François Truffaut – Une belle fille comme moi AKA A Gorgeous Bird Like Me (1972)

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François Truffaut’s Une belle fille comme moi is a pitch-black comedy of sexual exploitation in which who’s doing the exploiting and who’s getting exploited is neatly reversed. Camille (Bernadette Lafont) is the subject of a “sociological thesis” on criminal women, being written by Stanislas Prévine (André Dussollier), a hapless professorial type who listens to Camille’s jailhouse confessions with great interest. Camille has had a tough life, it seems, always being desired and exploited by the men she meets, who only want her for sex. Camille, of course, relentlessly turns this state of affairs to her advantage, letting these men take her to bed and have their way with her, while ruthlessly exploiting them in turn, taking their money and plotting various criminal acts surrounding her multiple affairs. Camille is in jail, it seems, for the one crime she actually didn’t commit, but there’s no lack of criminality in this femme fatale. While Stanislas analyzes her in terms of her unhappy childhood and her bad luck in relationships, suggesting various repressed psychological reasons for her bad behavior, Stanislas’ good-girl secretary Hélène (Anne Kreis) asks him to consider the possibility that this girl is just a “tramp.” Continue reading

Derek Jarman – The Tempest (1979)

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Prospero, a potent necromancer, lives on a desolate isle with his virginal daughter, Miranda. He’s in exile, banished from his duchy by his usurping brother and the King of Naples. Providence brings these enemies near; aided by his vassal the spirit Ariel, Prospero conjures a tempest to wreck the Italian ship. The king’s son, thinking all others lost, becomes Prospero’s prisoner, falling in love with Miranda and she with him. Prospero’s brother and the king wander the island, as do a drunken cook and sailor, who conspire with Caliban, Prospero’s beastly slave, to murder Prospero. Prospero wants reason to triumph, Ariel wants his freedom, Miranda a husband; the sailors want to dance. Continue reading

José Luis Borau – Furtivos aka Poachers (1975)

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Synopsis:
Furtivos (Poachers) is a 1975 Spanish film directed by José Luis Borau. It stars Lola Gaos, Ovidi Montllor and Alicia Sánchez. The script was written by Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón and José Luis Borau. The film is a stark drama that portraits an oedipal relationship and its dire consequences. A great critical and commercial success, it won best picture at the San Sebastián International Film Festival in 1975. Furtivos is considered a classic of Spanish cinema.
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Dino Risi – In nome del popolo italiano AKA In the Name of the Italian People (1971)

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Synopsis:
Set in Rome and its surroundings, the film tells in a frighteningly realistic, ruthless and grotesque the evil of two powerful men of Italy in the seventies: a Director of illegal buildings (Vittorio Gassman), extremist fascist, and an upright judge, cynical looking in part to the Italian law (Ugo Tognazzi). Both can not stand each other, given the contrasts between the two men in any social, political and philosophical. Everyone hates each other and would like to delete it, but just because of the bad example that the two men give power to the people, many Italians are adversely affected because of cheating and rudeness of the fascist manufacturer and the communist magistrate. The director Dino Risi underlines the misdeeds and the weakness of the Italian people to react accordingly, by focusing on the story of these two men who are each other’s opposite of the net. Continue reading

Curt McDowell – Thundercrack! (1975)

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If you’re at all familiar with underground cinema, than you’ve probably heard tales about this flick for years. But actually seeing the damned thing is a different matter entirely. Crass, sick and hilarious, this no-budget b&w feature is filled with the essence of pure, undiluted cinematic derangement. Like the earliest works of John Waters, it revels in taboo-shattering shocks and an undying love for Hollywood kitsch. Glorious overwritten by George Kuchar, and directed by the late Curt McDowell (who was one of Kuchar’s first students), it’s a torrent of comically-lit cliches, heated to the point of lurid parody. The time: A dark and stormy night. The setting: An old, secluded mansion–the home of the terrifically obscene Mrs. Gert Hammond (Marion Eaton), who staggers about the place with heavy, mismatched eyebrows and a vomit-caked wig. Continue reading

Emidio Greco – L’invenzione di Morel AKA Morel’s Invention (1974)

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A dejected, worn-out, ill-kempt man spends an inordinate amount of time observing what appear to be well-dressed 1920s high-society types moving in and around a library set in the middle of an otherwise deserted island. Eventually, an irritating explanation for this situation is paired with an improbable one. Continue reading