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Film Movement: Valentine's Day Box [12 Discs] [DVD]

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Overview

Synopsis

Agata e la Tempestra
Silvio Soldini's comedy Agata e la Tempestra (Agatha and the Storm) follows what happens to middle age Agata (Licia Maglietta) when a young man attempts to in her heart. His actions cause a number of disruptions in her own life as well as in the lives of many of her acquaintances. ~ Perry Seibert, Rovi

In Love We Trust
Chinese director Wang Xiaoshuai crafts his pensive study of life in modern China concerning a couple who are confronted with love, responsibility, morality, and loyalty after their relationship fails and their young daughter falls ill. Years ago, Mei Zhu and Xiao Lu were a happily married couple with a beautiful daughter named Hehe. But the marriage ultimately failed, and the pair ultimately parted ways. Years later, Mei Zhu and Xiao Lu have both remarried, and Hehe is the only link that still bonds them together. When Hehe is diagnosed with leukemia, the doctors relay that the only hope for the ailing girl is a bone marrow transplant from a healthy sibling. Realizing that Hehe has no siblings, her desperate mother and father are suddenly faced with a life altering decision. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

Jaffa
This French-German-Israeli co-production helmed by director Keren Yedaya observes the heartbreaking tragedy that erupts from an affair between a young Jewish woman and an Arab mechanic. Mali Wolf (Dana Ivgy) is the daughter of garage proprietor Reuven (Moni Moshonov) and his wife Osnat (Ronit Elkabetz); Reuven employs two Arabs, father and son Hassan (Hussein Yassin Mahajneh) and Tawfik (Mahmoud Shalaby) at his shop. He shows them basic respect, though an undercurrent of racial hostility bubbles beneath the surface among all concerned. Meanwhile, Mali and Tawfik nurture a discreet relationship -- so discreet that no one else realizes what is happening -- and in seemingly no time, Mali realizes that she is pregnant with Tawfik's daughter, but deliberately avoids telling him. Things come to a head at the shop when Tawfik gets into a brawl with Mali's hotheaded brother Meir (Roy Assaf), ends up killing the young man, and gets shuttled off to prison. Mali breaks up with Tawfik, but decides to have the baby and lies to her parents, informing them that the father is a married man and will remain out of the picture. All bodes well with the child and the family for nine years, until Tawfik gets out of prison, still unaware of the presence of his daughter Shiran (Lili Ivgy). For a stylistic model, Yedaya emulates the approach of slick Egyptian melodramas. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi

Ginger and Cinnamon
Italian filmmaker Daniele Luchetti directs the teen sex comedy Dillo con Parole Mie (Ginger and Cinnamon). Stefania Montorsi (who also co-wrote the screenplay) plays a woman obsessed by her break-up with boyfriend Andrea (Giampaolo Morelli). Luckily, her 14-year-old niece Meggy (Martina Merlino) shows up and suggests they spend the summer on a party island in Greece. Desperate to lose her virginity, Meggy runs into Andrea on the beach and many mix-ups occur. Ginger and Cinnamon was shown at the2003 Cannes Film Festival market. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, Rovi

Gigante
A supermarket security guard forms a powerful fixation on the pretty cleaning woman who scrubs the aisles during the graveyard shift in this deeply personal tale of obsession and voyeurism from first-time feature filmmaker Adrian Biniez. When the sun goes down, Jara (Horacio Camandule) clocks in to monitor the security cameras at a suburban Montevideo supermarket. The job can be pretty dull at times, so in order to keep himself occupied, Jara often passes the time watching videos, doing crossword puzzles, and playing music. One night, as Jara glances at the monitors, pretty cleaning woman Julia (Leonor Svarcas) wanders into frame and the portly security guard is immediately transfixed. With each passing day, Jara's fixation on Julia grows stronger, to the point where he eventually begins following her outside of work, as well. Before long, Jara's entire life is centered on Julia's daily routine; he watches as she lounges on the beach, goes to a movie, and even as she meets with another man. When rumors of layoffs begin circulating around the supermarket and Jara discovers that Julia is one of the workers about to be handed her walking papers, the smitten security guard must choose between letting go of his obsession and laying bare his suppressed feelings for the object of his affections, or remaining silent and letting his one chance at happiness slip away. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

Buddy
Norwegian filmmaker Morten Tyldum makes his directorial debut with the romantic comedy drama Buddy about a group of twentysomethings living in Oslo. Pals Kristoffer (Nicolai Cleve Broch) and Geir (Aksel Hennie) share a downtown apartment with the web designer Stig Inge (Anders Baasmo Christiansen). While Kristoffer and Geir enjoy videotaping their lives for fun, Stig prefers to stay inside the apartment hidden from the rest of the world. After Kristoffer breaks up with his girlfriend Elizabeth (Janne Formoe), he and Geir are hired at a local television station for a reality show called "Kristoffer's Video Diary." The show shakes up their previously ordinary lives and ignites a romance involving their new roommate Henriette (Pia Tjelta). Buddy won the audience award at the 2003 Karlovy Vary Film Festival. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, Rovi

The Republic of Love
In Deepa Mehta's poignant and heartbreaking romance, Emilia Fox plays Fay, a generally content, thirtysomething Torontoite suffering in a relationship of quiet desperation with her boyfriend; Bruce Greenwood is Tom Avery, a loser in the ways of romance with three broken-hearted marriages behind him, who hosts a late-night call-in radio program. The two meet and grow deeply smitten with one another, but must ultimately learn to accept one another unconditionally. Life seems just about perfect, until an unforeseen calamity challenges everything Fay has come to rely on as stable and solid. Mehta adapted the novel of the same title by Canadian author Carol Shields. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi

Arranged
Two women whose peoples are often at odds find they're more alike than anyone expects in this drama from directors Stefan C. Schaefer and Diane Crespo. Rochel (Zoe Lister-Jones) and Nasira (Francis Benhamou) are two young women who have begun teaching at a public grade school in Brooklyn, NY. Rochel is an Orthodox Jew and Nasira is a Muslim of Pakistani descent, and the students and the administrators at the school are concerned there might be friction between the two teachers. However, over the course of their first year of teaching, Rochel and Nasira discover they have far more in common than they imagined -- both sometimes find themselves culturally out of place in 21st century New York, and both are trying to live within the traditions of their faith while struggling with their own feelings. In particular, Rochel and Nasira bond over the fact both are expected to enter into arranged marriages, Nasira with a wary optimism and Rochel with a great deal of trepidation. Arranged was screened in competition at the 2007 South by Southwest Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Light of My Eyes
Giuseppe Piccioni follows up on his 1999 opus Not of this World with this understated drama about fantasy and reality. The film centers on Antonio (Luigi Lo Cascio), a youngish chauffeur who is a model of professional promptness and courtesy. He also possesses a vivid inner world dominated by images of other worlds and other planets. A chance near-accident introduces him to Maria (Sandra Ceccarelli), a struggling single mother trying desperately to keep her frozen foods store afloat and to keep her daughter from being taken away from her by the child's grasping grandparents. Even though Maria is extremely suspicious of Antonio's intentions, the two form a slow tentative relationship. When he learns Maria's dire circumstances, he selflessly tries to intercede at the expense of his own career. Antonio makes quiet deals with the sleazy gangster (Silvio Orlando) to whom Maria owes money, drives the crime boss around on his various errands, and eventually participates in some of his shady dealings. This film was screened at the 2001 Toronto and Venice Film Festivals. ~ Jonathan Crow, Rovi

The Grocer's Son
Quand Tu Descendras du Ciel director Eric Guirado follows up his feature filmmaking debut with this drama about a grocer's son who returns to the village where he was born in order to take over his father's business. Ten years ago, Antione (Nicolas Cazalé) left his family behind and moved to the big city. Now, after discovering that his father (Daniel Duval) has suffered a heart attack and that the family grocery store will soon be forced to shut down, Antoine heads back to the French mountain town at the behest of his brother François (Stéphan Guérin-Tillié). It seems that few folks save for his mother (Jeanne Goupil) are happy to see Antoine return, though the meandering 30-year-old has brought city friend Claire (Clotilde Hesme) along to keep him company during his stay in the country. Though it remains to be seen whether Antoine and Claire will ever become anything more than friends, the free-spirited sprite is more than happy to help out when it comes to making the rounds with the mobile store that services the local villages. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

The Rage in Placid Lake
Australian playwright Tony McNamara makes his directorial debut with the offbeat comedy The Rage in Placid Lake, adapted from his own play The Cafe Latte Kid. In his first feature film, indie rocker Benny Lee stars as a troubled teen named Placid Lake. The child of new-agey eccentric parents (Garry McDonald and Miranda Richardson), Placid spends his childhood getting picked on by bullies. Fortunately, he finds friendship with classmate Gemma Taylor (Rose Byrne), whose father (Nicholas Hammond) pressures her to excel in school. After Placid shocks the school with his dark student film, he gets into an accident that lands him in the hospital. Upon his recovery, he reinvents himself as an conservative insurance agent and engages in an affair of sorts with emotionally detached co-worker Jane (Saskia Smith). The Rage in Placid Lake was screened at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, Rovi

Days and Clouds
In Bread and Tulips, director Silvio Soldini detailed the journey of a discontented housewife who threw caution to the wind to find true happiness in Venice; in Days and Clouds, the same filmmaker explores the opposite side of the coin by telling the tale of a middle-class homemaker from Genoa who suddenly finds her life turned upside down. Elsa (Margherita Buy) is the picture of middle-class contentment: she's happily married, well adjusted, and spends most of her spare time developing her skills as an amateur historian specializing in restoration. Recently, Elsa even decided to return to school in order to earn her degree. One day, after gently scraping the ceiling of a local chapel to reveal hidden angels that hadn't seen the light of day in decades, Elsa is informed by her husband, Michele (Antonio Albanese), that the couple will have to give up their posh apartment. Michele was formerly a partner in a successful shipping firm, but now that his partner has forced him out of the business, the happy husband and wife won't be able to maintain their current lifestyle. In the aftermath of that disheartening revelation, Elsa and Michele both try to find work while dealing with the predicament in directly opposing ways. Later, after moving into a much smaller apartment, the cracks in Elsa and Michele's now fragile marriage gradually begin to widen. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

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