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7.
Alyam, Alyam (1978)
Ahmed El Maanouni
Morocco
87′
Set in a small village in the Moroccan countryside, Alyam, Alyam tells a story culled from the lived reality of young men almost forty years ago while still remaining very much of the present day. A young man named Abdelwahed pins his dreams of a better life for himself and his family on travelling to France and finding work there. As the eldest of eight children, he becomes the principal caretaker and breadwinner for his family after his father passes away. He fills out forms and waits for his work permit to arrive. Meanwhile, Hlima, his recently widowed mother who’s reticent to let him go, tries in vain to dissuade him and enlists the help of Abdelwahed’s grandfather too. As the days flow by to the cadence of life in the countryside, marked by the hardships of farming, Abdelwahed waits. All he can do is wait. Straddling fiction and documentary, Alyam, Alyam is Ahmed El Maanouni’s first narrative feature, and the first Moroccan film ever to be selected at the Cannes Film Festival. Recently restored, the film’s splendor and finely crafted editing has become available once again for cinéphiles and new generations to discover.
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11.
Un amor (2012)
Paula Hernández
Argentina
100′
Does love at first sight exist? This may certainly be the case, but sometimes you need time to be sure of this love. This film describes such a story about getting to know somebody and falling in love as a teenager, and about meeting again many years later. It begins in the 70s, in the summer in a small town by the river. Bruno and Lalo are teenagers and good friends. They hang around together in the heat, until one rainy day Lisa turns up, a beautiful young woman who capriciously and quick-wittedly turns the heads of both boys - and then decides on one of them. Three decades later she is back again and finds the friends from her youth living in differing situations. "I am single now", she says, but I can't get the picture of the three of us out of my head. No, she is certainly no longer the same Lisa for both men as she was back then. The pictures and memories that one had of one another, are these still any use in the present? What was it like back then, this love? What did we want, what happened to us? They ponder these questions in front of the camera, giving voice to their memories. How does a love story and history fit together? Can you carry on where you left off three decades ago? These and other questions are pondered by this film about making friends and falling in love as a teenager, and of meeting again many years later. The wonderfully easy-going triangle of their adolescence can probably not be revived. But what about unique and true love from back then? Paula Hernández’ film is also an experiment about how feelings are linked to the spirit of the time the ups and downs of life, in which light, air and sun play a not insignificant role. An intensive, thoughtful, atmospherically very emotionally intoned film about love and about time, which gives this love a new dimension.
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12.
Blind Dates (2013)
Levan Koguashvili
Georgia
99′
Sandro is a forty-something teacher and still lives with his parents, who constantly meddle in his private life. He shows little interest in the blind dates his friend Iva pressures him to go on. On an outing to the Black Sea, he falls in love with the hairdresser Manana. When her husband Tengo is released from jail early, Sandro’s predicament takes on absurd dimensions. He gets caught up in wild family disputes and feels compelled to move Natia, pregnant with Tengo’s child, into his parents’ home. Wrong conclusions and misunderstandings are the driving force of this melancholy comedy, in which everyone meddles with everything but no one really listens, which only leads to yet further confusion. When in doubt, they all argue together with true ferocity, the situation invariably ending in intense outbursts. Levan Koguashvili’s second feature is thus in keeping with the best traditions of Georgian cinema. The narrative tone stays calm, as the events come thick and fast. Unsentimental, with various ellipses and allusions, and shot with wonderful colour compositions and an incredible feel for space, architecture and cityscapes, the film ultimately attains extraordinary profundity.
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