Archive for the ‘Switzerland’ Category

The Great SXSW 2010 Preview Dump: SX Global

March 11, 2010

There is more to life than Texas. Although, as any Texan will tell you, not much more. So hurrah to SXSW for looking beyond its borders to the world outside. While the inclusion of a Native American-themed documentary in the “global” slot is troubling, the rest of the lineup fulfills its brief. In the U.K., CCTVs and databases makes Daily Mail readers of us all. There’s glimpses of Finnish living rooms and the very edges of time. There’s love, loss, incarceration, impotency, death. When all else fails, there’s always Viagra to act as our troubled planet’s the great uniter. Click on the titles for trailers where available.

Read our SXSW Headliners Preview.
Read the first part of our SXSW Spotlight Premieres preview.
Read the second part of our SXSW Spotlight Premieres preview.
Read our SXSW Narrative Features Competition preview.
Read our SXSW Documentary Features Competition preview.
Read the first part our SXSW Emerging Visions preview.
Read the second part our SXSW Emerging Visions preview.
Read our SXSW Lone Star States preview.
Read our SXSW 24 Beats Per Second preview.

The DeVilles

Teri Lee Geary is a burlesque performer who looks like Marilyn Monroe and swings her tassels by the name of Kitten DeVille. She’s married to punk rocker Shawn Geary. DeVille is obsessed by the 1950s of Eisenhower. He’s mired in the 1980s. Now, after a quarter century of mismatched bliss, it’s coming undone. Documentary filmmaker Nicole Nielsen Horanyi is there to film the kitschy Strindberg action.

Erasing David

Keen to find out how much the U.K. government and its corporate databases know about him, filmmaker David Bond (Lions of Green) drops off the grid. Then he hires a pair of detectives to find him using available information. As another film once put it, we live in public. Bond’s discoveries, however, serve to fuel his paranoia about living in the surveillance state of Knifecrime Island.

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The Great SXSW 2010 Preview Dump: Spotlight Premieres, Part 1

March 10, 2010

It may lack the glamour of Cannes or the smell of Venice, but really, is there a friendlier place to premiere your film than SXSW? Probably not and the surfeit of alcohol and food can even make up for the most disastrous debut. The Spotlight Premiere category boasts cherry-picked features and docs making their bows. The first part features everything from porn stars to hip-hop nobodies, intergalactic personality crises to one man’s ongoing battle with his Internet service provider. Who couldn’t relate? Click on the titles for trailers.

Read our SXSW Film Festival: Headliners preview here.

American Grindhouse

For years, cinematic shit like I Spit On Your Grave and Frankenhooker was the sole province of videostore geeks with nothing left to watch. Then Quentin Tarantino changed everything. Elijah Drenner’s doc chronicles the homegrown exploitation films which used sex ‘n’ violence to part a rube from his buck and somehow became art with the passing of time. Without John Waters, amazingly.

Barbershop Punk

The title sounds like the worst film since Young @ Heart, but please come back and read the rest of this. Sure, Robb Topolski loves his barbershop quartet music. He’s the baritone in his own group. Where the punk comes in is when he butts heads with his Internet provider. Georgia Sugimura’s documentary watches how the brawl comes to involve Ian MacKaye, Janeane Garofalo and other free speech advocates.

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Berlin 2010 Preview: Forum, Part 1

February 11, 2010

So if the Panorama section deals with contemporary issues and Generations is for the children, what’s Forum? Well, loosely defined it’s where Berlin can put all the other films they like. There’s a particular emphasis on first-time filmmakers and experimental approaches. The net is cast wide this year, with movies from as far a-field as the Chinese-Burma border and Uganda in the first installment of our Forum preview. As for cutting edge, cut-up techniques are used to relate a transsexual romance. The line-up includes the best movie about clams since that one with Elvis Presley. Click on the titles to watch trailers.

Aisheen (Still Alive in Gaza)

Swiss documentary filmmaker Nicolas Wadimoff went to Gaza to find the images behind the headlines. He got the goods. This al-Jazeera co-production shows how life goes on under the blockade, with moments of ordinary happiness punctuated by the occasional explosion.

La belle visite

The subjects of Jean-François Caissy’s documentary are in an unusual place. They live in a Quebec roadside motel that’s been turned into a retirement home. Caissy’s long takes and eye for detail emphasizes the grim tragedy of getting old in a mausoleum with has lost none of its transient air.

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Berlin 2010 Preview: Panorama Dokumente, Part 1

February 8, 2010

The Panorama sidebar at this year’s Berlinale overflows with documentaries. Especially documentaries about either a) gay life around the world or b) downtown New York during the 1980s. Both of which, some might say, are closely related. As well as portraits of Warhol superstars and stories of gay life in Paraguay, there’s a search for enlightenment David Lynch-style and a new film from the director of Control Room. Click on the title for trailers and other clips.

Alle meine Stehaufmädchen – Von Frauen, die sich was trauen (All My Tumbler Girls Or All About Women Who Dare To…)

Ever wonder what it’s like being a woman over 40 living in Berlin? Lothar Lambert did, so he went out and interviewed 11 associates. Although well-known in Germany, friends like photographer Erika Rabau and painter Evelyn Sommerhoff may not mean a lot to international audiences. Lambert’s doc highlights the common threads of their lives as well as the differences.
Fun fact lazily obtained from Wikipedia: The name “Berlin” is possibly derived from “Berl,” an Old Polabian stem meaning “swamp.”

Arias With a Twist: The Docufantasy

Klaus Nomi fans will recognize Joey Arias’s name. He was the singer’s confidant during the Lower East Side’s ‘80s heyday. Since his lover’s death Arias has emerged as a formidable performance artist in his own right. Bobby Sheehan documents his collaboration with puppeteer Basil Twist on Arias With a Twist and digs up related footage that featuring Jim Henson and Andy Warhol.
Fun fact lazily obtained from Wikipedia: While working at the Fiorucci boutique, Arias took part in the first live display in the shop’s windows.

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Trailerama: Aisheen (Still Alive in Gaza)

November 25, 2009

The images we associate with Gaza are explosions, rubble and bullet-holes. There’s plenty of those in Swiss filmmaker Nicolas Wadimoff’s documentary. But he’s more interested in the people doggedly holding on in the face of the Israeli blockade. Interviews and on-the-ground footage show how a domestic resilience has set in. Odd moments of beauty are salvaged from the wreckage. From clowns to rappers, these people aren’t just still alive. They’re also not going anywhere. Produced by Al Jazeera Children’s Channel, whose version of Sesame Street has to be seen to be believed.

Trailerama: Cargo

October 5, 2009

Desperate to get to the planet Rhea, Anna-Katharina Schwabroh agrees to join the crew of a spaceship on an epic journey. While the rest of the astronauts sleep, she works an eight-month-long shift. However, there are a few things out of the ordinary–such as blackouts and thumping from the cargo compartment. What happens next makes the Pequod look like the Pacific Princess. This handsome-looking sci-fi thriller comes from Swiss filmmakers Ivan Engler and Ralph Etter.