1997: 6 movies

Bacheha-ye aseman
Written and directed by Majid Majidi
Produced by Amir Esfandiari and Mohammad Esfandiari
Cinematography by Parviz Malekzaade
Editing by Hassan Hassandoost
Music by Kayvan Jahanshahi
Starring Amir Farrokh Hashemian, Bahare Seddiqi, 
and Mohammad Amir Naji

   A gem. One of the best movies of all time, because it is as real and pertinent as it is beautiful. A real slice of life in Iran. The performances are so good, they're unreal! It's focused on children, yes, but the movie isn't childish. It's almost overwhelmingly humanist, heart-breaking in its poetry, humorous with its surprising observations, and suspenseful in its cinematography, editing, and economic writing. The family and inter-personal dynamics are enlightening and strongly tear-inducing, and inspiring. The climax by the lake is a cinematic highlight. 
   The title translates from the Farsi to "Children from the heavens".

Washington Square
Directed by Agnieszka Holland
Written by Carol Doyle
Produced by Julie Bergman Sender and Roger Birnbaum
Cinematography by Jerzy Zielinski
Editing by David Siegel
Production design by Allan Starski
Art direction by Alan E. Muraoka
Set decor by William A. Cimino
Costume design by Anna B. Sheppard
Makeup Department
Hair-styling by Sherri Bramlett, Wayne Herndon,
and Aaron F. Quarles
Make-up by Barbara Lacy and Micheline Trépanier
Music by Jan A.P. Kaczmarek
Starring Jennifer Jason Leigh and Albert Finney

   One of the most perfect performances by an actor in a movie.Every movement, sound, look, every moment and part of Jennifer Jason Leigh's physique that is caught by the camera is perfectly in tune with the spirit of the movie, and the spirit of the movie is strong and multi-faceted. It is the story of a love between a father and daughter, also between two lovers, and between a woman and herself. It is a story of growth, of tremendous pain and loss, and it is a story about truth and true power. The camera moves in intimately and out imperceptibly. Its feminism begins with a fearful whisper and ends with a proud scream. 
   It is based on the Henry James' novella of the same name.

U Turn
Directed by Oliver Stone
Written by John Ridley
Produced by Dan Halsted and Clayton Townsend
Music by Ennio Morricone
Cinematography by Robert Richardson
Editing by Hank Corwin and Thomas J. Nordberg
Casting by Mary Vernieu
Production design by Victor Kempster
Art direction by Dan Webster
Set decor by Merideth Boswell
Costumes by Beatrix Aruna Pasztor
Make-up by John Blake, Ken Diaz,
Rob Hinderstein, Mark Sanchez
an Natalie Wood
Hair-styling by Cydney Cornell, Dino Ganziano,
and Melissa Yonkey
 Starring Sean Penn, Jennifer Lopez,
Billy Bob Thornton, Jon Voight,
Powers Boothe, Nick Nolte,
Joaquin Phoenix, and Claire Danes

   In look, editing, plot-twists and camera angles, this movie succeeds because it rejects the regular way that movies usually behave in. It's as if every shot is the director cursing in the face of what cinema has been, and a bold, punk-rock yell for something new. It's wild, unbridled, fun, and an ugly mirror on our capitalist culture. Story-wise, it's basically a bloody nightmare made with wit style and humor that also parallels the story of bottomless human greed. The editing is masterful, the way a secondary character can be talking, and then, for a second, we see that character through the eyes of the main character. It's an unsettling technique especially because it really gets us aligned with the main character even if we don't want to be. If you can make it through the violence and sexual abuse, it is a treat of a movie. A film noir "bonnie and clyde"-type movie for our over-the top, jaded times.

Gadjo dilo
Directed by Tony Gatlif
Written by Tony Gatlif, Kits Hilaire,
and Maigne Jaques
Music by Tony Gatlif and Rona Hartner
Cinematography by Éric Guichard
Editing by Monique Dartonne
Casting by Marie de Laubier
Costume design by Brigitte Brassart
Starring Romain Duris, Rona Hartner,
and Izidor Serban

   A musical travelogue/drama. A French young man travels through gypsy villages in Hungary to find his favorite singer. The movie succeeds because of its music, cinematography, and the way it gives such an insider look into the gypsy society even with the language barrier. A must for all who dream of getting away and coming back invigorated. 
   The title translates roughly from Romani to "The crazy non-gypsy".

The Bloody Olive
Written and directed by Vincent Bal
Produced by Erwin Provoost
Cinematography by Philippe Van Volsem
Editing by Ewin Ryckaert
Art direction by Gert Stas
Music by Hans Helewaut
Costumes by Katleen Geerinck
Starring Veerle van Overloop, Frank Focketyn,
and Gene Bervoets

   Short Belgian black and white movie that is the perfect appetizer. Dizzyingly quick plot with great retro-photography, and the result is a fun mockery of murder-mystery movies with all of their zany twists. Funny stuff for movie-lovers!

Chasing Amy
Written and directed by Kevin Smith
Produced by Scott Mosier
Music by David Pirner
Cinematography by David Klein
Editing by Scott Mosier and Kevin Smith
Production design by Robert Holtzman
Art direction by Jim Williams
Set decor by John Carlucci and Susannah McCarthy
Costumes by Christopher Del Coro
Starring Ben Affleck, Jason Lee,
Joey Lauren Adams, Jason Mewes,
Kevin Smith, and Dwight Ewell

   Housed in a silly comic-book style pop-romance universe, this movie depicts a straight guy falling in love with a lesbian. But more importantly it depicts the clash between conservatism and liberalism, and between the inexperienced and the mature. Surprisingly romantic and endlessly entertaining because of its realistic no-holds barred humor.

Posted on 2017 June 17

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