Larry Gottheim – Four Shadows (1978)

Like constellations wheeling round, a double chain of four image segments and four sound segments wheel past each other in sixteen combinations (a family of Gibbon apes, a landscape measured, a shadowed diagram after Paul Cézanne, a wintry urban scene, a text by William Wordsworth, a climactic scene from Claude Debussy’s opera “Pelleas et Melisande”). The stately ceremony can generate rich sensuous cinematic pleasure as well as a free-flowing stream of associations. Containment and flowing free, these are some of the issues. The third film in the Elective Affinities cycle. Continue reading

Peter Davis – Hearts and Minds (1974)

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Academy Award for Best Documentary (1975).

“We weren’t on the wrong side. We were the wrong side.”

A courageous and startling film, Peter Davis’s landmark documentary Hearts and Minds unflinchingly confronts the United States’ involvement in Vietnam. Using a wealth of sources—from interviews to newsreels to documentary footage of the conflict at home and abroad—Davis constructs a powerfully affecting portrait of the disastrous effects of war. Explosive, persuasive, and shocking, Hearts and Minds is an overwhelming emotional experience and the controversial winner of the 1974 Academy Award for Best Documentary. Continue reading

Vladimir Carvalho – O País de São Saruê AKA The Land Of São Saruê & 3 shorts (1971)

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Plot Outline: Documentary about a region in Northeast Brazil, situated in an area subject to severe drought, and the evolution of its economic activities.

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The Land Of São Saruê, one of the most important Brazilian documentaries, was produced in 1970. It was banned by censorship until 1979 when it wasselected for the Brasilia Festival and wont the jury prize. The film, now restored, was hot in 16mm and then copied onto 35mm. The 16mm original has disappeared. The restoration was made using the extant 35mm internegative. The treatment given to the original sound generated a new re-equalized and remixed sound negative. Within the constraints of an optical restoration the restorers tired to eliminate imperfections caused by improper handling and storage. Due to the poor conditions of the original material some scenes couldn’t be totally restored. This optical restoration will enable such defects to be minimized through digital treatment in the future. Restoration was made from March 2003 through September 2004 by Francisco Sergio Moreira, under the supervision of the original director, Vlamidir Carvalho with Myrna Brandão and Carlos Augosto Brandão from the Brazilian Cinema Researchers’ Center. Continue reading

Lino Brocka – Maynila sa mga kuko ng liwanag AKA Manila in the Claws of Light (1975)

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Manila: In the Claws of Darkness is the most impressive of his films noirs, made with bows to the American cinema, to Italian neo-realism and to his own country’s tradition of star-driven melodramas, but with the force of a third-world director determined to say something about his own society.It is the richly romantic but realistic odyssey of a boy named Julio, who arrives in Manila from the country to search for his childhood sweetheart. The darkness of the title refers to the capital itself, which, said Brocka, exerts an invisible force on the lives of its people. Continue reading

Oldrich Lipsky – Sest medvedu s Cibulkou aka Sechs Baren mit Zwiebel aka Six Bears and a Clown (1972)

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When the clown named Onion who is the trainer of a circus act involving six bears is fired, he takes a job as a cook at a school. In order to get the job, he has dressed up as a woman. When the bears come to the school to visit their friend, chaos erupts. Not only is no one prepared to cope with six friendly bears, but their visit occurs on the day when the state inspector of schools is to arrive. A chimpanzee named Tony tries to hide the six bears…
A very warm comedy for the whole family. Made by one of the most famous Czech directors.
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Alain Robbe-Grillet – Glissements progressifs du plaisir AKA Successive Slidings of Pleasure (1974)

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When you think of art house directors you probably think of some of the more famous filmmakers like Werner Herzog (Aguirre, the Wrath of God), Peter Greenaway (The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover) or Alejandro Jodorowsky (Holy Mountain). Someone you may not know is French writer and filmmaker Alain Robbe-Grillet. Robbe-Grillet was part of the “nouveau roman” novelist movement which diverted from the classical style of writing and deviated from the norm with experimental prose. The same could be said with his film Glissements progressifs du plaisir (literal translation is “Gradual shifts of pleasure”) aka Successive Slidings of Pleasure where he blends dreamlike visuals with eroticism and, oddly, nunsploitation. Continue reading

Václav Vorlícek – Jak utopit doktora Mrácka aneb Konec vodniku v Cechách AKA How to drown Dr. Mracek (1974)

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Synopsis:
There are still water spirits among us. One group lives in Prague, led by Mr. Wassermann, who is using his wife’s family as a servants. All they need is their old house near the river. But the house is to be demolished. They have to stop it. And the only way is to drown Dr. Mrácek, who is responsible for the demolition. But he falls in love with Wassermann’s niece Jana. He changes to fish, is mistaked for water spirit from Germany, is drowned and revived again. The other problem is the flour with ears… and so on… Continue reading