Kôzaburô Yoshimura – Itsuwareru seiso AKA Clothes of Deception (1951)

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In 1951 Yoshimura had approached Daiei in order to realise – again from Shindo’s script – his outstanding study of women in Kyoto’s Gion district, Clothes of Deception (Itsuwareru seiso). Once at the studio he went on to work on a number of prestige projects, such as the lavish 1951 adaptation of the Heian-era prose classic The Tale of Genji (Genji monogatari), commissioned by Daiei to celebrate the studio’s tenth anniversary and supervised by respected novelist Tanizaki Junichiro, who had translated Murasaki Shikibu’s original 11th-century text into modern Japanese. Yoshimura won critical acclaim, and the film became Japan’s biggest commercial hit up to that date. Continue reading

Toshio Masuda – Sabita naifu AKA Rusty Knife (1958)

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Synopsis:
Udaka is a new, post-war city where corruption has already taken hold. A persistent district attorney wants to arrest and convict Katsumata, a laughing, self-confident thug. The D.A. gets an anonymous letter about the suicide five years’ before of a city council member. Evidence about the case leads the D.A. to Tachibana, struggling to go straight after involvement with the mob and a prison sentence for killing the man responsible for the rape and suicide of his fiancée. One of Tachibana’s friends is Keiko, the daughter of the dead councilman and the ward of another powerful official. How do these stories connect? Continue reading

Roberto Rossellini – Viaggio in Italia AKA Journey to Italy [+ Extras] (1954)

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Among the most influential films of the postwar era, Roberto Rossellini’s Journey to Italy (Viaggio in Italia) charts the declining marriage of a couple from England (Ingrid Bergman and George Sanders) on a trip in the countryside near Naples. More than just the anatomy of a relationship, Rossellini’s masterpiece is a heartrending work of emotion and spirituality. Considered a predecessor to the existentialist works of Michelangelo Antonioni and hailed as a groundbreaking modernist work by the legendary film journal Cahiers du cinéma, Journey to Italy is a breathtaking cinematic benchmark. Continue reading

Ian Hugo – Bells of Atlantis (1952)

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+ BELLS OF ATLANTIS (Ian Hugo 1952 16mm 10 mins)
A perfect fusion of poetry and film, with dense layered imagery and music from electro pioneers Louise and Bebe Barron. The writer Anais Nin provides dialogue from her novella ‘House of Incest’ and appears adrift in the undersea realm of Atlantis before ascending to dry land. Continue reading

Phil Karlson – 5 Against the House (1955)

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Synopsis:
Four college buddies enjoy a night at a Reno casino and overhear a cop saying that robbing the casino “cannot be done.” That gets the brainiest rich kid among them thinking up a plan for the perfect robbery. He convinces the others to join in when they hear that it will only be a college hoax, his plan being to let the police know where the money is afterwards. The thing is, one of his friends has a head injury from the war, and has no intention of returning a dime. Continue reading

Hy Hirsh – Gyromorphosis (1954)

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The inherent kinetic qualities are brought into actuality in GYROMORPHOSIS, as seen in the construction-sculpture of Constant Nieuwenhuys of Amsterdam. To realize this aim I have put into motion, one by one, pieces of this sculpture and, with color lighting, filmed them in various detail, overlaying the images on the film as they appear and disappear. In this way I have hoped to produce sensations of acceleration and suspension which are suggested to me by the sculpture itself. – Hy Hirsh Continue reading