Agnès Varda – Mur murs AKA Mural Murals (1981)


After returning to Los Angeles from France in 1979, Agnès Varda created this kaleidoscopic documentary about the striking murals that decorate the city. Bursting with color and vitality, Mur Murs is as much an invigorating study of community and diversity as it is an essential catalog of unusual public art. Continue reading

Raoul Ruiz – Les divisions de la nature AKA The Divisions of Nature (1981)


Les divisions is a documentary about the Château de Chambord and the title comes from the Divisione of Johannes Scotus (Erigena), the ninth century Irish philosopher (who was a ‘realist’, although the film is more ‘nominalist’ in characterization of the castle which presents itself as a representation). I say that it is a representation, since it is neither practical for military purposes (too many doors), nor to live in (too many draughts), but only as pure representation. So for the commentary, I tried to imagine how a Renaissance philosopher would view it in a pastiche of a scholastic or gothic text, then a pastiche of Fichte’s Vocation of Man and finally a pastiche of Baudrillard.’
– Raoul Ruiz Continue reading

Philip Kaufman – The White Dawn (1974)


Plot Synopsis by Paul Brenner (from AMG)

Director Philip Kaufman took his production of Eskimo life to actual locations in the Arctic Circle, making it only the third film in history (after Nanook of the North and Eskimo) to shoot there. Kaufman also employs authentic Eskimo dialect in the film, which adds a heightened bit of realism. The story concerns three whalers — Billy (Warren Oates), Daggett (Timothy Bottoms), and Portagee (Louis Gossett Jr.) — who becomes stranded in the Arctic Circle and are rescued by a tribe of Eskimos. Living in the Eskimo village, the three men introduce the chief vices of their civilization — gambling, thievery, and Western-style sex — to the isolated Eskimo village. At first the natives put up with the behavior of the Westerners, but as their ways begin to encroach upon the traditional Eskimo customs, the villagers begin to resist the three men’s habits. A clash of cultures results. Continue reading

Gabriel Axel – Den røde kappe AKA Hagbard and Signe AKA The Red Mantle (1967)


Hagbard and Signe / The Red Mantle

By Roger Ebert / October 30, 1968
Prentoulis films presents an ASA Film Movie Art Europe co-production, directed by Gabriel Axel from a screenplay by himself and dialog by Frank Jaeger. Produced by Bent Christensen and Johan Bonnier. Photographer in color by Henning Bendtsen.

“Hagbard and Signe” is a beautiful, lean, spare film, which reaches back into the legends of the past to find its strength. I think it must be reckoned the sleeper of the year; I had not heard of it previously, either under the present title or as “The Red Mantle” (its title as the Danish entry at Cannes). Continue reading

Noboru Tanaka – Tenshi no harawata: Nami aka Angel Guts: Nami (1979)


The series really hits its stride by the third film, Nami, which is both the artistic pinnacle of the Angel Guts cycle and a roaring good time for devotees of outrageous cinema. A spate of sexual assaults motivates tenacious reporter Nami (Kanuma) to investigate the victims and the circumstances of the crimes, but her probing leads to the awakening of some very dark impulses within herself. Chasing down the girls with her crew and indulging in masturbatory bathtub fantasies afterwards, Nami eventually crosses the line when she prods one subject into sheer insanity. Continue reading