Various – X Femmes (Various)

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X Femmes (English: X Women) is a French television series of short films shown on Canal+ in 2008–2009. They were shot by female directors with the goal of producing erotica and soft-core pornography from a female point of view.

Episodes

Season 1 – Original air date 25 October 2008

1. Le bijou indiscret (The jewel indiscreet).
Director: Arielle Dombasle.
Stars: Arielle Dombasle, Jérémie Elkaïm and Paz de la Huerta Continue reading

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Roman Polanski – Che? AKA What? [+ Extras] (1972)

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Synopsis:
One of Roman Polanski’s lesser-known films, Che? (also known as What?) stars Sydne Rome as an attractive young hitchhiker who, as the film opens, accepts a ride from three men in a car, who later attempt to rape her. She escapes their clutches and makes her way to a mansion owned by millionaire Joseph Noblart (Hugh Griffith), who is overseeing a decadent party. Among the guests at his home are a pair of table-tennis players, a man with a harpoon (played by Polanski himself). Continue reading

Ken Loach – The Wind That Shakes the Barley [+ Commentary] (2006)

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The Wind That Shakes the Barley is a 2006 British-Irish war drama film directed by Ken Loach, set during the Irish War of Independence (1919-1922) and the Irish Civil War (1922-1923). Written by long-time Loach collaborator Paul Laverty, this drama tells the fictional story of two County Cork brothers, Damien O’Donovan (Cillian Murphy) and Teddy O’Donovan (Pádraic Delaney), who join the Irish Republican Army to fight for Irish independence from the United Kingdom. It takes its title from the Robert Dwyer Joyce song “The Wind That Shakes the Barley” a song set during the 1798 rebellion in Ireland and featured early in the film.

Widely praised, the film won the Palme d’Or at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. Loach’s biggest box office success to date,[4] the film did well around the world and set a record in Ireland as the highest-grossing Irish-made independent film ever. Continue reading

Ishirô Honda – Gojira AKA Godzilla (1954)

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Quote:
One of the longest-running series in film history began with Ishiro Honda’s grim, black-and-white allegory for the devastation wrought on Japan by the atomic bomb. As his visual metaphor, Honda uses a 400-foot tall mutant dinosaur called Gojira, awakened from the depths of the sea as a rampaging nuclear nightmare, complete with glowing dorsal fins and fiery, radioactive breath. Crushing ships, villages, and buildings in his wake, Gojira marches toward Tokyo, bringing all of the country’s worst nightmares back until an evil more terrible bomb — capable of sucking all the oxygen from the sea — returns the monster to its watery grave. The original film is chilling, despite some rather unconvincing man-in-a-suit special effects, and brimming with explicitly-stated anti-American sentiment. All of that was removed for the U.S. release directed by Terry Morse. It was replaced with bad dubbing and tedious added footage starring Raymond Burr. The resulting edit was just another monster movie, but was still popular enough to assure future Toho Studios monster films a wide American release. Gojira No Gyakushu (1955) was next in the series. Continue reading

Jon Jost – Frameup (1993)

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synopsis

Made on short ends of film left over from The Bed You Sleep In, Frameup is a freewheeling road comedy about a pair of dimwitted lovers on the run. Ricky-Lee (Howard Swain), a two-bit criminal prone to spouting lengthy, obscenity-laced soliloquies, meets Beth-Ann (Nancy Carlin), an airheaded waitress with a weakness for romance novels, at the diner where she slings coffee. Immediately smitten, she joins him on a meandering journey across the Pacific Northwest — punctuated by the occasional robbery — and on into California, where the couple dream of heading to the sunny beaches of Los Angeles. Ricky-Lee’s ineptitude catches up with him eventually, however, and their trip is cut short when a convenience store robbery goes awry. Continue reading

Lisandro Alonso – Fantasma [+Extras] (2006)

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In this commentary on cinematic rituals, the star of Alonso’s earlier film, Los Muertos (Vargas), wanders through the Argentine cinématheque in Buenos Aires, Teatro San Martin, searching for the film premiere in which he is the star. In contrast to his other films, Fantasma charts a journey that unfolds almost entirely within interior spaces without diminishing the power of his contemplative style.
A work that links La Libertad and Los Muertos, Fantasma (2006) is a one-hour treasure that marks a new high for the Argentine filmmaker. Set in a multiplex in Buenos Aires, Fantasma ports Vargas and Misael, this time devoid of any fictional trappings, from the lush, impenetrable greenery of the South American forests to restricted, deceptive and equally alien interiors of this concrete jungle. However, the human yearning for locating oneself within the world around remains as intense as ever. The four or five characters that we see in the film wander the empty corridors of the building like ghosts that have haunted an abandoned cinema hall. Continue reading

Josef von Sternberg – Blonde Venus (1932)

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Quote:
American chemist Ned Faraday marries a German entertainer and starts a family. However, he becomes poisoned with Radium and needs an expensive treatment in Germany to have any chance at being cured. Wife Helen returns to night club work to attempt to raise the money and becomes popular as the Blonde Venus. In an effort to get enough money sooner, she prostitutes herself to millionaire Nick Townsend. While Ned is away in Europe, she continues with Nick but when Ned returns cured, he discovers her infidelity. Now Ned despises Helen but she grabs son Johnny and lives on the run, just one step ahead of the Missing Persons Bureau. When they do finally catch her, she loses her son to Ned. Once again she returns to entertaining, this time in Paris, and her fame once again brings her and Townsend together. Helen and Nick return to America engaged, but she is irresistibly drawn back to her son and Ned. In which life does she truly belong? Continue reading

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