Jennie Livingston – Paris Is Burning (1990)

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Documentary about the Harlem drag balls thrown by predominantly inner city black and Latino gay men in the mid-1980s. The film features footage of the actual “drag” pageants, as well … Full Descriptionas interviews with ball participants, who describe their backgrounds and dreams, and the intricacies of their rich and detailed dialect. A fascinating look at the complexities of this elaborate subculture.

An unblinking, behind-the-scenes story of the young men of Harlem who originated “voguing” and turned these stylized dance competitions into a glittering expression of fierce personal pride. Continue reading

Don Askarian – Komitas (1989)

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The film is dedicated to the Armenian monk and genius composer Komitas, and the 2 million victims on his people in Turkey in 1915. The final 20 years of Komitas life were spent in various mental hospitals. The destiny of Komitas? This is the magic beauty of Armenian culture and the abhorrent brutality of Armenian history. A cultural and artistic world that was slaughtered with a curved knife. A humanity that doggedly advances towards an apocalyptic catastrophe, that does not recognize its own original purpose, eradicates its own memory, its final roots. Continue reading

Jane Campion – Sweetie [+extras] (1989)

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Synopsis:

Explores sisters, in their twenties, their parents, and family dysfunctions. Kay is gangly and slightly askew, consulting a fortune teller and then falling in love with a man because of a mole on his face and a lock of hair; then, falling out of love when he plants a tree in their yard. Sweetie is plump, imperious, self-centered, and seriously mentally ill. The parents see none of the illness, seeing only their cute child. Kay mainly feels exasperation at her sister’s impositions. Slowly, the film exposes how the roots of Sweetie’s illness have choked Kay’s own development. Continue reading

Donatella Baglivo – Tarkovsky’s Cinema + Interviews (1987)

Broadcast on BBC2 Arena, 13 March 1987. Contains interview footage with Tarkovsky as he discusses each of his seven major films. He also talks about his world-view and
his philosophy of filmmaking. The film also includes footage of a Tarkovsky lecture to
young film students in which he expresses his thoughts on modern cinema. Continue reading

Bruce Robinson – Withnail & I [+Extras] (1987)

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Plot Synopsis
Screenwriter Bruce Robinson made his directorial debut with this British comedy. Withnail (Richard E. Grant) is an unsuccessful, pill-popping actor; “I”, or Marwood (Paul McGann), is Withnail’s roommate and another equally underemployed actor. The time is 1969: Withnail is fast becoming a burned-out relic of the sixties, while Marwood is trying to reassimilate into society. The two take a trip to the country in hopes of rejuvenating themselves, but things go from worse to even worse. Given the intimacy and insight of the screenplay and dialogue, one shouldn’t be surprised that Bruce Robinson (who adapted the film from his own novel) based Withnail and I on his own experiences.
The film proves that certain “Age of Aquarius” types were just as bollixed-up in Britain as they were in America.
All Movie Guide Continue reading

Frank Perry – Mommie Dearest (1981)

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Based on the book about Joan Crawford, one of the great Hollywood actresses of our time, written by her adopted daughter Christina Crawford. Joan decides to adopt children of her own to fill a void in her life. Yet, her problems with alcohol, men, and the pressures of show business get in the way of her personal life, turning her into a mentally abusive wreck seen through the eyes of Christina and her brother Christopher, who unwillingly bare the burden of life that was unseen behind the closed doors of “The Most Beautiful House in Brentwood.”

t is 1939, Joan Crawford is one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. But she tells boyfriend lawyer Greg Savitt that she isn’t content living in her Brentwood mansion with just her devoted secretary Carol Ann and housekeeper Helga. Greg arranges for Joan to adopt a baby girl. Joan names her Christina and promises “to give her all the things I never had.” But Joan is obsessed with perfection, and Christina finds it impossible to live up to her mother’s standards. Continue reading