Kon Ichikawa – Shokei no heya AKA Punishment Room (1956)

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Kon Ichikawa’s study of gang-related violence among the youth, ‘Punishment Room’, is a brutal and nihilistic work utterly barren of hope! Yes, just the way I like a movie to be. ‘Punishment Room’ is far from the same league as Ichikawa’s masterpiece ‘Nobi’, but it is a film I better would be able to say I enjoyed watching. Though it is not much less powerful and at the release in the 50’s it were met with angry protests from parent-groups, the Japanese government and even Shintarô Ishihara, the writer of the novel ‘Punishment Room’ is based on! Plot is centered on a disgruntled university student whose disrespect and ruthlessness against authorities finally lead to his doom. He humiliate his sick, but hard-working, father at the bank in order to get a loan to fiancé a huge party. The party scene features a cool jazz band and the camera often zoom in on the girls legs. While the party goes on our hero leaves in order to beat up some members of a street gang in a pool hall. Later he drug two girls together with a pal and they bring them to an apartment and rape them! Continue reading

Christian-Jaque – Si tous les gars du monde AKA If All the Guys in the World… (1956)

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Synopsis
Si Tous Les Gars du Monde is an entertaining tribute to the ham radio operators of the world. The story begins when a French shipping boat takes on an Arab passenger. While on the high seas, the Arab becomes seriously ill with a communicable disease that threatens the lives of everyone on board. Unable to reach the proper medical authorities, the boat sends out a desperate S.O.S., whereupon several amateur-radio enthusiasts of different nationalities spring into action… Continue reading

Luchino Visconti – Le notti bianche AKA White Nights [+extras] (1957)

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Synopsis:

A chance encounter on a canal bridge results in a series of twilight rendezvous between a lonely city transplant (Marcello Mastroianni) and a sheltered woman (Maria Schell) haunted by a lover’s promise. Their hesitant courtship soon entangles both of them in a web of longing and self-delusion. Adapted from the Fyodor Dostoyevsky short story, director Luchino Visconti’s Le notti bianche—shot in ravishing black and white—is a romantic, shattering tale of the restlessness of dreamers. Continue reading

Jerzy Kawalerowicz – Pociag AKA Night Train (1959)

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Quote:
Two strangers, Jerzy (Leon Niemczyk) and Marta (Lucyna Winnicka), accidentally end up holding tickets for the same sleeping chamber on an overnight train to the Baltic Sea coast. While handsome, well dressed and rather laconic, Jerzy seems ill at ease, while Marta is not talkative and would prefer to be alone. Staszek (Zbigniew Cybulski) is a student and Marta’s spurned lover, and will not leave her alone. When the police enter the train in search of a murderer on the lam, rumors fly and everything seems to point toward one of the main characters as the culprit. [spoiler removed from quote] Continue reading

Stanley Kubrick – Day of the Fight (1951)

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Based on Kubrick’s pictorial for Look Magazine (January 18, 1949) entitled “Prizefighter,” “Day Of The Fight” tells of a day in the life of a middleweight Irish boxer named Walter Cartier, particularly the day of his bout with black middleweight Bobby James. This 16-minute short opens with a short (about 4 minutes) study of boxing’s history, narrated by veteran newscaster Douglas Edwards in a no-nonsense, noir tone of voice. After this, we follow Walter (and his twin brother Vincent) through his day as he prepares for his 10:00 P.M. bout. After eating breakfast, going to early mass and eating lunch, he starts arranging his things for the fight at 4:00 P.M. By 8:00, he is waiting in his dressing room, where he undergoes a mental transformation, turning into the fighting machine the crowd clamors for. At 10:00, he faces James, and soon, he comes out victorious in a short match which was filmed live on April 17th, 1950. Continue reading

Claude Chabrol – Les cousins (1959)

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In Les cousins, Claude Chabrol crafts a sly moral fable about a provincial boy who comes to live with his sophisticated bohemian cousin in Paris. Through these seeming opposites, Chabrol conjures a darkly comic character study that questions notions of good and evil, love and jealousy, and success in the modern world. A mirror image of Le beau Serge, Chabrol’s debut, Les cousins recasts that film’s stars, Jean-Claude Brialy and Gérard Blain, in startlingly reversed roles. This dagger-sharp drama won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival and was an important early entry in the French New Wave. (-Criterion) Continue reading

Janusz Morgenstern – Do widzenia, do jutra aka See You Tomorrow; Good Bye, Till Tomorrow (1960)

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Excelent performance by Zbigniew Cybulski co-starring with Roman Polanski and others famous polish actors from the sixties and amaizing music by Krzysztof Komeda.

PLOT DESCRIPTION
In this routine story within a story from Poland, Jacek (Zbigniew Cybulski) is the head of a troupe of thespians and so he is responsible for getting together the material for them to act out on the stage. One day he meets Marguerite (Teresa Tuszynska), the charming and sophisticated daughter of a French diplomat, and his heart does flips. He longs to be with her but she herself is more sensible. What kind of a life would she have with an actor? His ultimate rejection leaves him ample time to mope around and be miserable. But then, Jacek the actor has to get another story ready for his troupe — and so was this sequence of love lost real — or another play for the troupe to perform?~ Eleanor Mannikka, All Movie Guide Continue reading