Hal Ashby – The Landlord (1970)

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Quote:
At the age of twenty-nine, Elgar Enders “runs away” from home. This running away consists of buying a building in a black ghetto in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn. Initially his intention is to evict the black tenants and convert it into a posh flat. But Elgar is not one to be bound by yesterday’s urges, and soon he has other thoughts on his mind. He’s grown fond of the black tenants and particularly of Fanny, the wife of a black radical; he’s maybe fallen in love with Lanie, a mulatto girl; he’s lost interest in redecorating his home. Joyce, his mother has not relinquished this interest and in one of the film’s most hilarious sequences gives her Master Charge card to Marge, a black tenant and appoints her decorator. Continue reading

Akio Jissôji – Mujô AKA This Transient Life (1970)

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One of the recurrent themes of the Art Theatre Guild (ATG)’s films of the 60s and early 70s was incest. In Funeral Procession of Roses (Bara No Soretsu, 1968) Toshio Matsumoto told a modern version of the Oedipus tale, transplanting the story into the gay subculture of present-day Tokyo. The hero of Susumu Hani’s The Inferno of First Love (Hatsukoi Jigokuhen, 1968) suffers from the sexual abuse of his stepfather. In Yoshishige Yoshida’s Heroic Purgatory (Rengoku Eroica, 1970) a young girl who creeps into the life of a scientist and his wife pretending to be their daughter seduces her alleged father. The family head in Nagisa Oshima’s masterful critique of the patriarchic family, The Ceremony (Gishiki, 1971), rapes his son’s bride. In Masahiro Shinoda’s Himiko (1974) the prehistoric shaman empress of Japan falls in love with her brother and is killed by ruthless elders who can no longer exercise control over her. In Kazuo Kuroki’s Preparations for the Festival (Matsuri No Junbi, 1975) the disabled Kikuo is sexually comforted by his mother, and in Shuji Terayama’s Pastoral: To Die in the Country (Den’en Ni Shisu, 1974), the story of a boy who tries to escape his mother, incest is omnipresent. Continue reading

Zivojin Pavlovic – Kad budem mrtav i beo AKA When I Am Dead and Gone (1967)

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Plot:
Janko Bugarski “Džimi Barka” is a small time wallet snatcher, and an aspiring singer, who wants to make it big with as little effort as he can, traveling through industrial areas and looking for affairs with local women and easy money. On one of his travels he meets a young girl he takes to Belgrade to accompany him on an amateur singing contest, where he fails miserably, since he can’t follow a tune, and abandoning her, teams up with his former girlfriend, also a pickpocket, which takes him to his final journey. Continue reading

Mauro Bolognini – La viaccia (1961)

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At the end of the nineteenth century, the young peasant Amerigo falls in love with Bianca, whom he met in a brothel in Florence, and in order to keep meeting her, steals from his uncle. Wounded with a knife, tries in vain to see her again.
From “L’eredità” (1889) by Mario Pratesi – thanks to a well-balanced screenplay (Pratolini, Festa Campanile and Franciosa) – a Bolognini in great shape has drawn a beautiful film, almost like “Casque d’or”, were it not for a surplus of crepuscular preciosity.
Superb photography by L. Barboni and a dazzling Cardinale.
2 Silver Ribbon 1962: Flavio Mogherini (scenes) and Piero Tosi (costumes).
Morandini Continue reading

Yoshishige Yoshida – Rengoku eroica AKA Heroic Purgatory (1970)

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Little exists, critically speaking, on the subject of Yoshishige Yoshida’s “Heroic Purgatory”. It is a singular experience in that it has never been the subject of much acclaim or criticism. Film sites boast very few, if any, reviews. You will not find its name amongst the more famous Japanese cinematic works. Once one has seen the film, that is all there is. There is no chance to read a critical evaluation and put the pieces together with the help of a more wise, trusted and noted critic. The film extrapolates no farther than itself and its viewer. Continue reading

Yoshishige Yoshida – Erosu purasu Gyakusatsu AKA Eros Plus Massacre (1969)

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Synopsis:
In the 20’s, the anarchist revolutionary Sakae Osugi is financially supported by his wife, journalist Itsuko Masaoka. He spends his time doing nothing but philosophizing about political systems and free love and visiting with his lovers Yasuko and the earlier feminist Noe Ito. He conveniently defends three principles for a relationship between a man and a woman: they should be financially independent (despite the fact that he is not); they should live in different places; and they should be free to have intercourse with other partners. In 1969, twenty year-old student, Eiko Sokuta, has an active sexual life, having sex with different men. Her friend, Wada, is obsessed with fire and they usually play weird games using a camera while they read about Osugi and Ito. Continue reading

Ken Russell – French Dressing (1964)

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Synopsis:
‘Gormleigh-by-the-Sea is a holiday community besotted with dullness. But things liven up when Jim, a young deck-chair attendant, convinces the local entertainment director and mayor into starting a film festival. The town convinces an ambitious French actress to be the star of the festival. What happens after that is a series of near disasters — including the failure of a Nudist Beach and a riot at a film premiere. It is left to Jim’s American journalist girlfriend to save the situation and the reputation of the town.’
– Paul Brenner Continue reading