Twenty-five years on from its release, A Clockwork Orange has lost none of its power to shock and outrage. In this near-future setting the outlets for teenage enthusiasm are few and far between. Disenchanted, youths form ritualistic gangs, fight battles and engage in vandalism. Alex DeLarge (Malcolm McDowell) is the leader of just such a group, marked out by their preferences for phallic masks and boiler suits. His select followers (known as droogs) are Dim (Warren Clark), Georgie (James Marcus) and Pete (Michael Tarn). On a typical evening they’ll stop by the Korova for some milk-plus, to sharpen them up, before venturing into the urban jungle. On this particular night they don’t have to travel far for a spot of “ultraviolence”; a rival gang are about to force a bit of the “old in-out” on a helpless young devotchka (girl). For the pure love of violence they decimate their rivals. Continue reading
A director of a television series on the history of cinema, who has been grappling with the screenplay of his first feature film, receives an assignment to oversee the installation of a television relay station in a remote region of Zahedan province, near the Afghanistan border. He has already hired Turkoman tribespeople for his film and selected his filming location. Meanwhile his wife, who is working on her Ph.D. dissertation about the Mongol invasion of Iran, attempts to dissuade him from accepting the assignment. One night, while working on his history of the cinema series, the director fantasizes a diagetic world that consists of clever juxtapositions of his different worlds: the history of cinema, the history of the mongol invasion, his own film idea and his imminent assignment to the desert. Continue reading
It’s a non-traditional black and white film based on the 1894 novel by Theodor Fontane. It’s for an audience that is more aware and welcomes something addressed to the intellect, rather than the way the average casual moviegoer sees a film expecting a story handed to him on a silver platter with a beginning, a middle and an end (usually a happy ending). This is not a film for the casual moviegoer or the critic chasing down blockbusters. Director-writer Rainer Werner Fassbinder has said “It’s a film that really only works in the German language.” What makes the film so difficult for an outsider, is that much of Fontane is nuanced only for the German and therefore someone unfamiliar with the finer cultural points or historical facts will have a tough time of it. Fassbinder based the film on the parts of the novel by Theodor Fontane he agreed with (discarding the parts of the book he disagreed with) and did not make it into a topic about a woman as the title would suggest (a debate grew between the film’s star Hanna Schygulla, who wanted to play it as a story about the titular character; thankfully she couldn’t budge Fassbinder off his intended aim to keep it as a societal moral play and as a result we have a film that is full of conviction and as faithful to a book as you can possibly be). Continue reading
Sam Roffe, president of a multi-national pharmaceutical corporation, is killed while mountain-climbing. It is first determined to be an accident, but Inspector Max Hormung later deduces that Roffe was murdered. Sam’s daughter Elizabeth assumes control of the company, and while traveling through Europe she immediately becomes a target as well. Continue reading
Already in his childhood, Pablo Picasso shows talent for painting and is sent to the Academy of Arts in Madrid. He becomes a painter but has to live in Paris in poverty. But one day he is discovered by a rich American millionaire and starts to earn money. But he wastes his talent by painting plates. He meets the famous people of the 1920s; Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, Appolinaire, Hitler and Churchill. Continue reading
Bergman took one of his favourite plays to Copenhagen for a guest performance, which was even broadcast on Danish TV.
In his Copenhagen The Misanthrope, Bergman maintained a dual approach. On the one hand, a production of Molière’s play as a theatrical game performed in style and intellectually conceived; on the other hand, an exposure, through physical and psychological intensity, of the emotional tragedy in which Alceste and Celemine are both victims. Continue reading
Mimi is a Sicilian dockworker who loses his job when he votes against the Mafia candidate in what he thinks is a secret ballot. He leaves his wife behind and goes to Turin, where he meets and moves in with Fiore, a street vendor and Communist organizer. They have a child, he works non-union jobs, and again he comes to the Mafia’s attention. This time they’re impressed, promoting him to a supervisor’s job back in Sicily. He must keep Fiore and the child a secret, which is fine with Fiore, as long as he never makes love to his wife. He doesn’t, and when she becomes pregnant, he knows he’s a cuckold. His personal revenge and the Mafia’s tentacles then intertwine in tragicomic ways. (IMDb) Continue reading