Following his passionate involvement in the 1968 demonstrations (Maselli was one of the supporters of the protest at the 1969 Venice Biennial), he made two explicitly “political” films, Lettera aperta ad un giornale della sera (1970) and Il sospetto di Francesco Maselli (1975). In Lettera ad un giornale della sera, which prompted fierce discussion about the idea of “political commitment” amongst left-wing intellectuals, Maselli played one of the characters, thereby openly involving himself in the debate, together with Nanni Loy and other politically active colleagues and friends.
For this film, Maselli used a style which in many ways was similar to certain paradigms of “cinema-verité”: the film was shot in 16 mm with heavy use of the zoom, the hand-held camera and out-of-sync sound.
Maselli returned to a more relaxed cinematic language and a more concise structure with Il sospetto. Dubbed “one of the best political films of all time”, it was set in the year of the “turning-point” (1934), one of the most important moments in the evolution of the Communist party.
Gian Maria Volonté gave a splendid performance in the role of Emilio, the protagonist, a militant Communist who has emigrated to France, embroiled in an affair so fraught that it turns into a thriller. Continue reading
A young girl witnesses her brother murder a man through a reflection in a mirror. Twenty years later the mirror is shattered, freeing his evil spirit, which seeks revenge for his death. Continue reading
Plot : In this WW II drama based on an autobiographical story by director Michel Drach, a Jewish boy and his family living in Nazi occupied France, attempt to escape the cruel invaders. Later the boy grows up to become a filmmaker obsessed with chronicling his childhood….
Awards : Best Actress for Marie-José Nat in Cannes Film Festival, 1974. Continue reading
Plot Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Heavy Traffic represents a follow-up to animator Ralph Bakshi’s first feature film, Fritz the Cat (1972). The central character is Michael, the ingenuous son of an Italian father and Jewish mother. An aspiring cartoonist, Michael leaves home in a huff and outrages his family by conducting an affair with an African-American woman. Heavy Traffic was originally intended to be a cartoon adaptation of Hubert Selby’s notorious novel Last Exit to Brooklyn, but negotiations fell through, and Bakshi was obliged to cook up a similar but not identical “mean streets” plotline. (Last Exit to Brooklyn was made as a live-action film in 1989.) Continue reading
May 1940 – Germany invades Europe, people panic and try to flee by any means possible. In France, Julien, a radio repairman, boards a train with his wife and child. As the men are placed in cattle cars with only the women and elderly allowed in the passenger cars, events begin their fateful turning as the insignificant repairman encounters an attractive fugitive and love begins – a doomed love. Continue reading
The owner of a bookshop in Paris suffers a personal crisis. In order to solve it he decides to convert his library into a sex-shop but the only effect is that he turns himself into a sexual obsessive man. Written by Volker Boehm Continue reading
Best Foreign Language film at the 1978 Oscars.
It’s a shame that this film doesn’t have a wider audience here in the US. Simone Signoret gives perhaps the finest performance of a distinguished career, unafraid to let the ravages of time and hard living show.
The film has some surface similarities to Central Station in that both films are about older women finding new meaning when having to care for a child, street urchins in each film. Both women are embittered and angry at life in general.
Rent Madam Rosa if you can find it. Anyone who loves exceptional film will be happy they gave this one their time. Continue reading