All speak of the “problem of foreigners” in West Germany. This film deliberately shows that this issue is primarily a German problem. the very personal story of Melek, a Turkish 38, after living 14 years in West Berlin, decides to return to their homeland account. The film portrays a woman out of the ordinary, one juggler of survival, a woman who forces us to rethink the image is generally on Turkish women. Melek does not let pigeonhole commonplace. And, in the same way, it is difficult to label the film about Melek: It is a mix between documentary and fiction, a mixture of associations and images of Berlin and Turkey. The film is an attempt to describe the invisible wounds that are afflicted with a foreign worker in the Federal Republic of Germany.
Documentary. The tranquil woods of the Loire Valley embrace the La Borde psychiatric clinic, an asylum in the truest sense of the word, where patients find sanctuary and repose. Patients and staff work together in rehearsals and preparations for their annual summer play. This year, they perform the modernist, absurdist classic, “Operette,” by Witold Gombrowicz, whose dialogue is more nonsensical than that of the patients themselves.
Ala-Arriba! (1942) José Leitão de Barros, Ilidio Rocha Silvestre, Elsa Bea-Flor, João Moço, Romance, Documentary, Drama
In a village of poor fishermen in the North of Portugal, João Moço and Julha fall in love. Unfortunately they belong to two different fisher castes and the community as well as their respective families condemn their love…
Biquefarre is a small farm in Aveyron. The changing economics of farming lead Raoul, in late middle age, to decide to sell and move to Toulouse. At least two neighboring farmers want to buy Biquefarre: Lucien and the young Marcel. Behind the scenes, Henri, whose brother is Marcel’s father and who is also Lucien’s brother-in-law, negotiates with Raoul so that Marcel’s father can secretly sweeten Marcel’s offer. Will dad and uncle succeed? In the background is the hard daily work of farming: milking cows, harvesting at night, and finding help when a farmer falls ill. Progress brings challenges: polluted water, factory farms, and skyrocketing land prices.
Synth Britannia (2009) Benjamin Whalley, Vince Clarke, Martin Gore, Richard H. Kirk, Documentary, Music
Farrebique, the first feature-length effort of French documentary filmmaker Georges Rouqier, is widely regarded as his finest film. Rouqier concentrates on a single French farm family, following them through the four seasons. As in the works of Robert Flaherty, the human characters and the land surrounding them are “one”, and Rouqier never misses an opportunity to parallel their lives with the eons-old phases of nature. The final symbolic images of Spring, achieved through time-lapse photography, are almost unbearably beautiful. The winner of several festival awards, Farrebique nonetheless did not immediately result in an outpouring of financing for Rouqier’s follow-up films (this was a common problem in the financially strapped French film industry of the 1940s). Perhaps as a result, Rouqier did not make his sequel, Biquefarre (filmed in the same region, with some of the same “actors”), until 1983.
This film shows the Scared Straight program that has hardened convicts from maximum security prisons tell their stories about the truth about prison life in order to convince kids that no crime is worth the risk of being incarcerated.
Abbas Kiarostami: A Report (2013) Bahman Maghsoudlou, Kurosh Afsharpanah, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Godfrey Cheshire, Documentary, History
An analysis of the style and vision of Abbas Kiarostami, the world’s most iconic Iranian filmmaker, through the lens of his earliest work, including his first short film (Bread & Alley, 1970) and, particularly, his first feature, The Report. This early example of Kiarostami’s work gives insight into his poetic, humanistic tendencies, combining allegorical storytelling with a documentary, neo-realist sensibility, and often exploring the very nature of film as fiction, that have pervaded his work ever since, including such recent international sensations as A Taste of Cherry and Certified Copy. Exclusive interviews with film critics, historians and scholars (including the late great Andrew Sarris) and those directly involved in the making of The Report provide a look at how the career of this master independent auteur began and was shaped.
The Curse of the Swastika, a classic British Pathé documentary from 1940, illustrates the insidious rise of the Nazi Party from its post World War One origins through Adolf Hitler’s conniving to become both the leader of the party and eventual dictator of his self-styled Third Reich.
Die Gebrüder Skladanowsky / A Trick of the Light (1995) Wim Wenders, Stefan Barber, Wiebke Bayer, Nadine Büttner, Biography, Drama, Documentary
A rare gem of cinematic storytelling that weaves docudrama, fictional reenactment, and experimental photography into a powerful, reflective work on the early days of German cinema. The film tells the story of the Skladanowsky Brothers, the German-born duo responsible for inventing the “bioskop”, an early version of the film projector.