François Reichenbach & Frédéric Rossif – Portrait: Orson Welles (1968)

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A famous French documentary director has chosen to match his talents with those of a powerful subject who talks on his youth, his formative years, his life and work. Reichenbach on Welles on Welles, one might say.

These recollections help to explain something of the creative processes of film making, comparing the behaviour of Welles the director and Welles the man. Orson at home, Orson interviewed at the Cannes Festival, Orson shooting a scene with Jeanne Moreau… Orson in portrait. No less. (MIFF) Continue reading

Danielle Arbid – Beyrouth hôtel aka Beirut Hotel (2011)

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The story revolves around a young Lebanese singer Zoha, trying to break free from her ex-husband’s influence. She meets Mathieu, a French lawyer on business, who is tracked down and suspected of spying. Over ten days, they experience an affair made up of fear and desire, intrigue and violence. Beirut Hotel is described as “a romance on the edge, mirroring a country wavering between war and peace, where at any moment everything could be turned upside down…” Continue reading

Elem Klimov – Agoniya AKA Agony (1981)

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Synopsis:
A wide-scope panoramic view of Russia in 1916. The country is in its third year of war which seems to never end, with police rule, hunger and devastation at their peak. All this plays out against a background of luxury and corruption at the court, where the agonizing power still entertains hopes of coping with “the rebels”. The courtiers have a presentiment of the collapse of the Russian autocracy. Fear, despair and blind belief in Providence make a fertile ground for the “great” starets, adventurist Rasputin, who is a friend of the royal family and has gained mastery over the Czar and his ministers. The filmmakers used newsreels of the 1917 Revolution… This controversial historic drama was released twice: in 1975 and, after a number of changes, in 1985. RUSCICO offers the film’s 1985 version. Continue reading

Ken Annakin – Third Man on the Mountain (1959)

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Quote:
A young man in 19th century Switzerland whose father was killed trying to climb the Citadel (which is what the Matterhorn is called here) wants to become a mountaineer himself, and of course climb to the top of the Citadel, which no man has done. His mother strictly forbids it, and his uncle downright nasty to him whenever the subject comes up. Persistent fellow that he is, the boy hooks up with an English mountain climber, then coaxes his uncle to take him along on a climb, makes an ass of himself, then has a go at it again. The boy doesn’t really have the maturity for the task, but persists, and in time he grows up, almost in spite of himself. Continue reading

Sohrab Shahid Saless – Empfänger unbekannt AKA Addressee Unknown (1983)

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“A husband and wife have separated and while in that semi-marital state, the wife begins an affair with a Turkish architect. In the meantime, the once revolutionary-minded husband now prefers his more comfortable lifestyle in his villa with his children and he is the one who writes letters to his wife seeking a reconciliation, but she herself is thrown into a turmoil because choosing between her estranged husband and the Turkish architect is very difficult, if not impossible. —allmovie guide” Continue reading