Hard to Be a God


Russia / 2013 / Russian

Directed by Aleksey German

With Leonid Yarmolnik, Yuriy Tsurilo, Aleksandr Chutko

Still from 'Hard to Be a God'Don Rumata awakens in his quarters, wrings out the greasy tumble of hair sprouting from his head, and remembers his grandmother back on planet Earth. He seems to live in a reliquary or a medieval prop closet, surrounded by anthropomorphic suits of armor and Chaucerian paintings. Encircled by cangue-wearing slaves who are tethered by chains and don’t have any conceivable function, he greets the day by blowing a mournful jazz line on his saxophone. Water drips from the ceiling, draughts and fog seep in through the cracks. On this planet, when it’s not torrentially raining – or snowing – a sticky, gray mist coats everything. We have been lowered into the depths of his world. It isn’t pretty, but he relishes it. Read the rest of this entry »


Lust for Gold


Romania / 1974 / Romanian

Directed by Mircea Veroiu & Dan Piţa

With Eliza Petrachescu, Liviu Rozorea, Dora Ivanciuc

Still from 'Lust for Gold'Death shall forget you, Gold.

Life shall ruin you, Gold.

At the pub a drunken man stands up to twirl slowly a solo rondo. A couple of long tracking shots glide across the bustling street, revealing horsedrawn wagons and even a penny farthing, but this is still a time before any cars have trundled its uneven bricks. In this medieval-looking town in the Apuseni mountains, life declares itself in forlorn creaks and rattles, dull, repetitious, cyclical sounds. But underlying the somnolent routines there is a clarity of mission turning the gears, as indivisible as that element all hold dear: Au. No one flashes it ostentatiously. For most it’s a constant companion, guarding all actions and words, a proprietor of the mind. Read the rest of this entry »

Losing Ground


USA / 1982 / English

Directed by Kathleen Collins

With Seret Scott, Bill Gunn, Duane Jones

Still from 'Losing Ground'Is it a necessity for all black filmmakers to feel they have to represent, or at least tap into, “the” black experience with their films? And is that burden twofold for a black woman? Kathleen Collins must have been aware that there was no precedent for what she was doing when directing Losing Ground, the first feature film by an African-American woman. At the same time, she doesn’t seem to have wanted any of those responsibilities, and her film goes beyond questions of what must be said about black peoples’ lives in America, and further than the experiences of women. Read the rest of this entry »