Joseph Losey – M (1951)

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Martin W Harrow (David Wayne) is a compulsive child-murderer who is tracked down and then placed on trial by the criminal underworld in Los Angeles. Syndicate chieftain Marshall (Martin Gabel) organizes his fellow crooks in order to bring “M” to justice, thereby keeping the police off their own backs. Found guilty by his “peers” and sentenced to death, “M” makes an impassioned plea for his life, explaining that he is unable to stop himself from committing his unspeakable crimes. Continue reading

Ivan I. Tverdovskiy – Zoologiya AKA Zoology (2016)

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Writer-director Ivan I. Tverdovsky s prize-winning sophomore feature (Special Prize of the Jury at Karlovy Vary Film Festival, Best Picture at Fantastic Fest) deftly mixes the deadpan humour of Aki Kaurismäki with a poignant examination of social issues including loneliness and aging.

Middle-aged zoo worker Natasha still lives with her mother in a small coastal town. As she struggles for independence, she has to endure the absurd reality of her life filled with gossip spread by the women around her. She is stuck and it seems that life has no surprises for her until one day… she grows a tail. Embarrassed at first, Natasha decides to go further with the transformation and use it as an opportunity to redefine herself as a person and as a woman. With the new “accessory” she gets access to the life that she has never experienced before – she starts a relationship with a man, who finds her attractive, she goes out and allows herself to be foolish for the first time in her life. But her second puberty eventually comes to an end and Natasha has to make a choice between reality and illusion … Continue reading

Gennadiy Klimov & Igor Shavlak – Semya vurdalakov AKA The Vampire Family (1990)

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Only vaguely based on Alexei Tolstoy’s novel ‘Oupyr’ (1841), ‘The Vampire Family’ (Semya vurdalakov) is a mixture of striking dreams, fading reality, and most ingenious psychedelic background music, Artemeyv-style (scores by Vladimir Davydenko). Continue reading

Jean-Luc Godard – Détective (1985)

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Détective is one of Godard’s most engaging films, even though it has not been one of his most celebrated. Wheeler Winston Dixon described it as a “straightforward commercial venture,” the film Godard made “precisely in order to direct Je vous salue, Marie (1985).” But dismissing it in this way fails to recognize that, even in a film where Godard is forced to compromise, there is still much to be recommended. While Détective does tell a story of sorts, it is more than a mere narrative film. It still has many of the striking sound/image experiments and investigations into the forms, textures and affects of the plastic and temporal arts that we have come to expect from a Godard film. It also has a playful comic energy. In fact, as Dave Kehr notes, Détective has “all the lightness and zip of Godard’s sixties features.” Continue reading

Sion Sono – Koi no tsumi AKA Guilty of Romance [Extended Japanese Cut] (2011)

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A grisly murder occurs in Maruyama-cho, Shibuya, Tokyo – a love hotel district – a woman was found dead in a derelict apartment. Kazuko (Miki Mizuno) is a police officer called to investigate on this case, she will discover the story of two women who, despite appearing respectable on the outside have all manner of darkness hidden away. Continue reading