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Canadian director Philippe Falardeau toys with coincidence, contrivance, and near-mystical encounters in this comic drama with as many twists of fate as there are twists of plot. When Michel (Olivier Gourmet), a failed Belgian inventor, discovers he was adopted, he sets off to find his birth parents in Canada. There he encounters Louis (Paul Ahmarani), a kindred spirit who has much in common with Michel. "...dramatic, ingenious, sensitive..." (Michel Coulombe,
). With Jean-Pierre Cassel and Gabriel Arcand. In French with English subtitles. Philippe Falardeau---Canada/Belgium/France---2006---105 mins.
DANY LAFERRIERE: FILMS FROM A POET'S IMAGINATION
The mystery and wonder of modern-day Haiti come alive in this two-film set based on the work of writer-director Dany Laferriere. In
How to Conquer America in One Night
(96 mins.), handsome Gege, a Haitian in his thirties, arrives in Montreal at the doorstep of his Uncle Fanfan, determined to be successful by charming blonde-haired women. During the course of one night out on the town, Gege and Fanfan discover fun, friendship, and fantasies--with the help of twins Andree and Denise.
On the Verge of a Fever
(88 mins.) is set in 1971, against the backdrop of Haiti's brutal dictatorship and features younger incarnations of Fanfan and Gege, the characters from the previous film. Fanfan finds himself in deep trouble after an incident with the Tonton-Macoute, Haiti's bloodthirsty military police force. He holes up with a beautiful neighbor in her house, where his life will drastically change. In French with English subtitles.
Dany Laferriere---Canada---2004---184 mins.
LATE NIGHT SESSIONS
Krzysztof Kieslowski's superb cinematic representations of the three colors of the French flag--
--are collected in an impressive 4-DVD set. These equally beautiful, somber, sexy, and humorous explorations of liberty, equality, and fraternity have garnered numerous honors, including Best Actress for Juliette Binoche at Venice.
LIFE AND HARD TIMES OF GUY TERRIFICO
Best described as the Hungarian
Waiting for Guffman
follows Otto Szamba Sr., the center of cultural activities in a small town near Budapest. He organizes festivals, a rowing squad, a choir, and, most importantly, a community theatre group, which all the children of the town embrace. All except Otto Jr., ashamed of his father's tendency to overact on stage and in real life. After some detours, though, Otto Jr. ends up a student of the Budapest Drama School. Along with the theme of generational differences, the conflict of communism vs. capitalism is predominant in this delightful, comic drama by Robert Koltai. In Hungarian with English subtitles. Robert Koltai---Hungary---1996---100 mins.
MEE-SHEE: THE WATER GIANT
A beautiful 20-year-old Gypsy girl, crippled in an accident, relives her obsessive, ultimately destructive sexual relationship with a married businessman through the diary she keeps. Structured through memories that slowly reveal the price she paid for her passion, this is a dark yet sensual portrayal of the psychological depths of physical love. Also known as
School of Sensitivity
. Official Selection at the Prague Film Festival. Andras Solyom---Hungary---1995---90 mins.
Nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, this visceral post-9/11 disaster movie starts with dirty bombs exploding over Los Angeles, spreading a deadly toxin across the sky and effectively shutting down the city. When Martial Law is put into effect, a desperate man (Rory Cochrane) accidentally quarantines his wife (Mary McCormack) outside their zip-locked home, where toxic fallout and crazed mobs hold sway. Working with a small budget, writer-director Chris Gorak uses his art and production experience (
Fight Club; Minority Report
) to paint a chilling picture of America. Award-winning cinematography by Tom Richmond (
House of 1000 Corpses
. Chris Gorak---USA---2006---95 mins.
Set against a tumultuous backdrop of fear and violence, Haim Bouzaglo's acclaimed films tells of a Tel Aviv playwright who attempts to make sense of his country's carnage and his own tangled personal life by writing a new play. When writer's block sets in, Haim seeks a creative spark by hiring a private eye to trail his documentary filmmaker girlfriend. Bouzaglo brings an original mix of filmmaking styles to this potent and challenging drama about the malaise of contemporary life in Israel. In Hebrew with English subtitles. Haim Bouzaglo---Israel/France---2005---103 mins.
TWISTED TORMENTED TRAGIC 2 FIL
This collection contains two critically-acclaimed films from Quebec that reflect the unique culture and worldview of the region. With
(Canada/Belgium/France, 2006, 105 mins.), director Philippe Falardeau toys with coincidence, contrivance, and near-mystical encounters in this comic drama with as many twists of fate as there are twists of plot. When Michel (Olivier Gourmet), a failed Belgian inventor, discovers he was adopted, he sets off to find his birth parents in Canada. There he encounters Louis (Paul Ahmarani), a kindred spirit who has much in common with Michel. Then in Andre Forcier's
A Wind from Wyoming
(Canada, 1994, 100 mins.), Lea is dumped by her boxer boyfriend on the eve of her 18th birthday, her mother has just run off with her sweetheart, and her obese sister is obsessing over some celebrated author. So Lea enlists the help of a hack hypnotist to try to get her dysfunctional family back on track. In French with English subtitles. Philippe Falardeau/Andre Forcier---Canada/Belgium/France---2006/1994---205 mins.
WIND FROM WYOMING, A
When Lea is dumped by her boxer boyfriend on the eve of her 18th birthday, she's unsure who to turn to for support. Her mother (France Castel) has just run off with her sweetheart, and her obese sister (Celine Bonner) is too busy obsessing over a celebrated author (Francois Cluzet,
) to notice. So Lea enlists the help of a hack hypnotist to try to get her dysfunctional family back on track. Andre Forcier's film is "a wonderfully surreal comedy about sex, jealousy, boxing and hypnosis...With a spirit worthy of surrealist pioneer Luis Bunuel, Forcier presents one outrageous scene after another" (
). In French with English subtitles.
Andre Forcier---Canada---1994---100 mins.
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