Songs from the Second Floor (2000)

“May those who sit down be loved.” ‘Songs from the Second Floor’, directed by Roy Andersson in 2000, is a Swedish comedy focusing on the ever increasingly surreal lives of modern city dwellers. The film is formed by a series of vignettes showing middle aged men in a number of bizarre situations, or normal situations…

Lourdes (2009)

‘Lourdes’, directed by Jessica Hausner in 2009, is a French drama set at the famous site of Catholic pilgrimage. Sylvie Testud plays Christine, a woman with severe multiple sclerosis who is unable to move below the neck. She, along with other afflicted people, is taken on the pilgrimage and cared for by nuns. The film…

The Princess Bride (1987)

“Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” ‘The Princess Bride’, directed by Rob Reiner in 1987, is an American fantasy comedy written by William Goldman and based on the screenwriter’s book. Robin Wright plays buttercup, the bride of the title. Five years before the story proper begins, Buttercup falls…

Hana-bi (1997)

‘Hana-bi’, directed by Takeshi Kitano in 1997, is a Japanese crime drama starring Kitano as Yoshitaka Nishi, a retired detective. Nishi was forced into retirement after a violent incident that lead to the deaths of two of his colleagues and the injury of others. Without a job and struggling to care for this sick wife,…

Jour de fête (1949)

‘Jour de fête’, directed by Jacques Tati in 1949, is a French comedy written, directed and starring the creator of Monsieur Hulot. In this, his directorial debut, Tati plays François, a postman in a small rural village in France. François is bumbling and easily distracted by drink and socialising with his fellow villagers. Inspired by…

I Am Curious (Yellow) (1967)

“Are there any interesting social cases here? People in sleazy flats? People with unpaid dental bills? Drug cases will do, too. I work for “Expressen” the paper with a sting. My paper is planning a conservative victory in the ’68 elections. We’re doing a series on the ten most sordid social welfare cases” ‘I Am…

Cabiria (2014)

“The movie feels old, and by that I mean older than 1914. It feels like a view of ancient times, or at least of those times as imagined a century ago. We are looking into two levels of a time machine. Silent films in general create a reverie state for me; sound films are more…

Werckmeister Harmonies (2000)

“I have to make it clear that not even for a moment is there doubt that it is not a technical but a philosophical question. So that the tonal system in question, through researches, has led us inevitably to a test of faith, in which we ask: on what do we base our belief that…

The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978)

“In the mind of a true snob there are certain limited criteria to denote the value of human existence. Jimmie’s criteria were: home, hearth, wife, land. Those who possessed these had beatitude unchallengable. Other men had accidental, random life. Nothing better.” ‘The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith’, directed by Fred Schepisi in 1978 and based on…

Blood and Sand (1922)

“Movie stars then were Gods and Goddesses, not mere mortals that walked amongst us, and Rudolph Valentino was, perhaps, the greatest of them all.” ‘Blood and Sand’, directed by Fred Niblo and starring Rudolph Valentino, is an American silent movie drama. Valentino plays Juan Gallardo, a Spaniard who grows up in poverty but becomes a…

Shoeshine (1946)

“In here they feed us, they shelter us, they give us clothes, and they even entertain us. What else could we want? This is paradise!” ‘Shoeshine’, directed by Vittorio De Sica in 1946, is an Italian neorealist movie from the director of ‘Umberto D.’, ‘Bicycle Thieves’ and ‘Two Women’. Rinaldo Smordoni and Franco Interlenghi play…

Syndromes and a Century (2006)

“Instead of depicting life and death dramas of patients in jeopardy, Weerasethakul focuses on herbal cures, reincarnation, the quirky private lives of monks, orchids, romance, holistic healing techniques, and the tranquil beauty of the natural world.” ‘Syndromes and a Century’, directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul in 2006, is a Thai movie that, like the director’s earlier…