Based on William Faulkner’s novel, THE REIVERS is a coming-of-age story laced with adventure and comedy. Young Lucius McCaslin (Mitch Vogel) leaves home and sets off on a journey with Boon (Steve McQueen), the family handyman, who is a reiver (cheating philanderer); and his best friend, Ned (Rupert Crosse). The three set off for the big city, where the boy, inspired by Boon, learns some valuable lessons about the world. A delightful piece of southern Americana, director Mark Rydell’s THE REIVERS is witty and filled with lively action. The score by John Williams and the superb cinematography enhance the richly fleshed-out characters. McQueen, in particular, gives one of the most memorable–and often underrated–performances of his career. Continue reading
Description: Yûkoku deals with the ritual suicide of high-ranking naval officer Takeyama. His harakiri is spun out as a long, emotional, romantic ritual in which he is joined (all the way to the bitter and graphically bloody end) by his wife Reiko. The film is based on Japanese author and playwright Yukio Mishima’s own novel of the same name, which was in turn inspired by the true events of ‘Ni ni roku’ – a failed, patriotically-motivated, attempted coup by a group of officers on February 26, 1936.
One of the best of Wiseman’s documentaries, an impressionistic account of the daily police routine in a predominantly black neighbourhood of Kansas City, Missouri. Although violence abounds, with a black prostitute almost strangled by a vice-squad cop, the film avoids grinding axes about police brutality. Instead, sitting back and coolly observing the situation from multiple perspectives, it suggests that any sickness in the forces of law and order is a symptom of disease in the society that breeds them. Continue reading
Bresson’s brilliant adaptation of Dostoevsky’s short story (A Gentle Creature) exhibits in its lapidary sequences the political and existential revolt of a young student in Paris. Sharing a theme that can be traced from Bresson’s Mouchette to his fantastic exploration of revolutionary choices in The Devil Probably, Une Femme Douce articulates in its inimitable minimalist mode a range of issues from the ideological options of France post-May ’68 to human relationships. Dominique Sanda is not the conventional, recognizable student revolutionary, but a “gentle” philosopher whose powers of sensitivity and social scrutiny exceed and tease the prosaic, crude disposition of her bourgeois husband. The sequences in the zoo, the museum of natural history and the performance of Hamlet are powerful. On another note, look out for Indian experimental filmmaker Kumar Shahani who was assisting Bresson at this time, sitting diagonally behind Sanda in the sequence at the movie theater.
Boy and Bicycle is the first film made by Ridley Scott. The black and white short was made on 16mm film while Scott was a photography student at the Royal College of Art in London in 1962.
Although a very early work – Scott would not direct his first feature for another 15 years – the film is significant in that it features a number of visual elements that would be become motiffs of Scotts work. The film features the cooling towers of the Imperial Chemical Industries works at Billingham, foreshadowing images in Alien, Blade Runner and Black Rain. The central element of the Boy and the Bicycle is re-used in Scott’s advert for Hovis of the early 1970s. The film features Scott’s younger brother Tony Scott as the boy.
Scott secured finance from the British Film Institute to complete the editing and sound in 1965 including a track by John Barry called “Onward Christian Spacemen” which originally appeared as the “b” side of the theme to the television series “The Human Jungle” .
Scott wanted to use the existing recording by Barry, but the composer was so impressed by the young film maker he agreed to produce a new recording for the film at limited cost. Continue reading
Immortal Story was directed by Orson Welles, who also stars as a fabulously wealthy, but bitter and dictatorial, European merchant. Soured on life, Mr. Clay (Welles) decides to play games with the lives of others. He decides to make the “immortal” legend of a sailor seducing a rich man’s wife come true and even picks the sailor (Roger Coggio) himself. Through Mr. Clay’s machinations, the sailor beds a beautiful younger woman (Jeanne Moreau) whom Clay pays to pose as his own wife. There’s little more to the story than that, but Welles weaves his short tale with an economy and expertise which proves he hadn’t lost his touch by 1969. Based on a story by Isaak Dinesen, The Immortal Story was originally made for French television; it was also the only Orson Welles-directed film to be released in color. Continue reading
Banned by the Soviet authorities, Vecher nakanune Ivana Kupala (The Eve of Ivan Kupalo) is widely held to be one of the masterpieces of Ukrainian Poetic Cinema. Adapted from a short story of Gogol, which had its roots in Ukrainian folklore, the film depicts an almost Faustian pact, in which Piotr makes an unholy deal with Bassaruv in order that he may win the hand of Pidorka from her father. The director Yuri Ilyenko brings the same rich, vivid imagery that he lent to Parajanov’s Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors where he worked as the cinematographer. The film often makes difficult first viewing for unaccustomed viewers due to its hallucinatory nature, but its lucid tapestry renders it a mandatory experience. Continue reading