After stealing a loaf a bread to feed a starving family, Jean Valjean is sentenced to ten years at hard labor as a galley slave. There he is taught to read and write by another prisoner and meets Javert, an obsessive policeman who was himself born to convict parents aboard a prison ship. After his release, Valjean is treated as a pariah but finally finds shelter in the home of a kindly bishop. Valjean repays the clergyman’s generosity by stealing his silver plate. He is apprehended by the authorities and returned to the bishop but is amazed when the kindly old priest tells them that the valuable plates were a gift. This becomes a transforming experience for the ex-convict, who establishes himself under an assumed name in a small country village as factory manager and ultimately mayor. Unfortunately the newly-promoted Javert is assigned there as chief inspector. Although he doesn’t recognize his old nemesis at first, the two clash over Javert’s overzealous prosecution of the letter of …
Risttuules / In The Crosswind (2014) Martti Helde, Einar Hillep, Ingrid Isotamm, Laura Peterson, Drama, History
“Risttuules” is very emotional and tragic movie about mass deportation to Siberia based on memories of Erna. It all started 14th of June 1941 when trucks came for the innocent families with their children where they headed to train station and later by animal wagons to Siberia. “How to survive hunger, cold, humiliation, losing friends and freedom, but still keep living on, when almost all hope is lost?”
Escape / Flukt (2012) Roar Uthaug, Isabel Christine Andreasen, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Milla Olin, Action, History, Thriller
It’s been ten years since the Black Plague ravaged the lands. A poor family sets out on a journey to find a better place to live. On a desolate mountain pass, the family is attacked by a pack of merciless killers. The only one to be spared is 19 year old Signe, who is taken hostage and brought back to camp. There she learns she is to face a fate far worse than death, and she realizes the only thing to do is to run away. But her escape does not go unnoticed, and now the chase is on.
The Beginning or the End (1947) Norman Taurog, Brian Donlevy, Robert Walker, Tom Drake, Biography, Drama, History
Docudrama on the development of the first atomic bomb. Told from the perspective of a film recovered from a time capsule several hundred years into the future, the story is narrated by Robert Oppenheimer (Hume Cronyn) and Major General Leslie Groves (Brian Donlevy) beginning with the Nazis stated goal of developing an atomic bomb. Along with Britain and Canada, the U.S. reacts by beginning its own atomic program. The major developments are all presented: Fermi’s successful atomic chain reaction; building the huge complex at Oak Ridge, Tenn.; the production of the first supply of plutonium; the testing in the Nevada desert; and finally the dropping of the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
Last Hero in China / Wong Fei Hung V: Tit gai dau ng gung (1993) Jing Wong, Woo-Ping Yuen, Jet Li, Sharla Cheung, Dicky Cheung, Action, Comedy, History
Witches’ Hammer / Kladivo na carodejnice (1970) Otakar Vávra, Vladimír Smeral, Elo Romancik, Josef Kemr, Drama, History
The time is the seventeenth century. The beggar Maryna Schuchová hides the Host in her scarf at the Communion. She admits to the parish priest Schmidt that she intended to give it to the midwife Groerová to heal her ailing cow. The young priest declares her a witch and convinces the Sumperk countess De Galle to summon the inquisitor Boblig from Edelstadt. This failed student of law sees the offer as a great opportunity. He uses torture and threats to force the women from the to testify to their meetings with the devil and learn by heart the lies he has made up for the inquisition tribunal. Boblig accuses the wealthy burghers of witchcraft as well, and so wants to seize their possessions.
The Wind that Shakes the Barley (2006) Ken Loach, Cillian Murphy, Pádraic Delaney, Liam Cunningham, Drama, History, War
In 1920, rural Ireland is the vicious battlefield of republican rebels against the British security forces and Irish Unionist population who oppose them, a recipe for mutual cruelty. Medical graduate Damien O’Donovan always gave priority to his socialist ideals and simply helping people in need. Just when he’s leaving Ireland to work in a highly reputed London hospital, witnessing gross abuse of commoners changes his mind. He returns and joins the local IRA brigade, commanded by his brother Teddy, and adopts the merciless logic of civil war, while Teddy mellows by experiencing first-hand endless suffering. When IRA leaders negotiate an autonomous Free State under the British crown, Teddy defends the pragmatic best possible deal at this stage. Damien however joins the large seceding faction which holds nothing less than a socialist republic will do. The result is another civil war, bloodily opposing former Irish comrades in arms, even the brothers.
Laissez-passer / Safe Conduct (2002) Bertrand Tavernier, Jacques Gamblin, Denis Podalydès, Charlotte Kady, Biography, Drama, History
In occupied France, German-run Continental Films calls the shots in the movie business. Assistant director and Resistance activist Jean Devaivre works for Continental, where he can get “in between the wolf’s teeth and avoid being chewed up”. Fast-living screenwriter Jean Aurenche uses every possible argument to avoid working for the enemy. For both, wartime is a battle for survival.
When the Soviet Union on 17 September 1939 invades Poland, Anna Aleksandrowna leaves her home in Krakow to search for her husband, the Polish captain Andrzej. She finds him together with other officers captured by the Red Army, but some minutes later he is pushed into a train, which will take all the Polish officers to a prison camp in Kozelsk in Russia. Anna and her daughter Nika is now stuck in the Soviet occupied zone, unable to go back to Krakow in the German zone, not until a brave Russian captain helps them to flee. 3 April 1940 Andrzej is transported from the prison camp in Kozelsk to the Katyn Forest, where thousands of Polish officers are killed. In 1943 the Germans capture this area and find the mass graves. 13 April 1943 they start announcing the names of the identified corpses through loudspeakers in Krakow. Anna is happy that Andrzej is not in any of the Katyn lists, which gives her some hope. 18 January 1945 the Red Army liberates Krakow from the Nazis.
Il Decameron / The Decameron (1971) Pier Paolo Pasolini, Franco Citti, Ninetto Davoli, Jovan Jovanovic, Comedy, Drama, History
An adaptation of nine stories from Bocaccio’s “Decameron”: A young man from Perugia is swindled twice in Naples, but ends up rich; a man poses as a deaf-mute in a convent of curious nuns; a woman must hide her lover when her husband comes home early; a scoundrel fools a priest on his deathbed; three brothers take revenge on their sister’s lover; a young girl sleeps on the roof to meet her boyfriend at night; a group of painters wait for inspiration; a crafty priest attempts to seduce his friend’s wife; and two friends make a pact to find out what happen= s after death. Pasolini is up to his old tricks satirizing the Church, and throwing in liberal doses of life and love.