Nikolai Gubenko – Podranki aka The Orphans (1977)

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Synopsis
The original Russian title Podranki can be translated as War Orphans. The protagonist is an adult writer who undergoes a flashback at the drop of a hat. He recalls how he was orphaned when his father was killed in World War II and his mother committed suicide. He remembers the appalling treatment afforded him by a sadistic orphanage official. And he muses over his losing contact with his brothers and sisters. This is why the grown-up writer is currently involved in lobbying for better treatment of Russian orphans. Orphans caused a minor stir in 1977 when it became the first Russian film in nearly two decades to be chosen for the Cannes Film Festival by the festival judges, rather than being submitted by the Soviets. The film did not see the light of a carbon arc in America until 1980. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi Continue reading

David Hamilton – Laura, les ombres de l’été AKA Laura, Shadows of a Summer (1979)

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Amazon review:
This movie is about a sculptor who loves “making” statues and paintings of young nudes. He becomes obsessed with the daughter (Laura) of a friend, whom he knew a long time ago. He manages to get her mother to take pictures of her for him to use in making a sculpture of her body. Laura develops a crush on him (as did her mother) and after he is blinded, offers to help him finish the statue that he started by posing for him herself. He’s able to finish the clay sculpture by using his hands to feel along her body. They both get caught up in the moment and she becomes a women.

Those who argue about the plot or dialogue have missed the point of a David Hamilton movie. They simply don’t get it. At any rate, there are a few story plots intertwined in this movie if you can pick them out.
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Jean Rollin – La nuit des traquées aka The Night of the Hunted (1980)

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Quote:
Long considered a failure since its very brief theatrical release in the late summer of 1980, La Nuit des Traquées has slowly but surely built a small but dedicated group of followers who find it to be among Jean Rollin’s almost great films. Containing perhaps the finest performance Brigitte Lahaie has ever given for the screen, La Nuit des Traquées, or The Night of the Hunted as it is more commonly known, is one of the key if often overlooked films of Rollin’s career. The fact that it is indeed a very flawed work that could have been much more, had budgetary and time constraints not worked against it, makes its pleasures all the more resonate and powerful. Continue reading

Bigas Luna – Bilbao (1978)

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Plot summary:
Leo (Angel Jové), a psycopath and a silent, obsessed and deeply disturbed man, concieves a progressive fascination for Bilbao
(Isabel Pisano), a striptease ballerina, who to reach the end of the month, she has to be a prostitute. Leo studies her movements and ends up kidnapping her, as if she was his object to add to his erotic collection. Continue reading

James William Guercio – Electra Glide in Blue (1973)

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Synopsis:
The tension between a lonely policemen and the journeymen of the counter culture provides the subtext, and the stunning martian look of the Arizona mesa the backdrop, of a brilliant and influential debut feature by musician James William Guercio; the film is the missing link between The Searchers and No Country for Old Men. John Wintergreen is a diminutive motorcycle cop working the lonely highways of Arizona in the mid seventies. He works alone, but occasionally hooks up with his pal “Zipper”. Wintergreen is conscientious and friendly, whereas Zipper is bored and argumentative, often holing up off the highway to read comic books rather than out on the road . Wintergreen is a native american and has ambitions to be a detective. So when Zipper and Wintergreen find a delerious and disoriented elderly man wandering in the desert, the trail of how he got there leads back to a deserted shack. Inside is the body of a man who has committed suicide with a shotgun. Wintergreen airs his suspicions about the death, first to the coroner who is keen not to get involved, and then to Harve Poole, an Arizona detective. Harve believes John Wintergreen’s suspicions are right and takes him under his wing as his driver and protege. Continue reading

Danièle Huillet & Jean-Marie Straub – Fortini / Cani (1976)

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Synopsis :
The film is a sort of presentation of Franco Fortini’s book ‘I Cani del Sinai’. Fortini, an Italian Jew, reads excerpts from the book about his alienation from Judaism and from the social relations around him, the rise of Fascism in Italy, the anti-Arab attitude of European culture. The images, mostly a series of Italian landscape shots, provide a backdrop that highlights the meaning of the text. Continue reading