France | 2013 | Fiction | French & Khmer w/ English subtitles
Run Time: 127 minutes
Film source: New Yorker Films
La Folie Almayer (Almayer’s Folly)
As mysterious and dark as the Joseph Conrad novel from which it is freely adapted, acclaimed director Chantal Akerman’s latest film digs into the racial and sexual underpinnings of European colonialism. Told in oblique, introspective vignettes, La Folie Almayer follows the misguided exploits of Kaspar Almayer as he searches in vain for treasure in the Malaysian jungle, and labors ineffectually to safeguard his mixed-race daughter, Nina, the object of fascination of nearly every male character in the film. The film is lush and beautiful, with unforgettably odd and lovely images of decaying jungles, neon-lit karaoke clubs, and bizarre, floating temples. Akerman’s characteristic long takes encourage both contemplation and wonderment. Acclaimed by critics worldwide, La Folie Almayer is a puzzling and rewarding film that plunges into Conrad’s heart of darkness and brings the viewer along for the enigmatic ride.
About the Director: One of the boldest cinematic visionaries of the past quarter century, Akerman takes a profoundly personal and aesthetically idiosyncratic approach to cinema, using it to investigate geography and identity, space and time, sexuality and religion. Influenced by the structural cinema she was exposed to when she came to New York from her native Belgium in 1970, Akerman made her mark in the decade that followed, playing with long takes and formal repetition in her films, which include Hotel Monterey (1972), Je tu il elle (1975), News from Home (1976) and Les rendez-vous d’Anna (1978). Her greatest achievement to date, however, is her epic 1975 experiment Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, a hypnotic study of a middle-aged widow’s stifling routine widely considered one of the great feminist films.
Austri, France | 2012 | Documentary
Run Time: 92 minutes
Film source: Films Boutique/box]
Over the past two-and-a-half decades, director Michael Haneke has established himself as a towering figure in modern cinema with his uniquely controversial and challenging films that have polarized audiences and critics alike for decades. Such works as Funny Games (1997 and 2007: he remade his own film), The Piano Teacher (2001), the mysterious Caché (2005), and last year’s Oscar-winning Amour explore both the dark and the loving sides of human existence – often at the same time, and almost always in unforgettable ways. Now, Yves Montmayeur, who has made the “making-of” documentaries for most of Haneke’s films, turns his lens on Haneke himself, unravelling a working method that reveals a great deal about the man. As much a meditation on the nature of film as any of Haneke’s works themselves, Michael H: Profession Filmmaker uses interviews with Haneke’s creative collaborators as well as re-contextualized footage from his films. The documentary finds a compelling tension between the warmth of the man and the horrors in his films, and is a fascinating portrait of one of the most important filmmakers of our day.
France | 2013 | Documentary
Run Time: 87 minutes
Film source: Chihuly Workshop
Sponsor: VT Energy Investment Corporation=
A groundbreaking, immersive portrait of the contemporary commercial fishing industry. Filmed off the coast of New Bedford, Massachusetts, Leviathan follows a hulking groundfish trawler, into the surrounding murky black waters on a weeks-long fishing expedition. But instead of romanticizing the labor or partaking in the longstanding tradition of turning fisherfolk into images, the filmmakers present a vivid, almost-kaleidoscopic representation of players, both human and marine. Employing an arsenal of cameras that passed freely from film crew to ship crew; that swoop from below sea level to astonishing bird’s-eye views, the film that emerges is unlike anything that has been seen before. Entirely dialogue-free, but mesmerizing and gripping throughout, it is a cosmic portrait of one of mankind’s oldest endeavors..
About the Directors: Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor are filmmakers, artists, and anthropologists, who work at the Sensory Ethnography Lab at Harvard University. Their work is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art (NY) and the British Museum, and has been screened at the AFI, BAFICI, Berlin, CPH:DOX, Locarno, NewYork, Toronto, and Viennale film festivals, and exhibited at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts, the Centre Pompidou, the Berlin Kunsthalle, and elsewhere.
Sevilla International Film Festival – Non-Fiction Eurodoc Award
Belfort International Film Festival – Grand Jury Award
Locarno International Film Festival – Fipresci jury award
France | 2013 | Fiction | French w/English subtitles
Run Time: 105 minutes
Film source: Cohen Media Group
Perhaps the most important and daring modern French filmmaker, François Ozon has created, in In the House, another in a series of provocative explorations of sexuality and desire. Claude (Umhauer, in a cryptic performance), a gifted student, impresses his teacher (Luchini) with uncommonly perceptive essays, thus beginning a surprising series of manipulations that reverberate throughout the lives of reader and writer alike. As Claude’s stories – all of which involve his classmate, Rapha, and his “perfect family” – get darker and stranger, it becomes increasingly difficult to separate fact from fiction, and Ozon revels in this uncertainty, daring us to do the same. Winner of multiple international awards, this is a deceptively simple film that, once unraveled, becomes more and more challenging; in the end, it does nothing less than call into question the very nature of storytelling itself. The film’s jaw-dropping last shot is at once a summary, a question mark, and a challenge to anyone who thinks they understand the way stories “should” be told.