Vicente Aranda – Las crueles aka El cadáver exquisito aka The exquisite cadaver (1969)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

,Quote:
Carlos (Andre Argaud), a well-do-do publisher and family man, receives a severed hand in the mail at work and buries it before going home but once there, his beautiful wife (Theresa Gimpera) reads him a telegram asking if he’d like a forearm. Carlos makes up a lame, work-related explanation but now suspicious, she follows her husband and spots a mysterious woman in black following him as well. That woman is Parker (Capucine), whose lesbian lover, Esther (Judy Matheson), was once Carlos’ mistress who never got over being cast aside. Esther committed suicide but Parker kept the body and, holding Carlos responsible, devises a complicated plan to have him framed for Esther’s murder… Continue reading

Marcel Moussy – Saint-Tropez Blues (1961)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Synopsis:
‘Anne-Marie goes south with her childhood friend Jean-Paul instead of hitting the books at home. The friends join up with artist-types in Saint Tropez, and though the ambiance is carefree and casual, Anne-Marie manages to survive the hijinks and the ardor of would-be admirers. In the end, she starts to fall for one man in particular.’
– Eleanor Mannikka Continue reading

Costa-Gavras – L’aveu AKA The Confession (1970)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
Costa-Gavras might be the European filmmaker most influential on American directors of the 1970s. Although this honor often goes to Jean-Luc Godard and other compatriots of the Nouvelle Vague, films like The French Connection, The Parallax View, or Blow Out are most clearly engaged with a clamorous mode of political cinema that’s as fundamentally enraged as it is delicately assembled. Typically, Costa-Gavras’s Z is credited as the key film in this regard, not simply for its humanistic, injustice-as-thriller construction, but also for the way it “opened up critical perceptions,” as Armond White states it, for filmmaking’s lasting cultural effects. Such an assessment is backed by historical fact, but one would be remiss to overstate the terrain for Costa-Gavras, since none of the director’s subsequent films received a similar degree of accolades, either from filmmakers or critics. The neglect is easier to ascertain once it’s understood just how different The Confession is from its predecessor, a nearly two-and-a-half-hour film that shirks the frantic chase sequences of Z by dialing back its proceedings to a nearly singular setting, literally within the confines of Czechoslovakian torture camp, but more figuratively within the mind and body of Anton Ludvik (Yves Montand), a high-ranking communist official held prisoner by Stalinist extremists. Continue reading

Allan King – A Married Couple (1969)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
Unnerving in an altogether different way, A Married Couple, from 1969, ventures into the world of adult showmanship through the conflicted relationship between Billy and Antoinette Edwards. King is given full access to their marriage, and his cameras watch as the suburban façade of happiness and understanding quickly crumbles away to reveal a tense power struggle for control within the modern middle-class household. Simple conversations become scenes of endless bickering, and assumptions about duty, responsibility, and loyalty turn into verbal daggers of resentment, clouding the colorful 1960s interiors with presumptuous hot air. King also finds the comical within the tragic, best on display when Billy walks out in a red Speedo and wool vest, a peacock flexing his feathers for a woman who no longer cares. The final quiet conversation between husband and wife takes a turn toward the absurd, but considering the jockeying that’s proceeded, this final compromise of love makes perfect sense. It’s hard to imagine a fiction film being able to capture this type of potent human dichotomy linking gradual suffering and survival. Continue reading

Jacques Demy – Lola (1961)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
Jacques Demy was arguably the greatest romantic of the French New Wave, and Lola was one film in which he proved how vital both sides of that equation were to his vision. While Lola exists within the same workaday France of Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut’s early films, Raoul Coutard’s cinematography allows Demy to find a beauty and poetry in the most ordinary circumstances; Coutard’s moving camera brings the grace of a dancer to the film’s visual proceedings, no matter how shabby some of the characters’ circumstances may be. The narrative is so fluffy it threatens to blow away at any moment, but Demy primarily uses it as a device to focus on the emotional lives of his characters, and it is their common search for love that moves the story and keeps the film compelling. Demy’s casting is nothing short of superb: Anouk Aimée is joyously radiant in the title role, and her every word and movement convey such a seductive charm that it’s no wonder three men are vying for her hand; Marc Michel, Alan Scott, and Jacques Harden all resister in their own way as Lola’s suitors; and Annie Duperoux is spot-on as Lola’s teenage counterpart. Lola is a film whose goal is obviously to touch the heart rather than the mind, but Demy tells his simple story with such a rare blend of passion and intelligence that he’s able to please the intellect as well. The result remains one of the most purely pleasurable products of the French Nouvelle Vague. Continue reading

Çetin Inanç – Demir pençe (korsan adam) AKA Iron Claw the Pirate (1969)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

With his operations in Istanbul being continually upset by the masked patriot-cum-vigilante Iron Claw the Pirate (Demir Karahan) and his female sidekick Mine (Nebahat Cehre), the legendary super villain Fantomas (Necati Er) travels to the city intent on eliminating the pair. In the meantime, a government operative, Yilmaz (Oktar Durukan), is killed during a raid on one of Fantomas’s lairs and his brother Yildirim (Yildirim Gencer) vows revenge. Teaming up with Iron Claw, Mine and the mysterious agent Uncle (Danyal Topatan), Yildirim soon finds himself in the thick of the action. But if our heroes are going to defeat Fantomas, they must first get past his chief henchman, the hulking, metal-handed Behcet (Behcet Nacar). Continue reading