Rice People

01/31/2010

Cambodia / 1994 / Khmer

Directed by Rithy Panh

With Peng Phan, Mom Soth, Chhim Naline

Still from 'Rice People'Om and her husband Poeuv are farmers in rural Cambodia who struggle to survive off the yield of their small rice paddy. In addition to themselves, they have seven daughters to support. Rithy Panh’s Rice People, an adaptation of Malaysian novelist Shahnon Ahmad’s book Ranjau Sepanjang Jalan, follows the family throughout the tribulations of a growing season. The titular people are virtually made from rice, in more ways than one; it forms their nutrition, and also their essence. And it is remarkable to think that the inert plant on which they rely is so greedy for water, for care and constant attention, while the people themselves live such lives of deprivation in its service. Read the rest of this entry »

Apanjan

01/24/2010

India / 1968 / Bengali

Directed by Tapan Sinha

With Swarup Dutt, Chhaya Devi, Samit Bhanja

Still from 'Apanjan'A frail widow of many years, named Anandamoyee, speaking to a young woman in their rural village, recounts the day of her wedding, when she first met her husband, a magnetic, mischievous and hard-drinking thespian. No sooner has she finished her story than a well-dressed man of the city approaches her, claiming to be her nephew, and subsequently brings her home with him to Kolkata, to live with him and his family. Life away from the village precipitates something approaching culture shock, as she is compelled to don footwear for the first time in her life. In the city she is met with children begging on the street, the sight of day-to-day violence, and – perhaps most bizarre – women working at office jobs. The urbane, westernized couple who have taken her in enlist her to care for their toddler, which she does gladly, out of familial obligation. Read the rest of this entry »

Still from 'Jakub'

Three Films by Jana Ševcíková

The focus of Czech documentary filmmaker Jana Ševcíková’s work is the life of exiled populations, all existing seemingly in a world apart from the highways and metros of a modern and progressive Europe, hanging on by their grim teeth to tradition, even through displacement, monotonous poverty, and the lugubrious afterimages of war. Read the rest of this entry »

Adoption

01/10/2010

Hungary / 1975 / Hungarian

Directed by Márta Mészáros

With Katalin Berek, Gyöngyvér Vigh, Péter Fried

Still from 'Adoption'Kata is a middle-aged factory worker who lives alone in a small town nearby a boarding school for emotionally disturbed girls. She is dating a married man, the ineffectual Sanyi, who grows apprehensive at her desire to have a baby and rear it by herself. Lacking much of the support system necessary for raising a child, she puts her feelings and ambition on hold, grasping at the hope that a child will come into her life. Meanwhile she begins a friendship with one of the teenaged girls from the school who loiters around her house. Read the rest of this entry »

France / 1956 / French

Directed by Luis Buñuel

With Simone Signoret, Charles Vanel, Georges Marchal

Still from 'Death in the Garden'In a mining boomtown in South America, all the foreign prospectors, mostly French in origin, have had their claim to the local diamond supply revoked by the resident dictator. In response to this the frustrated workers gather in their dingy pub to plot the downfall of the general who oversees the town. Into their midst saunters a toughened itinerant worker named Chark, one of those opportunistic mercenaries whom one could only find in the intractable wildernesses and godforsaken outposts of a frontier country. Read the rest of this entry »