Tip of the week

Kuessipan
Myriam Verreault
Canada
117′
Two girls grow up as best friends in an Innu community. While Mikuan has a loving family, Shaniss is picking up the pieces of her shattered childhood. As children, they promised each other to stick together no matter what. But as they’re about to turn 17, their friendship is shaken when Mikuan falls for a white boy, and starts dreaming of leaving the reserve that’s now too small for her dreams.
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303
Hans Weingartner
Germany
120′
On the way from Berlin to Portugal in her rusty '303' camper van, young biology student Jule picks up hitchhiker Jan. While having intense conversations about the society, the world and the nature of man, they try not to fall in love.
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Pane e tulipani - Breads and Tulips (2000)
Silvio Soldini
Switzerland
112′
An endearing light comedy about a woman who spontaneously becomes a resident of Venice after her family left her begin. While enjoying the wonderful people she meets she achieves a new life and the first time independent of her family.
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The Man Who Sold His Skin
Kaouther Ben Hania
Tunisia
103′
Sam Ali, a young sensitive and impulsive Syrian, left his country for Lebanon to escape the war. To be able to travel to Europe and live with the love of his life, he accepts to have his back tattooed by one of by the World’s most sulfurous contemporary artist. Turning his own body into a prestigious piece of art, Sam will however come to realize that his decision might actually mean anything but freedom.
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Off season (1992)
Daniel Schmid
Switzerland
89′
The scene of the action is a closed-down, dilapidated hotel in the Swiss mountains which has been lying empty for some time. The hotel used to belong to the narrator’s grandparents, and it was there that he was born and brought up. He visits the hotel for the last tim with the intention of losing himself in memories connected with the old building.
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Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Céline Sciamma
France
121′
On an isolated island in Brittany at the end of the eighteenth century, a female painter is obliged to paint a wedding portrait of a young woman. An intense relationship develops between the two.
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Writing With Fire
Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh
India
93′
In a cluttered news landscape dominated by men, emerges India's only newspaper run by Dalit women. Armed with smartphones, Chief Reporter Meera and her journalists break traditions, be it on the frontlines of India's biggest issues or within the confines of their homes, redefining what it means to be powerful.
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A Separation
Asghar Farhadi
Iran
123′
Simin wants to leave Iran with her husband Nader and daughter Termeh. She has already made all the necessary arrangements. Nader, however, is having second thoughts. He is worried about leaving behind his father, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. For this reason he decides to call off the trip altogether. As a result of Nader’s decision, Simin decides to sue for divorce at the family court. When her request is rejected, however, she refuses to live with Nader, moving instead into her parents’ home. Termeh decides to stay with her father, hoping that her mother will soon come back to live with them.Nader finds it difficult to cope with the new situation - not least because it turns out to be so time-consuming. And so he hires a young woman named Razieh to look after his father. This young woman is pregnant and has accepted the job without her husband’s knowledge. One day, Nader arrives home to find that not only has his father been left alone, he has also been tied to a table! When Razieh returns, a blazing row ensues, the tragic consequences of which not only shatter Nader’s life, but also the image his daughter Termeh has of her father.
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Jazz on a Summer's Day (1958)
Bert Stern
United States
83′
Set at the Newport jazz festival in 1958, this documentary mixes images of water and the town with performers and audience. The film progresses from day to night and from improvisational music to Gospel. It's a concert film that suggests peace and leisure, jazz at a particular time and place.
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Cultural life is slowly returning. For Easter, and therefore before the outdoor festival season begins, an invitation to the wonderful beginnings of music festivals, to Newport, to the sailing regatta and to the summit meeting of the jazz greats: Satchmo, Mahalia Jackson, Chuck Berry, Thelonius Monk, Dinah Washington, Terri Gibbs in perhaps the most poetic musical film of all time.
En liberté!
Pierre Salvadori
France
108′
Detective Yvonne is the widow of police chief Santi, a local hero in a town on the French Riviera. When she learns he was in fact a crooked cop, she tries to right his wrongs. Crossing paths with Antoine, a victim of Santi, sets off a series of wild events.
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Amour
Michael Haneke
France
127′
Georg and Anna are around 80, cultivated music professors in retirement. The daughter, also a musician, lives abroad with her family. One day Anna has a seizure - it is the beginning of a test for the love of the two.
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Maidan
Sergei Loznitsa
Ukraine
134′
MAIDAN chronicles the civil uprising against the regime of president Yanukovych that took place in Kiev (Ukraine) in the winter of 2013/14. The film follows the progress of the revolution: from peaceful rallies, half a million strong, in the Maidan square, to the bloody street battles between protestors and riot police. MAIDAN is a portrait of an awakening nation, rediscovering its identity.
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Usually we don't recommend a freshly on vod released film in our weekly tip. But since the war waged by the old dictatorship in Moscow against the young democracy in Ukraine, one can no longer speak of normal. Sergei Loznitsa documented the Maidan uprising in 2013/14 and with it the moment of liberation of the Ukrainian people. We already have a masterful film from Loznitsa in our collection, "In the Fog", about how an honest man tries to stay true to himself in a difficult time. - All revenues from MAIDAN will be donated to the Red Cross for aid in Ukraine.
Lunana - A Yak in the Classroom
Pawo Choyning Dorji
Bhutan
109′
Struggling with his profession as a teacher, Ugyen is sent to Lunana in northern Bhutan for his final year of training. With a warm welcome, the local children try to win him over but they do not have much time...
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Lazzaro Felice
Alice Rohrwacher
Italy
127′
The tale of a meeting between Lazzaro, a young peasant so good that he is often mistaken for simple-minded, and Tancredi, a young nobleman cursed by his imagination. A loyal bond is sealed when Tancredi asks Lazzaro to help him orchestrate his own kidnapping.
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Die vierte Gewalt
Dieter Fahrer
Switzerland
98′
The internet has changed everything, also for journalism: business models are falling by the wayside, news is available for free, anywhere and at any time. I accompany journalists in their daily lives, see how they struggle, and I do what they also do: I observe and ask, also question myself, my fascination and my suspicion. I, too, use the net with ease. I am a user – and I am used.
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The Whistlers
Corneliu Porumboiu
Romania
97′
A Romanian police officer, determined to free from prison a crooked businessman who knows where a mobster's money is hidden, must learn the difficult ancestral whistling language (Silbo Gomero) used on the island of Gomera.
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El robo del siglo - The Heist of the Century
Ariel Winograd
Argentina
114′
In 2006, a group of thieves performed what is considered one of the most famous and smart bank heists in the history of Argentina. How they robbed the Rio bank is as surprising as what happened afterwards. This is their story.
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The Charmer
Milad Alami
Denmark
102′
Esmail, a young and charming Iranian lives in Denmark where he works as a mover. However, in the evening, he frequents the posh places in the city to seduce women, hoping to get married and obtain a residence permit. When he meets Sara, everything changes. On the verge of achieving his goal, he is hunted down by a mysterious man...
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In den Gängen
Thomas Stuber
Germany
120′
Christian, a reclusive young man from Leipzig, gets a job working the night shift at a big-box store. He's trained to stocks goods and operate a forklift by Bruno, a wistful former truck driver, who introduces Christian to a colorful group of overnight workers, including Marion, with whom Christian develops a troubled infatuation.
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Snowpiercer
Bong Joon-ho
South Korea
121′
In 2031, the attempt to stop global warming has plunged the Earth into a new ice age. The last remnants of mankind are stuck on a racing train: the rich and powerful in the front, their military henchmen in the middle, and in the last wagons the lumpen proletarians, who are just gathering against their oppressors. Under their reluctant leader Curtis, this time everything will be different from the last uprising.
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Yojimbo (1961)
Akira Kurosawa
Japan
110′
The unemployed samurai Sanjuro (stunning as usual: Toshiro Mifune) travels through 19th century Japan to a remote mountain village, where two hostile family clans fight for supremacy by all means. Sanjuro skillfully takes advantage of the rivalries, takes sides here and there and plays both groups against each other in his daring intrigue game.
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Am Hang
Markus Imboden
Switzerland
95′
Felix is on the edge. He has got just one thing on his mind: Valerie - his wife, who has recently left him. He returns to the place of their final break-up. Valerie's ex-lover Thomas is also here, but not for sentimental reasons. By chance the two men meet in a restaurant. By chance Felix discovers who he is facing. And then starts the inscrutable game.
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The Circle
Stefan Haupt
Switzerland
102′
Zurich, 1958. The bashful teacher Ernst Ostertag and the German cabaret artist Röbi Rapp get to know one another in the Swiss underground organisation called “Der Kreis.” As the two dissimilar men defend their love, they witness the heyday and decline of this Europe-wide pioneering organisation for gay emancipation.
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Lucky
John Carroll Lynch
United States
85′
Lucky tells the story of a 90-year-old man (Harry Dean Stanton) and his struggle against encroaching old age. The film depicts his coming to terms with his own mortality, as he searches for enlightenment.
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It was his third last screen appearance at the end of a long career and an intense life, but it was certainly one of the most beautiful. Harry Dean Stanton as Lucky, a 90-year-old loner, atheist and free spirit. He lives in the Middle of Nowhere, surrounded by characters as lovable as they are bizarre, and thinking about nothing less than life.
Wolf And Sheep
Shahrbanoo Sadat
Afghanistan
87′
In rural Afghanistan, people believe in the stories they invent to tell each other, explaining the mysteries of the world, they don’t understand. Shepherd children own the mountains. Even though there are no grown ups around, they know the rules very well; the main one is that boys and girls are not allowed to be together, they have to be separated. The boys practice with their slings to fight the wolves should they attack the flock. The girls smoke dried branches of wheat secretly and play wedding, dreaming of getting a husband soon. They gossip about every one and everything, but mostly about Sediqa, 11, an outsider among the shepherd children. They think she is cursed, as an evil ghost disguised as a snake bewitched her grandmother. Sediqa picks up her sheep and goats every morning and drops them in the owner’s house every evening. She dreams of having a sling and learn to swing it like the boys and hit a wolf. Qodrat, 11, becomes the gossip topic of everyone after his mother remarries with an old man with two wives. He prefers to be alone in the most isolated parts of the mountains. This is where he meets Sediqa and they become friends until Qodrat’s mother has to send him away.
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Afghanistan returns to the Stone Age. In the last years, so many hopes have been growing like those of young filmmaker Shaharbanoo Sadat, who stepped onto the international stage with great self-confidence and tells of everyday life in the rural Hindu Kush. Youth, hope, mystery - today a homage to a lost homeland.
The suspended step of the stork (1991)
Theo Angelopoulos
Greece
136′
While working on a story in the border area, a young journalist discovers a divided town bisected by a river which is also the national frontier. He observes a surreal wedding in which the bride and her family stand on one shore and the groom and his relatives on the other, lost under a cold sky: figure in a landscape who only delude themselves that they are masters of the earth and their destiny The town, a remote ghost town, almost forgotten at the end of the world, has been named «waiting room» by the locals because most of its inhabitants are refugees from different countries many of whom have crossed the border illegally at some time or other and are now waiting for their turn to leave and start life anew «somewhere else.» In the course of his investigation he also comes upon an aging, reclusive refugee, who lives there cultivating a field. But the young journalist believes he is a famous Greek politician who disappeared years before, leaving behind him many unanswered questions. The man's identity is never resolved but the hapless refugees and divided village allow the reporter to understand his despair over the human condition. Theo Angelopoulos weaves yet another poetical allegory on the great open questions of our turbulent age. The film is very contemporary in its treatment of borders, refugees and a changing world since the fall of communism in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. «Being a refugee is an internal condition more than an external one, says one of the characters in the film. And later on he also says, «We've passed the borders but we're still here. How many frontiers do we have to pass to get home?» Do politicians really care? Does anyone? Finally, there is the image of the stranger standing on the bridge poised over the dividing line between the two countries. He has one leg suspended in mid air, like a stork. «If I take one more step I am... somewhere else, or... I die.»
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«There are moments where you have to be silent, in order to be able to listen to the sound of musique though the sound of the rain», says the politician and retreats. 30 years ago, Greek director Theo Angelopoulos was reflecting about borders and politics with Jeanne Moreau and Marcello Mastroianni. In 2003, «The Suspended Step of the Stork»-producer Ruth Waldburger was awarded the Raimondo Rezzonico Award in Locarno.
Matlosa (1981)
Villi Hermann
Switzerland
94′
Alfredo seems to lead the life of so many Ticinese families born in the valleys, who now only go back to their native village for the weekend. But Alfredo doesn’t longer experiences the journey as a form of escapism, but as an obsessive rite which is repeated over and over again. Alfredo has lost his own identity.
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In May, filmmaker Villi Hermann turned 80. He made his first feature film "Matlosa" 40 years ago and presented it in competition at the Locarno Filmfestival, which is going to start these days. A homage to the Ticino and a reunion with the unforgettable Omero Antonutti in a story of a guy who returns to his mountain valley and learns to dream anew.
The Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca, lasts from 17 to 22 July. Due to the pandemic, only 60,000 local pilgrims are allowed, instead of 2.5 million from all over the world. How an old man fulfils his dream is beautifully told in the fiction film "Le grand voyage". The starting point is Aix en Provence, where the devout father wants to go to Mecca by land and persuades his son to drive him by car. A road movie from the Occident to the Orient and a touching father-son story.
Melaza
Carlos Lechuga
Cuba
82′
Money and love worries of swimming teacher Aldo and rum factory worker Monica in Melaza, the cradle of Cuban sugarcane. With tangible love for Cuba, the director takes a fresh look at his struggling characters: you can also learn to swim in a piscina without water. In the Cuban village of Melaza, named after the once flourishing sugarcane fields, time stands still. Even when all kinds of things happen, nothing ever changes. The State pretends to take care of everything, but it shuts the rum factory and makes swimming lessons impossible. There's no use complaining, think the inhabitants, that’s just how it is. Melaza is the heartwarming love story of Aldo and Monica, a photogenic couple who live in a much too small cottage with their fat daughter and grumpy grandma. They try very hard to earn some extra money. Their attempts finally get the couple into deeper and deeper trouble. But together, the lovers manage to pull through it. New talent Carlos Lechuga tells his critical story with humour and sparse dialogue, taking us on a journey to the beauties of rural Cuba. Far from the hotels and from Havana, but with a reality familiar to everyone who has ever been to Cuba - or faced a shortage of cash. (Filmfestival Rotterdam)
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In Cuba, an unusually large number of people are in the streets these days to ask for "patria y vida" with an emphasis on life. What standstill means in a system that has slept through itself can be experienced through the love story of Aldo and Monica. In the sugar village of Melaza, everything has been at a standstill for a long time. Imagination is needed by those who want to survive. An inside view to the news.
Atlantic
Mati Diop
Senegal
105′
Along the Atlantic coast, a soon-to-be-inaugurated futuristic tower looms over a suburb of Dakar. Ada, 17, is in love with Souleiman, a young construction worker. But she has been promised to another man. One night, Souleiman and his co-workers leave the country by sea, in hope of a better future. Several days later, a fire ruins Ada’s wedding and a mysterious fever starts to spread. Little does Ada know that Souleiman has returned.
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Holidays are approaching, and even if they are supposed to be different than before: the dream of a simpler and more relaxed world, at least for a few holiday days, has remained. In his feather-light summer film, the Czech comedy master Jiří Menzel, who died last autumn, told the story of a family from the city who discovers an old farmhouse during an excursion to the countryside and henceforth spend their holidays there. It all has a beautifully nostalgic patina and makes us travel twice: To nature and in time.
Football dominates currently all over Europe. In "Pizza Bethlehem" a football team is portrayed, but they are women, juniors, and Bruno Moll is concerned with their lives, their everyday life in Bern's Bethlehem neighbourhood and their dreams. He takes a lively, loving and humorous look at the everyday lives of young women at school, in love, at work and in the family.
A majority in Switzerland apparently does not yet feel affected by the changes in the climate. Matthias von Gunten made two journeys seven years ago and brought two points of the planet together in an impressive way. In Thule in Greenland the ice is melting, in Tuvalu in the Pacific the sea level is rising. The peaceful island country will sink in the foreseeable future.
La Salamandre (1971)
Alain Tanner
Switzerland
114′
Rosemonde the Salamander is a young girl who gets by thanks to low-paid jobs of all kinds. She is suspected of attempting to kill the uncle with whom she lives. A journalist and a writer are hired to get to the bottom of this mystery, as the basis for a television film scenario. They are unsuccessful however. The truth about Rosemonde and her special appreciation of life continue to elude these two amateur detectives.
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The first women's strike took place 30 years ago on 14 June. Tula Roy documented "The Other Story" in 1993 (watch it on filmingo). This week we recommend Rosemonde, who fifty years ago in Alain Tanner's film "La salamandre" no longer wanted to play her role and rebelled in her own way. Two men set out to find the truth about Rosemonde, who wants to be free and self-determined
Rafiki
Wanuri Kahiu
Kenya
82′
"Good Kenyan girls become good Kenyan wives," but Kena and Ziki long for something more. Despite the political rivalry between their families, the girls resist and remain close friends, supporting each other to pursue their dreams in a conservative society. When love blossoms between them, the two girls will be forced to choose between happiness and safety.
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June is Pride Month. This film from Kenya also fits in well with the tentatively approaching summer. And it radiates what also distinguishes the young filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu: A healthy self-confidence of African youth who stand up for themselves here and now and for a self-determined and happy life.
«The most authentic and representative cuban movie of the last decade», says the successful author Fernando Pérez (Life Is to Whistle) about "Conducta", which focuses on clever Chala and his relationship with the teacher Carmela, who gives everything for her children. This is timelessly great emotional cinema that tells a stirring story of life in Havana and of being young.
Messidor (1979)
Alain Tanner
Switzerland
123′
Project initially entrusted to Maurice Pialat, who had already begun to film it under the title of “Meurtrières” (see the special edition of Les Inrockuptibles devoted to Pialat), Messidor is based on a crime story which hit the headlines in France in the 1970s: two adolescent girls run away and go on a criminal spree which ends in their deaths. On the face of it, this subject is remote from the world we associate with Tanner, since a violent story of this kind and its social background would seem to impose the realistic, even naturalistic form always shunned by the Swiss director. Moreover, Tanner is instinctively averse to filming physical violence. “Killing a person”, he says, “is generally a gratuitous special effect.” Consequently, of all Tanner’s films Messidor is the only one in which someone dies of non-natural causes. It is also Tanner’s most sombre work, characterised by a despair unmitigated by his usual verbal and situational humour. This is because Tanner accepted the project only on condition that he could recast the original idea and use this violent story as a vehicle for more personal preoccupations: the limits of freedom (already treated in his previous film) are here related to the girls’ frantic flight in the Swiss countryside. What interests him is the possible sullying of this place of excessive peace and quiet, now transformed into a field of experience and criminal fun-and-games by the two characters..
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In the French revolutionary calendar, Messidor refers to the first month of summer, which begins on 19 June and stands for the harvest. Alain Tanner was competing at the Berlinale in 1979 with this story of two young women and caused some discussions. It was not until the youth riots one year later that it became clear that he had a seismographic sensitivity and that the outburst of the two was fully in keeping with the feeling of the time. One could also say that Jeanne and Marie were a Swiss foretaste of Thelma and Louise. And today they may stand for the desire: Let's get out!
Once again, things are boiling in Jerusalem, the city that could be a symbol for the peaceful coexistence of the three Abrahamic religions. A "Divine Intervention" by someone who does not get involved in the big conflict and instead enjoys observing patterns of behaviour, aberrations and interpersonal issues would be helpful. The director from Jerusalem mimes the main character of the prevented lover with a stoic expression reminiscent of Buster Keaton. Poetry, wit and love defy the repulsiveness of politics.
On 10 May, the Italian filmmaker Ettore Scola would have turned 90. Cinema has already 125. And since a few days the cinemas are open again. If you can't or don't want to go out yet: Here is one of the most beautiful declarations of love for cinemas and film, and also for Italianità, life and love.
It's cinema again! Still limited, and not every longing has been satisfied. We're still dreaming of going out for diner or a concert in a full hall, for example with the gifted pianist Teo Gheorghiu. He has some more years than he had here in the role of the child prodigy Vitus with grandfather Bruno Ganz. But one thing is clear: the longing to take off in freer circumstances, which the film revolves around, also inspires us.
La belle et la meute
Kaouther Ben Hania
Tunisia
100′
During a student party, Mariam, a young Tunisian woman, meets the mysterious Youssef and leaves with him. A long night will begin, during which she’ll have to fight for her rights and her dignity. But how can Justice be made when it lies on the side of the tormentors?
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On Monday night, the Oscars are on again. For the first time, Tunisia is part of the party, and from there it's pure female power. Kaouther Ben Hania presents her latest film "The Man Who Sold His Skin". We keep our fingers crossed for her and offer an insight into her uncompromising work with two films by the talented director. In "La belle et la meute", a young woman spends a night trying to press charges against the men who raped her.
Who would have thought two years ago that children and young people would enjoy simply going to school? Probably not only in the class of teacher François in a suburb of Paris. So let's dive joyfully into everyday school life, which Laurent Cantet has staged so grippingly and true to life in his feature film with amazingly talented young actors that it won the Palme d'Or.
The Rider
Chloé Zhao
United States
103′
Once a rising star of the rodeo circuit, and a gifted horse trainer, young cowboy Brady is warned that his riding days are over after a horse crushed his skull at a rodeo. In an attempt to regain control of his own fate, Brady undertakes a search for a new identity and what it means to be a man in the heartland of the United States.
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The Oscars will be awarded only by end of April. With six nominations, Golden Globes winner Chloé Zhao with "Nomadland" is one of the favorites this year. To tide you over while you wait for the cinema release of the movie and the Oscars, we recommend the Chinese-born director's latest film. She invites us to take a trip into the wilderness of South Dakota, sensitively balancing tender poetry, archaic myths and the harsh reality of life in the Heartlands.
"Man, this is fun!" rejoices one of the most important and successful artists of our time as he once again guides the camera himself, and the film about him shows us what he means at that moment. The current exhibition at the Kunsthaus Zürich is dedicated to Gerhard Richter's multifaceted oeuvre; we expand it with the sensitive and gently contemplative insight that Corinna Belz gives us into the creative process and into seeing itself.
Time to relax and try to take the situation as easy as possible. For example with a love comedy in which a guy is stubborn and one day notices that he is leaking and loses sand. A refreshing and romantic film about the power of transformation and the courage to realise one's own dreams and oneself.
We think these days of Bruno Ganz, the great actor who would have celebrated his 80th birthday. You'll find some of his films listed on filmingo. This week we specially recommend his excursion to Lisbon, where Alain Tanner lets him not only leave the ship he works on but somehow also the time.
Sans soleil (1983)
Chris. Marker
France
104′
Chris Marker, filmmaker, poet, novelist, photographer, editor, and now videographer and digital multimedia artist, has been challenging moviegoers, philosophers, and himself for years with his complex queries about time, memory, and the rapid advancement of life on this planet. Sans Soleil is his mind-bending free-form travelogue that journeys from Africa to Japan.
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What about an essay? Nobody manages this special form in cinema better than Chris. Marker did. His SANS SOLEIL is one of the highlights, figures on lists of the best movies ever and leads us to Japan, Guinea Bissau and San Francisco, where we learn about the fascination of memory and Hitchcock's VERTIGO.
On Body and Soul
Ildiko Enyedi
Hungary
116′
Two introverted people find out by pure chance that they share the same dream every night. They are puzzled, incredulous, a bit frightened. As they hesitantly accept this strange coincidence, they try to recreate in broad daylight what happens in their dream.
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This week, the Berlin Film Festival is running, mainly virtually, but with an illustrious jury consisting of 6 Golden Bear winners. Among them is Ildikó Enyedi from Hungary, who won the Berlinale four years ago with her carefully restrained love story of two soulmates. Endre and Maria cannot know it, but they have the same dream at night, encounter each other in it as a deer and a hind. Virtual, so to speak, like so much at present.
Drifting Clouds (1996)
Aki Kaurismäki
Finland
95′
Ilona Koponen (Kati Outinen), a head waitress at Dubrovnik restaurant, is married to Lauri (Kari Väänänen), a tram driver. The couple live in a small, modestly furnished apartment in Helsinki. As they both come home from work late one night, Lauri surprises Ilona with a new television which he purchased on store credit. There is a short discussion between the two regarding their ability to meet their financial obligations but they agree that the TV payments are manageable. Next day, as Lauri gets to work, he learns that the company will be laying off several workers due to non-profitability of certain tram routes and he is randomly chosen as one of the workers to be laid off. The day after Lauri has finished working his last scheduled shift Ilona is informed by the owner of Dubrovnik that the restaurant is being sold to a chain restaurant company and all the employees will be let go since the new company will be bringing in its own employees. Both of them set out looking for work immediately but with discouraging results. Lauri gets offered a job as a bus driver but is unable to pass the medical exam and subsequently loses his professional driver's licence. Ilona gets a job at a rundown bar/restaurant which doesn't even have a name and is owned by a tax evading crook. After 6 weeks of working there, the restaurant gets shut down by the state and Ilona does not get paid by the dishonest owner. During their search for meaningful employment, both Lauri and Ilona enter bouts of heavy-drinking, all the while running into their former co-workers who are dealing with similar difficulties. At one point, the two even sell their car and take the money to a casino in hopes of doubling the money but they, however, end up losing it all. Most of their furniture as well as the new TV that Lauri bought is repossessed by the creditors. One day, Ilona accidentally runs into Mrs Sjöholm (Elina Salo), her former boss. Sjöholm suggests that Ilona should open up a restaurant. Since Ilona does not have the financial means needed for such a venture, Sjöholm agrees to provide the capital for the restaurant to start operating with the understanding that Ilona will pay back the loan to Mrs Sjöholm. Ilona, humbled by her recent experiences, is initially reluctant to accept the offer for fear of the restaurant failing and her not being able to repay Mrs Sjöholm. She eventually does agree. Ilona names the restaurant Work and hires some of the staff from Dubrovnik, including the troubled chef Lajunen (Markku Peltola), plus Lauri. Filled with anxiety during a slow lunch hour on opening day, Ilona's worries quickly disappear as she watches the restaurant fill to capacity later the same afternoon. After receiving a call from a Helsinki union asking for a reservation for 30 people, Lauri and Ilona exit the restaurant and stand on the front steps appearing emotionless and looking at the skies as more people enter the restaurant.
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Who doesn't long for a relaxed meal out again? We all hope that the clouds will soon pass and the pubs will open, if the situation allows. It hasn't been easy for a long time, as the waitress from the "Dubrovnik" in Helsinki and her husband show us. They don't give up, they want to realise their dream where they live, they open their own restaurant and hope. We raise a glass to the 25th birthday of the little pearl from Finland.
The Tunisian Nacer Khemir is one of the popular narrators of stories from 1001 Nights. Here he takes up a medieval material from the times when Andalusia was Moorish and sends a caligraphy student in search of the sixty words that Arabic knows for love. We present the fairytale film in a freshly restored version.