Pakistan & Germany / 2018 / Burushaski

Directed by Daniel Asadi Faezi

With Abdul Rasheed, Lahooda Bibi, Abdul Majeed

TheAbsenceofApricots1“When the river had swallowed everything, we were left helpless. Then you were born, Basit.”

The Absence of Apricots predicates itself on a disaster. Initially it seems like it will be solely about this event, but instead dives deeper, into a well of both arcane symbolism and detailed moments from the changed lives of one family who were uprooted. Early in 2010 a massive landslide blocked the flow of the Hunza River, in the far North of Pakistan, causing a flood that submerged entire villages, as well as the sole highway snaking through the mountains. The villages that weren’t underwater became veritable islands, cut off from one another, now only reachable by boat. Read the rest of this entry »

Wings of a Serf

07/23/2018

Soviet Union / 1926 / silent

Directed by Yuri Tarich

With Ivan Klyukvin, Leonid Leonidov, Safiyat Askarova

Still From 'Wings of a Serf'The large and overbearing prince of the boyars (Russian nobles), Kurlyatev, sits around a table with his friends, showing off a recent acquisition: a wind-up clock from technologically-advanced East Asia. When the mysterious thing breaks, he orders his neighbor, the low-born Lupatov, to summon an ingenious serf he employs, to come and fix it. The neighbor refuses, explaining that young Nikita is too busy with his tasks to waste time tinkering with toys. Back on Lupatov’s property, Nikita, surprisingly dashing for an eccentric inventor, toils away in a makeshift workshop in a barn. He has the usual peasant aspirations: to one day get married to his girlfriend Fima, to raise a family – and he also wants to bring to fruition the da Vinci-like flying contraption that he has been perfecting in secret. Read the rest of this entry »

Turkey & West Germany / 1987 / Turkish

Directed by Zülfü Livaneli

With Rutkay Aziz, Yavuzer Çetinkaya, Macide Tanir

Still From 'Iron Earth, Copper Sky'The sound of a wolf’s howling is one of the most spare, solitary, distance-defining sounds in nature. It is the only sound that will cut through the wind-roar of this hilly, isolated part of Anatolia, which overflows with cotton during the summer, but is now buried under snow. The people of one small village are still living with the effects of last harvest, when their crop was far smaller than usual. Not only are they hungry, but they owe more money than they have to the local landlord, Adil, who is coming to collect. Everyone is outside keeping vigil, standing along the ledge demarcating the village, which could hardly be called fortified. As the man in white approaches from a distance on horseback, they disperse back to their houses. Hearths are doused, children and pets corralled indoors, and they all continue to watch, intently, from their windows. He arrives to a vacant scene, the block houses standing apart from one another like squat citadels. And he rides on. Read the rest of this entry »

Ashes and Embers

07/10/2018

USA / 1982 / English

Directed by Haile Gerima

With John Anderson, Kathy Flewellen, Evelyn A. Blackwell

Still From 'Ashes and Embers'Years have passed since Nay Charles returned from fighting in the Vietnam war, but the mental scars left by his experience haven’t healed. Quite the contrary. They have grown so thick around his being that he can’t see through them. As a black veteran, there is no place for him in America, no home if there ever had been one. He feels angry at everyone around him – his partner Liza Jane, his little son Kimathi, his wiry and tough grandmother who lives in the country. He can discern neither love nor kindness from his surroundings, nor focus on a direction to take in life. Liza Jane hopes to draw him into the black liberation movement in which she takes part, but he refuses all invitations to get close to people or be part of a community. He came back to his home country the very definition of alienated, having been refashioned out of barbed wire and broken glass. Read the rest of this entry »

India / 1986 / Hindi

Directed by Deepa Dhanraj

Still From 'What Has Happened to this City?'We move through the ordinarily crowded streets of Hyderabad’s Old City. It is practically empty except for the occasional truck, and clusters of policemen standing at street corners. Fires burn in shattered shop windows as ashes float into the sky. For two months in 1984, communal riots have been raging. Formerly peaceful neighborhoods of Hindus and Muslims have been torn apart by mutual hostility boiling over. What is causing this? Who is behind it? The sobering numbers call to mind medieval warfare: 41 dead, 23 critically wounded, 250 shops razed. But the numbers don’t tell any stories, and they hardly address the scale of suffering. The police have been curfewing the city for days at a time, and people are stuck with no food, no work, and the constant threat of violence. Read the rest of this entry »