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The year is 1926. In the Landes region, free-spirited Thérèse Larroque, the daughter of a wealthy pinery owner and radical-socialist politician, marries Bernard Desqueyroux, another pinery owner. Although she does it half-heartedly, she thinks that marriage may help her to 'sort out all the ideas in her mind'.
But her disappointment is great. Her wedding night is all but fascinating and when she becomes pregnant she realizes the baby matters more to Bernard than herself.
Thérèse stifles in her husband's beautiful residence among stiff in-laws who do not think high of her, her avant-garde ideas clash with local conventions and her domineering husband, and in order to break free from the fate imposed upon her she will resort to tragically extreme measures.
Aleksandr Sokurov directs this 2012 German-language adaptation of the classic tale about a man who sells his soul to the Devil.
The story, woven into the fabric of Western culture thanks to the influential theatrical adaptations by playwrights Christopher Marlowe and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, follows a scientist, Faust, in search of knowledge. However, while in Goethe's version Faust is in search of the secrets of the universe, Sokurov's scientist has far more base motives.
Obsessed with the beautiful Margarete, Faust makes a deal with the Devil's representative on Earth, the Moneylender, to gain the secrets that will win Margarete's heart, but what price will the Moneylender extract in return?
In his centenary year, the genius of playwright Terence Rattigan is at last being recognised and The Terence Rattigan Collection is an invaluable compendium of his finest stage dramas, performed by some outstanding casts.
Rattigan had a profound understanding of the human heart in all its complexity. He is the master of an emotional restraint which gives his work its unforgettable power and attracts, in this collection, star actors of the calibre of Sean Connery and Colin Firth, Penelope Wilton and Judi Dench, Ian Holm and Michael Gambon, Eric Porter and Geraldine McEwan. Among the stage plays included on this DVD are The Deep Blue Sea in which Hester Collyer sacrifices everything for a younger man who cannot return her love and The Browning Version in which a schoolmaster's emotional shell is cracked by an unexpected act of kindness.
In The Terence Rattigan Collection, great stage acting and great storytelling combine to make compulsive viewing.
All On Her Own (A Touch of Venus)
French Without Tears (BBC Play of the Month)
The Browning Version
The Deep Blue Sea (Performance)
Imaginatively exploring questions of faith, familial responsibility, delinquent behavior, dental phenomena, academia, mortality, and Judaism – and intersections thereof – A Serious Man is the new film from Academy Award-winning writer/directors Joel and Ethan Coen.
A Serious Man is the story of an ordinary man’s search for clarity in a universe where Jefferson Airplane is on the radio and F-Troop is on TV. It is 1967, and Larry Gopnik, a physics professor at a quiet Midwestern university, has just been informed by his wife Judith that she is leaving him. She has fallen in love with one of his more pompous acquaintances, Sy Ableman, who seems to her a more substantial person than the feckless Larry.
Larry’s unemployable brother Arthur is sleeping on the couch, his son Danny is a discipline problem and a shirker at Hebrew school, and his daughter Sarah is filching money from his wallet in order to save up for a nose job.
While his wife and Sy Ableman blithely make new domestic arrangements, and his brother becomes more and more of a burden, an anonymous hostile letter-writer is trying to sabotage Larry’s chances for tenure at the university. Also, a graduate student seems to be trying to bribe him for a passing grade while at the same time threatening to sue him for defamation. Plus, the beautiful woman next door torments him by sunbathing nude.
Struggling for equilibrium, can anyone help him cope with his afflictions and become a righteous person – a mensch – a serious man?
Three films by acclaimed Austrian director Michael Haneke, known as his 'Glaciation' trilogy. 'The Seventh Continent' (1989) portrays three years in the life of Georg (Dieter Berner), his wife Anna (Birgit Doll) and their daughter Eva (Leni Tanzer), during which time a psychological blindness leads to the family's self-destruction. The film explores familiar Haneke themes: the bourgeouis family unit, professional success and the price of conformism. In 'Benny's Video' (1992), 14-year-old Benny (Arno Frish) immerses himself in the universe of violent movies to fill the void of his middle-class existence. When he invites a girl back to his home, events take a fatal turn as he re-enacts the focus of his video obsession: the shooting of a pig. The final film in the trilogy, '71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance' (1994), is a mosaic of 71 film tableaux portraying a number of people and events - otherwise unconnected - in the lead-up to a shooting spree undertaken by an Austrian student at Christmas in 2003.
Swedish director Roy Andersson explores the 'grandeur of existence', in this award-winning film consisting of fifty surreal short sketches, each filmed in one take. Filming the actors in a variety of unconventional settings with tragicomic themes, Andersson explores the humanity and common threads that link their everyday lives with empathy and charm. A visually distinctive film, its characters include a disgruntled psychiatrist, a junior school teacher with emotional issues, a heart broken groupie, and a business consultant having a bad-hair day.
This timelessly enchanting story centers around an elegant elderly lady, Mrs Palfrey, who after being recently widowed, moves from Scotland to London to be near to her 26 year old grandson, Desmond. When Desmond fails to return any of her several phone calls, or visit her at the resident hotel she is staying (The Claremont), fate brings her together with a young writer, Ludovic Meyer, after she has an accident outside his basement flat.
Eventually, Ludo ends up helping Mrs. Palfrey by playing a charade - pretending to be her grandson, so that the other off-beat elderly residents of the hotel believe that she hasn't been lying, and that she really does have a grandson.
The two newly found friends discover they have a lot more in common with each other then they do with other people their own age.
When the beautiful, young Ruth Barren has a sense that something is missing in her life, she travels to India in search of self-discovery. There she falls under the influence of a religious guru.
Her family, alarmed and desperate to regain their daughter, hire PJ Walters, an American cult 'deprogrammer' to find her and rescue her.
Two days later a reversal of power takes place when the battleground shifts from religion to sex. The spiritual pro is himself facing deprogramming as he falls for his avenging angel.
Inspired by true events, this shocking story unfurls as a young American (Dusan Dukic) wakes up stark naked in a parking lot one frigid morning in Montreal. The only thing he remembers is that his name is James Brighton and he is gay.
After the police efforts produce no results, James desperately turns to a local gay hotline and a doctorial student for help. As the pieces of his actual identity unfold, a bizarre twist lands James in jail and everyone questioning who this person really is!
Paris, Je T'aime tells stories of love from the City of Love. Eighteen renowned filmmakers have created their own vignette based in different areas of Paris to form a collection of short films which will embrace you to fall in love with the world's most romantic city.
Eighteen short films made by an assortment of international directors including Alfonso Cuaron, The Coen Brothers, Wes Craven, Alexander Payne and Gus Van Sant bring their individual vision to a collective love letter to the French capital.
Starring in the films includes a collection of some of the finest actors and actresses with Natalie Portman, Juliette Binoche, Steve Buscemi, Bob Hoskins, Elijah Wood and Maggie Gyllenhaal all appearing.
Ken Loach is one of Britain’s most respected film directors with a career spanning over 40 years.
From his pioneering days with the BBC, scripting and directing Cathy Come Home in 1966, to the Palme D’Or winning The Wind That Shakes the Barley, Ken Loach has stayed to his film making style and socially conscious subject matter.
This 8-disc digi-pack slipcase set includes a bonus DVD containing a documentary profiling the life and work of the film maker, including the theatrical trailer of his latest film, It’s a Free World and a 16 page companion booklet.
Regarded as one of director Bertrand Blier's greatest achievements, Buffet Froid is also amongst contemporary French cinema’s darkest and most original black comedies.
Alphonse Tram discovers his casual subway acquaintance dead with Alphonse's penknife sticking out of his belly. When he tries to report the crime to his neighbour, a police inspector, the latter refuses to listen. Later, Alphonse's wife is killed, and her hapless murderer confesses to Alphonse, but neither Alphonse nor the police inspector seem shocked. Instead, the crime acts as a catalyst for the trio to embark on a series of subversive adventures.
A stylish, nocturnal blend of Buñuellian satire and crime thriller, Buffet Froid brilliantly skewers the alienating and dehumanizing effects of urban life, and passes comment on a supposedly civilised society. Blier’s third collaboration with Depardieu, whose personality the director cites as the film’s inspiration, the ensemble acting is terrific.
In French with English subtitles.
A woman who lives a double life finds that being a successful romantic novelist does not necessarily bring happiness. Her husband does not love her, her best friend seems distracted and her mother and sister are too busy bickering to notice that anything is wrong. She stops writing and finds solace in the bottle but finds an unlikely rescuer putting her on a collision course to a new emotional entanglement.
This action-packed film from dynamic director Rajiv Rai stars Bobby Deol as Saahil, a young man whose life is plunged into chaos when he is caught up in a love triangle and wrongly accused of his stepfather's murder. Framed and imprisoned, Saahil must break out and stay one step ahead of the police in order to clear his name, find the real killer, and be reunited with his true love, Eesha (played by the radiant Kajol).
In 1971, journalist Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp) and his companion Dr Gonzo (Benicio Del Toro) arrive in Las Vegas, ostensibly so Raoul can cover the Mint 400 off-track race. The duo embark on a massive drugs binge, checking into the Mint hotel before visiting the Bazzoka Circus casino while high on ether. The hedonistic weekend continues the following day, with Raoul and Gonzo meeting various way-out characters along the way. Watch out for cameos by Cameron Diaz, Christina Ricci and Gary Busey in Terry Gilliam's visually stunning adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson's cult novel.
Denys Arcand's Oscar winning comedy drama is a life-affirming tale of love, family and friendship that features many of the cast and characters from his breakthrough film The Decline of the American Empire.
After years of indulging his hedonistic lust for life and women, Remy is taken ill, an event that prompts a reunion with his ex-wife and estranged son Sebastien. As father and son learn to set aside their differences, Sebastien moves heaven and earth to make his father's life more comfortable, calling upon the unorthodox help of his old childhood friend Nathalie and Remy's close friends and past mistresses.
A brilliantly written and engagingly acted exploration of personal, political and sexual mores, Arcand's acclaimed film is witty, moving and hugely entertaining.
In French with English subtitles.
An impressionable and vulnerable Arab man gets thrust into a hellish prison, and ironically discovers greater opportunities for success than he ever possessed outside of the bars, in this violent melodrama from emerging French master filmmaker Jacques Audiard.
Tahar Rahim stars as Malik El Djebena, a petty criminal incarcerated for six years. Once inside and subjected to all of the standard brutalities that most prisoners endure, he is quickly educated in the "ways" of the prison, an institution torn violently between gangs of Corsicans and Arabs.
The head Corsican thug, César Luciani, offers Malik an ultimatum: either he rubs out an Arab inmate named Reyeb, or he himself dies. Not only does Malik succeed with the hit, he earns the begrudging respect of the other prisoners, and -- after securing several days' release for good behavior -- uses off-time to forge a deeper and more multi-layered network of criminal ties than he ever dreamed possible.
But as his own power and confidence grow, they threaten to outstrip Cesar's own insistence on submission and obedience at all costs.
In French with English subtitles.
A handsome, enigmatic stranger arrives at a bourgeois household in Milan and successively seduces each family member, not forgetting the maid. Then, as abruptly and mysteriously as he arrived, he departs, leaving the members of the household to make what sense they can of their lives in the void of his absence.
In this cool, richly complex and provocative political allegory, director Pasolini uses his schematic plot to explore family dynamics, the intersection of class and sex, and the nature of different sexualities. After winning a prize at the Venice Film Festival, Theorem was subsequently banned on an obscenity charge, but Pasolini later won an acquittal on the grounds of the films 'high artistic value'.
Theorem is visually ravishing, with superb performances from its international cast and a brilliantly eclectic soundtrack featuring music by composers ranging from Mozart and Morricone.
This romantic drama is based on Alejandro Zambra's award-winning novel about a young writer who turns to his first romance for creative inspiration.
Julio, an aspiring but unproductive young writer, meets with Gazmuri, an established author seeking someone to type up the manuscript of his latest novel. Julio doesn't get the job, but in an attempt to save face he leads his neighbour and lover, Blanca, to believe that he is still transcribing Gazmuri's novel. In fact, Julio is writing his own version of the novel, entitled 'Bonsai'.
In need of a plot, he recalls his relationship with Emilia, a bright fellow literature student who died eight years earlier; and as his memories of their youthful romance are shaped and refined, the writing of the novel unlocks a sequence of flashbacks in which reality and fiction, past and present intertwine.
From acclaimed director Abbas Kiarostami (Taste of Cherry, The Wind Will Carry Us) comes the story of a couple’s apparent chance meeting in beautiful Tuscany.
He (William Shimell) is a British author in town to talk about his new book. She (Juliette Binoche) is a French gallery owner in search of originality. Together they tour the local galleries, cafés and museums and discover that nothing is quite what it seems and truth, like art, is always open to interpretation.
Captivating and hugely entertaining, this acclaimed romantic tale playfully and provocatively blurs the lines between reality and imagination.
Set among the upper classes in turn-of-the-millennium Milan, I Am Love opens with a formal lunch party in which ailing patriarch Edoardo Sr celebrates his birthday by passing the family business over to his son Tancredi and grandson Edoardo Jr.
Tensions soon begin to show beneath the smooth, controlled veneer of the Recchi family as Tancredi's wife, Russian-born Emma, succumbs to the inelegant forces of passion and unconditional love.
(Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Costume Design)
Twenty-something Eloy has a gift for walking on stilts that her inherited from his father, but while Dad tried to use this talent for creative purposes, Eloy has made a career out of his skill, wandering the city dressed as a high-rise sandwich to promote a diner.
One day, a stumble causes Eloy to crash through a ceiling window into the bedroom of Elvira, an attractive older woman. Both Elvira and her mother are convinced that a greater destiny has brought Eloy into her life, and she takes the young man under her wing.
Eloy loves women and is delighted when Elvira expresses a powerfully sexual interest in him, but she's a student of tantric sex techniques, and as she opens his eyes to the possibilities of lovemaking, he's introduced to new worlds of eroticism that allow him to leave his body and travel through time and space.
In Spanish with English subtitles.
La Pointe Courte (1954)
Cleo from 5 to 7 (1961)
Le Bonheur (1964)
Gleaners And I (2000)
Triple bill of movies from the cult French directors Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro. In 'Delicatessen' (1990), in a burnt-out city on the verge of collapse, a canny butcher (Jean-Claude Dreyfus) employs various young handymen, kills them, and then sells them as meat. When ex-circus performer Louison (Dominique Pinon) arrives looking for work, it seems that his head will be the next on the block. But Louison falls in love with Julie (Marie-Laure Dougnac), the butcher's daughter, and together they join forces with an underground vegetarian group who plan to bring an end to the butcher's cruel regime. 'The City of Lost Children' (1995) is set on a futuristic oil rig, where a man, Krank (Daniel Emilfork), has aged prematurely because he has lost the ability to dream. To reverse the ageing process he kidnaps children from the local harbour town so that he can steal their dreams. Finally, 'The Bunker of the Last Gunshots' (1981) is a short film about a group of soldiers living in a bleak futuristic world.
Jean-Dominique Bauby is the high-flying editor of French Elle and father of two, who was renowned for his sense of humor and style, his joie de vivre and amorous energy, when, in an instant, his world was plunged into the depths of catastrophe.
Faced with a harrowing predicament, Jean-Dominique will use enormous courage and determination but, most of all, his soaring imagination to escape from his trap. Tapping into the limitlessness of his memories, fantasies, wit and wishes, he finds a way to race through experiences of wonder and grief, sex and love, fatherhood and childhood, faith and questioning, ecstasy and absurdity – and touches the very essence of what it is to be human.
Along the way he is buoyed by a quintet of remarkable women: Céline, the mother of his children who remains devoted to him despite his betrayal; Inés, the girlfriend who still haunts him; Henriette and Marie, who give Jean-Dominique the power to re-connect with the world and his loved ones; and Claude, who becomes his ravishing literary assistant.
In French with English subtitles.
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