Roland Klick – Deadlock [+Custom Extras] (1970)

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“DEADLOCK is fantastic. A bizarre, glowing film.” – Alejandro Jodorowsky

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!

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A Sort Of Modern German Version Of “The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly”, 11 September 2000
Author: jlabine von San Francisco

In 1970, it seems as if Roland Klick set out to emulate Sergio Leone’s “The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly”, mixing it with Michelangelo Antonioni’s “Zabriskie Point” to create a modern Sauerkraut Western (without horses, but rather a truck and a car). The story stars three characters, Marquard Bohm as the “Kid” (The Good), Siegurd Fitzek as “Mr. Sunshine” (The Bad), and Mario Adorf (can be seen in Dario Argento’s “The Bird With The Crystal Plumage” as the reclusive cat eating painter) as “Mr. Dump” (The Ugly) (who again plays a reclusive man who lives in a dump??). The story begins with the Kid, who has just pulled off a heist (with a bullet wound in the arm), and is carrying millions of dollars in a case. Wandering aimlessly through the sunbaked desert, (he finally passes out and is left for dead) until Mr. Dump drives along and finds him and the money. Once back at Mr. Dump’s residence (a sort of abandoned junk yard), the Kid warns Mr. Dump, that Mr. Sunshine (who apparently is the ringleader of this heist) will be coming for his money. Thus begins the cat and mouse story, of who will get the case of money. Mr. Dump also has two neighbors, an older (and apparently sexually crazy) woman and her pretty (but feral) daughter (who is obviously sexually curious of the Kid).
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Joyce Wieland – Cat Food (1967)

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Cat Food
Canada / 13:30 min. / 1967
sound / color

“In Catfood Wieland shows a cat devouring fish after fish for some ten minutes. There seems to be no repetition of shots, but the imagery is so consistent throughout–shot of the fish, the cat eating, his paw clawing, another fish, the cat eating, etc.–that it is just possible the shots are recurrent. There is no question that Wieland has a unique talent.”- P Adams Sitney, Film Culture

“A cat eats its methodical way through a polymorphous fish. The projector devours the ribbon of film at the same rate, methodically. The lay of Grimnir mentions a wild boar whose magical flesh was nightly devoured by the heroes of Valhalla, and miraculously regenerated next morning in the kitchen. The fish in Wieland’s film, and the miraculous flesh of the film itself, are reconstructed on the rewinds to be devoured again. Here is a dionysian metaphor, old as the West, of immense strength. Once we see that the fish is the protagonist of the action, this metaphor reverberates to incandescence in the mind.” – Hollis Frampton Continue reading

Philip Kaufman & Benjamin Manaster – Goldstein (1964)

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An Old Man (Lou Gilbert) rises out of Lake Michigan and interacts briefly with a few creative people as he drifts merrily through Chicago, at one point riding in a truck from the Goldstein Company. A metal sculptor (Tom Erhart) looks for the old man while trying to patch up his relationship with Sally (Ellen Madison). She discovers she’s pregnant and makes arrangements for a bizarre out-of-town Doctor (Severn Darden) to perform an abortion. The sculptor asks his father for help and brings along his friend Jay (Benito Carruthers), who lifts the father’s wallet. Jay uses some of the money to bankroll a night with some fancy ladies, while the sculptor continues to search for the inspirational Old Man. Continue reading

Peter Nestler – Ödenwaldstetten (1964)

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Portrait of a small south German village and its residents in the early sixties.
Rural culture is undergoing a transformation caused by the intrusion of the industrial world. Gestures at work and words of its inhabitants.

“COUNTER (HI)STORIES”
From the start, Nestler’s films attest how an observational description of reality can become an authentic art form. He consistently refuses to comply with the insistence of television editors and directors to provide explanatory comments of the pictures through neutral narration. Nestler insists on leaving things and testimonies of people standing side by side before the camera. But one who violates the unwritten policy conditions that come along as formal laws of the medium (motto: “people will not understand it…”) will be placed on the index. So he never became a TV reporter. In March 2007 he was dedicated a retrospective at the Paris Cinéma du réel documentary film festival at the Centre Pompidou for this. “My first films in the early 60s (that weren’t ‘political’) contained something that was irritating, disturbing the peace, especially in the films Mülheim (Ruhr), Ödenwaldstetten (both 1964) and Von Griechenland (1965). I was cut off the money supply, and so I moved to Sweden”, thus Nestler 1998 laconically. from ray Filmmagazin Continue reading

Hynek Bocan – Cest a sláva AKA Honor and Glory (1968)

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This historical film by Hynek Bočan touches upon the indecisiveness of the Czech nation, ready to bend the backbone in face of foreign rule. Situating the story at the close of the Thirty Year War enabled the depiction of the misery of the people that affects even an impoverished aristocratic milieu. Rudolf Hrušínský appears here in the role of an indecisive knight, persuaded for a long time and in vain to join the anti-Habsburg movement. The story does not only captivate through the depiction of manifold human characters, intrigues and sycophancy, but also through the circumstances ruling over the devastated farmstead, sunk in mud and crudeness. One of the best films with an updating tendency has come into being here, rightly being named along the such greats as Kladivo na čarodějnice (Witches’ Hammer). Continue reading

Yoshishige Yoshida – Onna no mizuumi aka Woman of the Lake (1966)

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Eight years into her marriage, Miyako Mizuki (Mariko Okada) looks happy on the outside, but in fact she is not satisfied with her husband, Yuzo (Shinsuke Ashida), who cares about nothing but his career. Miyako has been having an affair with a young interior designer named Kitano (Tamotsu Hayakawa), who in turn has a fiancée named Machie (Keiko Natsu). One night in a hotel, Miyako lets Kitano takes some nude photos of her. On her way back, she is followed by a stranger (Shigeru Tsuyuguchi), and loses her handbag with the film negatives inside while trying to escape. Later at home, Miyako receives a call from the stranger. He uses the negatives to threaten her to follow his instructions and take a train to the north. The stranger is named Ginpei. He was a teacher in a girls’ school, but was expelled because of a scandal with one of his students. As Miyako meets up with Ginpei, she develops a strange attraction towards him.
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Pere Portabella – Umbracle (1970)

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Pere Portabella (b. 1929, Barcelona) is a veteran Spanish filmmaker whose narrative features—rich in interludes, plot diversions, atmosphere, and unexpected synchronies between sight and sound—limn the avant-garde and expand the expressive potential of cinema. Portabella, who began his cinematic career as a producer of fiction films implicitly critical of General Francisco Franco, had his passport revoked when Luis Buñuel’s Viridiana (1961), which he helped to make, “embarrassed” Spain at the Cannes Film Festival in 1962. When democracy returned to Spain, Portabella served as a senator in the Catalan government. However, throughout his various careers, Portabella continued to make cinema, investigating meaning in the moving image and flexing the notion of genre—particularly for horror films, fantasy films, and thrillers. Continue reading