Karel Reisz – Night Must Fall (1964)

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Quote:
Albert Finney stars in this 1964 psychological thriller, as a psychotic killer who murders a woman then becomes the handy man at a local house where his girlfriend works. Once there he proceeds to slowly torment the old lady who owns the house and attempts to seduce her granddaughter. Continue reading

Manoel de Oliveira – Acto da Primavera AKA Rite of Spring (1963)

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Quote:
Oliveira returned to the center of Portugal’s film scene in the 1960s with Acto da Primavera (Rite of spring; 1963), a work that marks a significant change in the director’s trajectory and that initiates some of the cinematic strategies that he would develop more fully in later films. In Acto da Primavera, Oliveira offers a version of a popular representation of the Passion of Christ, enacted by members of a rural community in northern Portugal, derived from the Auto da Paixão de Jesus Cristo (1559), by Francisco Vaz de Guimarães. He came across the annual Easter drama in the small town of Curalha when he was looking for locations for “O Pão,” and he was so taken by it that he wanted to return and register it on film. Continue reading

Sergio Corbucci – Totò, Peppino e la dolce vita (1961)

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Plot (Babelfish translation):
Antonio goes to Rome, the great city center of the ” dolce vita”, with the money collected from the fellow countrymen, in order to spend them on a project: To construct a freeway for the home town. But the countrymen do not have more news and they send Peppino to search for him. But when Peppino meet Antonio he is also dragged into metropolian habits and the sweet roman life, between beautiful actresses, cocaine exchanged for borotalco (?) and orgies. The town folks impatiently await news… Continue reading

Marlen Khutsiyev – Mne dvadtsat let AKA I Am Twenty [+Extras] (1965)

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Synopsis:
I am Twenty is notable for its often dramatic camera movements, handheld camerawork and heavy use of location shooting, often incorporating non-actors (including a group of foreign exchange students from Ghana and the poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko) and centering scenes around non-staged events (a May Day parade, a building demolition, a poetry reading). Filmmakers Andrei Tarkovsky and Andrei Konchalovsky both play small roles in the film. The dialogue often overlaps and there are stylized flourishes that echo the early French New Wave, especially François Truffaut’s black and white films. The screenplay, co-written by Gennadi Shpalikov, originally called for a film running only 90 minutes, but the full version of the film runs for three hours. Continue reading

Michelangelo Antonioni – La notte (1961)

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Quote:
One of the masterworks of 1960s cinema, La notte [The Night] marked yet another development in the continuous stylistic evolution of its director, Michelangelo Antonioni — even as it solidified his reputation as one of the greatest artists of the 20th century. La notte is Antonioni’s “Twilight of the Gods”, but composed in cinematic terms. Examined from a crane-shot, it’s a sprawling study of Italy’s upper middle-class; seen in close-up, it’s an x-ray of modern man’s psychic desolation. Two of the giants of film-acting come together as a married couple living in crisis: Marcello Mastroianni (La dolce vita, 8 1/2) and Jeanne Moreau (Jules et Jim, Bay of Angels). He is a renowned author and “public intellectual”; she is “the wife”. Over the course of one day and the night into which it inevitably bleeds, the pair will come to re-examine their emotional bonds, and grapple with the question of whether love and communication are even possible in a world built out of profligate idylls and sexual hysteria. Continue reading

Ingmar Bergman – Såsom i en spegel AKA Through a Glass Darkly [+Extras] (1961)

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A young woman, Karin, has recently returned to the family island after spending some time in a mental hospital. On the island with her is her lonely brother and kind, but increasingly desperate husband (Max von Sydow). They are joined by Karin’s father (Gunnar Björnstrand), who is a world-traveling author that is estranged to his children. The film depicts how Karin’s grip on reality slowly slips away and how the bonds between the family members are changing in light of this fact. Continue reading

Andrei Tarkovsky – Ivanovo detstvo AKA Ivan’s Childhood (1962)

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Quote:
The debut feature from the great Andrei Tarkovsky, Ivan’s Childhood is an evocative, poetic journey through the shadows and shards of one boy’s war-torn youth. Moving back and forth between the traumatic realities of WWII and the serene moments of family life before the conflict began, Tarkovsky’s film remains one of the most jarring and unforgettable depictions of the impact of violence on children in wartime. Continue reading