Wim van der Linden – Rape (1966)


“This beautiful example of far-fetched blasphemy accompanies a happy, ugly nun into the woods for her constitutional, replete with charming bird noises. Praying to and fondling a priapic mushroom, she is unaware of the evil rapist shadowing her. When the rape occurs, it is in long shot, hidden from view, under a huge tree. Articles of clothes and her cross sail through the air; the tree – entirely dominating the screen – sways rhythmically and repeatedly. A few minutes later it stops; then another tree, a few feet away, begins to sway in identical fashion. The rapist finally emerges, exhausted.”

Amos Vogel, Film as a Subversive Art Read More »

Ulu Grosbard – Straight Time (1978)

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Description: While it rolled in and out of theaters quickly during its brief release in 1978 and hasn’t gained much of a reputation since, Straight Time was one of Dustin Hoffman’s best films of the 1970s, and seen today it still stacks up as one of the finest performances he’s ever given onscreen. Hoffman is a fascinating bundle of misdirected energy and guy-wire tension as Max Dembo, an ex-con whose efforts to go straight seem doomed to fail, though his own impulses hardly keep him on the straight and narrow. Hoffman is perfectly natural and compelling as a blue-collar criminal, and he’s lucky to have a superb supporting cast. M. Emmet Walsh has never been better as Earl Frank, a duplicitous parole officer, and Theresa Russell delivers an absorbing and ultimately heart-breaking turn as Jenny, a girl who falls in love with Dembo; Gary Busey, Harry Dean Stanton, and Sandy Baron are similarly at the top of their form here. Ulu Grosbard’s direction (he took over from Hoffman, who began the project but changed his mind about directing after a few days of shooting) is lean, intelligent, and atmospheric, and the screenplay (by Jeffrey Boam and Edward Bunker, based on Bunker’s novel No Beast So Fierce) manages to make Dembo’s story tragic and believable without ever asking the audience to forgive or forget his complicity in his crimes. Straight Time is an overlooked and understated masterwork, and well worth searching out on home video. Read More »

Forugh Farrokhzad – The House is Black aka Khaneh siah ast (1963)

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From Village Voice: In 1962, beloved and controversial poetess Forugh Farrokhzad went to Azerbaijan and made this short film on the grounds of a leper colony, presaging in 22 minutes the entirety of the Iranian new wave and the international quasi-genre of “poetic nonfiction.” It’s a blackjack of a movie, soberly documenting the village of lost ones with an astringently ethical eye, freely orchestrating scenes and simply capturing others, while on the soundtrack Farrokhzad reads her own poetry in a plaintive murmur—this in the same year as Vivre sa Vie and La Jetée. (Chris Marker has long been a passionate fan, as has Abbas Kiarostami, whose The Wind Will Carry Us owes its title and climactic verse to Farrokhzad.) It was the only substantial piece of cinema Farrokhzad ever made. Five years later, having already attained near legendary status in Iran for her writing, she was killed in a car crash at the age of 32, guaranteeing her posthumous fame as a feminist touchstone for generations of angry Persian women. Read More »

D.A. Pennebaker – The Complete Monterey Pop festival (1968)


Tom Wiener wrote:
Any record of popular culture of the 1960s would be incomplete without at least a mention of Monterey Pop. Monterey Pop offers the rock version of two equally invaluable documentaries, Jazz on a Summer’s Day and Festival, which respectively chronicled the jazz and folk festivals held every summer for many years in Newport, RI. Those films offered more coverage of their respective festivals’ audience members, suggesting the almost tribal nature of outdoor music gatherings. Monterey Pop lets the music do the talking for a generation of increasingly disaffected young people. The festival provided coming-out parties for a number of influential performers: Jimi Hendrix, leaving audiences members slack-jawed after he sets fire to his guitar; Janis Joplin, having the same effect on fellow singer Cass Elliot; The Who, trying to one-up Hendrix by destroying a guitar and a drum kit; Otis Redding, an established star with the black community reaching out to what he calls “the love crowd” of white hippies; and Ravi Shankar, the Indian musician little-known to American audiences bringing down the house with a final-day display of furious virtuosity (Shankar almost left Monterey after seeing what Hendrix and The Who’s Pete Townsend did to their instruments). Although Woodstock ultimately surpassed Monterey Pop for capturing a better sense of the entire experience of an outdoor music festival, Monterey’s historical status is unassailable. Read More »

Roy Andersson – Besöka sin son AKA Visiting One’s Son (1967)

Mother, father and sister visit the adult son in the family in his small apartment for a dinner. The father gives one critical view after the other about his sons life.

Roy Anderssons school shorts has not got the same aesthetics as his most well-known works; “You, the Living”, “World of Glory” and “Songs from the Second Floor”. But it is easy to compare them to his other early works, such as “A Swedish Love Story” and “Giliap”. This is the first of major three school films Roy Andersson made. All released recently by Scanbox and SFI in a dvd collection containing the best known Andersson shorts. Read More »

Andy Warhol – Outer and Inner Space (1965)

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FILM; A Pioneering Dialogue Between Actress and Image

ANDY WARHOL has so become his own trademark — and is so much a one-name synonym for the culture of celebrity — that it can be a shock to realize just how brilliantly original he was as a visual artist. A case in point: The double-screen video-based film installation ”Outer and Inner Space” at the Whitney Museum (through Nov. 30), which places his glamorous, doomed superstar Edie Sedgwick in a dialogue with her own video-taped image.

First shown in 1966 and largely forgotten for some 30 years thereafter, ”Outer and Inner Space” is a historical anomaly — a masterpiece of video art made before the term even existed. The piece meditates on the distinction between film and tape while introducing the issues of real-time recording and simultaneous feedback that would inform much video art from the 1970’s on. For the Whitney adjunct curator, Callie Angell, ” ‘Outer and Inner Space” ”creates this classic background for video art that it didn’t know it had.” Read More »

Andy Warhol – I, a Man (1967)


Color/Sound/95 mins at 24 fps
(filmed late July 1967)

Tom Baker/Bettina Coffin/Stephanie Graves/Cynthia May/
Ivy Nicholson/Nico/Valerie Solanis/Ingrid Superstar/Ultra Violet

Tom Baker: “The first time I sensed impending danger was during a scene with Ivy Nicholson. She had stipulated that she would not appear on camera with me in the nude. Shortly after the scene began I walked out of the frame and removed the towel I was wearing in order to put on my pants. Clad only in unlaundered bikini underwear, Ivy exploded in an emotional fury and stormed out of the room in tears, claiming she had been betrayed. I was talking with Warhol, who was very much perplexed by Ivy’s behaviour since, as he casually pointed out, ‘Ivy’ll cut her wrists for me…’ My third scene was with Valerie Solanis. I felt no personal threat from Valerie. Just the opposite. I found her intelligent, funny, almost charming, and very, very frightened.” (POP273) Read More »