Toshio Masuda – Kanzenna yugi AKA Perfect game (1958)

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In recent years, director Toshio Masuda has worked on the international stage with action-oriented movies such as Tora! Tora! Tora! and the Space Cruiser Yamato films. But he began his career in the middle-late 1950s with The Perfect Game (aka Kanzen Na Yuugi), a shockingly amoral tale of delinquency, rape, and murder that was to Japan, what In Cold Blood was to American cinema. It was among the earliest works in the career of a director who has generated little except major box office hits in Japan since the 1950s. …says Criterion. Or in short: young Akira Kobayashi of Nikkatsu’s diamond line fame’s cool combined with a tale about a heist which goes terribly wrong. Continue reading

Jirí Krejcík – Vyssi princip AKA Higher Principle (1960)

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SYNOPSIS from kviff.com:

Jiří Krejčík’s A Higher Principle, together with Weiss’s film Romeo, Juliet and Darkness (1959), was one of those Czechoslovak films at the forefront of what is characterised in literature as the second wave of war prose. After years of the schematism and trivialisation of heroic pathos, films were gradually appearing towards the end of the 1950s which treated the theme of war with greater intimacy, and the heroism of those who resisted evil and Nazi barbarity was not so apparent at first glance. Krejčík selected a story by Jan Drda written almost immediately after the liberation, whose short text he and the author considerably reshaped. Continue reading

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