Peter Brook – Moderato cantabile AKA Seven Days… Seven Nights (1960)

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Synopsis:
A wealthy and bored woman is witness of a murder in affection and meets another witness. She asks him about the history of the victim and falls in love with him.

— IMDb.

Review:

One of those movies that mesmerizes through its restraint, this is set in a dreary coastal small town—familiar territory for French cinema—where Anne Desbarèdes (Moreau) is the beautiful, bored wife of the principal local employer (Deschamps); “No,” she says at one point, summarizing not just the starkness of the place but her own life there, “summer never comes in this region. It’s always windy.” Continue reading

Fernando Fernán Gómez – La vida por delante (1958)

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Review
“La Vida por Delante” is the second film of Fernan Gomez, one of the most complete Spanish Cinema artists. After his debut in “Manicomio” (1954) as co-director, the turbulent career as a filmmaker Fernan-Gomez has been little appreciated by the public, being more known for his acting career at the orders of other directors.

This has made possible in part, we lose some of the gems that this director has given throughout his career.

It is an interesting film but still far from the levels of talent would reach director years later with works like “El Mundo Sigue” (1963) and “El Extraño Viaje” (1964). Continue reading

Roman Kroitor & Colin Low – Universe (1960)

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Synopsis:
A triumph of film art, creating on the screen a vast, awe-inspiring picture of the universe as it would appear to a voyager through space, this film was among the sources used by Stanley Kubrick in his 2001: A Space Odyssey. Realistic animation takes you into far regions of space, beyond the reach of the strongest telescope, past Moon, Sun, and Milky Way into galaxies yet unfathomed. Continue reading

Luis Buñuel – Nazarín AKA Nazarin (1959)

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Quote:
Acclaimed director Luis Buñuel displays several of his trademark interests in this drama about a priest who leaves his order. The director´s disdain for organized religion and the establishment, as well as his tendency to shock through visual imagery, are both apparent. Nazarin (Francisco Rabal) is the priest who leaves his order and decides to go on a pilgrimage. As he goes along subsisting on alms, he shelters a prostitute wanted by the police for murder. He is released from suspicion and she eventually catches up with him when she escapes imprisonment. Another woman joins the duo and soon the ex-priest is learning more about the human heart and suffering than when he wore robes. As for the shocking scenes, suffice to say the ravages of a plague are also shown. ~ Eleanor Mannikka, Rovi Continue reading

François Truffaut – Tirez sur le pianiste AKA Shoot the Pianist (1960)

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Quote:
A hapless pianist at a jazz club gets caught up with the mob, when his older brother who owes money to them comes to him for help. Eventually, the piano player and his girlfriend become pawns in middle of a dangerous game.

Truffaut first read David Goodis’s novel in the mid-1950s while shooting Les Mistons when his wife Madeleine Morgenstern read it and recommended it to him. He immediately loved the book’s dialogue and poetic tone and showed it to producer Pierre Braunberger, who bought the rights. Truffaut later met Goodis in New York City, where the novelist gave Truffaut a vintage viewfinder from his brief experience as a 2nd Unit Director on a U.S. film. Continue reading

Billy Wilder – The Apartment (1960)

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Quote:
Immediately following the success of Some Like It Hot, Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond wished to make another film with Jack Lemmon. Wilder had originally planned to cast Paul Douglas as Jeff Sheldrake; however, after he died unexpectedly, Fred MacMurray was cast.

The initial concept for the film came from Brief Encounter by Noël Coward, in which Celia Johnson has an affair with Trevor Howard in his friend’s apartment. However, due to the Hays Production Code, Wilder was unable to make a film about adultery in the 1940s. Wilder and Diamond also based the film partially on a Hollywood scandal in which high-powered agent Jennings Lang was shot by producer Walter Wanger for having an affair with Wanger’s wife, actress Joan Bennett. During the affair, Lang used a low-level employee’s apartment. Another element of the plot was based on the experience of one of Diamond’s friends, who returned home after breaking up with his girlfriend to find that she had committed suicide in his bed. Continue reading

André Heinrich & Alain Resnais – Le Mystère de l’atelier quinze (1957)

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The role of the doctor in a factory. The investigations he makes to discover the origin of ailments which attack the workers in a large chemical factory.

Commande de l’Institut National de la Recherche sur la Sécurité sur la prévention des maladies professionnelles. Tourné en 1957 dans l’usine Francolor d’Oissel, ce documentaire prend des airs d’enquête scientifique pour découvrir le mal mystérieux dont souffre un ouvrier. Le Mystère de l’atelier quinze est un film atypique sur le monde du travail. Il se présente en effet comme un “polar”, avec un “crime” à élucider sous forme d’enquête.
Dans une lettre à L’Avant-scène cinéma, André Heirich décrit la réalisation du film : Continue reading