Marcel Carné – Les portes de la nuit AKA Gates of the Night (1946)

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S y n o p s i s:
February 1945. In the Paris metro, manual worker Jean Diego is accosted by a tramp, who introduces himself as Fate and lets slip the tragic future that awaits him. According to Fate, Diego is destined to meet a beautiful young woman he once encountered in the past. Sure enough, within a few hours, Diego runs into Malou, the woman he has long dreamed of. Malou is grateful for Diego’s company, particularly as she has just walked out on her husband Georges, a man for whom she is ill-suited. Ignoring a warning from the tramp that he is heading for an unpleasant death, Malou’s cruel brother Guy sets out to stir up trouble for his own amusement. Having told Georges that his wife has fallen for another man, Guy hands him his gun. The trap is sprung and the outcome is just as the tramp predicted… Continue reading

Jacques Tati – Jour de fête AKA The Village Fair [1964 re-edited version] (1949)

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Synopsis
Jacques Tati’s award-winning feature début – a dazzling blend of satire and slapstick is early evidence of his unique talent. Acclaimed by international critics as an innovative comic masterpiece, Jour de fête is an hilarious exposé of the modern obsession with speed and efficiency, set amidst the rural surroundings of a tiny French village. Tati plays an appealingly self-deluded buffoon a postman who, impressed by the bristling efficiency of the American postal system, makes a wholly misguided attempt to introduce modern methods in the depths of rural France. Continue reading

André Cayatte – Justice est faite aka Justice Is Done (1950)

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Quote:
Justice Is Done (French: Justice est faite) is a 1950 French drama film directed by André Cayatte. It tackles the subject of euthanasia by depicting a court case in which a woman is tried for killing her terminally ill husband at his request.

The film won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and the Golden Bear for Best Crime or Adventure Film at the Berlin Film Festival. Continue reading

Jacques Tourneur – I Walked with a Zombie (1943)

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A young Canadian nurse (Betsy) comes to the West Indies to care for Jessica, the wife of a plantation manager (Paul Holland). Jessica seems to be suffering from a kind of mental paralysis as a result of fever. When she falls in love with Paul, Betsy determines to cure Jessica even if she needs to use a voodoo ceremony, to give Paul what she thinks he wants. Continue reading

Akira Kurosawa – Ichiban utsukushiku AKA The Most Beautiful (1944)

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The Most Beautiful is a wartime propaganda film depicting the efforts of female factory workers in a precision-lens manufacturing plant. It is episodic and anecdotal and very documentary-like. Donald Richie records specific instances of documentary techniques borrowed principally from Russian filmmakers such as the austere and static composition of its scenes. This need not be entertained to any considerable degree: the point is, holistically, the overwhelming impression is one of a document. We see many shots of the lens-making equipment, and through these learn the process of lens manufacture itself. Nearly every scene is segmented with shots of a parade (a military band, a marching platoon of young soldiers, etc.) and the film itself was shot in a real factory, a length to which Kurosawa would rarely go in later work. Continue reading

Arthur Maria Rabenalt – Am Abend nach der Oper AKA In the Evening After the Opera (1945)

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Quote:
This totally forgotten film is adapted from a story by Franz Nabl who also provided the basis for Der verzauberte Tag. The story is about a rich murderer (Siegfried Breuer) who killed his wife out of jealousy nd tries to start a new life. He meets a young woman (Gusti Huber) and marries her without telling her the secret directly. She feels there’s something wrong and things get complicated when a dubious individual not only gets the legal papers which prove the husband has been a convict, but also falls in love with the young woman.
The film not only boasts an intelligent script and great performances, but is very well shot and directed. The lighting is often elaborate, intertwining with the sumptuous set design, while an inquisitive camera slides through the rooms. This one is a must see and should be a strong incentive for German users to consider buying the box. Continue reading