Ondrej, a young boy who loves bees and bats, is introduced to his new mother, a woman much younger than his father. He brings her a basketful of flowers which she starts to throw in the air and then gives out a shriek, as she discovers several bats in the bottom of the bowl. In a rage, Ondrej’s father picks the boy up and hurls him against the wall. As the boy lays on the ground paralyzed the father promises the Holy Virgin to dedicate the boy to her if she spares his life. Ondrej survives and is raised in a strict Knightly Order, where he is mentored by a devout monk, Armin. But one day, an extraordinary event makes him doubt the Order and remember where he came from.
Afrodite, dea dell’amore / Aphrodite, Goddess of Love (1958) Mario Bonnard, Isabelle Corey, Anthony Steffen, Irène Tunc, Drama, History
Year 67 A.D. the ruler of Corinth is a fan of Nero. Fails to set fire to his hometown, dedicated to the worship of Aphrodite, goddess of love, but when a plague epidemic breaks finds nothing better than to accuse the Christian citizens. What if he was just the love goddess of Olympus who would help the poor Christians?
The growing ambition of Julius Caesar is a source of major concern to his close friend Brutus. Cassius persuades him to participate in his plot to assassinate Caesar but they have both sorely underestimated Mark Antony.
Dragon Seed (1944) Harold S. Bucquet, Jack Conway, Katharine Hepburn, Walter Huston, Aline MacMahon, Drama, History, War
Ling Tang and his family live on his prosperous farm in rural Southern China and have not yet felt the impact of the Japanese invasion in the North. Tang’s two oldest sons, Lao Ta Tan and Lao Er Tan are married and hard working while youngest son Lao San Tan remains a free spirit. Er’s wife Jade is also willfully unconventional and desires to exercises her literacy skills by reading books, a most unfeminine practice in 1930’s China. Tang’s only daughter is married to Wu Lien, a city merchant who profits from selling Japanese goods. When the dreaded invasion reaches their village, the family is scattered as the sons join the resistance while Wu Lien survives by collaborating with the enemy.
Actas de Marusia / Letters from Marusia (1976) Miguel Littin, Gian Maria Volontè, Diana Bracho, Claudio Obregón, Drama, History
In the late 19th and early 20th century, working conditions in Chile are abysmal. The workers of Marusia go on a strike, but the owners and the government decide to quell the mutiny, in blood if necessary.
Vladimir et Rosa / Vladimir and Rosa (1971) Groupe Dziga Vertov, Jean-Luc Godard, Yves Afonso, Juliet Berto, Jean-Luc Godard, Drama, History
In Godard and Gorin’s free interpretation of the Chicago Eight trial, Judge Hoffman becomes Judge Himmler (who doodles notes on Playboy centerfolds), the Chicago Eight become microcosms of French revolutionary society, and Godard and Gorin play Lenin and Karl Rosa, respectively, discussing politics and how to show them through the cinema.
Francesco, giullare di Dio / The Flowers of St. Francis (1950) Roberto Rossellini, Aldo Fabrizi, Gianfranco Bellini, Peparuolo, Biography, History, Drama
The film dramatizes about a dozen vignettes from the life of St. Francis and his early followers – starting with their return in the rain to Rivotorlo from Rome when the Pope blessed their Rule and ending with their dispersal to preach. The unconnected chapters are like parables, some with a moral. The slight and comic Ginepro returns naked to St. Mary’s of the Angels, having given away his tunic, but not his ricotta. The aged Giovanni shouts and holds onto his cape; the beatific St. Clair pays a visit. Humble Francis doubts his leadership, hugs a leper, and sends his brothers spinning, dizzy, and smiling into the world. This brotherhood is infused with whimsy as well as belief.
Est – Ouest / East – West (1999) Régis Wargnier, Oleg Menshikov, Sandrine Bonnaire, Catherine Deneuve, Drama, History, Romance
June 1946: Stalin invites Russian emigres to return to the motherland. It’s a trap: when a ship-load from France arrives in Odessa, only a physician and his family are spared execution or prison. He and his French wife (her passport ripped up) are sent to Kiev. She wants to return to France immediately; he knows that they are captives and must watch every step. By chance, she meets a touring French actress and pleads for help. She also takes a young swimmer under her wing, and several years later, he makes a bold attempt to escape. Meanwhile, the KGB is suspicious, and hope for freedom is dim. Patience, her husband’s self control, and her good looks may be their only assets.
Atentát / The Assault (1965) Jirí Sequens, Radoslav Brzobohatý, Ludek Munzar, Ladislav Mrkvicka, Action, Drama, History
It is autumn 1941. Acting Reichsprotector Reinhard Heydrich has taken up his position in the occupied Czech lands and Moravia. His old rival from the Nazi supremoes, Admiral Canaris, objects to Heydrich’s cruelty, which raises great hatred everywhere he goes. Meanwhile, selected Czechoslovak soldiers undergo paratrooper training in Great Britain; the soldiers are then to be dropped into Czech territory to support the local resistance. Several groups of well-trained men will soon see their homeland.