meets Mimi (Évelyne Didi), a poor French girl with whom he falls madly in love. But Rodolfo is soon deported back to Albania due to not having a visa. He is unable to return to Paris for six months and, by then, Mimi has moved on and found another boyfriend. Rodolfo, Marcel and Schaunard scrape together what food they have and have a meal together to celebrate the feast of All Saints. Mimi shows up and informs Rodolfo that she has left her boyfriend to be with him again, but she is ill and dies the next spring.
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Lerchen am Faden (1969)
Jiri Menzel
Czech Republic
94′
Larks on a String is a Czech film directed by Jiří Menzel. The movie was banned by the Czechoslovak government. It saw release in 1990 after the fall of the Communist regime. Menzel tells the stories of various characters considered bourgeois by Czechoslovakia's communist government in the 1950s, who have been forced to work in a junkyard for the purposes of re-education.
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Longing (2017)
Savi Gabizon
Israel
104′
Ariel, a well-off, childless man, gets a phone call from his college girlfriend. She needs to tell him a couple of very surprising things: first, when they broke up twenty years ago, she was pregnant and went on to have a lovely boy. The second thing will change his life forever. This is a journey that creates laboratory-like conditions to explore the hidden aspects of parenthood beyond giving and responsibility.
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Shortcuts - Postriziny (1981)
Jiri Menzel
Czech Republic
98′
Brewery owner Francin lives in a happy marriage with the all too beautiful Maryška. His life is turned upside down by the unexpected visit of his eccentric brother Pepin. Maryška finds a kindred soul in Pepin and falls into the modernization pull of the 1920s, to which she can't help but give in. Shortcuts, the film adaptation of a story by Bohumil Hrabal, became very successful with the audience in Czechoslovakia.
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The Party (2017)
Sally Potter
United Kingdom
71′
In a private home, various individuals think they’re coming together for a party. A series of revelations results in a huge crisis that throws their belief systems, and their values into total disarray.
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Woman in the Septic Tank (2012)
Marlon N. Rivera
Philippines
87′
As far as their film school final project is concerned, these three students have only one goal in mind - international fame, including Oscars and festival prizes. They know what foreign audiences expect from Philippine cinema - prostitution, abuse, rubbish tips and slums - and apply this magic formula to develop the ultimate in misery porn. A mother, battered by life, sells her child to a sex tourist; a story as harsh and realistic as it is rousingly emotional. The only thing missing is a big-name star, but famous actresses can be such divas... ANG BABAE SA SEPTIC TANK is the most successful independent film in the history of Philippine cinema, and a rare example of an intelligent film-within-a-film plot that takes an illuminating behind-thescenes look at filmmaking. Highly entertaining and hugely self-deprecating, this comedy draws on ingrained clichés in order to shamelessly exploit them. In addition, the sophisticated dramatic structure allows leading lady Eugene Domingo, a Filipino movie star in real life, to deliver an exceptional performance, at once touching and wildly funny.
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