Jean Rollin – Les démoniaques aka Demoniacs aka Curse of the Living Dead (1974)

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Jean Rollin’s surreal pirate film takes place on land amidst the skeletons of beached and plundered ships, the legacy of a cutthroat band of “wreckers” who lure ships into the shallows. When a pair of survivors, young girls glowing in white nightgowns, wander through the shallows seeking help from the merry quartet, they are summarily molested, beaten, and left for dead. Like in many of Rollin’s films, the story doesn’t make much narrative sense–the girls escape to the haunted ruins where a woman in clown makeup cares for them and a mysterious magician gives them the power to take their revenge in return for sex–but the logic takes on a dreamlike quality appropriate to the gorgeous and bizarre imagery. In a strange tavern adorned with skeletons (and a man playing with a Dracula doll!), the Captain is haunted by visions of the girls as white-faced specters. A search for the girls amidst the rotting hulls of old ships culminates in a fiery inferno that burns spectacularly against the night sky. Meanwhile well-endowed costar Joëlle Coeur strips at the slightest suggestion, frolics and bounces on a bed, and runs around the beach topless while hunting the girls. Rollin’s strange little film, a ghost story without ghosts, rambles on a little too long before it culminates in a self-destructive frenzy and ends on a sad, serene note. Continue reading

Aditya Vikram Sengupta – Asha Jaoar Majhe AKA Labour of Love (2014)

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There’s very little in common between Asha Jaoar Majhe and In The Mood For Love, but somehow Aditya Vikram Sengupta’s debut feature reminded me a lot of Wong Kar Wai’s classic romance. Perhaps it’s to do with the abiding images of the two protagonists walking/cycling along narrow city alleys with little spoken yet a lot communicated through music; just the plaintive shehnai music in the background here, and the aching melancholy of Yumeji’s theme there. Like In The Mood For Love, Asha Jaoar Majhe is a quiet, almost silent film, yet each of its frames is resonant with unspoken feelings. Can you tell a story with just everyday images and situational sounds? Sengupta does it seamlessly. Continue reading

Joseph W. Sarno – Abigail Lesley Is Back in Town (1975)

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A seductive woman, who left her small fishing town long ago after being caught with another woman’s husband, returns to shake up the place by seducing everyone, including the woman and her girlfriends.

Starring: Rebecca Brooke, Jennifer Welles, Jennifer Jordan, Eric Edwards, Jamie Gillis, Chris Jordan, Julia Sorel & Susan Sloan. Continue reading

Catalin Mitulescu – 17 minute intarziere (1999)

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Romanian student film, shot on 35mm. Now the guy is 33 years old and already can be proud of his PALME D’OR

Romanian filmmaker Catalin Mitulescu spent numerous years working in Austria, Hungary, Poland and Italy. In 2001, he graduated from the Film Directing Department at the University of Film and Theatre in Bucharest. His student films BucarestiWien: 8:15 and 17 minute intarziere were selected at the Cannes Film Festival-Cinefondation in 2001 and 2002 and were distributed theatrically in Romania. They received numerous awards both in Romania and on the international circuit. His short film Trafic was awarded the Palme dOr at the Cannes Film Festival in 2004. Continue reading

Andrzej Zulawski – Szamanka AKA Chamanka [+Extras] (1996)

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ANDRZEJ ZULAWSKI’S adaptation of Manuela Gretkowska’s provocative and hugely successful novel reaches new extremes in the depiction of brutality, sex, and passion as it tells the story of a young(ish) anthropologist driven by the mystery surrounding the death of a recently discovered shaman; and his growing obsession with an enigmatic yet violently perverse beauty known as “The Italian”.SZAMANKA (She-Shaman) is a film ‘without brakes’. Above all else, it is a ‘demonic’ film where characters are battlegrounds in the war between demons and angels, where angels are agents of God and demons are those of the Devil. This pulpy, sexually charged tale with its deranged erotic futurism underlines Zulawski’s commitment to stretch the limits of aesthetic expression by exploring themes beyond the pale in conventional cinema. Violence, exuberance and sexuality are its key ingredients. Through hysteria, possession and hallucination we see what the Polish writer Stanislaw Przybyszewski called ‘naked soul’. Continue reading

Niva Ruschell – Tongue (1976)

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Pornographic Blacksploitation. Quasi, a Black man with a 9 inch tongue lives alone with a pet frog. Since his girl friend left him 2 years ago he has become mute and used by everyone. While playing chess by himself on a park bench he is humiliated by a young woman. He’s then sexually taken advantage of by his gay doctor whose nurse hooks him up with her nymphomaniac friend Cherry, played by Briggite Maier, who then proceeds to have her friend Nancy over for a threesome. He constantly dreams of his ex and holds his pet close to a ceramic frog as if to symbolize the meaningless of it all. He walks alone on the beach and stops to stare at a young black couple lying on a towel. The man threatens him and chases him away. He picks some flowers intending to go back to Brigitte’s place but when he arrives an orgy in process. He walks along the beach and goes home only to see his ex with a white man. Continue reading