In Memory of Alain Resnais

March 2nd, 2014 by Ran

Alain Resnais Collage

Legendary French filmmaker Alain Resnais passed away today at the age of 92. He was known mostly for idiosyncratic, clever and contemplative films that deal with memory, human nature and the subjectivity of truth, but his filmography is surprisingly diverse. He was a very influential figure for the French New Wave movement of the late 50s, although he did not consider himself as a part of it.

After directing mostly documentaries and short films in the 1930s and 1940s, his breakthrough came in 1959 with the controversial Hiroshima, mon amour, which tells a brief love affair on the background of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, using groundbreaking methods of flashbacks and nonlinear storytelling. Last Year in Marienbad in 1961 and The War Is Over in 1966 continued this obsession with the nature of memory.

In the late 90s Resnais developed another passion – musicals, inspired by Dennis Potter’s The Singing Detective. Same Old Song from 1997 and Not on the Lips from 2003 are the most notable of this new trend, in which his second wife Sabine Azema became a prominent figure. He was an active film maker until he passed away, and his new film Aimer, boire et chanter is about to be released later this month in France.

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Short Films for a Short Month

February 28th, 2014 by May

When I first started my cinema studies, I was told feature films usually last around 90 minutes. Years passed, and today it seems if a film is not at least 120 minutes it can hardly call itself a film! Just look at the recent list of Oscar nominations with The Wolf of Wall Street (180 min.), American Hustle (138 min.) and 12 Years a Slave (134 min.).
But cinema does not have to be that long to be masterful, as this list will try to prove. Each of the following shorts is captivating, touching or unique  in its own way. So as we finish up the shortest month of the year – here are 10 great short films.

The Red Balloon (1956)
Touching on the verge of sentimental, this is a story about a young kid and a red balloon in Paris. With no dialogue at all the film lets us see and understand the kid from the balloon’s point of view.

Facing Fear (2013)
Nominated for best documentary short in the upcoming academy awards, this short tells an amazing story of a former neo-Nazi and one of his gay victims when their paths collide. The way it continues is surprising, to say the least.

The ittle Matchgirl (2006)
If this short won’t make you cry, you have a heart of stone. This adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen story beautifully captivates the hardships and loneliness of a poor young girl dreaming of a better world.

Strangers No More (2010)
Sincere and uplifting, this best documentary short Oscar winner for 2010 revolves around an exceptional school in Israel, where refugee children struggle to fit in to a sometimes unwilling society.

Vincent (1982)
One of the shorts which launched Tim Burton‘s long, fruitful career deals with an eccentric boy who love everything gothic, dramatic and surreal. Burton’s unique visual style is apparent even in this early effort.

La Jetee (1962)
One of the most well-known and acclaimed shorts ever, Chris Marker‘s La Jetee is an atmospheric and bleak tale about time travel after a 3rd world war. Using unique cinematic language Marker managed to create a film every cinema lover knows.

9 (2005)
A surrealistic future dystopia is the setting of this amazing short, which deals with strange puppets who come to life. Creator Shane Acker was approached to make a full length feature of this short, which unfortunately failed to remain as tight-scripted as the original.

Un Chien Andalou (1929)
The famous collaboration between Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali is not meant for the faint of heart. Without any real narrative this short follows Dali and Bunuel’s dreams and sub consciousness to create something that wasn’t seen on the screen until then.

Get a Horse! (2013)
One of this year’s nominees for best animated short, this film does a masterful job in showing how 3D can be used. A hilariously comical clash between cartoon characters of the past and special effects of the present.

Room 8 (2013)
This year’s BAFTA winner in an eerie tale of a convict, a prison cell and one strange box. Telling anything more will be a spoiler, but believe me – you don’t want to miss this one.

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Love Around The World

February 13th, 2014 by Asaf & May

“All you need is love”. Almost 50 years after that coin phrase came to life, we now know we also need money, career, car(s), smartphone, Ipad (preferably with the Jinni App) and a vacation twice a year. But still, love is an important ingredient of our lives so for Valentine’s day (guys, don’t forget) here’s a list of 10 romantic titles about love as it’s represented all around the world. Some are suggestions to watch on a date night, some are suggestions that might help you understand your partner better, and some will just make you feel good, as love should. We’ll begin our worldwide journey in the most romantic place on earth, Paris.

Amelie (2001)

Correction: the most romantic place on earth is the mind of a romantic French woman. Amelie is a daydreamer with a very active imagination. She sees the world through very offbeat and sentimental glasses. When destiny summons Amelie with new love, a modern fairytale unfolds. If you’re looking for a feel good film this valentine that’s perfect for a date night, pay a visit to Amelie’s mind. And as long as we’re in Paris, let’s meet…

Chico & Rita (2010)

Chico & Rita met in Cuba. He was a young musician; she was a beautiful young singer. But as they fell in love, they faced many obstacles. So we’re introduced to a bittersweet-up-and-down-relationship across several countries through the 40′s and 50′s. With an Oscar nomination for best animation film and a great Latin-jazz soundtrack, Chico & Rita is a love story you’d love to look & listen to.

We’ll stay in Latin America for now and take a road trip.

Y Tu Mama Tambien (2001)

Before Alfonso Cuaron went to space in “Gravity” he traveled the roads of Mexico. In “Y Tu Mama Tambien” he follows two teenage best friends, Tenoch and Julio, and a hot sexy woman – Luisa, that joins them for a ride to find a legendary beach. Although there’s a significant age difference between them, the two guys bond with the older woman immediately and a sexy-touching love triangle forms, filled with humorous moments and a voice over voice you’ll never forget… But, as we all know, a relationship involving “just” two people is usually complicated so imagine what it’s like for three people.. maybe Tenoch, Julio and Luisa should sign up for…

Love Lockup (2010)

We’ll travel from the great outdoors of Mexico to the tiny indoors of India. In India they have a wonderful system to deal with couples crumbling relationships, they just lock ‘em up for 8 days and throw away the key. Oh and of course they’re taping the whole thing. At least that’s what they do in this reality show. The show follows several couples facing difficulties, doubts and hesitations. The couple gets isolated from the world, confined in a villa, and deal with their problems till the bitter/sweet end. A sincere battle of the sexes that shows love and it’s side effects are the same wherever you are…

…And whenever you are…

2046 (2004)

2046 is a semi fantastic mind bending drama from Honk-Kong which takes place in several time periods and shows the influence love can have on our lives. A story about the road not taken and the past which haunts a romantic soul. Award winner atmospheric experience that’s sure to make you ponder about the future and think about the past and as long as we’re dealing with the past…

Gran Hotel (2011 – )

If you want to see different type of love, from another time and another place, here’s another suggestion: A periodic stylized drama from Spain with all the necessary plot elements to make a good TV show – Love affair, dishonesty, power relations, intrigues and one big hotel where it all happens. The show was referred as the Spanish version of “Downton Abby“, and won viewers and critics affection alike so if you want to see what young lovers in 1900 Spain did in order to fulfill their love, give this show a shot.

Now our love compass takes us to Turkey -

Leyla ile Mencun (2011 – )

A hit TV series in it’s homeland, this comedy series follows the love story of a young couple which was destined to be together. Though social differences come between them, Leyla and Mencun know something bigger is drawing them closer (though their parents draw them apart). Love doesn’t make sense so why should it makes sense on TV? a surreal offbeat and humorous look at true love that overcomes the biggest (and funniest) obstacles.

And if we’re talking about obstacles, imagine what gay Israeli guy and gay Palestinian guy have to go through…

The Bubble (2006)

Till new times arrive, this tragic love story from Israel is the definition of forbidden love. Two guys with very distinctive social differences meet by chance and as sparks start sparkling, they realize the political unrest surrounding them is too dominant. Optimism combined with tragedy, friendship destroyed by terrorism, a movie that shows the Israel-Palestine conflict from a different perspective. And if there’s one thing we know from the conflict is that humans are complicated, so let’s see what animals do.

March of the Penguins (2005)

What’s more romantic then love against the odds? Such is the (unbelievable) story of the penguins in the most deserted area in Antarctica. A dangerous journey those magnificent creatures must go through each year, facing countless dangers and the full wrath of the forces of nature, they must find their way to safe ground where they’ll divide into couples and mate. Love in it’s most pure (and uplifting) form. A surprising blockbuster that made viewers relate to, and admire, it’s heroes as if they were human.

And as long as we’re dealing with love in it’s purest form, what’s more pure then children’s first love?

Flipped (2010)

Sometime pearls slip by unnoticed. Such is Flipped – a wonderful coming of age dramedy from Rob Reiner, a man that has his way with young heroes (Stand By Me). Based on an equally fantastic book, the film describes teenage love in any town USA from the perspective of it’s two heroes. A humorous and clever way that shows us how men and women think differently from the very beginning… But in the end, it’s these differences that maintain the invisible glue connecting us all.

We started with a qoute from The Beatles and we’ll finish with a song from their unofficial successors – Oasis – Let There be Love. Happy Valentine!!

 

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Berlin Film Festival

February 5th, 2014 by May

Berlinale 2014

The Berlinale is once again upon us, with new intriguing features by creators like Yoji Yamada, Richard Linklater, Wes Anderson and George Clooney. The annual controversy will probably not be missed either, with the screening of Lars Von Trier’s Nymphomaniac in the extended version. And if you enjoyed House of Cards you’ll be glad to hear the festival holds a special screening event of the 1st episode of the 2nd season.
This is a good time to pay homage to some of our favorite berlin winners from the past decade. If you want to get a taste of what the festival had to offer over the years, this is a good place to start.

Prince Avalanche (2013)David Gordon Green‘s remake of the Icelandic film Á annan veg is a great offbeat comedy, with great performances from Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch. Two highway road workers spend the summer of 1988 away from their city lives. The isolated landscape becomes a place of misadventure as the men find themselves at odds with each other.

The Broken Circle Breakdown (2012) – It’s difficult to produce an original love story, but this Belgian heartbreaking gem is a masterclass in storytelling that bursts with real emotions. It is a story about how a loving, happy couple deals with an terrible tragedy.

Tabu (2012) – An offbeat and surreal adventure from Portuguese filmmaker Miguel Gomes, that goes back to Portugal’s colonial past. Each scene is surprising, and you never know what to expect. Filmed in black and white, this film does not follow any conventional romantic formula.

The Messenger (2009) – With an American film about the Iraq war… everything could go wrong. But the restraint of this gloomy and captivating film and the strong performances of Ben Foster and Woody Harrelson make it all the more powerful.

The Wayward Cloud (2005)Ming Tsai Liang‘s enigmatic style at its best in his surreal musical extravaganza that tells a love story between a porn actor and a young woman during a dystopic drought… and watermelons. Fans of the director will be glad to hear that the current berlinale screens a new film of his, called Xi You.

Werckmeister Harmonies (2000)Bela Tarr is one example of cinema as art. So beautiful to look at, so lyrical, with every detail important and meaningful. This is probably the most important work of the Hungarian director that sadly hung his director’s cap in 2011. Hopefully, he’ll reconsider.

Adama Meshuga’at (2006) – A disturbing look at the much heralded kibbutz life in Israel. This socialistic ‘heaven’ has some skeletons in its closet, and this sincere coming of age tale reveals them in a very realistic way that leaves the viewer with a very uneasy feeling.

Mary and Max (2009) – This offbeat answer to all those Pixar animated films is a touching and sincere story of an unlikely friendship between two social misfits, an Australian teenager and an aging New Yorker (the late great Philip Seymour Hoffman).

Cesare Deve Morire (2012) – Convicts stage a William Shakespeare‘s play… those are real convicts, and most of their acting is amazing, but my favorite parts are where you see some shady acting, which brings you back to the reality of the film.

The Act of killing (2012) – Reconstructing the mass murders during the sixties in Indonesia sounds a drab, but here’s the fun part: the director is doing it with the help of the guy who was in charge of those killings. Will he realize what he did? You’d better find out.

 

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The Most Likeable Unlikely Relationships

December 17th, 2013 by Asaf & May

These days everything is done with computers. They’re all around us all the time. You can love them or hate them, but you HAVE to live with them. There are some people who like their computers a bit more than the average Joe. They’re looking at them fondly, touching them in a delicate way and deep in their hearts they wish their computers would come to life. This sort of unlikely relationship is the center of one of the most Oscar-buzzed films of the season – “Her“, an offbeat sci-fi romantic comedy about a lonely writer who falls in love with his new operating system designed to meet his every need (which is kind of how Jinni is, and if you love us, the feeling is mutual).

So due to Her’s (limited) release this weekend, here is our take on unlikely couples including a few tips for seducing and building a healthy relationship with your computer. Let the romantic algorithm shine on…

Her (2013)

So let’s begin. In order to form a successful relationship one must understand the person/artifact in front of him/her. So for you to understand your computer better, we recommend watching Start-Ups: Silicon Valley (2012)

silicon-valley-season-1-episode-101

This reality show follows prodigies in the computers and web world as they try to rise to the top and fulfill their ambitions. With a captivating and sincere approach, the show combines the big brother with science and technology. It’s a great opportunity for you to learn how to communicate with computers from the people who do It best.

After communicating with the computer, it’s time to seduce it and what’s better than a feel good sitcom?

My Hero (2000 – 2006)

my_hero2

The plus side of watching a TV show with your computer is that it’s long term, so your computer can see your intentions are real, not a one-time thing. My Hero describes another fantastic romance between a superhero and a young nurse. An imaginary show that shows love can conquer evil aliens and villains as long as you have some superhuman powers.

Your computer should know love transcends everything, so maybe you should show it an example of a supernatural romance.

Spirited (2010 – 2011)

328140-spirited

In this semi-fantastic comedy series from Australia, we see what happens when a divorced dentist moves to an old apartment where the ghost of 80s rock n roll star resides. Of course, she’s the only one who can see him (kind of romantic in it’s own supernatural way…).  This humorous fantasy presents some rock tunes, along with paranormal activities and an offbeat love story that’s sure could convince your computer love transcends human limits…

Now, if you’re living alone with your computer and until someone comes up with some app for producing babies, maybe you could bring home a pet, like a dog.

Wilfred (2011 – )

An unlikely relationship such as this, deserves an unusual dog. Wilfred is a comedy series about a dog who thinks he’s human. Elijah wood plays an ordinary guy, about to kill himself, who gets to know this human-dog and as time goes by they become one of the most odd couples in TV history (Not a couple – couple, more buddies-like couple). From dark jokes, through grossout humor to plain old silly humor, Wilfred can help you form a healthier relationship with your computer.

The everyday life can make your relationship a bit dull, so why not surprise your computer with a romantic evening? let’s start with a date-night movie…

Splash (1984)

Splash is a good choice ’cause it’s another example of impossible love, and in that case, true love. Tom Hanks, 29 years younger, and Daryl Hanna, approximately 29 bad movies earlier, starred in this critically acclaimed Cinderella story. A young man falls in love with a fish (actually, a mermaid) out of water. Both sentimental and humorous, Splash should set the mood for the rest of the evening. And now, why not take your computer out for a nice dinner? Just be ready to get some odd looks like Ryan Gosling got in…

Lars and The Real Girl (2007)

Lars’s new girlfriend is the extremely shy and quiet Bianca. actually, Bianca is quiet because Bianca is a doll but no one wants to tell  Lars and risk making his already unstable personality even more fragile.  In every relationship there comes the point you introduce your spouse to your family and friends, so in this movie you can prepare yourself for the moment they’ll see your dating a computer. One can only hope they’ll be supportive and sentimental as the characters in this wonderful dramedy.

Now after dinner, grab a cup of coffee, and invite over…

Coffee Samurai (2011)

coffee-01-01b

Many people like coffee. Many people buy coffee machines. But just a few fall in love with their coffee machine. Not that we’re judging anyone. Coffee Samurai is an anime short about a college student who falls in love with coffee vending machine named Jin. Jin was a Samurai who experienced a reincarnation and got back as a vending machine due to a miss interpreted wish come true… Jin could probably make you and your computer some miraculous coffee . Which may lead to a magical event such as the one in…

Ruby Sparks (2012)

a young writer’s wish comes true when the protagonist of his novel, and the girl of his dreams, comes to life. But when he finds out he can write her actions and characteristics he starts losing his mind and his relationship. A clever and bittersweet tale about what we want from love and what we think we want.

Ruby Sparks shows the ups and downs of love, and if after a while you realize your computer and you have more downs then ups maybe you should erase it’s memory like they did in…

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Now remember, this is just in case things went horribly bad and you and your computer decide there’s no turning back and breakup. In that case use the services of doctor Mierzwiak (Tom Wilkinson) in order to erase yours and your computer’s memory like he did in this original and essential film. A couple (Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet) decides to breakup and erase their memory in order to forget each other. As we go inside their minds we see a non linear presentation of their relationship in a captivating and mind bending way. We hope you wouldn’t have to take such extreme measure but sometimes love can make you do things you’d have never believed you’d do before.

And just a clarification before we breakup, though we only mentioned your relationship with your computer, it doesn’t mean Jinni is prejudice about other relationships such as with your smart phone, your car or your Ipad. in fact we encourage it, have you downloaded out new app? It’s here to provide your every entertainment need, feel free to fall in love….

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