Ariane Mnouchkine – Molière (1978)

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Plot
Jean Baptiste Poquelin Molière (1622-73) was perhaps the greatest playwright of French history. His comedies have been performed, adapted and re-adapted continually from his day to ours not only in France, but around the world. It is certain that he lived and breathed for the theater: the company he toured with became first, the King’s Troupe (for the “Sun King,” Louis XIV), and later became what was even then the most prestigious theater company of France, the Comédie Française. The Comédie Française remains a national institution of unimaginable importance. Thanks to Molière’s devastating wit, the king’s patronage and protection was more than a formality: he offended many important people personally and in his comedies. This lavish biographical film chronicles his childhood experiences as a merchant’s son, going by the name of Pouquelin, up to the time he ran away to join the Béjart company of travelling players, and then follows his later years as a respected client of the king. Viewers will find their appreciation for this film enriched by prior knowledge of Molière, his plays, and his times. ~ Clarke Fountain, All Movie Guide Continue reading

Djordje Kadijevic – Leptirica AKA The Butterfly (1973)

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Yugoslavian vampire horror film
Directed by Djordje Kadijevic in 1973
Cast: Mirjana Nikolic, Petar Bozovic , Slobodan Perovic, Vasja Stankovic

This is a Yugoslavian female vampire horror film of the early 70s shot in the Serbian countryside and based on a novel. The film starts in a mill. The old miller listens strange bird voices and while he’s sleeping the millstone suddenly stops working and a strange creature with black hands, long nails, angry eyes and long teeth bites his neck and drinks his blood. You don’t manage to see the whole creature but you understand it’s a human, not animal… Continue reading

Theodoros Angelopoulos – O thiasos aka The Traveling Players (1975)

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Here is an excellent overview of the film that provides a ton of background information that greatly helps in understanding this outstanding film.

from Jump Cut, no. 10-11, 1976, pp. 5-6
copyright Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media, 1976, 2004

“In THIASSOS even though we refer to the past, we are talking about the present. The approach is not mythical but dialectical. This comes through in the structure of the film where often two historical times are dialectically juxtaposed in the same shot creating associations leading directly to historical conclusions… Those links do not level the events but bypass the notions of past/present and instead provide a linear developmental interpretation which exists only in the present.”
— Theodoros Angelopoulos Continue reading

Rainer Werner Fassbinder – Mutter Kusters’ Fahrt zum Himmel aka Mother Kusters Goes To Heaven (1975)

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Mother Küsters’ Trip to Heaven (German: Mutter Küsters’ Fahrt zum Himmel) is a 1975 German film written and directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder. It stars Brigitte Mira, Ingrid Caven, Karlheinz Böhm and Margit Carstensen. The film was shot over 20 days between February and March of 1975 in Frankfurt am Main.

Emma Küsters (Mira), a working-class woman lives in Frankfurt with her son and daughter-in-law. While she is doing outreach work assembling electric plugs, Frau Küsters learns that her husband Hermann (a tire-factory worker for twenty years) has killed his supervisor and then committed suicide. It later becomes apparent that Mr. Küsters had become temporarily insane after hearing layoff announcements. Continue reading

Jonas Mekas – Lost, Lost, Lost (1976)

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Lost Lost Lost
Walden may have been Mekas’ first diary film, but the film that incorporated Mekas’ earliest footage was the one that told the story of his postwar arrival in America, Lost Lost Lost. The film is divided into two parts: the first concerns life in the Lithuanian community of Williamsburg, and the second chronicles Mekas’ move to Manhattan and his integration into the independent film and art scenes of New York.

Here Mekas is at his most deeply personal. He describes the loneliness and struggle of those early years with mournful music and spoken laments: “Long, lonely days; long, lonely nights. There was a lot of walking through the nights of Manhattan. I don’t think I have ever been as lonely.” Mekas also closely follows the lives of his fellow Lithuanian immigrants. During a gathering in Connecticut, he explains, “occasionally we used to escape to Stonybrook, places where immigrants exchanged their memories. We all gathered there, we all lived on memories there.” As the first section progresses, however, a tension develops between Mekas and the other immigrants. Though Mekas sympathises with them, he grows increasingly disenchanted with their hopes to reform and return to Lithuania. By the end of the reel, he leaves the community in Williamsburg and moves to Manhattan. Continue reading

Sam Peckinpah – Straw Dogs [+Extras] (1971)

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Synopsis:
Upon moving to Britain to get away from American violence, astrophysicist David Sumner and his wife Amy are bullied and taken advantage of by the locals hired to do construction. When David finally takes a stand it escalates quickly into a bloody battle as the locals assault his house.

Quote:
Straw Dogs is a 1971 psychological thriller directed by Sam Peckinpah and starring Dustin Hoffman and Susan George. The screenplay by Peckinpah and David Zelag Goodman is based upon Gordon M. Williams’s 1969 novel “The Siege of Trencher’s Farm” Peckinpah’s 1971 film Straw Dogs was one of the most controversial of his legendary career.. The film’s title derives from a discussion in the Tao Te Ching that likens the ancient Chinese ceremonial straw dog to forms without substance. Continue reading

Pierre Granier-Deferre – Le train AKA The Last Train (1973)

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Synopsis:

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