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Travel the World Challenge (Official, July 2021)

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blocho
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Travel the World Challenge (Official, July 2021)

#1

Post by blocho »

Travel the World Challenge

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Welcome to the Travel the World Challenge. There are few things in life more exhilarating than to do as Ibn Battuta and Marco Polo did -- to venture off to new lands, to seek journeys both of the mind and the body, to enlarge the spirit with novel experiences. But if travel is not pragmatic at any given moment, the movies offer a worthy simulacrum. Like the best art, they can provide entry to different lands, peoples, and ways of being.

Goal
Watch movies/episodes from different countries/territories. Discuss them.

Rules
- Challenge runs July 1, 2021 to July 31, 2021.
- Participants may only gain one point from each country/territory.
- A feature film (at least 40 minutes) counts as one point.
- 80 minutes of short films or miniseries/TV episodes counts as one point.
- Films/episodes must be watched one at a time, at single speed (not sped up), and in their entirety.
- Not a rule but a request: When you post what you have watched, please include your reaction or at least a rating so that other people can learn about movies they might not know about. Also, the challenge is more fun and interesting when discussion is ample.

Nationality -- PLEASE READ THIS SECTION
I want to spend as little time as possible this month writing about matters of territoriality, sovereignty, and federalism. While these issues are very important, I think this challenge is not the ideal place to go back and forth regarding our thoughts on the autonomy of Western Sahara or whether any particular co-production is more French or more British. As such, please use the following rules:
- We will be using imdb as the sole source for determining nationality. This is not a perfect method, but it is relatively simple, and imdb is a fairly comprehensive resource. If you see something that does not have an imdb page, then you choose which country it should count for, but please be reasonable in your determination.
- To determine a movie's nationality, look at its imdb page. You will find a country listing under the section titled "Details." If more than one country is listed there, then you can choose ONE of those countries. For example, the 2000 biopic Lumumba has four countries listed: France, Belgium, Germany, and Haiti. If I saw Lumumba for this challenge, I could post it for any of those four countries. Once you indicate which country a movie counts for, you can't go back and change it later.
- Here is a list with every imdb country code. The countries/territories in this list are the only eligible ones for this challenge. As such, the maximum score in this challenge is 246.
- For movies that are listed on imdb as being made in a country that no longer exists, please list the current-day country that is analogous. This should be pretty easy to figure out if you see a West German movie -- obviously, you list it as a German movie. It's a little harder if you see a Soviet or Yugoslav movie. If you do so, please list whichever current-day country you feel it properly belongs to. So, if you see a Soviet movie, you could list it as a Russian or Ukrainian or Uzbek movie. Please be reasonable in these cases. Don't list a movie like Nevestka as a Latvian movie when it's clearly a Turkmen movie.

Stats & Formatting
- Title (Country/Territory, Year) is the preferred format. Submissions that do not mention the country/territory will not be counted.
- New posts are preferred over edited posts.

Previous Edition
2019 - Led by jeroeno with 107 points.


Scoreboard
RankParticipantNumber of Points
1Traveller155
2pitchorneirda83
3sol82
4zzzorf68
5Mario Gaborovic65
6jdidaco56
7ororama54
7St. Gloede54
945MinuteZoom34
10Lu-Chin32
11Cinepolis29
12flavo500028
13burneyfan27
13Fergenaprido27
15DudeLanez26
15hurluberlu26
17OldAle125
18Onderhond24
19maxwelldeux21
20AB53720
21kongs_speech19
22dirty_score17
23toromash16
24ChrisReynolds15
24mightysparks15
26peeptoad14
27Lilarcor13
28blocho12
28Lakigigar12
30Melvelet11
31RogerTheMovieManiac888
32connordenney7
33clemmetarey6
33AssonFire6
35Mochard4
Last edited by blocho on August 3rd, 2021, 8:48 pm, edited 19 times in total.
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#2

Post by Traveller »

I'm in, lots of places to visit. Thanks for hosting, blocho.
ICM
December Challenge: None
But at the bottom, the immanent philosopher sees in the entire universe only the deepest longing for absolute annihilation, and it is as if he clearly hears the call that permeates all spheres of heaven: Redemption! Redemption! Death to our life! and the comforting answer: you will all find annihilation and be redeemed!
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#3

Post by 45MinuteZoom »

Very excited for this one, thanks for hosting blocho!
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sol
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#4

Post by sol »

Thanks for hosting again, blocho. I have a bunch of promising stuff lined up from the more prolific film-producing countries, but in addition to that, I want to plug up some of the holes on my Letterboxd World Map. I only joined the site in December 2019 and didn't import any ratings because the process was too hard, so there's a lot of plugging up to do.

My current Letterboxd All-Time Stats before the challenge begins:

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My current Letterboxd All-Time World Map before the challenge begins:
Spoiler
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My current Letterboxd 2021 World Map before the challenge begins:
Spoiler
Image
(I will try to fill more of this in once I have plugged up more holes in my All-Time map)
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#5

Post by peeptoad »

Thanks for hosting, blocho! I'm def in for a few; may try to pick off some of the countries I haven't hit yet in the ongoing Travel the World challenge. :cheers:
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#6

Post by ororama »

Thanks for the Nationality section. It's nice to have clear rules that don't require you to watch the movie to decide if it qualifies.

Also, thanks for using Lumumba as an example. It turns out that my library has a copy (they apparently keep it in the non-fiction book section, so I don't think that I've ever seen it), and it is hard to find movies that qualify for Haiti. I know very little about Patrice Lumumba, so I'm expecting an interesting watch.
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#7

Post by blocho »

ororama wrote: June 29th, 2021, 9:45 pm Thanks for the Nationality section. It's nice to have clear rules that don't require you to watch the movie to decide if it qualifies.

Also, thanks for using Lumumba as an example. It turns out that my library has a copy (they apparently keep it in the non-fiction book section, so I don't think that I've ever seen it), and it is hard to find movies that qualify for Haiti. I know very little about Patrice Lumumba, so I'm expecting an interesting watch.
It's a decent movie. I was in the same boat you were in beforehand -- I knew almost nothing about Lumumba. Now, after seeing it, I know something about him and the Congo Crisis, so I'm glad for that at least.
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#8

Post by dirty_score »

I'll join this one, have a few to watch.
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#9

Post by mightysparks »

I'll join simply because I'll be watching stuff from various countries but I have no specific goals.
"I do not always know what I want, but I do know what I don't want." - Stanley Kubrick

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#10

Post by 45MinuteZoom »

Do rewatches count? I’m seeing Tampopo again on Thursday, would that count as a Japan check?
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#11

Post by blocho »

45MinuteZoom wrote: June 30th, 2021, 5:28 pm Do rewatches count? I’m seeing Tampopo again on Thursday, would that count as a Japan check?
Sure, go for it.
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#12

Post by pitchorneirda »

1. Beed-e majnoon a.k.a. The Willow Tree (Majid Majidi, 2005, Iran) - 6.5/10
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"Art is like a fire, it is born from the very thing it burns" - Jean-Luc Godard
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#13

Post by mightysparks »

1. Fröken Julie (SWEDEN, 1951) 6/10
During the Midsummers' Eve celebrations, a daughter of a count and her servant begin a romance as they recount their childhoods. This started off really promising. The film looks beautiful, Anita Björk is fantastic, Ulf Palme is intriguing and it has a wonderful playful tone that immediately gripped me. Then their characters just whine about their problematic childhoods, parents and class problems and though none of this is particularly bad it didn't really add much to the story that had been promised. I was much more interested in where these people were going rather than where they'd come from and it disrupted the flow and the playfulness of the beginning without evolving it. Still a good film thanks to the beautiful visuals and the performances but the story was a letdown.
Travelin' Man
1. Fröken Julie (SWEDEN, 1951) 6/10
"I do not always know what I want, but I do know what I don't want." - Stanley Kubrick

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#14

Post by pitchorneirda »

2. Baara a.k.a. Work (Souleymane Cissé, 1978, Mali) - 7/10
Recap
1. Beed-e majnoon a.k.a. The Willow Tree (Majid Majidi, 2005, Iran) - 6.5/10
Map of visited countries
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Last edited by pitchorneirda on July 1st, 2021, 2:02 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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#15

Post by sol »

1. The Bra (2018) Azerbaijan

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When a unique-looking bra comes off a clothes line and lands on his vehicle, a train driver embarks on ambitious quest to return the bra to its rightful owner in this quirky little comedy. The film has been described as an ode to silent comedies, but without a single line of dialogue (audible or via titles), this more resembles Murnau's The Last Laugh. There are occasions in which the dialogue-free story becomes muddled, but it is all pretty fun and eccentric.

Progress so far:

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#16

Post by sol »

Spreading the virus
1. The Bra (2018) Azerbaijan
2. Crumbs (2015) Ethiopia

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There is some zany comedy as everyday 90s items are worshipped here with false back-stories and each object introduced floating in space with Earth in the background (see above). Much of the film though simply feels WTF for the sake of it with a Nazi in a mouse-like gas mask and a possibly evil Santa Claus in the mix. Apparently the plot has something to do with a dormant spacecraft and false beliefs in the possibility of Santa to grant wishes - I think? No idea.

Progress so far:

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#17

Post by sol »

Travel the World; Spread the Virus
1. The Bra (2018) Azerbaijan
2. Crumbs (2015) Ethiopia
3. Nobody (2021) United States

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Penned by the writer of the John Wick films, it is hard not to mentally compare and contrast this action thriller that similarly involves a former hired assassin coming out of retirement when provoked. The action is not quite as extreme or imaginatively choreographed and the neon is disappointingly dialed down, but Bob Odenkirk makes for a far more relatable, down-to-earth and flawed protagonist. Christopher Lloyd is also delightful in support.

Countries infected so far:

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P.S.: Please let me know if you find my Covid jokes in poor taste. I can edit them out. :unsure:
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#18

Post by pitchorneirda »

3. Shiza a.k.a. Fifty-Fifty (Gulshat Omarova, 2004, Kazakhstan) - 6/10
4. Yam Daabo (Idrissa Ouedraogo, 1987, Burkina Faso) - 4/10

About Yam Daabo: given the synopsis, I expected something more political, but it was once again, as in Tilai, the hierarchy of a village threatened by love stories between women from the village and foreigners. But it was not nearly as engaging as Tilai.
Recap
1. Beed-e majnoon a.k.a. The Willow Tree (Majid Majidi, 2005, Iran) - 6.5/10
2. Baara a.k.a. Work (Souleymane Cissé, 1978, Mali) - 7/10
Map of visited countries
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"Art is like a fire, it is born from the very thing it burns" - Jean-Luc Godard
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#19

Post by burneyfan »

I'll play! No goal -- just curious what countries I stumble through in the course of normal viewing. There'll probably be one week where I'm watching mostly US/UK movies (long story), but other than that, I should be bumbling around wherever. Thanks for the fun, blocho!
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#20

Post by Traveller »

01. Captain Abu Raed (Jordan, 2008) - 7/10
02. Curse of the Mushroom People (Japan, 1963) - 7/10
ICM
December Challenge: None
But at the bottom, the immanent philosopher sees in the entire universe only the deepest longing for absolute annihilation, and it is as if he clearly hears the call that permeates all spheres of heaven: Redemption! Redemption! Death to our life! and the comforting answer: you will all find annihilation and be redeemed!
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#21

Post by burneyfan »

01. Nanjeongiga soaolrin jakeun kong a.k.a. A Ball Shot by a Midget -- Lee, South Korea, 1981

The trials of a kind, scrupulous Little Person and his (not Little) family. Some of the actors gave strong performances, particularly the actress playing his wife, but the film didn't make much of an impression on me.

02. Erzi a.k.a. Sons -- Zhang, China, 1996

This film details the problems wreaked by alcoholism on a Chinese family; it has an odd feel to it, because the actors are all playing themselves and re-enacting portions of their lives -- they were the director's neighbors.
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#22

Post by burneyfan »

Okay, I have a situation I didn't expect: I have a film coming up that I'll be watching this month, and I just noticed that it lists two countries in IMDb: South Korea (which I just hit with a previous film, no problem) and...Antarctica. (??) I see that Antarctica is listed among the IMDb country codes, which makes me think it counts, based on your challenge introduction, but I don't think it's actually a country -- more like a continent inhabited by multiple nations. Does it still count, because it's among the IMDb country codes? I'm perfectly happy whether the answer is "yes" or "no" -- I honestly didn't think I'd hit anything this unusual this month, but this film is coming right up for me, and I'm uncertain whether to list it here or not. Thanks for your guidance!
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#23

Post by Lilarcor »

Thanks for hosting blocho!

1. On the Railway (Kim Song Gyo, 1960) North Korea

Very interesting and surely must have been a costly North Korean propaganda, some great visuals here featuring blowing up real trains. Unfortunately the copy that exists is very bad, almost unwatchable, with weird video glitches and out-of sync sound, so I cannot recommend watching this for North Korea. The hardcoded subtitles are also not great. I managed to sort of make the film play in sync by running it on two screens: muting the film I was watching and using the audio from the same movie playing on another screen where I could manually adjust the timing of the sound to "fit" the screen I was watching. Not sure why I went through all this effort when there are other North Korean films to watch, but the visuals kept me interested in this.
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#24

Post by Mario Gaborović »

01. Death of a Centerfold: The Dorothy Stratten Story (1981) - United States of America
02. Circumstance (2011) - Iran
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#25

Post by blocho »

burneyfan wrote: July 1st, 2021, 6:37 pm Okay, I have a situation I didn't expect: I have a film coming up that I'll be watching this month, and I just noticed that it lists two countries in IMDb: South Korea (which I just hit with a previous film, no problem) and...Antarctica. (??) I see that Antarctica is listed among the IMDb country codes, which makes me think it counts, based on your challenge introduction, but I don't think it's actually a country -- more like a continent inhabited by multiple nations. Does it still count, because it's among the IMDb country codes? I'm perfectly happy whether the answer is "yes" or "no" -- I honestly didn't think I'd hit anything this unusual this month, but this film is coming right up for me, and I'm uncertain whether to list it here or not. Thanks for your guidance!
We live by the imdb country codes, we die by the imdb country codes. So yes.
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#26

Post by zzzorf »

Easily one of my most favourite challenges and I am of course in. In saying it though I am not going to focus on this challenge this time around as other priorities in my movie watching need to be dealt with first. This doesn't mean my watching will be minor and I should be able to watch a fair few, just not the 30-50 this challenge normally allows me to.

1. Na samote u lesa (1976, Czechoslovakia (Czech Republic)) - 7/10 - A charming little Czech comedy where a family from Prague rents a cabin of an elderly man in the country with the promise of him selling up to them and moving to his son in Slovakia within the year. Though of course this doesn't quite happen as planned.

2. Aquaman (2018, USA, Australia) - 7/10 - (rewatch) - My wife and I are currently in a rewatch of the DC Extended Universe leading up to the movies we have yet to see and this happened to be the one we watched first this month. Enjoyed it more than last time as I'm going in with less expectations for these second viewings and am not being as harsh, just sitting back and taking them for what they are, not what I wanted them to be.

3. Nirgendwo in Afrika (2001, Germany) - 9/10 - A Jewish family flees to Kenya from Germany at the start of the Nazi rise to power seeing the writing on the wall and we see their varying ways of feelings for their homeland and their new home change over the years of their exile.

4. Het debuut (1977, Netherlands) - 7/10 - Not for everyone because of the subject matter, a relationship between a 14yo teen and a 41yo man, but if you can handle it it wasn't a bad watch. Could have been better but was a decent way to kill 90mins.
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#27

Post by pitchorneirda »

5. Boz salkyn a.k.a. Pure Coolness (Ernest Abdyljaparov, 2007, Kyrgyzstan) - 4/10

Good story, but a bit generic and the visuals are ugly (because of the digital camera that has no grain at all I suppose) and the acting is horrible

6. De noorderlingen a.k.a. The Northerners (Alex van Warmerdam, 1992, Netherlands) - 5/10

Not a bad film but the characters are a bit too archetypal/symbolic of something else and the pieces of the puzzle take too much time to get together and I stopped caring before the end
Recap
1. Beed-e majnoon a.k.a. The Willow Tree (Majid Majidi, 2005, Iran) - 6.5/10
2. Baara a.k.a. Work (Souleymane Cissé, 1978, Mali) - 7/10
3. Shiza a.k.a. Fifty-Fifty (Gulshat Omarova, 2004, Kazakhstan) - 6/10
4. Yam Daabo (Idrissa Ouedraogo, 1987, Burkina Faso) - 4/10
Map of visited countries
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Last edited by pitchorneirda on July 3rd, 2021, 7:10 am, edited 5 times in total.
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#28

Post by DudeLanez »

1. Camille (USA, 1936, Cukor) 7/10
2. Zamani barayé masti asbha (Iran, A Time for Drunken Horses, 2000, Ghobadi) 7/10
Travel the World Challenge
1. Camille (USA, 1936, Cukor) 7/10
2. Zamani barayé masti asbha (Iran, A Time for Drunken Horses, 2000, Ghobadi) 7/10
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#29

Post by 45MinuteZoom »

1. Tampopo (Japan, 1985, Juzo Itami) (Rewatch) - My favorite bar in DC is finally back showing movies, and Tampopo is a perfect choice for the first movie back. This movie is great, such a good job of copying a Western style without being in a Western setting, and the little vinettes are all pretty funny. Passing an egg yoke back and forth while kissing is just fantastic. 8/10

2. Leitis in Waiting (Tonga, 2018, Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu) - Documentary about transgender women in Tonga. Transgender women are known as leiti's in Tonga, and generally act as servants for a variety of things, from funerals to dinners held for the royal family. There were interviews from leiti's themselves, the member of the royal family who acts as a patron for an organization of leiti's, and from religious ministers who oppose the leiti's. There is apparently a history of employing leiti's as servants, but homosexuality is also illegal in the country. The royal family says that the intolerance the leiti's are facing now is from foreign influence. During the interviews you hear about the experiences of the leiti's in the past, and in some cases you actively see people shouting obscenities at them. Good interviews from Joey Mataele, the leader of a leiti's group and organizer of an annual beauty pageant for leiti's. 6/10
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#30

Post by sol »

Travel the World; Spread the Virus
1. The Bra (2018) Azerbaijan
2. Crumbs (2015) Ethiopia
3. Nobody (2021) United States
4. Lorik (2018) Armenia

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Known for disappearing fully into the roles he plays (and neglecting his friends and family in the process), an esteemed method actor suddenly finds himself able to literally inhabit other people's bodies in this curious comedy from Armenia. The plot takes a while to warm up and it is initially confusing at first as to what exactly is going on, but there much amusement once things become clear. Michael Poghosian is excellent as the self-obsessed protagonist too.

Countries infected so far:

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#31

Post by peeptoad »

1. Dead Man's Shoes (United Kingdom, 2004) 8+
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#32

Post by dirty_score »

1. Riders of Justice a.k.a. Retfærdighedens ryttere (2020) 🇩🇰 7/10

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#33

Post by sol »

Travel the World; Spread the Virus
1. The Bra (2018) Azerbaijan
2. Crumbs (2015) Ethiopia
3. Nobody (2021) United States
4. Lorik (2018) Armenia
5. Hers (2017) Mongolia

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Her kiosk removed without notice, a middle aged woman fights bureaucratic red tape as she tries to get her kiosk back here. Not only is the kiosk her sole source of income, it is where she lives, and at its best the film feels downright Kafkaesque with various government department shuffling her around and unable to give her a straight answer. At its weakest, the film focuses on the cruelty of the local mayor and others, most of which feels over-the-top.

Countries infected so far:

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#34

Post by kongs_speech »

I'm not watching anything specifically for this challenge, but it would be interesting to see what I accumulate naturally.

01) Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment (1963, Robert Drew, USA) - 4/5
02) Cowards Bend the Knee (2003, Guy Maddin, Canada) - 4.5/5
03) Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988, Terence Davies, UK) - 3.5/5
04) Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989, Shinya Tsukamoto, Japan) - 5/5

Tetsuo is fucking amazing. Where has this 67 minute surrealist gorefest delight been my whole life?
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#35

Post by Mario Gaborović »

03. Kurent, l'espiègle (1985) - Canada
04. Ônibus 174 (2002) - Brazil

Spoiler
01. Death of a Centerfold: The Dorothy Stratten Story (1981) - United States of America
02. Circumstance (2011) - Iran
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#36

Post by ChrisReynolds »

I'll join in with this challenge.

1. Censor (Bailey-Bond, 2021) 32 checks, 0 official lists, UK Image
A confident and stylish feature debut from Bailey-Bond. I attended a preview screening at the BFI with a Q&A that gave more interesting background about what the aims were with this film. It succeeds most in its style and atmosphere: the shift from the stifling greys and browns of conservative 80s UK to the lurid lighting typical of Italian horror is beautifully done. There's also some nice character work and a stand-out performance from Niamh Alger. Where it stumbles is in the plot, which is typical main-character-descends-into-madness stuff and was unfortunately done with a lot more depth and effectiveness by Saint Maud, which came out only a few months ago.
6/10

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Last edited by ChrisReynolds on July 2nd, 2021, 2:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
connordenney
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#37

Post by connordenney »

1. Easy Living (USA, 1937, Mitchell Leisen) - 8/10
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1. Easy Living (USA, 1937, Mitchell Leisen) - 8/10
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#38

Post by Traveller »

03. Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror (Italy, 1981) - 3/10
04. November (Estonia, 2017) - 7/10
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December Challenge: None
But at the bottom, the immanent philosopher sees in the entire universe only the deepest longing for absolute annihilation, and it is as if he clearly hears the call that permeates all spheres of heaven: Redemption! Redemption! Death to our life! and the comforting answer: you will all find annihilation and be redeemed!
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maxwelldeux
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#39

Post by maxwelldeux »

1. Sharpe's Challenge (2006, United Kingdom)
2. Boom (2003, India)

Comments in RtA. Neither are worth discussing.
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#40

Post by ororama »

1. The Dybbuk (Poland, 1937) * 122 min.

*First time viewing.

The first half is mostly a (guessing more or less accurate) portrait of life in a Polish shtetl, the second half focuses more on the spooky stuff, not scary but a bit eerie.

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Last edited by ororama on July 2nd, 2021, 3:32 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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