Browsing: MoMA

MoMA The-Wall-big

Yilmaz Güney’s first directorial effort succeeded his time in prison in Turkey in the 1970s and his escape from prison in 1981. It was made entirely in France and takes place almost entirely inside a prison. It is a damning, relentless portrait of Turkish prison life, with particular attention on the male adolescent inmates and their …

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The French title of Romain Goupil’s debut feature is Mourir à trente ans, which actually means ‘Death at thirty,’ in contrast to the designated English-language title. Goupil’s debut is a documentary of his firsthand experiences as a militant Trotskyite in 1960s France as a teenager, along with several of his close friends, during the heyday of …

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Upon seeing Hong Sang-soo’s films, Marin Karmitz has recounted that he knew right away he wanted to work with Hong for his future projects. With MK2, Karmitz did just that, producing Hong’s fifth and sixth films, Woman is the Future of Man and Tale of Cinema (2005). In retrospect, for enthusiasts of Hong’s cinema these two films mark a …

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Following his first experience, or experiment, with filming in digital with ABC Africa (2001), Abbas Kiarostami found another variable with which to explore and push the limitations of cinema and the boundaries between documentary and fiction. Ten consists of ten scenes shot with two digital cameras placed on either side of a car …

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The late Greek auteur Theo Angelopoulos’ The Beekeeper stars Marcello Mastroianni as Spyros, an aging man estranged from his family and the time in which he lives. In place of home, family, and job, he embarks on a road trip from northern to southern Greece as a beekeeper (as his father and grandfather once did before him). In the …

MoMA reverse-of-power

Coup pour coup/Blow For Blow was Marin Karmitz’ third and last stint behind the camera. Its unfussy and blunt visual form functions intensely in the service of the story of a strike and sit-in at a textile factory by its workers. In this regard, the film is political in content and execution: Karmitz worked exclusively with one hundred …

MoMA Tom-a-la-Ferme-de-Xavier-Dolan-Photo-c-Clara-Palardy

Xavier Dolan’s fourth feature film is a return for him to navigating behind and in front of the camera. At the same time, with this film he treads into the new territory of psychological suspense. Based on Québécois playwright Michel Marc Bouchard’s stage play of the same name, Dolan plays the titular character who travels to the Quebec …

Documentary Fortnight 2014 housemaids_1-1

In the vein of The Uprising (2013, reviewed here) and Demonstration (2013, reviewed here), Gabriel Mascaro assembles footage shot by other people to constitute his latest feature documentary Housemaids. He asked teenagers from seven different families to film their housemaids for one week and then give him their footage. The results are casual, candid portraits of these housemaids and their day-to-day living/work, relying principally on interviews. The film addresses a gamut of experiences, relationships, and memories that deal with a family and its domestic help. But the overarching portrait that emerges across these seven case studies, as it were, is how power, class, race, and gender shape these experiences, relationships, and memories. Mascaro has this larger context emerge instead of being didactic about it from the beginning, and so allows the spectator to co-create a thought-provoking work on social inequalities.

Documentary Fortnight 2014 demonstration-1

Similar in approach to Peter Snowdon’s The Uprising (2013), Demonstration is a film helmed by one person but consists of footage shot by others and spliced together in a specific way. This time, the person helming the project is Russian filmmaker Victor Kossakovsky, while the footage he used for the film was shot by thirty-two students from the Master’s program in Creative Documentary at the IDEC-Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, Spain. Also similar in subject to The Uprising, Demonstration is about mass protests; in this case, those that took place in Barcelona on 29th March and 14th November 2012, in response to the Catalan government’s austerity measures. The 29th March protests, in particular, marked the biggest one staged by the population. Protests reached such a peak energy that the government mobilised riot police. Most of the film consists of footage of the March protests, although like The Uprising, Kossakovsky presents the footage with little technical information and concentrates instead on the images’ visceral impact. But unlike The Uprising and its intense, dramatic premise of an ‘imagined revolution,’ Demonstration, for all of its political valences, has a less urgent tone. Indicative of its more aloof, though no less interesting, quality is that Kossakovsky presents the footage as a ‘film ballet.’

Documentary Fortnight 2014 Mothers2

Filmmaker Xu Huijing sets his documentary Mothers in Hangdong County, located in the northern Chinese province of Shanxi. More specifically, he focuses on his native village of Ma. The village has a population of 2226, 483 of whom are women aged between 15 and 49. Of this number 345 have been sterilised, according to state birth control policies, while 121 use birth control rings. The film was shot from 2010 to 2011. This glut of numbers appears at the beginning of the film and may seem superfluous. But such figures are ultimately central to the film’s subject: the country’s one-child policy (which began in 1980) and its ramifications in this particular village. Furthermore, such figures relate directly to the series of situations that subsequently unfold. In a word, Mothers is about the state and citizen as one and the regulation of the (female) body through the policy, which involves compiling statistics and fulfilling quotas. Xu is close at hand with his camera among the villagers and the local officials whose duty is to enforce the policy. He creates a most astonishing film by capturing encounters between these two parties and individual scenes that range from the banal and comical, to the absurd and tragic.

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