World Cinema Masterpiece: Dersu Uzala

The Director: Akira Kurosawa is arguably Japan’s most influential and famous film maker, a man whose directorial career spanned six decades starting with Judo Story in 1943 and ending with Not Yet in 1993. He is often praised by world cinema enthusiasts as one of the titans of the art house circuit; however in reality the majority of his works have more populist ambitions than say the poetics of Andrei Tarkovsky or the biographical explorations of Ingmar Bergman.

Hidden Classics: Room at the Top

“New Wave” is a term that has been applied to many a national cinematic output at one time or another. The first and most famous of which is undoubtly The French New Wave when the likes of Jean-Luc Goddard began their experiments in cinema rebelling against established norms and inventing the concept of autuerism. Love them or hate them, one has to accept that the French New Wave changed the face of cinema in many respects.

Theodoros Angelopoulos: The Beekeeper

Theo Angelopoulos is a director best known for his sweeping histories; his reputation is for the most part built upon the epic tragedies like The Traveling Players (1975) or Trilogy: The Weeping Meadow (2004) which weave their way through vast expanses of time and space to complete their often tragic narratives. Combining morality plays with political theatre, this directors responses to his nations turbulent political past are Brechtian in technique but overwhelmingly visual in execution.

World Cinema Masterpiece: Tropical Malady

Apichatpong Weerasethakul is arguably Thailand’s greatest living film maker, certainly that’s the view I take on the matter, although he is by no means regarded as such by the majority in his homeland. But then Weerasethakul’s films are probably just as challenging to his countrymen as they are to the rest of the world. ‘Challenging’ is the perfect adjective for his particular brand of abstract, contemplative, transcendental cinema.

Contemporary Obscurity: Gravesend

Four young men living in the titular Gravesend, New York, are caught up in multiple murders and petty crime on a Saturday night and slowly begin turning against each other. The films tagline summarises the film as: “4 Kids, 3 Bodies, 2 fights, 1 Night, No Shit”, although arguably all of the numerical values are inaccurate except the “1 Night” this punchy summary does capture the flavour of Salvatore Stabile’s directorial debut quite well.

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