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  • Some Exercises in Preparation of an Independent Life

    Some Exercises in Preparation of an Independent Life

    ★★★★

    Parn establishes the role of the artist as a necessary one for societal happiness. He intervenes himself in the animation by creating the conditions and creating the catalyst for acceptance of the arts. The score by Olav Ehala is frantic and percussive, perfect for Parn's work as always.

  • The Emperor of California

    The Emperor of California

    ★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Luis Trenker is a curious man whose involvement in film is pure and simple. As an Alpinist, he has a deep fondness for nature and traditional society. This is seen in his early work in mountain films. But in Der Kaiser von Kalifornien and Der verlorene Sohn before it, Trenker aims to bring home some of the ideas he has about the negativity of an industrial society.

    This film and the one before it were seemingly hijacked by the Nazi…

  • The Return of the Prodigal Son

    The Return of the Prodigal Son

    ★★★½

    As the younger son returns to his father, destitute, the father assures him that despite that he has lost all wealth, he has gained a wealth in knowledge.

    Jan Kacer's Jan Sebek is stuck in this process. After an attempted suicide, he attempts to reconnect the world he once thrived in, and finds that he cannot quite succeed. Ewald Schorm's quiet and contemplative film watches him as he struggles to meet the expectations people once had of him. The camera in this film examines environment and the main figure excessively, signifying the divide.

  • Close-Up

    Close-Up

    ★★★★

    Kiarostami in an interview speaks about how he wants a film to remain with you and keep you up at night thinking about it. This multilayered depiction of an actual event featuring the actual participants creates a narrow examination on identity, art, and its creation.

    Hossain Sabzian is the star of this film, playing the role he describes on his court date. While he admits to portraying famous director Mohsen Makhmalbaf, he is always playing himself as if he were…