Happy As Lazzaro (Lazzaro felice) (2018)

ALICE ROHRWACHER Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.  Italy/Switzerland/France/Germany, 2018.  Tempesta, Amka Films Productions, Ad Vitam Production, Pola Pandora Filmproduktions, Rai Cinema, RSI-Radiotelevisione Svizzera, Arte France, Ministero dei Beni e delle Attività Culturali e del Turismo, Centre National de la Cinématographie, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, Regione Lazio, Office Fédéral de la Culture, Fonds Eurimages du Conseil de l’Europe.  Screenplay by…

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Transit (2018)

CHRISTIAN PETZOLD Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.  Germany/France, 2018.  Schramm Film, Neon Productions, Arte France Cinéma, ZDF/Arte, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, Beauftragter der Bundesregierung für Angelegenheiten der Kultur und der Medien, Filmförderungsanstalt, Centre National de la Cinématographie, Région Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur.  Screenplay by Christian Petzold, based on the novel by Anna Seghers.  Cinematography by Hans Fromm.  Produced by Antonin Dedet, Florian Koerner…

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Mr. Nobody (2009)

JACO VAN DORMAEL Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB. Belgium/Germany/Canada/France/USA/United Kingdom, 2009.  Pan Européenne, Virtual Films, Christal Films, Pathe, Integral Films, Lago Film, Toto & Co Films, SCOPE Invest, Groupe Un, Caviar Films, ARD Degeto Film, Belga Films, Canal+, Caviar, CineCinema, Climax Films, Deutscher Filmforderfonds, Fortis Film Fund, France 2, France 2 Cinema, France 3, France 3 Cinema,…

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Toni Erdmann

BBBBB (out of 5) A magnificent example of deeply humorous observation combined with overwhelmingly impressive restraint, Maren Ade’s masterpiece is a nearly three hour film whose length is never in the least bit felt.  It focuses on the relationship between a father and daughter, he a practical joker with a cynical appreciation for the ridiculous…

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Francofonia (Francophonia)

BBB (out of 5) Alexander Sokurov returns to the world of museum filmmaking that brought him such critical acclaim with Russian Ark in 2002.  This time he looks at the Louvre as the central symbol of French cultural contribution to the arts, much of it focusing on World War II and the compromises of the…

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Ajami

BBBB (out of 5) The Israel/Palestine conflict is distilled down to a handful of violent interactions on the streets of Tel Aviv that are all connected in the fascinating epic drama, directed without a script and with non-professional actors who were mostly improvising (neither of which are apparent).  A downward spiral begins when a Bedouin…

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Clouds of Sils Maria

BB.5 (out of 5) Successful movie star Juliette Binoche is on her way to an awards ceremony honouring the playwright who launched her career decades earlier, with cell-phone laden assistant Kristen Stewart perpetually behind her.  On the train ride to Zurich they learn that the event’s honouree, on whose behalf Binoche was planning to accept a prize,…

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Plato’s Academy (Akadimia Platonos)

BBBB (out of 5) Stavros runs his tiny Athenian shop on a roundabout where two other companions run theirs, the three of them (along with a fourth friend) spending their days snoozing in their chairs in this straggly part of the city where customers rarely occur and no work needs to be done.  They also…

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The Wonders (Le Meraviglie)

BBBB (out of 5) A family of Tuscan honey producers live a life of routine and hard work, lorded over by their gruff father who relies most on his eldest daughter Gelsomina to keep things running smoothly.  A young teenager, she’s the eldest of four girls who take part in the family business, the rest…

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Winter Sleep (Kis Uykusu)

BBBBB (out of 5) The magnificent talent that Nuri Bilge Ceylan has for creating full-bodied characters in sumptuous worlds does not fail him with this personal epic, inspired by a number of short stories by Anton Chekhov.  A remote hotel that sees a low number of tourists visiting in the winter is the setting for…

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The Turin Horse (A Torinoi Lo) (2011)

BELA TARR, AGNES HRANITZKY Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.  Hungary/France/Germany/Switzerland/USA, 2011.  TT Filmmûhely, MPM Film, Vega Film, Zero Fiction Film, Werc Werk Works, Motion Picture Public Foundation of Hungary, Ministry of Education and Culture, National Cultural Fund, Hungarian Historic Motion Picture Foundation, Duna Televízió, Erste Bank, RSI-Radiotelevisione Svizzera, SRG – SSR, CNC, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, Eurimages.  Screenplay by Laszlo…

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V For Vendetta

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Stepping out into the London night of a futuristic, Orwellian dystopia, Natalie Portman finds herself being harassed by crooked cops for violating a curfew ordinance and is saved from their treachery by a mysterious hero in a Guy Fawkes mask and cape. When England’s ultra-conservative government, the world’s new force after the…

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