Agasi Babayan – Dersu Uzala (1961)

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This is little known the first version of “Dersu Uzala” from 1961.
The famous Kurosawa’s “Dersu Uzala” is a remake made 15 years later, in 1975.

SYNOPSIS:
Dersu Uzala is a 1961 Soviet film, adapted from the books of Vladimir Arsenyev, about his travels in Russian Far East with a native trapper, Dersu Uzala.

The film was produced by Mosnauchfilm, directed by Agasi Babayan with screenwriter Igor Bolgarin and featuring Adolf Shestakov and Kasym Zhakibayev.

The film won the Golden Wolf at the 1961 Bucharest Film Festival. Continue reading

Robert Downey Sr. – Pound (1970)

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Quote:
There’s something liberating about director Robert Downey’s films, even when by rights they should be put on a leash by their small budgets and settings. Never was the case truer than in POUND, the kind of project that major studios would run a mile from. Long out of circulation, Downey’s film populates a dog pound with different human characters who pace about their cage, uncertain about their future. Some wait in hope for their owners to redeem them, others plot to escape, but most wait to see if they will make it to the end of the day without getting ‘The Needle’. It seems like a cute gimmick to have human characters playing dogs, but Downey has never been one to play by the rules, even if they would provide an interior logic to his story. The dog-human switcheroo isn’t as straightforward as it should be: the first camera angle inside the pound shows us the characters as dogs, the second shows them again as people. But are we still to treat them as ‘dogs’? They have a TV set in their cage; can understand human speech; and are revealed in flashbacks as having human lives outside of the pound. Continue reading

Gino Mangini – La jena di Londra (1964)

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IMDB:
A serial killer called “The Hyena” is finally caught and eventually hanged. However, his body disappears before it can be buried, and soon thereafter dead bodies start turning up in a small village. Continue reading

António de Macedo – Domingo à Tarde AKA Sunday Afternoon (1966)

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Jorge is the doctor in charge of the Haematology Department of a big hospital. One day he meets Clarisse, a patient suffering from advanced leukaemia, and falls in love with her. His struggle to save her inevitably fails in the end, and Jorge will now have to deal with a future of pointless routine and despair. Continue reading

Alain Tanner – Charles mort ou vif AKA Charles, Dead or Alive (1969)

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Charles, Dead or Alive, Alain Tanner’s first feature film, which won the Grand Prix at the Locarno Festival in 1969, is the kind of manifesto that, with other films, put Switzerland on the world cinema map at the end of the 1960s.

That the critics baptized the wave which emerged at this time as the “new Swiss cinema” simply reflects the fact that the “old” Swiss cinema was unknown to the cinema-going public. Today, the appeal and energy of this first film remain undiminished, magnified by the exceptional stature and presence of François Simon and the sublimely uncluttered camera work of Renato Berta. Tanner drew his subject matter from what he saw of the events of May ’68 in Paris, which he covered for Swiss television. Unimpressed by the ideological pronouncements of the young demonstrators (Tanner was nearly 40 and mistrustful of the siren songs of militancy), he was more struck by the elderly people marching alongside them. Continue reading

Alain Tanner – Une ville à Chandigarh aka A City at Chandigarh (1966)

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When, in 1947, a portion of Punjab province was assigned to the newly created
Pakistani State, Albert Mayer began planning a new capital for the portion which
remained in the possession of India. Le Corbusier had been responsible since the
1950s for general planning and, more particularly, for large-scale buildings typical
of the governmental sector. A year after the death of Le Corbusier, Alain Tanner
began shooting his film in a city still partially under construction, or even, in certain
places, at the planning stage. The inhabitants of the metropolis, however, already
numbered some 120,000. Continue reading

Jean-Luc Godard – Le Mépris AKA Contempt (1963)

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On Capri, an Italian crew makes a German film of Homer’s Odyssey; Fritz Lang directs with American money. Prokosch, the producer, with his sneer and red Alfa, holds art films in contempt and hires writer Javal to help Lang commercialize the picture. Against this backdrop, we watch the breakup of Javal’s marriage to Camille, a young former typist. It opens with the couple talking in bed, she asking assurance that he finds her attractive. Later that day he introduces her to Prokosch, and, unawares, blunders unforgivably. The rest of the film portrays her, in their apartment and in public, expressing her hurt and change of heart and his slow grasp of the source of her contempt. Continue reading