Vidas Secas

09/26/2010

Brazil / 1963 / Portuguese

Directed by Nelson Pereira dos Santos

With Átila Iório, Maria Ribeiro, Joffre Soares

Still from 'Vidas Secas'Ravaged by white, blistering sunlight a husband and wife, along with their two young sons, journey across the parched scrubland of Brazil’s northeast. By all appearances they have abandoned hope, having no use for it, since hope does little to sustain life. What they cling to and foster is their own resourcefulness, their adaptability, and, when necessary, their servility. The man, named Fabiano, and his wife, Sinhá Vitória, take whatever menial work is to be found, being two of many who move around a land whose scarce resources are owned and pitilessly guarded by the very few. Read the rest of this entry »

Cuba / 1968 / Spanish

Directed by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea

With Sergio Corrieri, Daisy Granados, Omar Valdés

Still from 'Memories of Underdevelopment'Sergio, the protagonist of Tomás Gutiérrez Alea’s Memories of Underdevelopment, is a study in living obsolescence. He is a bourgeoisie in a society where they are no longer meant to exist, a landlord without land, and a pundit with no one to listen to his terse commentary – in other words, an accumulation of ineffectual affectations and empty attachments. He keeps his head down in the presence of the authorities and harbors a certain fascination with the proletariat, if only a bleak fixation on their basic hopelessness. His wife and parents having repatriated to America, followed soon after by his friend Pablo, Sergio wanders alone, an alien in Havana, the city where he lives. Read the rest of this entry »

The Navigators

09/12/2010

U.K. / 2001 / English

Directed by Ken Loach

With Joe Duttine, Thomas Craig, Venn Tracey

Still from 'The Navigators'When we meet Paul, a repairman for the British railway system, he is divorced and sleeping on the couch of Mick, his friend and coworker at East Midlands Infrastructure. He has two young daughters and a wife who won’t even open the door when he comes round to visit. He and his fellow employees show up to work one day and are informed that British Rail, once centralized and run by the government, has become privatized, and that now they all work for a corporation. At first the news seems innocuous; the sign outside the workplace gets changed a couple of times, and the men joke about the new company policies that mean little to them. A few workers on loan from a different branch are forced to leave because they are now part of a rival company. Read the rest of this entry »

Sweetgrass

09/05/2010

U.S.A. / 2009 / English

Directed by Ilisa Barbash & Lucien Castaing-Taylor

Still from 'Sweetgrass'

The documentary Sweetgrass, which shows the last, hardy sheep herders of the Beartooth Mountains of Montana driving their flock for the final few times, is not a work that invites words in reply to the soaring, majestic beauty and raw, environmental reality that it depicts. Rather, it demands a manner of patience, watchfulness, and repose that corresponds with its own long-reach reverberations and unnarrated, unmodified gaze. Filmed over several years by two Harvard anthropologists, it is a privileged look into a job and a way of life that is about to disappear forever. But in its broad and sweeping scope, it is also intimately direct, effectively touching the core of our attitudes towards nature. Read the rest of this entry »