Stream it on Netflix.
Dilara (Neslihan Atagul Dogulu) is carefree and cruising: her acting career is going well and she’s having hot sex with her sexy boyfriend, Serkan (Serkan Cayoglu). One day, she is hired to star in a commercial for a shampoo where she plays Handan, a married woman in a traditional marriage. It’s not Dilara’s dream job, but it’s a nice paycheck, so she accepts the hassle of having to wash her hair again and again in the shower.
And then Dilara wakes up as Handan in Handan’s world. She struggles with an unhappy husband, Necati (Necip Memili), and two young children; Serkan has no idea who she is, nor do her friends and fellow actors. Directed by Deniz Yorulmazer, this Turkish film begins as a light-hearted and fairly conventional alternate reality adventure as Dilara now has to cook for an extended family, work full-time and take care of children, all while trying to act. But “Oh Belinda” (the title refers to the brand of shampoo) becomes darker and more unsettling as our heroine sinks deeper and deeper into her predicament – the film isn’t afraid of certain implications. related to marital expectations, for example. The charismatic Atagul Dogulu keeps it all together, which delivers a terrific performance no matter what world she finds herself in.
Rent or buy it on Vimeo through Deaf Crocodile.
The history of cinema is old enough that we have reached years once thought to be so distant that directors associated them with wacky futuristic visions. But now we can see what the future holds when it has become our present or even, in the case of Risto Jarva’s ‘Time of the Roses’, our recent past. The film was released in Finland in 1969 and in the United States a year later, and it’s set in 2012. (Enterprising indie Deaf Crocodile presents an impeccably restored version of this long-unavailable gem.) Sure, that’s fun to watch an early 21st century in which people have sex on see-through inflatable beds, use voice-activated computers, and talk on videophones (two out of three isn’t bad).
The Finland of 2012 appeared as a seemingly idyllic country from which conflicts disappeared. Jarva’s main character is a smug enforcer of the status quo, Raimo (Arto Tuominen), who fixes himself on Saara (Ritva Vepsa), a woman who died 36 years earlier, in 1976 – do you follow? He decides to make a film about her by casting, like “Vertigo”, a look-alike named Kisse (again Vepsa). But all is not as it seems in the futuristic paradise: there could be hidden social unrest, not to mention that Raimo’s reconstruction of history synchronizes with the ever-changing frontiers of truth and reality we face. All of this, and the film also looks like a stylish Mod fantasy.
Rent or buy it on Amazon.
Antônio (Alfred Enoch, who played Dean Thomas in the “Harry Potter” films) and André (the musician Seu Jorge, best known in the United States for “The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou”) have locked themselves up in their apartment and they’ I do not go out. You can see why: the government of the future Brazil decided to forcibly send black citizens (now called “high melanin”) on a one-way trip to Africa to correct slavery – the new policy is codified in the Executive Ordinance of 1888, named after the year Brazil officially abolished the practice. The two men resist the idea, to put it mildly, and since André is a blogger (“It’s coming back,” he says) and Antônio is a lawyer, they are used to politics and the amplification of their causes. Quickly, a resistance movement emerges to counter the efforts of the new Ministry of Return, with some members of the black underground, including Antônio’s wife, Capitu (Taís Araújo), holed up in an “Afro-bunker”.
Lázaro Ramos’ satire often hits wide, but at best it shows welcome teeth: a bureaucrat (Adriana Esteves) is only too happy to follow orders and rally her fellow citizens; a woman reports neighbors so she can secure their apartment for her daughter. The film juxtaposes these humble practices with the contributions of black citizens in Brazil in a way that is both often funny and indeed emotional.
Rent it or buy it on most major platforms.
At its best, cosmic horror makes viewers feel like tiny, helpless creatures in the face of something—a being, a concept, Lovecraft’s beloved non-Euclidean geometry—whose scope is so great that it is disconcerting and disturbingly difficult to grasp. What’s surprising about Robbie Banfitch’s Found Footage Fever Nightmare is that it achieves this on a budget of just $15,000. The sound design alone is terrifying and sophisticated: the first scene, which includes a 911 call and bloody screams, is best experienced (or endured) through headphones, and the sonic tapestry only becomes more evocative from there.
Four friends (Banfitch, Angela Basolis, Michelle May and Scott Schamell) travel to the Mojave Desert to make a music video. Everything goes to pot. But how? For what? “The Outwaters” is not for those looking for tidy narratives. There may be time loops, but maybe that’s just the feeling of a bewildered viewer (okay: me). Portals also seem to be listed, but there are no keys. And yet, the film exerts the pull of weird art at its best: you can’t stop watching.
“We are living beings”
Rent or buy it on Amazon.
There have been many stories of earthlings gazing at the stars, looking for signs of extraterrestrial life. Chuyao (Xingchen Lyu) and Solomon (Jorge Antonio Guerrero) are two such people, scanning the skies while their friends and family view them as eccentrics. What differentiates Antonio Tibaldi’s film from those that have featured such observers before is that Chuyao and Solomon are immigrants, living in New York far from their homelands of China and Mexico: they too , are aliens. However, Tibaldi never treats them as “others”: his film is perhaps slightly austere, but it is also patient, empathetic — an atmosphere greatly enhanced by the warmth of Luca Bigazzi’s cinematography.
During the day, Chuyao works in a nail salon; at night, the quietly menacing Tiger (Zao Wang) sends her on fetish encounters with various clients (he has implanted a tracking chip in her similar to those used for pets). She is between worlds, much like Solomon, who does odd jobs and develops a fascination with Chuyao, whom he clearly sees as a kindred spirit. In the tradition of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”, the two protagonists of “We Are Living Things” find themselves on the road. What they are looking for may or may not be available. The only thing they found for sure was the other one.
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