Martin Ritt – Pete ‘n’ Tillie (1972)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Based on Peter DeVries’ novel Witch’s Milk, Pete ‘n’ Tillie stars Walter Matthau and Carol Burnett in the title roles. Middle-aged when they first meet, eternally joking Pete and repressed “old maid” Tillie don’t immediately hit it off. Gradually, their friendship deepens into love and culminates (reluctantly, on Pete’s part) in marriage, eleven years of which is explored in this film. Throughout the funny and tragic moments, and despite the many breakups, their love endures. Oscar nominations went to screenwriter Julius J. Epstein and supporting actress Geraldine Page Continue reading

Milos Forman – Lásky jedné plavovlásky AKA Loves of a Blonde (1965)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
The flirtatious title of Milos Forman’s breakthrough comedy Loves of a Blonde says a lot about the film without even trying. Everybody in Forman’s bittersweet film thinks about sex constantly but only in terms of hypothetical scenarios that almost never come to pass. The funny thing about these daydreams of coitus is that they’re not strictly sexy. In fact, most of the time characters in Loves of a Blonde are wringing their hands about sex, even the trio of homely soldiers licking their lips at the thought of seducing a table of bored blondes at a local dance. First they send alcohol to the wrong table and are subsequently unsure of how long they should smile at the girls they plan on getting drunk and taking to the woods (they aren’t even sure if the idea of taking girls to the woods for sex is just a euphemism or not). Sex is comedy here because it breeds nothing but the kind of anxiety that the title of Forman’s film teems with. Continue reading

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