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Autumn Sonata-DVD Review *** 02/04/2014

Posted by Films to consider in Academy Awards, César Awards, David di Donatello Awards, Drama, Emotional Drama, Golden Globes, Highly recommended, Ingmar Bergman, Movies, National Society of Film Critics Awards, Psychological Suspense, Swedish language film.
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AUTUMN SONATA (Swedish) 1978 ***
Höstsonaten
Criterion Collection

Directed by Ingmar Bergman
Starring Ingrid Bergman, Liv Ullmann, and Halvar Bjork

Among several other awards and nominations:
NOMINATED, Best Actress (Ingrid Bergman); Best Screenplay (Ingmar Bergman), Academy Awards
WINNER, Best Foreign Film; NOMINATED, Best Actress-Drama (Ingrid Bergman), Golden Globes
WINNER, Best European Film (Ingmar Bergman), César Awards
WINNER, Best Foreign Actress (both Ingrid Bergman and Ullmann), David di Donatello Awards
WINNER, Best Actress (Ingrid Bergman), National Society of Film Critics Awards

Charlotte (Bergman), a famous concert pianist, visits the isolated home of her daughter Eva (Ullmann), who lives quietly with her minister husband Viktor (Bjork). The two haven’t seen each other for years, and the visit starts out on an optimistic note. But soon the family secrets work their way to the surface.

Autumn Sonata provides an opportunity to see two outstanding actresses face each other under the direction of a master of portraying emotions. During his lifetime, Swedish director Ingmar Bergman was nominated for a total of nine Oscars and won many other awards. Director Ingmar and actress Ingrid, who are not related, reportedly had some differences of opinion during the making of Autumn Sonata, and much has been made of the parallel situations in this film and Ingrid Bergman’s own much-publicized personal life, something she too acknowledged. This was her next-to-last film; she died in 1982. Actress Liv Ullmann is still making films; her latest is Two Lives (2012), a thriller set in Norway.

Highly recommended.

93 min. Rated PG (harsh and highly emotional situations)

For more info:
Autumn Sonata (Criterion Collection)

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Ariel-DVD Review 04/28/2013

Posted by Films to consider in Dark Comedy, Finnish language film, Light Drama, Moscow International Film Festival, Movies, National Society of Film Critics Awards, Romance, Swedish language film.
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ARIEL (Finnish) 1988
Written and directed by Aki Kaurismaki
Starring Turo Pajala and Susanna Haavisto

WINNER, Bronze St. George-Best Actor (Pajala); FIPRESCI Prize (Kaurismaki); NOMINATED Golden St. George (Kaurismaki), Moscow International Film Festival
WINNER, NFSC Award-Best Foreign Language Film, National Society of Film Critics Awards, USA

After the mine he was working in closes down and his father commits suicide, Taisto (Pajala) gets thrown in jail for a crime he didn’t commit. He escapes and leaves town, hoping to find a new life in a big southern city. Almost immediately he meets Irmeli (Haavisto); they strike up a very low-key romance, but soon Taisto gets caught up in trouble.

Dry and quirky humor. Not a big award winner, this short (only 73 min.) film definitely has the 80s look about it. It’s the second part of Kaurismäki’s Proletariat Trilogy, which also includes Shadows in Paradise and The Match Factory Girl.

73 min.

On Amazon, I could only find it as part of the Criterion Collection.
Aki Kaurismäki’s Proletariat Trilogy

Here it is on IMDB:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0094675/

White Material-DVD Review 11/11/2012

Posted by Films to consider in Drama, French language film, National Board of Review, National Society of Film Critics Awards, Satellite Awards, Venice Film Festival, Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Awards.
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White Material (French) 2009
The Criterion Collection

Directed by Claire Denis
Starring Isabelle Huppert, Christopher Lambert, Isaach De Bankolé, and Nicolas Duvauchelle

WINNER, Top Five Foreign Films, National Board of Review, USA
THIRD PLACE, Best Foreign Language Film (Denis), National Society of Film Critics Awards, USA
NOMINATED, Best Foreign Language Film, Satellite Awards
NOMINATED, Golden Lion (Denis), Venice Film Festival
NOMINATED, Best Foreign Language Film, Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Awards

As civil unrest invades the countryside, Maria Vial (Huppert), a headstrong but not totally rational white woman, is determined to remain on the African coffee plantation that has been in her family for generations.

Isabelle Huppert is physically slight and somewhat vulnerable-looking; her portrayal of Maria Vial combines that appearance with an inner strength that inexplicably refuses to acknowledge the very real physical and emotional dangers facing herself and her family. At times the story does seem disjointed and confusing; this I think is mostly because there are so many different factions active, and the story covers a very short span of time (about two days). Still, Huppert’s performance (as well as those of the other actors named above) definitely makes it worthwhile watching.

105 min. Not rated. Adults and older teens.

Check it out on Amazon: White Material (The Criterion Collection)
or
Netflix