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|Breaking the Waves
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Brand: Artisan Entertainment
When Bess, a naive young woman, marries Jan, a handsome oil-rig worker, she experiences passion and physical pleasure that she never imagined. Their bliss is cut short when an accident on the rig leaves Jan paralyzed. Believing he will never make love to Bess again, he tells her to take other lovers, convincing her that this will help his recovery. Bess is sent spiraling into a world of dark emotions she cannot understand
|Insomnia (The Criterion Collection)
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Brand: Image Entertainment
Disgraced Swedish detective Jonas Engström (Stellan Skarsgård) travels to northern Norway to solve a brutal murder in Insomnia. Unable to sleep through the night of the midnight sun, Engström quickly loses his grip on the case and his mind. Erik Skjoldbjærg's debut feature is a deft amalgam of psychological thriller, morality play, and police procedural. Criterion presents the DVD premiere of Insomnia in a new widescreen transfer.
This 1997 film from Norway and neophyte director Erik Skjoldbjærg delivers the goods with unsettling effectiveness. It's an intense, smart, and taut thriller if only because what it eerily implies is creepier than the film's reality. Opening with a churning, chilling murder of a young woman, Insomnia invites the viewer--as well as its protagonist, celebrated Oslo homicide cop Jonas Engström (Stellan Skarsgård)--into the mind and thoughts of a killer by making Engström fatally flawed himself. While in pursuit of the murderer, Engström makes a mistake; he accidentally shoots his partner and friend and covers up his deed in a panic. But he overlooks a minor detail: the real killer has seen him commit the crime. What ensues is a layered, complex, and unnerving descent into chaos, brought on by the inability to sleep in this land of the midnight sun. Engström suffers from insomnia, which warps his logic and resolve, and before long he's totally unraveled and unsure of his every move. But not before a twisty transference and countertransference occurs between cop and killer. The two play a game of high-stakes one-upmanship that surprises in the end. Insomnia is fresh and psychologically bent, full of Scandinavian despair and dark humor, and it boasts a film noir pulse beneath its blinding light. --Paula Nechak
|Autumn Sonata (The Criterion Collection)
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A stunning union of two of Sweden's national treasures, Autumn Sonata pairs Ingmar Bergman with Ingrid Bergman for their only joint effort. Ingrid plays a mother who, after forsaking her family for a music career, attempts a reconciliation with her oldest daughter (Liv Ullmann) through a night of painful revelation. Sven Nykvist contributes glorious Eastmancolor cinematography to this quietly beautiful story of forgiveness. Criterion is proud to present Autumn Sonata in a gorgeous digital transfer.
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(Drama) Henry Chinaski (Dillon) considers himself a writer, and on occasion writes. Mostly he quests for the booze and women that sidetrack and seduce, rather than inspire greatness. When he falls for Jan (Lili Taylor), the soulful connection fails to
Matt Dillon lumbers through Factotum like a side of beef just starting to rot, lifting his chin in quiet, semi-comic reflections on the domestic squalor of a booze-ridden life. His slow, thick performance--as if he had something more viscous than blood running through his veins--has a weary gravitas that veers from wry resignation to bursts of violence that he regrets even as he's committing them. As Henry Chinaski (an alter ego of author Charles Bukowski), Dillon idly skips from job to job, seeking one that will allow him to continue his two pursuits: Writing and drinking. He gets enmeshed with one woman (Lili Taylor, I Shot Andy Warhol) and dallies with another (Marisa Tomei, In the Bedroom), but his only true love is the bottle. Despite this bleak storyline, Factotum proceeds with an almost lighthearted pace, each spare scene delivered with a dry, almost wistful tone of regret and flashes of gallows humor. Director Bent Hamer (Kitchen Stories) is from Norway and has a similar aesthetic to Finnish auteur Aki Kaurismaki (The Man Without a Past); sly slices-of-life that deliver bad news with a gentle, forgiving touch. --Bret Fetzer
- Henry Chinaski works in factories and warehouses to support what he really wants to do: drink, bet on the horses, take up with women as rootless as he is and, above all, write stories that no one wants to publish. Based on the novel by Charles Bukowski, Factotum is the story of a man living on the edge, of a writer who is willing to risk everything to make sure that his life is his poetry. Form
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A Swedish researcher strikes up an unlikely friendship with a cranky Norwegian farmer in this "quirky, thoughtful and bittersweet" (Boxoffice) comedy that captured audiences hearts around theworld. Both "warm" (Newsday) and witty, Kitchen Stories is "a deadpan, thoroughly delightful comedy that cooks up tasty laughs" (New York Post)! It's the 1950s, and a Swedish efficiency expert under strict orders not to interact with his subject is sent to improve a Norwegian farmer's culinary efforts. But the sly old farmer much prefers to amuse himself by impeding the timid researcher's work! Soon, in the struggle between neutral observation and the need for human interaction, the kitchen becomes a battleground!
|Edvard Munch-Special Edition 2-DVD Set
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This is the first commercial US release of the extended 2-part version of Peter Watkins
"Famously described by Ingmar Bergman as a ""work of genius"", Peter Watkins' multi-faceted masterpiece is more than just a bio-pic of the iconic Norwegian Expressionist painter. Focusing initially on Munch's formative years in late 19th Century Kristiania (now Oslo), Watkins uses his trademark style to create a vivid picture of the emotional, political and social upheavals that would have such an effect on his art.
The young artist (Geir Westby) has an affair with ""Mrs Heiberg"" (Gro Fraas), a devastating experience that will haunt him for the rest of his life, and his work is viciously attacked by the critics and public alike. He is forced to leave his home country for Berlin, where, along with the notorious
Swedish playwright August Strindberg, he becomes part of the cultural storm that is to sweep Europe.
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Brand: First Look Pictures
Elling is a slyly funny odd couple comedy about two misfits trying to find their place in the world. After a two-year stint in a state home in which the shy, neurotic Elling and the loud, sex-obsessed Kjell Bjarne became close friends, the pair are relea
This Norwegian comedy (nominated for an Academy Award®) concerns two men being released from a state home. Until the death of his mother, Elling rarely left the apartment where they lived; Kjell has lived in institutions most of his life and is obsessed with sex, as any virgin in his 30s might be. Thanks to a new social program, the two roommates are given an apartment in Oslo--if they can manage to live independently. At first simply answering the phone or buying groceries is a struggle, but as they taste freedom, their lives become an exciting adventure. In a Hollywood movie, these two would be cute goofballs; what makes Elling so very engaging is how genuinely awkward and uncomfortable Elling and Kjell are. Their difficulties in the world are treated with respect and realism, which makes their progress bracing and their success delightful. A charming film. --Bret Fetzer
|Cross My Heart and Hope to Die
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- Winner! Berlin International Film Festival Winner! Chicago International Film Festival In the tradition of My Life as a Dog, Cross My Heart tells the coming-of-age story of a young boy, Otto, who must stay home from camp during summer vacation after causing a disturbance at his local soccer game. A mysterious man enters the life of his family. What he learns about his life and his family duri
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This epic love story set in 14th-century Norway is Liv Ullmann's (Faithless) remarkable adaptation of Sigrid Undset's 1928 Nobel Prize-winning novel. Kristin Lavransdatter follows one woman's decision to break with tradition to marry the man she loves rather than the man her father has chosen for her. Torn between her longing for love and her sense of family loyalty, she ventures into a life filled with passion and pain, joy and sorrow. The star of many Ingmar Bergman films (Scenes from a Marriage, Autumn Sonata), director Ullmann collaborates here with cinematographer Sven Nykvist (Cries and Whispers) to create a film as visually entrancing as Bergman's finest. Her insightful exploration of medieval society captures the essence of life throughout the ages.
|The Polar Bear King
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An enchanting live-action fairy tale about the kindly king of Summerland, who refuses to marry an evil witch. The witch turns him into a polar bear, so he travels north to Winterland, where he meets and falls in love with a princess. Can the two stop the witch and break the spell? 87 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital mono; photo gallery.
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