Midnight Express is Alan Parker’s direction and Oliver Stone’s screenplay of Billy Hayes’ autobiographical novel of the same name. It tells a powerful story about an American student who is thrown in prison in Turkey. A failed drug smuggling attempt turns into a horrible nightmare as the youngster learns the harsh reality of prison life. John Hurt is stellar in supporting role as Max. →IMDb
Kelly Reichardt is one of the leading contemporary American art-house directors. In this film she portrays the intertwined stories of three women in rural USA. →IMDb
Gus Van Sant’s film about high-school children in Portland’s skateboarding scene. Great story about growing up in the modern world, and the uncertainty that youngsters are facing. →IMDb
Cristian Mungiu’s powerful drama about being a good parent when odds are against you in a poverty-stricken, corrupted world. →IMDb
A film about a French family and a German man in post World War Two world. It is a story about the hardship, wounds, and hatred that the war left behind, but also about forgiveness and the will to carry on. →IMDb
Hirokazu Koreeda’s 17th feature film, After the Storm (2016) follows the life of a middle-class Japanese family, whose divorced parents are trying to get along. Koreeda depicts contemporary Japanese culture in a very realistic manner. The excellent cast includes many Japanese stars, most notably stellar Kirin Kiki as the grandmother. The characters are complex and life-like, and as usual, Koreeda makes no moral judgments ‒ all interpretation is left to the viewer. →IMDb
The Salesman (2016) is an Iranian film, but it does not depict the political situation in the country nor describe the conflict with the western world. Instead, it tells an intelligent, universal story about crime, revenge, acceptance and forgiveness. Unusual events push people off-balance and force them to reveal their corruption and nobility, often both embodied in the same character. In this story, there are no heroes nor crooks, people good nor bad. Just people in all their complexity and flaws. →IMDb
A classic film by Milos Forman, based on the novel by Ken Kesey. One Flew Over Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) was filmed in Oregon State Mental Hospital (Salem, Oregon, USA). I had an opportunity to see it on the big screen when Laurelhurst Theater (Portland, Oregon, USA) was doing a special screening as a part of their Made in Oregon series. Ken Kesey used to work in a mental hospital and allegedly the first draft of his novel was written during the long hours of night shifts. Inspired by his experiences, Kesey depicts the life in a mental institution in an interesting manner, carrying the...