Henry Alberto – Hara Kiri (2016)

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When August suggests a suicide pact to his lover Beto, the skater soul mates emerge to defiantly ride through one final Los Angeles day punctuated by moments of lyricism, chaos, and contention. How far can love take you? To the very end? On their final night, August and Beto will discover an unpredictable environment and a unique cast of characters as they skate toward a certain end. As dawn rises on their final morning, the only question remaining will be…who ends it first? Continue reading Henry Alberto – Hara Kiri (2016)

Yôji Yamada – Kiri no hata AKA Flag in the Mist (1965)

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Synopsis:
When her only relative, her elder brother is accused of robbing and murdering an old woman loan-shark, pretty, young Kiriko (Chieko Baisho) travels from her home in Kyushu to Tokyo to get Japan’s top lawyer to defend her brother. Unfortunately her naive idealism is shattered when the lawyer refuses to take the case based on her insufficient funds. What follows is a long determined revenge plot that sees the heroine become a Tokyo bar hostess and worse to punish the lawyer. The plot thickens with another murder mystery and a sleuthing reporter. Continue reading Yôji Yamada – Kiri no hata AKA Flag in the Mist (1965)

Jean-Luc Godard – Alphaville, une étrange aventure de Lemmy Caution AKA Alphaville, a Strange Adventure of Lemmy Caution (1965)

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Jean-Luc Godard, the unabashed enfant terrible of French cinema, creates a lighthearted, bizarre and atmospheric utopia in Alphaville. Lemmy Caution (Eddie Constantine), an Outland agent, checks into an Alphaville hotel as Ivan Johnson, a reporter from Figaro-Pravda (the first of many unusual alliances). The hotel manager assigns him a room, a Seductress and a bottle of tranquilizers for the evening. A disembodied voice, the synthetic voice of the ubiquitous Alpha 60 supercomputer, announces room availability and incoming telephone calls, and monitors every inhabitant’s behavior. Refusing the services of the ever-obliging Seductress, he briefly struggles with an unknown assailant, but is eventually left alone to study his mission: to locate a missing agent named Henry Dickson (Akim Tamiroff), and the elusive Professor Vonbraun (Howard Vernon), creator of Alpha 60. He arranges a meeting with Natascha Vonbraun (Anna Karina), who knows nothing of her father, and enlists her as his guide through the logically crafted nightmare of Alphaville. Continue reading Jean-Luc Godard – Alphaville, une étrange aventure de Lemmy Caution AKA Alphaville, a Strange Adventure of Lemmy Caution (1965)

Vera Chytilová – Ovoce stromu rajskych jime aka Fruit of Paradise [+Extras] (1970)

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“The Fruit of Paradise” is a breathtaking experimental film from Vera Chytilova. Well known for her surreal feminist comedy “Daisies” (1966), Chytlova uses many of the same hallucinatory camera tricks for “The Fruit of Paradise”. I used to think that the film “Begotten” was original until I saw the “Fruit of Paradise”. The film’s first 15 minutes is highly psychedelic as it tells the story of creation. There are layers of image on top of image with fast camera cuts. The film almost made my head spin with it’s fast pace, use of color and bizarre experimental sound effects. Then it breaks out into a song about Adam & Eve, which is hauntingly catchy. Now if only I could learn Czech. Then the story of Adam and Eve goes to a modern setting. The devil is portrayed as creepy man of middle age; a persistent stalker and serial killer of women. Eva and her boyfriend go on vacation to a health spa, where they encounter temptation. The devil gets Eva to eat the forbidden fruit. Then the film becomes very comical throughout, as the Devil chases adorable Eva everywhere she goes. Very deep, surreal and philosophical, “The Fruit of Paradise” is another underrated masterpiece to Czech out! Continue reading Vera Chytilová – Ovoce stromu rajskych jime aka Fruit of Paradise [+Extras] (1970)

Nagisa Oshima – Amakusa shiro tokisada aka The Rebel (1962)

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In 1637, the Tokugawa Shogunate mandated religious orders to severely restrict and contain the spread of Christianity. In Kyushu, Shimabara and Amakusa, the Christian population was particularly large, and the farmers continuously endured extreme pain and suffering under the oppression of the land’s rulers. Unable to pay taxes because of severe famine, Christians watched their daughters taken away by the samurai and waited for a miracle that could save them. People lined up to follow Shiro of Amakusa in the belief that he was the one to lead them out of despair. This is a serious story taken from the pages of history, and exposes what led up to the siege of Shimabara. A tremendous performance by mega-star Okawa Hashizo along with crisp direction by noted filmmaker Oshima Nagisa raise the level of this film to true art. Continue reading Nagisa Oshima – Amakusa shiro tokisada aka The Rebel (1962)