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Yasmeen Gaber


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This film is probably my favorite answer to the question "what if terrorists lived in your neighborhood?" The answer: the lads you've grown up with are probably too incompetent and have too much heart to carry out the task. The movie has a great, wonderfully British sensibility that is (for the most part) tonally consistent. I highly recommend.
This movie is definitely one of the lighter dark comedies. Infused with the heart and love of its child protagonist, The Mafia Kills Only in Summer provokes unexpected laughter with a few poignant, tear-jerking moments. Albeit somewhat simplistic in its messaging, this film is a must-watch for anyone who wants to understand the deeply personal impact of the Sicilian Mafia's violence.
This was an unlikely hit that has earned its status as a cult classic. The movie manages to balance witty, dry humor and physical comedy. Even more, it uses that humor to tackle issues of masculinity, economic insecurity, depression, and divorce.
It’s unreal how densely-packed the jokes are in the film. It was perhaps inevitable that Monty Python’s (as a sketch comedy troupe) feature films would be a string of absurd and genius sketches, but one can also appreciate a through-line of plot. The plot in this film does, however, take a back seat to the jokes and sketches, and that approach is clearly intentional (and obviously successful). The film takes care to make fun of its world, but it also makes fun of film itself through direct references to the fact that the events being chronicled are, in fact, fiction. A classic to be recommended again and again.
A delightfully funny show that flips Notting Hill's premise for a romcom that is (almost) realistic. Stand-up comic Rose Matafeo comes into her own as the creator and star of the series and shines as a bumbling New Zealand expat in London who is just trying to find herself.
This film continues to be controversial in France precisely because it is such a well-executed interpretation of the events of the Battle of Algiers, even if the film smooths out some sharp corners of this history. Many actors in the film are revolutionaries playing themselves, which makes it all the more impactful. Definitely worth a watch or two within the canon of cinematic classics.
Visconti takes the 60s film epic into another realm by making the intimate complexities of a family just that: epic. Although the emotional weight can be hard to carry for three hours (and Visconti's melodrama at times difficult to stomach), this story of migration and a family's drive to survive above all else is gripping and impactful.
Many a filmmaker has attempted to critique capitalist consumerist lifestyles, although no one was quite as prescient as Risi, who directed this black comedy at the height of Italy's Economic Miracle. Although perhaps simplistic in its fable-like approach to storytelling, this film is full of jolts of laughter, shock, and disgust that merit a few viewings.
Many people will praise 8 1/2 for its success as meta-cinema or its psychoanalytic potential (both of which are more than well-founded claims that most people would support). However, what is often lost is that 8 1/2 is perhaps one of Fellini's funniest films. In examining himself through his subconscious, he makes fun of himself in deep and haunting ways (and leaves room for the odd gag). Even though this film is already immensely popular among critics and audiences alike, I still recommend it as a complex and surprising viewing experience.
This powerful story of an unlikely friendship between two women was a trailblazer for its time in French cinema. The co-protagonists each offer a unique insight into femininity, powerlessness, and growing from a girl into a woman. The film also makes a thought-provoking explanation Varda's understanding of second-wave feminism in France. Highly recommend for anyone looking to explore Varda's later career.
Varda shines a spotlight on the myopic, selfish, and frequently sexist core of the contemporary notion of "happiness." Varda even mixes in some of the techniques of her predecessors from Italian neo-realism by employing a real family to play her central family. Additionally, Varda's striking and colorful visual language alone in this film are enough to warrant a viewing.
This classic was a prescient analysis of what would become our obsession with celebrity, with Fellini coining the term "paparazzi." Along with social criticisms, this film is full of psychoanalytical puzzles and aesthetic beauty. A must-watch for any cinephile.
This film is a layered commentary on marriage, family life, medical practices, and life in post-revolution Tunisia. Thematic messages are evoked subtly through an effortless plot and and an intense psychological examination of the main characters. The acting performances put this film over the top and make this film a must-watch.
This film is artistically daring, even if its home video-style filming is not for everyone. Once you get used to the unusual filming style, however, a family's inner secrets unravel through hidden moments caught on candid camera in this classic of Danish dogma cinema. I recommend this film for those interested in and already acquainted with the Danish dogma movement.
This epic film provides a window into the world of 19th century Scandinavia and its social hierarchy. There are very few moments of emotional/comedic relief and the film is slowly paced, but for those interested in the time period, the characters are compelling and the world is fascinating.
This deeply haunting psychological drama is the pinnacle of Italian filmmakers' critiques on capitalism and the Economic Miracle of post-war Italy. Bellocchio examines the Italian family unit in terms of interpersonal, emotional, and economic relationships in a way that makes one wonder if the traditional Italian family can weather the storm of extreme capitalism. I would recommend this film for someone prepared for misery, but interested in understanding Bellocchio's points of view.
This film is a hidden gem in Italian cinema of the 20th century. Scola's examinations of Fascism, family, femininity, womanhood, love, and friendship are deeply complicated and beautifully woven. Performances from Marcello Mastroianni and Sophia Loren are subtle and brilliant as always, and the dramatic construction of the film is almost like that of a stage play. I recommend for anyone looking for a masterclass in acting from the heyday of Italian cinema.
Visconti's aristocratic roots show through his sympathy for a different time in Italian class consciousness. This epic film depicts the end of a family's era and the personal effects of a national revolution. Despite the film's tendency to eulogize the Sicilian aristocracy that crumbled for the sake of Italian unification, the quality of the film is on par with other epic films of the time and is beautifully and unapologetically melodramatic.