Aravindan’s debut extended a 60s Calicut modernism into cinema, drawing on the work of the writer Pattathiruvila Karunakaran, who produced the film, and the satirical playwright Thikkodiyan, who co-scripted it. The plot is about a disabused young man, Ravi, who has a series of ironic encounters while looking for a job. One of his mentors, Kumaran Master, and his now critically ill friend Setu had participated in the 1942 Quit India agitations with Ravi’s father (shown in flashback). The lawyer Gopalan Muthalaly, also a participant in those events, has become a rich contractor and an example of the corrupt post-Independence bourgeoisie. Ravi abandons the city and, in a mystical ending, is initiated into ‘eternal truths’ by a godman meditating on a mountain. The figures of the father and the ailing friend form a composite portrait of Sanjayan, a political activist, spiritualist and satirist, and major influence on the Calicut artists who participated in the film. Aravindan’s approach to his lead characters and his framing evoke the cartoon characters Ramu and Guruji from his Small Man and Big World series Continue reading
Shot in Paris after Smihi completed film school, Si Moh is an investigation of the life of migrant workers in France. Connected back to the Maghreb by postcards and to his fellow migrants by shared experiences of alienation, the character Simoh negotiates the industrialized suburbs of Paris as the subject of Smihi’s intimate camera. Continue reading
Duelle seems to have been instantly cursed just by being the follow-up to Celine and Julie Go Boating, to this day the only Rivette film that the average buff concerns himself with ( and oh, how wrongly. ) Having finally gotten a chance to watch the film, I can see why. Where Celine and Julie could furnish a thousand college students with thesis papers on feminine play vs. masculine order, and the construction of meaning through the assumption of various roles associated with gender, and so forth, Duelle drops the intellectual ballast completely. Rivette outs himself as a mystic with this film, closer to charlatan-geniuses like Stockhausen or Rasputin than to Godard. This movie is almost like a Rosetta Stone, more dense and concentrated than anything else he’s done, that the future expert will be able to use to decode his work. Continue reading
An inquisitive, cherubic girl named Ana (Ana Torrent) overhears a tender exchange between her father, a military officer named Anselmo (Héctor Alterio) and his mistress, Amelia (Mirta Miller), before the intimate moment gives way to tragedy and confusion, as Anselmo suffers a fatal heart attack. Amelia hurriedly dresses, leaving Anselmo’s body alone in the bedroom for the discovery of others, and exchanges a reluctant glance with Ana before running away to avoid a scandal. Young Ana impassively observes Anselmo’s rigid countenance before recovering a water glass from the bedside table, and methodically washes the item in the kitchen sink. Soon, the past, present, and distant past seemingly fuse into a surreal and reassuring incident as Ana’s dead mother (Geraldine Chaplin) passes through the kitchen and affectionately reminds Ana that it is past her bedtime. Later, a haunted and matured Ana (Geraldine Chaplin) recounts her childhood animosity towards her emotional callous and philandering father, blaming him for causing her late mother’s suffering that inevitably manifested in a slow, consuming illness. With the death of their father, Ana and her sisters, Irene (Conchita Pérez) and Maite, spend the rest of their summer vacation in the family home, entrusted to the care of Aunt Paulina (Mónica Randall), a stern, but well intentioned unmarried woman who discourages discussion about their parents in a mistaken belief that she is sparing the children from the grief of their profound loss. However, Paulina’s attention is preoccupied by her own surfacing romantic relationship, and the children are invariably left alone with their affable, obliging maid, Rosa (Florinda Chico) and their silent, detached grandmother (Josefina Díaz) whose own thoughts are consumed by cherished memories evoked from a collage of old family photographs. With little guidance and supervision, the children create an insular world that reflects the conflict, pain, and uncertainty of the enigmatic and impenetrable adult world around them. Continue reading
Ngando and Ndomé share an extremely perfect love. Yet, tradition demands a dowry for Ndomé’s hand that Ngando, an orphan, cannot afford. Forced to ask his uncle for assistance, Ngando finds himself at the mercy of his uncle’s lust and greed.
Muna Moto AKA The Child of Another (1975) is Cameroon’s first feature-length film. It is a classical story of doomed loved told in an African context. It is directed by Jean-Pierre Dikongue Pipa and features gorgeous black-and-white cinematography.
It won the 1975 FESPACO prize for best African film and was featured in Sight & Sound’s “75 Hidden Gems: The Great Films Time Forgot” in which 75 critics were asked to pick one film each that they considered “unduly obscure and worthy of greater eminence.
Mostra of Venice: official selection(1975). Continue reading
The Detective In Hollywood: The Movie Careers Of The Great Fictional Private Eyes And Their Creators is a fascinating study of classic Hollywood detective movies (and some of the nearly forgotten series like the Crime Doctor and Mr. Wong), based on interviews with some of the men and women involved in creating them (authors, directors, screenwriters, and actors and actresses) like Billy Wilder, Alfred Hitchcock, Leigh Brackett, Barbara Hale, Robert Montgomery, and many others. Continue reading
Marie (Miou-Miou) is a young girl from a working-class family who falls for Gerard (Daniel Duval) before she discovers he is a vicious, sadistic pimp. She is degraded, abused, and beaten regularly by Gerard as she is forced into a life of prostitution. Marie later decides she must leave her pimp to regain control of her body, mind, and soul. Maria Schneider co-stars with Neil Arestrup in this voyeuristic and disturbing story. Continue reading