Miklós Jancsó – Szegénylegények AKA The Round-Up (1966)

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SUMMARY
A profound influence on filmmakers from Sergio Leone to Béla Tarr, The Round-Up is widely acknowledged as a masterpiece of world cinema.

Set in a detention camp in Hungary 1869, at a time of guerrilla campaigns against the ruling Austrians, Jancsó deliberately avoids conventional heroics to focus on the persecution and dehumanization manifest in a time of conflict. Filmed in Hungary’s desolate and burning landscape, Jancsó uses his formidable technique to create a remarkable and terrifying picture of war and the abuse of power that still speaks to audiences today.
From Second Run website Continue reading

Sergei M. Eisenstein – Drawings (1961)

Рисунки. Dessins. Drawings.
by Sergei M. Eisenstein

Hardcover: 228 pages
Publisher: Publishing House “Iskustvo” (Art) (May 30, 1961)
Language: Russian, English, French
Product Dimensions: 62 x 94.8

Sergei Mikhailovich Eisenstein was a Soviet Russian film director and film theorist, a pioneer in the theory and practice of montage. He is noted in particular for his silent films Strike (1925), Battleship Potemkin (1925) and October (1928), as well as the historical epics Alexander Nevsky (1938) and Ivan the Terrible (1944, 1958).

Eisenstein’s book presents his drawings and sketches for his films of different years as well as trilingual texts: essays by Y. Pimenov (“The Drawings of Eisenstein”), Olga Aisenstat (“Eisenstein the Graphic Artist”), Gennady Myasnikov (“Director’s View of the Film”) and Eisenstein himself (“How I Learned to Draw” and “A Few Words about My Drawings”). Continue reading

Yuliya Solntseva – Zacharovannaya Desna AKA The Enchanted Desna (1964)

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Jonathan Rosenbaum’s comments on first seeing the film:
May 26, 1972: A screening of Julia Solntseva’s THE ENCHANTED DESNA (1964) at the Cinémathèque. Here is another Russian masterpiece that, like ENTHUSIASM, rarely gets shown, is ignored in most film literature, and on first glance seems to outdistance nearly all the “official” Russian classics.First glances are often deceptive; but how can we verify them when the films remain so difficult to see, and are so seldom spoken about? Indeed, if it hadn’t been for Godard’s enthusiastic reference to DESNA in a 1965 interview, I might never have gone. But surely it is one of the most ravishing spectacles ever made, an ecstatic riot of color and sound that uses 70mm and stereophonic recording with all the freedom and imagination of an inspired home movie. Continue reading

Nicholas Ray – 55 Days at Peking (1963)

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from rottentomatoes:
Samuel Bronston produced this extravagant blockbuster, shot in Super Technirama 70. Nominally directed by Nicholas Ray (who makes a brief appearance as the U.S. ambassador), Ray was taken off the film and replaced by the more pliable directorial touches of Andrew Marton. Charlton Heston stars as Maj. Matt Lewis, the leader of an army of multinational soldiers who head to Peking during the infamous Boxer Rebellion of 1900. As the film unfolds, the foreign embassies in Peking are being held in a grip of terror as the Boxers set about massacring Christians in an anti-Christian nationalistic fever. Inside the besieged compound, the finicky British ambassador (David Niven) gathers the beleaguered ambassadors into a defensive formation. Included in the group of high-level dignitaries is a sultry Russian Baroness (Ava Gardner) who takes a shine to Lewis upon his arrival at the embassy compound with his group of soldiers. As Lewis and the group conserve food and water and try to save some hungry children, they await the arrival of expected reinforcements, but the tricky Chinese Empress Tzu Hsi (Flora Robson) is, in the meantime, plotting with the Boxers to break the siege at the compound with the aid of Chinese recruits. Continue reading

Pere Portabella – Nocturno 29 (1968)

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Synopsis:
Nocturno 29 begins where “Don’t Count on your Fingers” left off: facing a blank screen and the materialness of the projection. It goes in depth into the future Eisenstein-like structure of Portabella’s films which do not advance through a lineal narrative, but rather by a succesion of semi-autonomous scenes and almost always unexpected links. “A series or suite of situations that, although apparently unconnected, always turn about a thematic development that gives body and unity to the story without resorting to the use of an anecdote for plot continuity” (Portabella 1968). Antonioni, Bergman or Buñuel come to mind in this, Portabella’s most “anti-bourgeois” film. Continue reading

Ubu films – Ubu Films – Sydney Underground Movies 1965-1970 [Volume 1 & 2]

Quote:
UBU Films was a Sydney-based independent film-making co-operative which operated from 1965 to around 1970. Its members produced many of the most important experimental and underground films made in Australia in the Sixties. Ubu was also a pioneer of psychedelic lightshows in Australia, and during the late Sixties the UBU collective was Sydney’s leading lighting provider for dances, discos and other special events.

Formed by Albie Thoms, David Perry, Aggy Read and John Clark at Sydney University in 1965, UBU FILMS was Australia’s first group dedicated to making, exhibiting and distributing experimental films. Although these four are considered the key members, the UBU circle took in many young film-makers who were to become very prominent in later years including Matt Carroll, Peter Weir, Phillip Noyce and Bruce Beresford. Continue reading

Tomu Uchida – Kiga kaikyo aka The Straight of Hunger (1965)

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IMDb user chaosrampant wrote:
We’re beating a dead horse if we begin to lament another lost treasure, another overlooked Japanese director who’s yet to receive his dues. Uchida will have to queue up in a humongous line. The film canon, as we know it, as it’s being taught to college kids in film classes, is written from a Western perspective and is so incomplete as to be near useless. It’s safe to say we’re living in the Dark Ages of cinema, in the negative time of ignorance, and that 100 years from now Straits of Hunger will feature prominently in lists of the epochal narrative films of the previous century. We may choose to keep honoring the Colombuses and pretend we invented paper or gunpowder, but film history will invariably reveal the pioneers. Continue reading