Grab number 1
Welcome to [Film Grab], glad we grabbed your attention!
[Film Grab] is a monthly rubric that contains a bunch of movie recommendations.
The heading’s title is inspired/stolen from an actual website called [Film Grab] that I vividly recommend!
For each movie, you can find its synopsis, some personal and general reviews that I found on Letterboxd and some screenshots of scenes that I liked in the movie.
This month’s theme is [movies where the main events take place far from urban life].
Directed by Ciro Guerra
1.Embrace of the serpent (2015) ‘El abrazo de la serpiente’
The epic story of the first contact, encounter, approach, betrayal and, eventually, life-transcending friendship, between Karamakate, an Amazonian shaman, and two scientists that, over the course of 40 years, travel through the Amazon in search of a sacred plant that can heal them.
This movie is the first on the list for a reason. It doesn’t only fit the theme perfectly but it’s actually something you’ve never seen before. Nobody embraced any serpents but as a viewer, you will surely embrace the spirit of the Amazon, the noises, the river and most importantly the protagonist’s wisdom.
Directed by Klber Mendonça
& Juilano Dornelles
Bacurau, a small town in the Brazilian sertão, mourns the loss of its matriarch, Carmelita, who lived to be 94. Days later, its inhabitants notice that their community has vanished from most maps.
Much like Mendonça’s previous features, the director likes to paint the portraits of people or small communities as they struggle to defend themselves against the dark flow of modernity. “Bacurau” is a gloriously demented (and lightly psychedelic) Western that starts in outer space and ends in a sort of catacomb.
Directed by Alfonso Cuarón
3.Y tù mama tambien (2001)
In Mexico, two teenage boys and an attractive older woman embark on a road trip and learn a thing or two about life, friendship, sex, and each other.
I think every guy (and maybe girl) can, to a certain extent, relate to this movie! Alfonso Cuarón spot a light on the Mexican society’s sexual phantasms. Making explicit, how much instinctive desires can disrupt love, morality and even friendship. Y tù mama tambien is beautiful, funny, erotic and most importantly non-explicitly deep!
Directed by Abbas Kiarostami
4.Where’s my friend’s house (1987) ’خانه دوست کجاست ‘
An 8-year-old boy must return his friend’s notebook he took by mistake, lest his friend be punished by expulsion from school.
A simplistic yet profound story of a little boy’s dedication to spare his friend from being punished. The movie is brilliantly written that it pushes you to care about the little boy’s fate. Visually, Kiarostami once again applies his signature zig-zag road motif that will flow through his work and symbolize his characters journey and life choices.
Directed by Wes Anderson
5.Moonrise kingdom (2012)
Set on an island off the coast of New England in the summer of 1965, Moonrise Kingdom tells the story of two twelve-year-olds who fall in love, make a secret pact, and run away together into the wilderness.
Once again, Wes Anderson chooses to illustrate how much children can outsmart adults. We can say, that this movie speaks for every child who’s tired of being not taken seriously by adults, and I think that’s a valid reason for the two lovers to escape.
Directed by Alice Rohrwacher
6.Happy as Lazzaro (2018) ‘Lazzaro felice’
Purehearted teen Lazzaro is content living as a sharecropper in rural Italy, but an unlikely friendship with the marquise’s son will change his world.
An amazing film about the innocence of men and the perversity of the modern neoliberalism. Lazzaro, as a character, is so impressively, unrelentingly unselfish that he is essentially unfit for the world he lives in and I felt a bit guilty as if I represented the selfish humanity that rejected him.
Directed by Samuel Maoz
7.Foxtrot (2017) ’פוֹקְסטְרוֹט‘
Michael and Daphna receive terrible news about their soldier son, who serves in a desolate checkpoint in the middle of nowhere.
A beautifully shot and written movie, its tension and profoundness are directly inspired from one specific event that occurred to the director. The movie depicts the portrait of a nation (and a family) at war.
Directed by Ljubomir Stefanov & Tamara Kotevska
When nomadic beekeepers break Honeyland’s basic rule (take half of the honey, but leave half to the bees), the last female beehunter in Europe must save the bees and restore natural balance.
An extremely symbolic documentary, through which we can perceive many dualities: Man & Women, kindness & greed and mainly Humanity and Nature. Honeyland depicts the singular relationship between a brave woman and bees (nature in general).
Directed by Hamza Ouni
9.El Gort (2013) ‘جمل البروطة’
A bitterly realistic film, with events that took more than six years to unfold, follows the evolution of two young Tunisians working in the hay trade, tracking their movements and transformations in the ebb and flow between fragility and toughness, before and after the Tunisian revolution.
I made sure that the list includes a Tunisian feature, and El Gort fits perfectly the theme. Hamza Ouni transmits the pain and suffering of a lost generation that is ready to do anything for a brief moment of joy.
PS: This movie is available on Artify !
Directed by Agnès Varda
10.The gleaners and I (2000) ‘Les Glaneurs et la Glaneuse’
Varda focuses her eye on gleaners: those who scour already-reaped fields for the odd potato or turnip. Her investigation leads from forgotten corners of the French countryside to off-hours at the green markets of Paris, following those who insist on finding a use for that which society has cast off, whether out of necessity or activism.
The Gleaners and I is an Agnès Varda documentary with a tremendous amount of heart. The French filmmaker takes an admiring glance at recycling while wandering the countryside and cities of her country with her hand-held digital camera, and constructs a rather unconventional documentary as a result.