Essential Insights: Fandor’s Featured Films

Did you know that Fandor has a Featured Films section?  Not content to leave recommendations and suggestions to an impersonal computer algorithm, curators select four films on a weekly basis to specifically recommend to Fandor users.

Among the diverse range of films available to watch on Fandor: an Oscar nominee set in Vietnam, an acclaimed break-up drama from Turkey, a feature-length documentary exploring the life of revered experimental filmmaker, and a whimsical Pop Art-influenced animated short from the Czech Republic.  Still not tantilized?  Below is a compilation of excerpts and links to help further whet your appetite.

01) The Scent of Green Papaya (dir. Tran Anh Hung, 1993)


The Scent of Green Papaya, “one of this year’s Oscar nominees in the foreign language category, is first of all a film of great visual beauty; watching it is like seeing a poem for the eyes… there is a purity to the observation of Mui’s daily world that has a power of its own.”

Roger Ebert

The Scent of Green Papaya redefines what we usually mean by ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ from first moment to last, architecturally as well as socially and psychologically”

Jonathan Rosenbaum

“…the level of control offered by shooting in-studio is a bountiful arena for an artist like Tran Anh Hung to create a mesmerizing world of details nearly impossible to find elsewhere. His debut film, The Scent of Green Papaya, is an exercise in detail, letting the specificity of its frames create a time that no longer exists except in his memories.”

Sean Gandert for Paste Magazine

02) Climates (dir. Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2006)


“Both Climates and Three Monkeys emphasize the link between drama and landscape in an elemental way that’s worthy of the late Russian master [Andrei Tarkovsky].  They appear as thunderclouds on a dark horizon: slow-approaching yet portentous, boldly vying for your attention”

Vadim Rizov for Keyframe


“Charting the indefinable trajectory of Isa’s restlessness, alienation, and melancholy through climactic and geographic changes that reflect the interiority of Isa’s unrequited–and indefinable–longing, Climates exquisitely (and indelibly) maps a spare, elegiac, and achingly intimate meditation on the ephemeral seasons of the human heart.”

Acquarello for Strictly Film School

And risking charges of favoritism:

“Many critics have invoked the name of Michelangelo Antonioni when writing about Climates, and the connection is a natural one.  If Antonioni experimented with and refined this particular type of ennui-saturated breakup story in such films as L’avventura and L’eclisse, Ceylan also seems to draw particular inspiration from Antonioni’s masterful ability to use space and architectural artifice to convey vague, unspoken disconnection between two people when a relationship has its expiration date.”

Jesse Ataide for DVD Verdict

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03) Brakhage (dir. Jim Shedden, 1998)


“Brakhage is less a context for its subject than an introduction. Still, it’s rare to see a profile concerned with something other than personality. Shedden samples many of Brakhage’s greatest hits, from the early psychodrama The Way to Shadow Garden and the birth film i through the multiple superimpositions of Prelude, the intricately edited 8mm 23rd Psalm Branch, the shock vérité of The Act of Seeing With One’s Own Eyes, and the pure prismatic Text of Light, to the filmmaker’s recent painted or scratched films. To see the equivalent of Brakhage’s reel, annotated by the filmmaker, is to recognize the awesome breadth of his accomplishments in, and dedication to, what sometimes seems the most fragile of media.”

J. Hoberman for The Village Voice


Also, Fred Camper has created an amazing resource of all things Brakhage (including reviews, film information, commentaries and examples of Brakhage’s own writing on film) available on the internet at Stan Brakhage on the Web.

04) Disc Jockey (dir. Jiří Barta, 1980)


“In Disc Jockey, Barta expands on the alteration of Eastern European life with a flurry of materialistic images are pulled straight from 1950s American nostalgia. Pepsi cola, T-birds, and Shell gasoline signs whirr by as LPs play, turning and twisting into pastel colored cakes and pies. Barta’s colorful images are funky and have an air of amusement, not necessarily condemning the Westernization of communist culture, but instead reveling in its dizzying, palatable air.”

-Overview of Barta’s career by Jenny Jediny at Not Coming to a Theater Near You

Also, check out Phil Ballard‘s interview with Barta at KinoEye

And don’t forget to check back next week for Fandor’s four new Featured Films!

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