Reading Advisory at the Ames Public Library
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Reading Advisory at the Ames Public Library
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Eastern European Films at Ames Public Library

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Angel’s Fall (DVD FOREIGN ANG)  In Turkish with English captions.  90 min.  2005. 

Every day, young Zeynep performs her duties as a chambermaid in an expensive city hotel. She feels oddly disconnected from her violent, unpredictable father, from the shy workmate who tries to date her, even from her former friends, until a chance encounter with a widower leads her to a sudden, shocking act of rebellion.

Another Way (DVD FOREIGN ANO)  In Hungarian with English captions.  103 min.  1982. 

Livia, the beautiful wife of an army officer, is a reporter at the Budapest newspaper where Eve, an outspoken lesbian journalist, comes to work after two years of politically motivated unemployment. The two women engage in an intense flirtation that leads to tragic consequences.

Ashes and Diamonds - #3 (DVD FOREIGN ASH)  In Polish with English captions.  98 min.  1958. 

Director Andrzej Wajda’s trilogy, A Generation, Kanal, and Ashes and Diamonds, is one of the finest achievements of Eastern European cinema.  In rural Poland in the last days of World War II, the Nazis have surrendered, and the Red Army has crisscrossed the country. A new struggle emerges when Polish patriots plot to assassinate a communist-party functionary. Macick is the trigger man, but when he spots a blonde, his priorities change.

Aurora (DVD FOREIGN AUR)  In Romanian.  181 min.  2010. 

Aurora is a murder mystery turned about, where the mystery's not the culprit, but the motive. In a kitchen, a man and a woman discuss the inconsistencies in Little Red Riding Hood. At a metallurgical factory, the same man collects two hand-made firing pins secretly prepared by a coworker. The man's name is Viorel, and he has a plan to bring order to his world.

Bal (DVD FOREIGN BAL)  In Turkish with English captions.  103 min.  2010. 

Yusuf is an only child who lives with his parents in the mountains. The forest is a place of mystery and adventure when he is with his beekeeper father. Their bond cannot protect the stuttering child from being an outsider at school. Yusuf's worries grow when his father leaves for a risky mission. He slips into silence, to his mother’s distress.

Beauty in Trouble (DVD FOREIGN BEA)  In Czech with English captions.  109 min.  2005. 

A married woman meets a wealthy, educated man, who causes her to question her path in life.

Before the Rain, a Tale in Three Parts (DVD FOREIGN BEF)  In Macedonian, English, or Albanian, with English captions.  113 min.  1994. 

An incident in the Macedonian mountains escalates, threatening a civil war. A monk in a Macedonian monastery must abandon his vows of silence to protect an Albanian girl suspected of murder. In London, a photojournalist, pregnant and torn between a loveless marriage and an affair with a war photographer, finds fate dictates a choice she could not make on her own. And in Yugoslavia, a prize-winning Macedonian photographer returns from Bosnia to a nation divided by religious hatred and violence. His efforts to salvage a portion of peace will have an impact no one could foresee and will bring all three stories full circle.

Before Your Eyes (DVD FOREIGN BEF)  In Turkish and Kurdish, with English captions.  102 min.  2009. 

Ten-year-old Gulistan and her brother Firat live in Turkish Kurdistan, where their parents are shot down before their eyes. Traumatized and orphaned, Gulistan and Firat try to care for their infant sister, but their money runs out and they are forced onto the street. There Gulistan meets the escort Dilara. Accompanying her on a hotel call one day, Gulistan is shocked to recognize Dilara’s client as her parents’murderer, and she plans revenge.

Behind the Glass (DVD FOREIGN BEH)  In Croatian with English captions.  80 min.  2008. 

The private lives of three nouveau riche Croatians are brought to a boil in a love triangle, pinning a self-assured architect between his tart-tongued wife and his long-suffering mistress, who also happens to be his business partner. When the architecture business begins to struggle, their miseries surface from behind the glass, for everyone to see, and the threesome gradually fall apart, together, through a series of suspenseful spasms.

Beyond the Steppes (DVD FOREIGN BEY)  In Polish or Russian, with English captions.  90 min.  2010. 

Nina, a Polish woman, is deported with her baby in 1940 to the hostile lands of the USSR. She has to work in a sovkhoz under the Russian political police. When her child becomes ill, she leaves to find medications with a group of Kazakh nomads. She's forced into exile, struggling against the conditions of this inhuman land.

The Big Animal (DVD FOREIGN BIG)  In Polish with English captions.  72 min.  2000. 

A bank clerk in a Polish town discovers a camel outside his window. He and his wife bond with the animal and the neighbors become increasingly jealous. A lesson about tolerance, love, and sacrifice is learned by all.

 

Black Peter (DVD FOREIGN BLA)  In Czech with English captions.  85 min.  2004. 

A delightful coming-of-age comedy, this film finds its humor in the keenly observed details of youthful romance, teenage dissatisfaction, and the small moments of life.

Bliss (DVD FOREIGN BLI)  In Turkish with English captions.  105 min.  2007. 

After being raped, a young girl is condemned to death by the people in her village to get rid of the shame it brought her family. When the man who is to kill her runs away with her instead, they take up a journey through past and present-day Turkey to escape their fate and start a new life.

Boats Out of Watermelon Rinds (DVD FOREIGN BOA)  In Turkish with English captions.  98 min.  2004. 

A young boy who works for a watermelon seller dreams of starting his own movie theater, and along with the help from his friend, rebuilds a projector on their time off work.

Cirkus Columia (DVD FOREIGN CIR)  In Bosnian with English captions.  113 min.  2010. 

After the fall of the communist regime in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1991, Divko Buntic returns to his home after a 20-year exile in Germany. Returning with a young girlfriend, a flashy new Mercedes, a pocketful of cash, and a lucky black cat, things are looking good for Divko. When his cat goes missing, things begin to fall apart. Divko's personal tumult finds an unsettling mirror in the country at large with signs that the Bosnian War is coming.

Closely Watched Trains (DVD FOREIGN CLO)  In Czech with English captions.  93 min.  1966. 

In this comedy-drama, a trainmaster, employed in a tiny station during World War II, is involved in a plot to blow up a German ammunition train. When the plan backfires, he is forced to commit the ultimate act of courage.

Conspirators of Pleasure (DVD FOREIGN CON)  In Czech with English captions.  97 min.  1999. 

In the first episode, modern-day Prague is the setting for this story of six ordinary if somewhat seedy individuals who, with almost no dialogue, obsessively and painstakingly prepare their sexual “feasts.” The second episode offers a surreal and humorous look at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The Country Teacher (DVD FOREIGN COU)  In Czech with English captions.  115 min.  2008. 

Petr travels from Prague to teach natural sciences at a grammar school in the country. Here he meets a woman and her troubled 17-year old son. When the teacher's ex-boyfriend comes to visit, he realizes that nobody in the village knows that the teacher is gay and harbors a secret affection for the teenage boy.--Container. The companion movie, Petr and Ben, is a "touchy and quirky story of how two dropouts find friendship in a hostile world."

Death of Mr. Lazarescu (DVD FOREIGN DEA)  In Romanian with English captions.  153 min.  2005. 

A sixty-ish widower, living alone with his cats, feels sick enough to call an ambulance. This is the beginning of his Dantesque odyssey deep into the bowels of a big city’s medical establishment.

The Decalogue (DVD FOREIGN DEC)  In Polish with English captions.  584 min.  2003. 

This film has won several awards, including the Cannes special jury prize.  Disc 1. I.: I am the Lord thy God: thou shalt not have other gods before me;  II. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain;  III. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy;  Disc 2. IV.: Honor thy father and thy mother;  V. Thou shalt not kill;  VI. Thou shalt not commit adultery;  VII. Thou shalt not steal;  Disc 3. VIII.: Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor;  IX. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife;  X. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods.

Delta (DVD FOREIGN DEL)  In Hungarian with English captions.  92 min.  2008. 

Mihail returns to his mother's village after years away to discover he has a grown half sister, Fauna. Mihail hopes to rebuild his father's house and support himself by fishing. When he moves to an island, Fauna tags along, eager to escape her brutish father. What should be an idyllic existence is disrupted by the small minds of petty villagers.

Distant (DVD FOREIGN DIS)  In Turkish with captions in English, French, German, Dutch and Turkish.  105 min.  2002. 

Following a major economic crisis, the dreamer Yusuf leaves his small village in search of employment on a ship. He arrives in Istanbul to stay with his relative Mahmut, a photographer. Living alone, Mahmut's ordered life is disrupted by the presence of Yusuf, and the two men can barely communicate.

Divided We Fall (DVD FOREIGN DIV)  In Czech and German, with English captions.  122 min.  2000. 

During World War II and the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia, Josef and Marie hide a young Jewish neighbor in their apartment. They get visits from their neighbor, Horst, who is a German sympathizer with his eye on Marie. When Marie rejects his advances, he seeks revenge by trying to move a Nazi clerk into their home, forcing the couple to tell a lie that will change their lives.

The Double Life of Veronique (DVD FOREIGN DOU)  In Polish and French, with English captions.  97 min.  1991. 

Weronika is a Polish choir soprano, and her double, Véronique, is a French music teacher. Though they are unknown to each other, the two women share an enigmatic, purely emotional bond.

Elevator (DVD FOREIGN ELE)  In Romanian with English captions.  85 min.  2009. 

A boy and a girl, both high school teens, decide to get away from the world and be alone for the afternoon, hiding in an abandoned factory on the outskirts of town. While there, they get stuck in a cargo elevator. Tensions rise when they realize that their world has been reduced to a small metal box, especially after a failed escape attempt.

Essential Killing (DVD FOREIGN ESS)  In Polish, Arabic, and English.  81 min.  2010. 

This political thriller film by the Polish writer and director Jerzy Skolimowski stars Vincent Gallo and Emmanuelle Seigner. A man, captured in the desert by American forces, is transported to a nameless European country. He manages to escape into the vast frozen woodland, a world away from the desert home he knew. Forced into extreme survival mode, he must kill anyone who strays into his path.

 

 

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