Orson Welles – The Tragedy of Othello: The Moor of Venice (1952)

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Want to be daring? Try watching Othello without the sound. The assembly of magnificent compositions that Welles has put together for his Othello is nothing short of astounding. Welles finds angles where they never existed before and extracts from the text, so elegant in word, a visual power unmatched by other Shakespearean movies. The heritage from Citizen Kane to Touch of Evil is evident in this stylistic tour-de-force.

Welles is an imposing Othello. Painted with shadows and light, Welles moves regally through the castle sets and strides powerfully along the beach or atop the ramparts. As Iago, Michael Mac Liammoir, the Irish stage actor, is quite creepy. His vast stage experience perhaps affects his performance in front of the camera too much, but the result is highly effective under Welles’ guiding camera and brilliant editing. Continue reading

Valentina Brumberg & Zinaida Brumberg – Noch pered Rozhdestvom AKA The Night Before Christmas (1951)

From Wikipedia:

The Night Before Christmas (Russian: Ночь пе́ред Рождество́м, Noch pered Rozhdestvom) is a 1951 Soviet traditionally-animated feature film directed by the Brumberg sisters and produced by the Soyuzmultfilm studio in Moscow. The film is based on Nikolai Gogol’s story The Night Before Christmas.

The animation features heavy use of rotoscoping, known as “Éclair” in the Soviet Union, and is an example of the Socialist-Realist period in Russian animation. Continue reading

Stephen Segaller – Jung on film (1957)

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Here a short description:
This compelling film represents a rare record of an original genius. In Jung on Film, the pioneering psychologist tells us about his collaboration with Sigmund Freud, about the insights he gained from listening to his patients’ dreams, and about the fascinating turns his own life has taken. Dr. Richard I. Evans, a Presidential Medal of Freedom nominee, interviews Jung, giving us a unique understanding of Jung’s many complex theories, while depicting Jung as a sensitive and highly personable human being. Continue reading

Ferdinand Khittl – Das magische Band AKA The Magic Tape (1959)

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Das magische Band – West Germany 1959, 21 min.
Directed by: Ferdinand Khittl
Written by: Bodo Blüthner, Ferdinand Khittl, Ernst von Khuon
Cinematography by: Ronald Martini
Music by: Oskar Sala
Edited by: Irmgard Henrici
Cast: Margot Trooger, Ferdinand Khittl
Produced by: Gesellschaft für bildende Filme, München

One of the 3 short films that came as an extra on Edition Filmmuseum 47: Die Parallelstrasse AKA The Parallel Street (Ferdinand Khittl, 1962).

An innovative documentary on magnetic tape & sound recording, sort of in the style of Charles and Ray Eames. Continue reading

Juan Antonio Bardem – Calle Mayor AKA Main Street (1956)

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The Spanish Civil War has been considered one of the most horrendous events in the recent European history and has been depicted by a plethora of writers, philosophers and artists – Hemingway, Picasso and even Guillermo del Toro. But how much do we know about the thirty-five years General Franco ruled in Spain for? Under what conditions did Spaniards live in the 1940s and 50s, for example? This is a much obscure period, due mainly to Franco’s protectionist attitude towards international politics. Continue reading

Federico Fellini – I vitelloni (1953)

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Five men walk arm-in-arm through a sleepy Adriatic town, their lockstep a gentle echo of Italy’s Fascistic past. Such posses are quite common in Italy, where close male friendships, equal parts sensuality and ritual, are second only to the family in importance. I Vitelloni (the best sense of it is “the idlers”), Fellini’s third film, includes some of his most subtle filmmaking and most personal material. Loosely structured and oddly narrated, I Vitelloni is like a sketch for both La Dolce Vita and Amarcord. Paradoxically, I Vitelloni is also an insightful and accurate representation of Italy in the immediate postwar period, full of references to the massive social changes underway. Fifty years after its release, I Vitelloni can finally be seen as a seminal film in Italian cinema, one of the first to detail the effects of technology, celebrity, and mobility on Italian life. Continue reading

Orson Welles – Around the World with Orson Welles (1955) (HD)

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Sean Axmaker, Keyframe wrote:
When handed the raw materials from an unfinished documentary about Elmyr de Hory, an art forger whose life was being written up by biographer Clifford Irving, Orson Welles took the opportunity to make something far beyond the concept of the traditional documentary. F for Fake has been called the Orson Welles’ first essay film, a true enough statement if you limit the accounting to feature films, but he had been doing short-form non-fiction since 1955, when he made Around the World with Orson Welles (a.k.a. Around the World) for British television. Continue reading