Fyodor Otsep – Amok (1934)

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Summary from wikipedia:
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Amok is a 1934 French film, directed by Fyodor Otsep. The director was nominated for the Mussolini Cup at the 1934 Venice International Film Festival. The movie centers on a physician, Dr. Holk, in a small Dutch colony in the tropics. A strange illness, known as Amok, is turning innocent people into madmen. When a young woman, Hèlène, comes to him asking for an abortion so that her returning husband will not know she has been unfaithful, he refuses. Hélène seeks help elsewhere, leading Dr. Holk to try to find and save her before it’s too late. Continue reading

Mikhail Slutsky – Imeni Lenina aka In the Name of Lenin (1932)

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In the Name of Lenin is a 14 minute single subject ‘short’ (rather than a newsreel) produced by Soyuzkinozhurnal in 1932. It was directed by Mikhail Slutskii, a member of the new ‘Stalinist’ generation of film-makers, who had only recently graduated from film school in Moscow. Continue reading

René Clair – Le Million (1931)

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Synopsis
A penniless artist, Michel, is pursued by creditors when he discovers he has won the million florin lottery. He realises that he left the winning lottery ticket in his jacket, which he gave to his girlfriend, Béatrice, to repair. However, Béatrice, upset when she saw Michel with another woman, gave the jacket away. What ensues then is a madcap chase by Michel and his friends to recover the missing jacket – and the million florin prize.
Films de France.com Continue reading

Teuvo Tulio – Unelma karjamajalla AKA In the Fields of Dreams (1940)

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This rural melodrama, based on the play “Hälsingar” by Swedish playwright Henning Ohlson, tells a story of two brothers, one a honest, hard-working man and the other a womanizing gambler who threatens to ruin their house. The latter hires a poor village girl as a maid, sparking the jealousy of a lustful senior maid. After the philandering brother has made the new maid pregnant and flees to America to avoid the consequences of his financial misdeeds, his elder brother is left to clean up the mess. Continue reading

Hiroshi Shimizu – Kaze no naka no kodomo AKA Children in the Wind (1937)

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The best way to describe this film would be “bright”. The story is simple, two young boys are usurped from being the head of their gang of children by the son of the man who indicts their father on charges of embezzlement (him being fired and arrested for this.) They’re sent to live with their uncle (Takeshi Sakamoto, fast becoming my favorite Japanese actor of this decade) and spend their time thinking of ways to escape back home. Father is found innocent, and they live happily ever after. This film is beautiful, the music and the sound of the children playing are both unforgettable. It was no. 4 in the Kinema Jumpo that year, and it was adapted from a Tsubota novel (his 1939 film Four Seasons of Childhood, which contains the same characters, is also based on a Tsubota book.) The cinematography is “gliding” (a term which consistently seems to be used to describe the look and feel of his films) and more reminiscent of Arigato-San than any other film I’ve seen by him. There are also some strong similarities in plot and character to Ozu’s I Was Born But… and according to Keiko McDonald he, “tells of finding himself in tears as he read in the short story (Naoya Shiga’s “Manazuru”) about the little children shuffling along a road at night”. I watched Children in the Wind without subtitles, but more than any other unsubtitled film I’ve seen, It was extremely easy to follow along with. One of my favorites from this director, and I can’t wait to see more of his children’s films. Continue reading