Forks Over Knives (2011) Documentary Film. Director : Lee Fulkerson

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What has happened to us? Despite the most advanced medical technology in the world, we are sicker than ever by nearly every measure. Cases of diabetes are exploding, especially amongst our younger population. About half of us are taking at least one prescription drug and major medical operations have become routine. Heart disease, cancer and stroke are the country’s three leading causes of death, even though billions are spent each year to “battle” these very conditions. Millions suffer from a host of other degenerative diseases. Could it be there’s a single solution to all of these problems? A solution so comprehensive, but so utterly straightforward, that it’s mind-boggling that more of us haven’t taken it seriously? FORKS OVER KNIVES examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the so-called “diseases of affluence” that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods. The major storyline in the film traces …(Imdb)

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I Want You (1998) Film. Director : Michael Winterbottom

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Helen is a young woman running a hairdressing salon; Bob is her boyfriend and local radio DJ; Honda is a mute kid who’s secretly taping people’s conversation and Smokey is Honda’s sister who sings at local bar. New guy in town is the mysterious Martin, who shares some dark history with Helen and observes her from afar at first. Honda falls in love with Helen and starts taping her conversations with Bob, and that leads to reactivation of the Helen-Martin relationship. (Imdb)

Cat Shit One (2010) Animation Short War Film. Director : Kazuya Sasahara

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Botasky and Packy are private contractors, working in the Middle East, with support from a distant helicopter-mobile base. Their jobs are as “sniper” and “spotter”, although in this case the spotter seems to be the leader of the team. Their assignment is to extract two captives, an ally, and a local. The characters are 1. Rabbits (contractors), and 2. Camels (locals). Rabbits seem to have been chosen due to the Japanese word for Rabbit is Usagi, which can be interpreted to be U.S.A. GI. The Team must interpret the situation, and decide whether to extract the victims themselves or wait for further support. Things seem to be moving rapidly in a negative direction, so the Team elects to split up, and do the extraction themselves. They split up, with Packy going into a village to locate and pull the victims out, and Botasky providing over-watch and sniping support. The fighting is rapid, and smooth, with Packy showing a great deal of speed and agility. The sniping is rapid and smooth. Packy’s weapon transfers are perfect. His shooting is controlled and precise, no wasted spray and pray mag dumps. The enemy gets ground support, which complicates things, Botasky is located and shut down as a sniper, and the rescue seems to be compromised, until the Team gets it’s own Air Support. (Imdb)

Wonderland (1999) Film. Director : Michael Winterbottom

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There’s little wonder in the working-class lives of Bill, Eileen, and their three grown daughters. They’re lonely Londoners. Nadia, a cafe waitress, places personal ads, looking for love; Debbie, a single mom, entertains men at the hair salon after hours; her son spends part of the weekend with her ex, a man with a hair-trigger temper. Molly is expecting her first baby and its father acts as if the responsibility is too much for him. Eileen is bitter, complaining about her husband and the dog next door; Bill’s a doormat. His West Indian neighbor offers him a drink; her own grown son locks himself in his room most of the time. Will anyone connect during this Guy Fawkes weekend? (Imdb)

Ballast (2008) Film. Director : Lance Hammer

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The Mississippi delta in winter provides the backdrop for this socially realistic drama from the USA’s south. Twelve-year-old James lives here with his mother, Marlee, who has to work hard to eke out an existence for the two of them. While his mother spends many hours a day working in a badly paid job, James is left to his own devices. As he wanders about the neighborhood he gets to know a group of teenagers. Seeking to impress them, he agrees to use his motorbike to occasionally transport drugs for them – an offer greatly appreciated by his new friends. But when James is in danger of becoming the victim of an act of violence perpetrated by his buddies, Marlee runs away with her son one night across the water to where a middle-aged man named Lawrence is living a sad and lonely existence on a small estate 15 miles away. They may have found refuge here, but a deep and insoluble conflict resurfaces between Lawrence and Marlee that has existed since James’ birth. Bearing a heavy burden of guilt, the suicidal Lawrence no longer holds any hope for his own life, but a child’s life is in danger – and he has the means to help him. Ballast was filmed on original locations. All of the film’s characters are played by inhabitants of the Mississippi delta, none of whom have ever appeared in a film before.(Mubi)

Delta (2008) Film. Director : Kornél Mundruczó

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A young man (Félix Lajkó) returns to his village on the Danube delta after many years. Little is revealed about the time that has passed since his departure, but he is greeted by a stepfather he has never met before, as well as his mother and sister (Orsi Tóth).

A seemingly happy occasion, the man’s return fractures the family. He decides to build a house out in the marshes, and his sister follows him – at first to help out, and later to live with him. As their relationship becomes increasingly close and intimate, they elicit the disapproval of their family and eventually of the community too.

Mundruczó’s delta is an astonishingly beautiful expanse of land and water, but it is also a tough, wild frontier, its people hardened and unforgiving. Within it, the doomed love affair between brother and sister unfolds gradually and with the utmost delicacy, accompanied by a sumptuous score – as textured and panoramic as the landscape – composed and played in part by lead actor Felix Lajko himself. The simple narrative is established with sparing dialogue, but the film is rich with the distinct mood of each setting and the intense emotional currents generated by each character, from the playful longing of the sister for her brother to the festering discontent of the stepfather.

Delta chooses not to wrestle with incest as an issue to be examined, preferring the childlike innocence and purity of the love affair to speak for itself. However simple and natural it may seem to the brother and sister, however, it constitutes a luxury that is unbearable to those around them. It’s this that makes it an affront and a source of jealousy to the villagers, rather than any structured moral judgment.

The precise aesthetic of the film amplifies the brutality that is to arise from the choices of the pair. After a momentary calm, the delta reveals itself to be a place where a brutal and absolute sort of justice – not love – will prevail. So in spite of the indisputable beauty of Delta, its eventual bleakness and violence and lack of any enduring message beyond a hopeless loss made me leave the cinema feeling not only heartbroken, but horrified.(eyeforfilm.co.uk)

A warning about spoilers is necessary before I rehearse my scepticism about this self-consciously beautiful film by Hungarian director Kornél Mundruczó, which last year won the Fipresci prize at Cannes. With its elegantly slow pace, extended tracking long-shots, protracted close-ups of faces in profile and boisterous, black-comic scenes in scuzzy bars, it owes something to Béla Tarr, who is thanked in the opening credits.

Félix Lajkó plays Mihail, a young man who returns to his village after a long time away, having made a good deal of money. After an uneasy reunion with his widowed mother (Lili Monori) and her new boyfriend (Sándor Gáspar) he meets, for the first time, his grown-up sister Fauna, played by Orsolya Tóth – and falls in love with her. To the outrage of Fauna’s stepfather, Mihail takes her away to live with him as his lover in the wooden stilt-house he is building in the swollen Danube delta: a remote, beautiful wetland. The film, with some wonderful cinematography, has a woozy, humid feel, before the village’s collective disgust at the couple’s sexual transgression flashes out – inevitably, at the woman (although she has also been assaulted midway through the film).

Delta also contains what I have come to think of as an “arthouse rape”: a flourish of sexual violence that, in some sacrificial sense, pays for the indulgence and drifting dreaminess, and which functions as a brutally corrective assertion of tough reality. The sexual assault (and perhaps worse) provides what is apparently a self-explanatory resolution. The consequences are of no interest; the rape wraps it up. Mihail is also attacked – but not with the same drawn-out humiliation and fear. The movie is lovely looking, but frankly a little specious and shallow.(Peter Bradshaw-The Guardin)

A History of Violence (2005) film. Director : David Cronenberg

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Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen) is living a happy and quiet life with his lawyer wife (Maria Bello) and their two children in the small town of Millbrook, Indiana. One night, though, their idyllic existence is shattered when Tom foils a vicious attempted robbery in his diner. He takes action and saves his customers and friends in the self-defense killings of two-sought-after criminals. Heralded as a hero, Tom’s life is changed overnight, attracting a national media circus, which forces him into the spotlight. Uncomfortable with his newfound celebrity, Tom tries to return to the normalcy of his ordinary life only to be confronted by a mysterious and threatening man (Ed Harris) who arrives in town believing Tom is the man who’s wronged him in the past. As Tom and his family fight back against this case of supposed mistaken identity and struggle to cope with their changed reality, they are forced to confront their relationships and the divisive issues which surface as a result. A History of Violence is loosely based on the graphic novel by Vince Locke and John Wagner. –New Line Cinema

This is the story of a mild-mannered man, named Tom Stall, who becomes a local hero through an act of violence, he lives a happy and quiet life with his lawyer wife and their two children in the small town of Millbrook, Indiana. But one night their idyllic existence is shattered when Tom foils a vicious attempted robbery in his diner. Sensing danger, he takes action and saves his customers and friends in the self-defense killings of two-sought-after criminals. Heralded as a hero, Tom’s life is changed overnight, attracting a national media circus, which forces him into the spotlight. Uncomfortable with his newfound celebrity, Tom tries to return to the normalcy of his ordinary life only to be confronted by a mysterious and threatening man who arrives in town believing Tom is the man who wronged him in the past. As Tom and his family fight back against this case of mistaken identity and struggle to cope with their changed reality, they are forced to confront their relationships and the…(Imdb)