Plot Synopsis by Michael Betzold
American GI Harry Walden (Martin Balsam) emerged from a harrowing experience in WWII to find himself living an outwardly-happy but inwardly-empty and tedious existence in the post-war U.S. He is an eye doctor, successful in his work, but unfulfilled spiritually and emotionally. He and his wife Rita (Joanne Woodward) have a boring existence, with their biggest issue being what kind of wallpaper to choose when they redecorate their apartment. They are dysfunctional, materialistic, and utterly lost. Rita is neurotic and unhappy, especially after her mother (Sylvia Sidney) dies. They decide to visit France and go to the battlefield where Harry once spent a night in the company of three dead German soldiers. The trip is intended to reawaken their deadened humanity. Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams is a challenging, slow and thoughtful depiction of the corroding effects of a materialistic lifestyle. Continue reading
What do you do if a stranger comes to your home and politely asks to borrow some eggs?
So far, it doesn’t sound like a good film, but Funny Games isn’t a good film. There’s no way it can be middle-of-the-road, it’s either brilliant or awful, depending on your point of view. Consider that when this film was first shown at Cannes, a lot of the audience walked out, including some professional film critics. In short, this is a film you need to see to have any true appreciation of how it works. I could describe everything that happens in minute detail, and still not impart what actually happens. Continue reading
Robert Firsching in All Movie Guide:
Though not a giallo film in the strictest sense, this crime/revenge film merits attention by fans for its genre cast and an unusual approach to familiar themes. Raf Vallone plays anguished father Avanzio Berzaghi, whose 25-year old daughter Donatella has been kidnapped. Donatella has the mind of a toddler, and her beauty and agreeable naivete make her a perfect choice for Milan’s seedy prostitution racket. Frank Wolff is a dedicated Inspector with bad sinuses who shakes down a sleazy pimp and a desperate black prostitute (Beryl Cunningham of The Snake God), as well as visiting scores of local brothels for clues. Continue reading
Anger rages in Philip as he awaits the publication of his second novel. He feels pushed out of his adopted home city by the constant crowds and noise, a deteriorating relationship with his photographer girlfriend Ashley, and his own indifference to promoting the novel. When Philip’s idol Ike Zimmerman offers his isolated summer home as a refuge, he finally gets the peace and quiet to focus on his favorite subject: himself. Continue reading
A clueless police inspector stumbles his way through a provincial murder investigation, in this shocking — and shockingly funny — change of pace from premier French auteur Bruno Dumont (L’humanité, Hadewijch).
Originally conceived and broadcast as a four-part miniseries, Bruno Dumont’s P’tit Quinquin works seamlessly when screened in its cinematic version.
Dumont has again chosen to shoot his new film against the countryside of his birthplace, the Boulonnais region around Calais; apart from that, the film marks a notable change in tone for this immensely creative filmmaker. (Well, it does share one other thing in common with his earlier films: like L’Humanite, the film centres on a police detective investigating a murder.)
P’tit Quinquin is — believe it or not for those who have been following Dumont’s career — a comedy. Little prepares you for the adventure, rollicking and slapstick, in this idiosyncratic screwball of a film. Chuckles abound — at times you can’t quite believe what you are seeing — but, not surprisingly in the hands of a director who has always managed to keep a firm, controlling hand on his material, the film never spirals into silliness. Wit and intelligence prevail. Continue reading
A violent man learns compassion when he starts to care for a young woman in this independent crime drama. Song-hoon (Yang Ik-june) is a hired thug working for underworld kingpin Man-shik (Jeong Man-shik), whose money buys only so much of Song-hoon’s loyalty. Song-hoon has a violent streak and he’s not afraid to strike out against those who would turn against him or his boss, making him an enforcer to be reckoned with in the South Korean underworld. But Song-Hoon’s life begins to change when he meets Yeong-jae (Lee Hwan), Man-Shik’s newest underling. Yeong-jae has a teenage sister, Han Yeon-heui (Kim Gol-bi) who is as good-hearted as her brother is corrupt. Soon-hong and Yeon-heui get to know one another, and his affection for her brings out a compassionate side in his nature that he’s never been willing to acknowledge before. As Soon-hong falls deeper in love with Yeon-heui, he begins considering leaving his old life behind, which is more difficult than he ever imagined. Ddongpari (aka Breathless) was the first feature film from writer, producer and director Yang Ik-june, who also stars as Song-hoon. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi Continue reading
The master of the French New Wave indicts consumerism and elaborates on his personal vision of Hell with this raucous, biting satire. A nasty, scheming bourgeois Parisian couple embarks on a journey through the countryside to her father’s house, where they pray for his death and a subsequent inheritance. Their trip is at first delayed, and later it is distracted by several outrageous events and characters including an apocalyptic traffic jam, a group of fictional philosophers, a couple of violent carjackers, and eventually, a gross display of cannibalism. By the time the film concludes, their seemingly simple journey has deteriorated into a freewheeling philosophical diatribe that leaves no topic unscathed. With Week End, Jean-Luc Godard reaches an impressive plateau of film originality, incorporating inter-titles, extended tracking shots, and music to add an entirely new grammar to film language. The result is a deeply challenging work that will most certainly invigorate some viewers just as much as it will as frustrate others. Continue reading