Hans-Christof Stenzel – Obszön – Der Fall Peter Herzl (1981)

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Synopsis:
Peter Herzl, social worker and Left sympathizer from Wuppertal is, assaulted and robbed on the way back from Yugoslavia to Germany. Due to some misunderstandings the police examined him as a suspected terrorist. In Vienna, he finds shelter with the prostitute Kathi. Kathi has an incestuous relationship with her adolescent daughter. Fascinated she watched her mother and Peter during lovemaking. Soon they would also participate in the game. Meanwhile the search for Peter is at full speed. And Kathi`s pimp sees an opportunity to get easy money by betrayal… Continue reading

François Truffaut – Vivement dimanche! AKA AKA Confidentially Yours (1983)

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French director Francois Truffaut’s newest film is a tribute to American film noir. It is based on a 1962 novel by Charles Williams that blends mystery and comedy genres. Jean-Louis Trintignant plays Julien, a real estate agent who finds himself under suspicion for the murder of a friend. When his wife is killed shortly afterwards, Julien goes into hiding.
Barbara (Fanny Ardant), his feisty secretary who secretly loves him despite his penchant for beautiful blondes, volunteers to help clear his name. Donning a trench coat appropriate for the challenge at hand, she sallies forth on her own investigation. She soon discovers confusing clues and meets sinister figures, including a pimp, a movie-house cashier, a priest, and a smooth talking lawyer. Continue reading

Derek Jarman – The Garden (1990)

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Partly set against the backdrop of his coastal home in the shadow of Dungeness power station, this astonishing work from Derek Jarman is a dramatic mix of artistic set pieces and raw, often abstract footage. Yet it is more than that, for this is undoubtedly Jarman’s most religious feature, even more so than his homoerotic reworking of the life and death of the Christian martyr Saint Sebastian.

For this is a piece that finds Jarman at rest, surrounded by Christian iconography that via a series of vivid dreamlike vignettes, transpose New Testament events into a contemporary and at times homoerotic context. Taking no prisoners, he strikes out at the foundations of
political and religious homophobia by depicting in the manner of Jesus Christ, two male lovers persecuted, tortured and crucified for their beliefs and very sexuality. Continue reading

Jean-Luc Godard – Grandeur et décadence d’un petit commerce de cinéma (1986)

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Synopsis
The director Gaspard Bazin is preparing a new feature film. For now, he is still in the casting and financing stages. He’s asking the help of Jean Almereyda, a producer once fashionable but now at low ebb, who has more and more difficulties to raise cash for his company. His wife, Eurydice, dreams of being a movie star. Between the two men, a perverse game is starting, Almereyda wishing to please his wife, but the unrepentant seducer reputation of Bazin holds him to require a part for Eurydice… Continue reading

Krzysztof Kieslowski – Dekalog AKA The Decalogue (1989)

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Dekalog was made for Polish TV as a series of ten films, each just under an hour in length, inspired by one of the Ten Commandments (the Decalogue), set in contemporary Warsaw in and around the same apartment block. Dekalog V and VI also exist in re-edited versions just under an hour and a half each for cinema release, under the titles A Short Film About Killing and A Short Film About Love respectively.
As well as being set in and around the same apartment block, the films are linked in other ways. Major characters in one part make walk-ons in another. An ethical dilemma mentioned by one of Zofia’s students in VIII is the very one that drives the plot of II. And in all but two of the films there appears a mysterious young man (Artur Barcis), who appears, looking on, at important moments. Continue reading

Woody Allen – Another Woman (1988)

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Quote:
It’s worth noting that in 1978, ten years before he made “Another Woman,” Woody Allen created another quiet film, a drama with prominent Bergmanesque influences. The film was called “Interiors,” and it was a tribute, or an American take on Bergman’s “Cries and Whispers.” “Interiors” examined the relationships of three sisters and their husbands in the face of the divorce of their dominant mother and detached father. The film essentially detailed the fall of “interiors,” or illusory worlds created by the dominant mother in the face of tragedy and loneliness. Continue reading

Franco Piavoli – Nostos: Il Ritorno AKA Nostos: The Return [+Extras] (1990)

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Synopsis
At the end of the war, Odysseus, the wandering hero, with his companions begins his sail back home to the Mediterranean. The conclusion of his adventure is delayed by many natural obstacles and he takes an internal journey of fleeting memories of his childhood, his parents, love for a beautiful girl, nostalgia for the past, regret for what he did, and the deep silence that envelops everything. He confronts the most terrible loneliness following a shipwreck in which all the comrades perish. Continue reading