La Rafle (The Round Up)

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In picturesque Montmartre in 1942, three children wearing a yellow star play in the streets, oblivious to the darkness spreading over Nazi-occupied France. Their parents do not seem too concerned either, somehow putting their trust in the Vichy Government. But beyond this view, much is going on. Hitler has demanded that the French government round up its Jews and put them on trains for the extermination camps in the east. Directed by Rose Bosch and stars Jean Reno, Mélanie Laurent and Gad Elmaleh. 

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Soul Kitchen

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In Hamburg, Zinos has a restaurant serving poor-man's fare; he gets by, but his girlfriend has taken a job in Shanghai, he's hurt his back and can't cook, his feckless brother can be on daily parole from jail only if Zinos employs him (though his brother doesn't want to work), a school acquaintance wants to buy the restaurant property, and the tax authority and health inspector are on his case. Zinos hires a temperamental chef and loses all his customers, signs a power of attorney giving his brother full authority at the restaurant, and buys a ticket to Shanghai.

Amos Oz: The Nature of Dreams

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Based on his autobiographical book A Tale of Love and Darkness, this documentary tells the story of Israeli author Amos Oz, the society in which he lives and the connections between them. It follows the biographical, literary, political and philosophical aspects of Oz's personality.

The film presents the Israeli narrative as reflected through his literary gaze and exposes his love- hate relationship with Europe which had rejected his family.

Camino

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Writers: Javier Fesser
Starring: Nerea Camacho, Carme Elias, Mariano Venancio, Manuela Vellés
Duration: 143 mins

Directed by: Javier Fesser

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Few films manage to balance Hollywood sentiment and European irony as successfully as Javier Fesser's impressive feature which recently took out 6 of the top Spanish Academy Awards (Goyas) including Best Picture and Best Director. Likened to a mix of The Magdalene Sisters, Amelie and The Song of Bernadette, Camino is a rather extraordinary movie about an 11-year-old girl who falls in love while dying of cancer. It was inspired by the real-life story of Alexia Gonzalez-Barros, currently being considered for sainthood. As Camino's life becomes more traumatice she escapes into a world of fantasy in which Fesser intertwines melodrama, dread and animation in outrageous new ways.



A Pain in the Ass

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Writer: Francis Veber
Starring: Ralf Milan, François Pignon
Music: Jean-Michel Bernard
Director: Francis Veber

Two adjoining hotel rooms. In one, there's a killer called Ralph Milan. In the other, a suicidal man called François Pignon. Pignon has met with disappointment in love. Milan has to meet a man he's going to kill. Between the two rooms: a communicating door. And when it opens, Ralph, the perfectly oiled killing machine, sees the enormous grain of sand that François Pignon is coming straight at him. Pignon, who wholeheartedly deserves, without any argument, the title of World Champion Pain in the Ass.

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Of Time And The City

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Terence Davies (1945- ), filmmaker and writer, takes us, sometimes obliquely, to his childhood and youth in Liverpool. He's born Catholic and poor; later he rejects religion. He discovers homo-eroticism, and it's tinged with Catholic guilt. Enjoying pop music gives way to a teenage love of Mahler and Wagner. Using archival footage, we take a ferry to a day on the beach. Postwar prosperity brings some positive change, but its concrete architecture is dispiriting. Contemporary colors and sights of children playing may balance out the presence of unemployment and persistent poverty. Davies' narration is a mix of his own reflections and the poems and prose of others.

A Journey of Dmitry Shostakovich

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Voices: George Watts, Helga Landauer
Script: Oksana Dvornichenko, Helga Landauer
Producers: Darya Zhuk, Oksana Dvornichenko
Directed by: Oksana Dvornichenko, Helga Landauer

Shostakovich, the greatest composer of the 20th century, remains one of its biggest mysteries. The nine chapters of the film are framed by nine days of the last round-trip journey of the composer's life: a trip on a Soviet ocean liner to the United States. The film is narrated primarily in words of Shostakovich's letters and diaries, which sharply contrast with the propaganda movies shown on board the ship, as the twentieth century itself weaves myth and reality. Never-before-seen archival fragments of the composer's life - newsreel footage, photographs, letters, and personal memoirs - provide a unique perspective on issues of the artist versus the state, and truth versus survival. In contrasting official truth with personal truth, the film offers insight into the mystery of how Shostakovich was able to penetrate, through his music, the ironclad curtain and deeply affect Western audiences.

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