Film director, producer
|The Gospel According to St. Matthew
|Pier Paolo Pasolini
|Tini zabutykh predkiv
|Ozualdo R. Candeias
|In the Mood for Love
|Wong Kar Wai
|El ENEMIGO PRINCIPAL
|Maynila sa mga kuko ng liwanag
Ray's masterfully shot and poignant drama singlehandedly put classical Indian music on the map of Western European audiences and critics. The film features never-seen-before performances by Roshan Kumari and Ustad Salamat Ali Khan (the latter of whom rarely allowed himself to be recorded for fear that his unique singing style would be copied). The Music Room is a subtle reflection on the fallacies of the class system, as well as the socioeconomic and intellectual elite's sovereignty over art - and the consumption thereof.
Earth is Dovzhenko's most lyrical work. His detractors simplistically read the film as an ode to socialist collectiveness. The film is much more than that. Dovzhenko gathered from his mastery of painting to infuse the film with mysticism, and tell a story that transcends the times he lived in - the inevitability of Nature's cycle, where everything is destined to fade - and he does so by masterfully using anti-narrative crosscutting editing techniques.
The Gospel According to St. Matthew
Pasolini's spirituality and aesthetics inform each other in this film, where Jesus is portrayed as a radical revolutionary who guides ordinary living beings, tormented by the fragility of their own mortal existence. Ordinary characters played by ordinary people - non-professional actors -, a choice by Pasolini that links "The Gospel" to the defunct Neorealism. Pasolini doesn't alter the course of events in Jesus' life as written in the New Testament. However, he infuses them with his ideological imprint: Herod's soldiers wear a Fascist headpiece and give the Nazi salute. An indelible reminder that art is inherently political.
Tini zabutykh predkiv
In this impressionistic film the vitality of Parajanov's camerawork is absolutely mesmerizing. The frantic movements, the freeze frames, as well as the wordless barrage of imagery give the film a bold lyrical tone, which is reminiscent of the work of Aleksands Dovzhenko. The film's raw quality (which is due to the fact that Parajanov's poetics was still a work in progress) makes me prefer it to the much-celebrated "The Color of Pomegranates."
The authority of one person over another. Preconceived notions of right and wrong. The impositions on and limitations of individual freedoms inherent in the family institution. These are the evil forces that Zulawski had in mind when he conceived his cinematic tour-de-force, for nothing is more horrific than societal constraints (he also went through a horrific breakup). Hence, liberation and self emancipation are seen as both a painful and glorious, orgasmic event. Possession is the best genre-bending film ever made.
The Cinema Marginal movement of Brazil owes everything (not just the name) to Ozualdo Candeias' seminal film. Candeias, a former truck driver with no formal training, shot this film for pennies, featuring people and places that formed part of his own universe - the underbelly of 1960s São Paulo. But the film goes beyond realism. The parallel stories are narrated exclusively in subjective camera, and at times the characters speak to the camera itself. Their questions are directed at us, passive viewers of a poverty spectacle. Candeias drags audiences into the discourse on the class struggle. The Margin is militant cinema at its best.
In the Mood for Love
Wong Kar-Wai relies on the lover archetype to draw a story between a man and a woman's affair in 1960s Hong Kong, devoid of melodrama. Kar-Wai always refused to worked with tight plots, and In the Mood for Love is no exception. His brilliance, however, is in the form - slow-paced, cyclical, poised, and magnificently photographed - which contributes to create an omnipresent sense of longing.
The Cranes Are Flying doesn't pretend to be an anti-propagandistic film. The film's "love and sacrifice" dichotomy is in conformity with Soviet cinema's major tropes. Yet, Tatyana Samoylova's fiercely emotional performance and Sergey Urusevskiy's daring cinematography (the film was shot with complete disregard for USSR's aesthetic rules) contributed to humanize the experience of war - to the point of refuting war altogether.
El ENEMIGO PRINCIPAL
One of the finest testaments to participatory filmmaking, where the characters embody and narrate their stories. Sanjinés is a pioneer of Latin American collective-oriented political cinema, and Jatun Auka is his most vivid anti-imperialist manifesto. By blending documentary and reenactment, Sanjinés created a unique object: a militant fable.
Maynila sa mga kuko ng liwanag
Lino Brocka made Manila in the Claws of Light during the martial law years, imposed by iron-fist ruler Ferdinand Marcos. Needless to say, the film was morally and politically urgent. And if the censors succeeded in removing many of the gay-themed scenes, they could not erase the anger of the film's working class, whose screams Brocka astutely wrote in signs appearing throughout the film ("Long Live the Workers" reads one sign). This is the Filipino master's magnum opus.