No Rest for the Brave, 2003

Recalling the surreal, playfully nonsensical logic puzzles of Raoul Ruiz (although lacking the Chilean-born filmmaker’s elegantly fluid camerawork and clever storytelling agility), Alain Guiraudie’s No Rest for the Brave is an absurdist, occasionally humorous, but ultimately pointless and incoherent excursion into the ambiguous, forbidding, and untenable terrain of dream state and the subconscious as a […]

Longing, 2006

At the heart of Valeska Grisebach’s slender, yet meticulously observed slice of life portrait, Longing, is the seemingly ideal marriage of metalworker and volunteer firefighter, Markus (Andreas Müller) and his wife, Ella (Ilka Welz), a chorus singer who, in the film’s establishing sequences, casually describes their romantic union as the result, not of love at […]

Workingman’s Death, 2005

Michael Glawogger pulsing, ambitiously conceived global treatise on the drudgery, and often dehumanizing, rituals of manual labor at the beginning of 21st century – over a century after the birth of the Industrial Revolution – appropriately begins in the town of Donbass in the Ukraine, the coal mining town where, in 1935, Aleksei Grigorievich Stakhanov […]

The Frontier of Dawn, 2008

Philippe Garrel’s atmospheric and luminous, if oddly cold and alienated The Frontier of Dawn represents an amalgam of the filmmaker’s familiar themes: the haunting of a failed love affair, the helplessness of seeing a loved one self-destruct, the guilt (and isolation) of survival, the fear of fleeting happiness. In this respect, the film’s crepuscular title […]