Chantal Akerman – La chambre (1972)

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. . . It is always the act of isolation from another space that brings into sharp focus Akerman’s themes and aesthetics. Jacques Polet has pointed out that the 360-degree pan in La Chambre maps out a literal movement of encirclement completed once the pan reverses, as if the camera had demarcated the minimally essential space for the performance . . .

— from essay on Akerman by Ivone Margulies found here. Continue reading

Alberto Lattuada – Così come sei AKA Stay as you are (1978)

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PLOT:
A May-December romance.
Roué Giulio Marengo, a Roman landscape architect unhappy in his marriage, meets Francesca, a young and beautiful Florentine, and then learns she might be his daughter. He resolves to keep his hands off but can’t seem to stay away, and she’s eager for a lover who’s a father figure. He’s happy to be a kid, so he tries to find out who her father is; his wife knows that something is up; his daughter, who’s Francesca’s age and is pregnant, encourages the affair.
Should he tell Francesca his fears that it might be incest? If he tells her and she doesn’t care, what next? And what of his wife, who still wants to be married? Francesca takes control. Continue reading

Alain Tanner – La Salamandre (1971)

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A journalist recruits a novelist friend to help him rustle up a quick TV script based on a news item in a local paper about a man who accused his niece of shooting and wounding him. She claimed the gun went off while he was cleaning it; eventually dropped for lack of evidence, the case was never resolved. The novelist (Denis) sets out to create the script from imagination, while the journalist (Bideau) goes after the facts. But dedicated to a celebration of instinctive revolt, the film is less concerned with what happened than with the girl herself; and Bulle Ogier conveys volumes in the part as the film counterpoints her view of society with its varying view of her. There is, for instance, a scene where she has a job as sales-girl in a shoe shop, and without warning begins to caress the legs the customers present to her: it’s a gesture that’s at once funny, profoundly erotic, incongruous, and deeply shocking, and one that places both Rosemonde and the world she finds herself living in. A rare treat, infused with a rich and unforced vein of quiet humour. Continue reading

Alain Tanner – Le Milieu du monde AKA The Middle of the World (1974)

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Summary
Paul, a high-flying engineer, is proud to have been born in a Swiss town the locals refer to as the Centre of the World. He is running for a local election when he meets Adriana, a young Italian waitress in a café. Although he is married, Paul starts to have a passionate love affair with Adriana, and is soon prepared to give up everything for her. However, the young waitress realises that it is not she that Paul loves but a self-made fantasy… Continue reading

Alain Tanner – Jonas qui aura 25 ans en l’an 2000 AKA Jonah Who Will Be 25 in the Year 2000 (1976)

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Description: “The third collaboration between the Swiss director Tanner and the English writer John Berger follows a group of young people in Geneva who are searching for new directions in their lives after the failure of the revolutionary hopes of the 1960s. A former labor activist takes a job as a gardener and handyman with some free-spirited farmers, setting up a school in a greenhouse for the neighborhood kids, while his wife continues to work in a factory. A disillusioned radical turns to gambling, while having interesting conversations with his girlfriend, an adventurous student of Tantrism. A history teacher uses radical methods in the classroom to foster socialist ideas in his students. He hooks up with a grocery store cashier who undercharges poor people and steals food from the store to help her aging friend, a veteran of the Resistance. Continue reading

Jean-Luc Godard – Ici et ailleurs AKA Here and Elsewhere (1976)

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Here and Elsewhere
Capsule by Jonathan Rosenbaum
From the Chicago Reader

Jean-Luc Godard’s short feature about the PLO was initially shot with Jean-Pierre Gorin in the Middle East in 1970, but when he edited the footage with Anne-Marie Mieville several years later, many of the soldiers that had been filmed were dead. Reflecting on this fact, as well as on the problems of recording history and of making political statements on film, Godard and Mieville produced a thoughtful and provocative essay on the subject. Coming after the mainly arid reaches of Godard’s “Dziga Vertov Group” period (roughly 1968-1973), when his efforts were largely directed toward severing his relation with commercial filmmaking and toward forging new ways to “make films politically,” this film assimilates many of the lessons he learned without the posturing and masochism that marred much of his earlier work. The results are a rare form of lucidity and purity. All proportions guarded, it is a little bit like hearing John Coltrane’s “Blues for Bessie” after the preceding explorations of “Crescent” and “Wise One” on his Crescent album. Continue reading

Jean-Luc Godard – Sauve qui peut (la vie) aka Slow Motion (1980)

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Noel Megahy @ DVDTimes.co.uk wrote:

During the 1970’s Jean Luc Godard abandoned the notion of making normal commercial films for cinematic distribution in favour of his Marxist-Leninist ‘Dziga Vertov’ propaganda films. The director returned to regular filmmaking in 1980 with Sauve Qui Peut (La Vie), his first theatrical release since his furious outburst against modern bourgeois society in 1967 with Weekend. Delivering another hate-filled attack on almost every aspect of modern society, it’s like he had never been away. Continue reading