1961-1970

Francesco Rosi – Salvatore Giuliano [+Extras] (1962)

Synopsis
In 1950, 28-year-old outlaw Salvatore Giuliano is found gunned down in a Sicilian courtyard. Little is as it seems. The film moves back and forth between the late 1940s, when Giuliano and other reprobates were recruited by separatist politicians to do their fighting, and the days leading up to and following Giuliano’s death. After Sicily’s self-rule is declared, will the outlaws be pardoned as promised? And why does Giuliano order his gang to fire on a peaceful May Day rally? Police, Carabinieri, and Mafia have their uses for him. There’s a trial after his death: will the truth come out or does the code of silence help protect those in power? (IMDB) Read More »

    Richard Leacock & Mark Woodcock – Two American Audiences: La Chinoise – A Film in the Making (1968)

    Two American Audiences (Richard Leacock, Mark Woodcock, 1968, 40 min., 16mm): Announcing itself as “a typical Pennebaker production of a typical Godard visit,” JLG speaks with grad students and Serge Losique at NYU in April 1968. Pennebaker: “When Jean-Luc Godard came to New York to make a film [1 A.M./1 P.M.] with me and Ricky Leacock, he was anxious to see America before the revolution broke out, torn up as it was with the Vietnam furor. Godard’s most recent film, La Chinoise, was playing, and Columbia University students, who had initiated their student uprising on the day the film opened, were pouring into the theater. Read More »

      Karel Reisz – Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment (1966)

      Quote:
      From Karel Reisz, the renowned director of Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, Night Must Fall, Isadora, The Gambler, Who’ll Stop the Rain, The French Lieutenant’s Woman and Sweet Dreams, comes this cult classic starring screen great Vanessa Redgrave (Julia, Mary, Queen of Scots) and legendary character actor David Warner (Cross of Iron, Perfect Friday) in one of his few starring roles. A gorilla-fixated artist with distinctly anarchist tendencies, Morgan (Warner) tries to regain the affections of his divorced wife Leonie (Redgrave) by variously kidnapping her, attempting to blow up her future mother-in-law and attacking her fiancé (Robert Stephens, Sherlock Holmes of Billy Wilder’s The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes). Cut with scenes from King Kong and Tarzan films, Morgan’s depiction of madness, dark humor and vintage performances made it one of the wildest, funniest and most provocative comedies of the ’60s. Nominated for two Oscars: Best Actress in a Leading Role (Redgrave) and Best Costume Design, Black-and-White (Jocelyn Rickards). Read More »

        Rainer Werner Fassbinder – Katzelmacher (1969)

        Quote:
        Katzelmacher was a revelation. One of only a handful of Fassbinder films which I had not seen before, it seems among his best, and most challenging, works.

        Fassbinder’s second feature film, Katzelmacher (1969) is a tour de force of stark visual beauty and ambiguous but riveting characters. Fassbinder adapted his own original play, of the same title, which he had also starred in on stage. (The theatrical script is included in the anthology Fassbinder’s Plays.) Read More »

          Boris Barnet – Alyonka (1961)

          Quote:
          Kazakhstan, the 50s. The main heroine of the film is a nine-year-old girl Alyonka, who is sent to town by her parents to study. The girl meets various companions on her long way. Some of them are telling about the story of their settlement or their attempt to settle in this Far East. Read More »

            Masaki Kobayashi – Seppuku aka Harakiri (1962)

            Quote:
            Following the collapse of his clan, an unemployed samurai (Tatsuya Nakadai) arrives at the manor of Lord Iyi, begging to be allowed to commit ritual suicide on the property. Iyi’s clansmen, believing the desperate ronin is merely angling for a new position, try to force his hand and get him to eviscerate himself—but they have underestimated his beliefs and his personal brand of honor. Winner of the Cannes Film Festival’s Special Jury Prize, Harakiri, directed by Masaki Kobayashi is a fierce evocation of individual agency in the face of a corrupt and hypocritical system. Read More »

              Kihachi Okamoto – Samurai aka Samurai Assassin (1965)

              Synopsis:
              February 17 to March 3, 1860, inside Edo castle. A group of assassins wait by Sakurada Gate to kill the lord of the House of Ii, a powerful man in the Tokugawa government, which has ruled Japan for 300 years. They suspect a traitor in their midst, and their suspicions fall on Niiro, an impoverished ronin who dreams of samurai status, and Kurihara, an aristocratic samurai who befriends Niiro. Niiro longs to identify his father, knowing he is a high-ranking official who will disclose himself only if Niiro achieves samurai status. With American ships in Japan’s harbors, cynicism among the assassins, and change in the air, Niiro resolves to reach ends that may prove ephemeral. Read More »