Of the hallowed group of Cahiers du cinéma critics turned filmmakers who transformed French film history, Claude Chabrol was the first to direct his own feature. His absorbing landmark debut, Le beau Serge, follows a successful yet sickly young man (Jean-Claude Brialy) who returns home to the small village where he grew up. There, he finds himself at odds with his former close friend (Gérard Blain)—now unhappily married and a wretched alcoholic—and the provincial life he represents. The remarkable and stark Le beau Serge heralded the arrival of a cinematic titan who would go on to craft provocative, entertaining films for five more decades. (-Criterion) Continue reading
Louis Malle unveiled the natural beauty of Jeanne Moreau in his breakthrough, Elevator to the Gallows. With his follow-up, the scandalous smash The Lovers> (Les amants), he made her a star once and for all. A deeply felt and luxuriously filmed fairy tale for grown-ups, perched on the edge between classical and New Wave cinemas, The Lovers presents Moreau as a restless bourgeois wife whose eye wanders from both her husband and her lover to an attractive passing stranger (Jean-Marc Bory). Thanks to its frank sexuality, The Lovers caused quite a stir, being censored and attacked for obscenity around the world. If today its shock has worn off, its glistening sensuality and seductive storytelling haven’t aged a day. Continue reading
As far as can be determined, Goha was Tunisia’s first entry in the Cannes Film Festival. Omar Sharif stars as a naïve young man who is taken for granted by friends and family. Little do they know that he has more intelligence, tenacity and imagination than all of them put together. The story takes an unexpectedly dramatic turn when the man falls in love with the young wife of his village’s elderly “wise man”. Based on an ancient Tunisian folk tale, Goha boasts impressive production values and sure-handed direction (by Jacques Baratier). Continue reading
The story concerns a couple of ex-servicemen who engineer a robbery, only to run afoul of professional criminals.
Dick et Tony, parachutistes rapatriés d’Indochine ont accepté de rendre un petit service au Maltais. Pour une commission de deux millions de francs, ils ont fait transiter 25 millions, mais au moment de rendre l’argent, le Maltais n’est pas là. Ils investissent alors cet argent dans une boîte de nuit.
In his mesmerizing debut feature, twenty-four-year-old director Louis Malle brought together the beauty of Jeanne Moreau, the camerawork of Henri Decaë, and a now legendary score by Miles Davis. A touchstone of the careers of both its star and director, Elevator to the Gallows is a richly atmospheric thriller of murder and mistaken identity unfolding over one restless Parisian night. Continue reading
Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1943 Broadway music’s 1943 Broadway musical was considered revolutionary for a multitude of reasons, not least of which were the play’s intricate integration of song and storyline, and the simplicity and austerity of its production design. The 1955 film version of Oklahoma! retains the songs (except for Lonely Room and It’s a Scandal!, which are usually cut from most stage presentations anyway) and the story, but the simplicity is sacrificed to the spectacle of Technicolor, Todd-AO, and Stereophonic Sound. The story can be boiled down to a single sentence: a girl must decide between the two suitors who want to take her to a social. In her movie debut, 19-year-old Shirley Jones plays Laurie, an Oklahoma farm gal who is courted by boisterous cowboy Curley (Gordon MacRae) and by menacing, obsessive farm hand Jud Frye (Rod Steiger). Fearing that Jud will do something terrible to Curley, Laurie accepts Jud’s invitation to the box social. But it’s Curley who rescues Laurie from Jud’s unwanted advances, and in so doing wins her hand. On the eve of their wedding, Laurie and Curley are menaced by the drunken Jud. Continue reading
The plot of Ajantrik (Pathetic Fallacy) revolves around Bimal and his battered taxi, an old Chevrolet, he calls Jagaddal. Because he treats his car as a living being, many consider Bimal to be mad.
Said Ritwik about the film: “You can call my protagonist, Bimal, a lunatic, a child, or a tribal. At one level they are all the same. They react to lifeless things almost passionately. This is an ancient, archetypal reaction….The tribal songs and dances in Ajantrik describe the whole cycle of life – birth, hunting, marriage, death, ancestor worship, and rebirth. This is the main theme of Ajantrik, this law of life.”
Music by Ali Akbar Khan.