“Movies about making movies are usually concerned with the frantic desperation of a shoot, with crises popping up by the minute and everyone rushing about madly. Not so in Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s film, allegedly about his experiences making Whity on-location in Spain. The first quarter of the film is taken up with a long scene in a hotel lobby which might have been directed by Michelangelo Antonioni. The lassitude and sense of sexual longing is almost suffocating, as members of the film within a film’s cast and crew down drinks, break glasses, nuzzle on couches, or stare blankly into space. With the arrival of more money to continue the production and of the film’s director (Lou Castel playing a handsome version of Fassbinder) and the film’s star (Eddie Constantine more or less playing himself — there is even a reference to his Lemmy Caution character), the energy level picks up — especially when the director begins throwing hourly tantrums. And Fassbinder’s narrative becomes more fragmented, featuring short snippets of conversations among the various characters, most of them complaining about someone else on the crew screwing things up. In one long and very funny scene, the director carefully reads a newspaper containing an article about him while a half-dozen other characters around him drift away. There is some witty use of music, too; three Leonard Cohen songs from his first album drone on during the long opening scene in the lobby, and later, a party scene plays out to Ray Charles’ “Let’s Go Get Stoned.” This is all likely to be more amusing to those in the know about Fassbinder and his methods; less informed viewers are likely to see it as so much navel-gazing.” Continue reading
Defying by his parents, Hsiao Kang drops out of the local crammer to head for the bright lights of downtown Taipei. He falls in with Ah Tze, a pretty hood and their relationships is a confused mixture of hero-worship and rivalry that soon leads to trouble.
The defiantly independent French director Jean-Pierre Melville was an outsider by choice. He financed his films outside of the studio system and built his own studio for maximum independence. He loved American cinema and made his reputation with a brilliant series of cool gangster thrillers, beginning with elegant, elegiac Bob le Flambeur (1955) and culminating in the austere masterpiece Le Samourai (1967), with Alain Delon as an existential assassin, and the heist classic Le Cercle Rouge (1970).
Army of Shadows, adapted from the 1943 novel by Joseph Kessel about the early years of the French Resistance, is the third of Melville’s three dramas set during the Nazi occupation of France in World War II (after his debut feature, La Silence de la Mer , and his 1961 drama Leon Morin, Priest), but by far his most personal. During World War II, Melville was himself a member of the Resistance, worked for French intelligence in London, and served in the Free French forces in the liberation of Italy and France. “This is my first movie showing things I’ve actually known and experienced,” Melville told Rui Nogueria in Nogueria’s 1971 interview book with the director. Kessler’s book is a work of fiction, but the characters were inspired by real life figures. Continue reading
During the excavation of ancient Roman ruins, an old archaeology professor accidentally opens the gate between our world and the world of the dead.
1989: Mostra of Valencia: Palme d´Or (Golden Palm) Continue reading
Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez is a hero in Latin America for his willingness to stand up to the United States (both the government and the private sector) and his desire to use the nation’s petroleum resources as a tool to bring a better way of life to the working class under his rule. But Chavez’s policies have made him many enemies in North America, and in the American news media (especially conservative outlets such as Fox News), Chavez has been demonized for his rejection of U.S. policy, his pro-socialist stance, and his openly combative stance toward George W. Bush. Are either of these extremes an accurate portrait of the real Hugo Chavez? Filmmaker Oliver Stone presents a portrait of Chavez the politician and Chavez the man in his documentary South of the Border, which is built around a series of in-depth interviews Stone conducted with the Venezuelan president. Stone also includes interviews with a number of other major Latin American leaders, among them Bolivia’s Evo Morales, Argentina’s Cristina Kirchner, Brazil’s Lula da Silva, and Cuba’s Raul Castro. South of the Border was an official selection at the 2009 Venice International Film Festival.- by Mark Deming Continue reading
Plot Synopsis - by Hal Erickson
In Slither, James Caan plays Dick Kanipsia, a recently paroled car thief whose plans to go straight are interrupted when his best pal Harry Moss (Richard B. Schull) is shot and killed. As he lies dying, Moss advises Kanipsia to seek out fellow crook Barry Fenaka (Peter Boyle), who knows where a huge amount of money stolen by Moss is hidden. Aware that he himself is a marked man, Kanipsia has to play it cool en route to Fenaka. This proves difficult when his erstwhile travelling companion, dopehead Kitty Kopetzky Sally Kellerman, robs a roadside diner in his presence. Since nothing is ever quite what it appears to be in Slither, perhaps we shouldn’t tell you any more. This truly serpentine tale served as the feature-film directorial debut of Howard Zieff, the former TV-commercial helmsman responsible for the famous Spicy Meatball ad.
Synopsis: from Olive Films
This one-of-a-kind western stars Joan Crawford as a saloon owner battling the local townspeople headed by Emma (Mercedes McCambridge), the local sexually repressed, lynch-happy female rancher out to frame her for a string of robberies. The title character played by Sterling Hayden is a guitar-strumming drifter with a dark past who was once in love with Crawford and has been offered a job in her saloon. Nicholas Ray’s epic western is considered on the most original westerns of all time – the women are far tougher than the men and some saw in the film a bizarre allegory for the McCarthy era Red Scare. In addition to the stars, Johnny Guitar is well stocked with great supporting players, including Ernest Borgnine, Scott Brady, Ward Bond, Paul Fix, Royal Dano and John Carradine. Classic score title song written by Peggy Lee and the film’s composer Victor Young and sung by Peggy Lee. Continue reading