Richard Brooks – The Catered Affair (1956)

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Synopsis:
At breakfast, Jane announces that she and Ralph are getting married the next week. All Jane and Ralph want is a small wedding with the immediate family and no reception. This is because Janes parents are poor and Jane and Ralph can borrow a car for their honeymoon. However, at dinner that night all Ralph’s parents talk about are the big weddings they gave their daughters and everything escalates. All of a sudden, it is a big wedding breakfast with hundreds of guests. The problem is that for 12 years, Tom has been saving money to buy his own cab and license, but now that he can, all of his money is going towards a wedding neither he, or Jane or Ralph really want. Continue reading

Charles Brabant – Les Possédées AKA Passionate Summer (1956)

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Synopsis
Story of the effect on three women living on an isolated farm when a man comes to live there.

Agata, sa fille Silvia et la belle-sœur Pia exploitent une ferme perdue dans un coin de montagne. L’embauche d’Angelo, séduisant quadragénaire, va provoquer affrontements et rivalités amoureuses entre les trois femmes… Continue reading

Yasujirô Ozu – Higanbana AKA Equinox Flower (1958)

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Quote:
The first color feature film from Yasujiro Ozu, Equinox Flower is a spare, evocative, and compassionate portrait of aging, transition, and change. The title of the film refers to a red amaryllis flower that blooms near the autumnal equinox, and red imagery pervade the film: the brick train station building, the carpeting of the wedding banquet, Yukiko’s obi, the tea kettle at the Hirayama home. Similar to Ingmar Bergman’s Autumn Sonata and Andre Techine’s Ma Saison Preferee, the season serves as a reflection of Hirayama’s generation, attempting to reconcile with the profound cultural and social changes of postwar Japan. The film opens to the image of the train station and cuts to a shot of the hallway of the wedding reception. It is a reminder of Hirayama’s own transitional passage – an elegy for the quickly vanishing traditions of an irretrievable past, and a celebration of renewed hope and promise. Continue reading

Carl Theodor Dreyer – Ordet (1955)

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Quote:
Although The Word deals with a miracle, it is through and through a realistic film—about those who are weak in faith. The hoped-for miracle does not occur until one who has faith, the True Faith, arrives. The action takes place among country folk living in a small, outlying parish on Jutland’s west coast. It pictures the struggle between two different sides of Christian faith—a bright, happy Christianity and its contrast, a dark fanaticism, hostile to life. Continue reading

Manoel de Oliveira – O Pão AKA Bread [Short Version] (1959)

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Quote:
Each day, a man must work around the clock to produce and acquire bread: throwing the seeds into earth, helping the breeding of the corn, the corn’s recolt, transport to the mills, manipulation of the flour into actual bread, transport to a variety of locations and consumers. Continue reading

Gerd Oswald – A Kiss Before Dying (1956)

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Quote:
In Gerd Oswald’s A Kiss Before Dying (1956) Bud Corliss (Robert Wagner) is a psychopath with one singular desire: He wants to become rich by marrying the daughter of a man who owns a copper mine. Bud’s actions reveal how when a man loves money more than people, people become objects to be used and manipulated.

The Hare Psychopathy Checklist lists 20 common traits of psychopaths. Bud possesses nearly all of these traits including “superficial charm”, “pathological lying”, “cunning and manipulativeness”, “lack of remorse or guilt”, “criminal versatility”, and a “parasitic lifestyle.”1 Although psychopaths commit actions that are unthinkable to normal people, they are not insane: “a mental illness of such a severe nature that a person cannot distinguish fantasy from reality, or is subject to uncontrollable impulsive behavior.” A 2012 study of 269 psychopaths concluded that “psychopaths are not mentally ill and should be held entirely responsible for their violent and manipulative actions.” Psychopaths are not restrained by a typical person’s sense of right and wrong. Lacking the conviction of guilt for what they do, they harm innocent people without remorse. Continue reading