1981-1990

Jean-Jacques Beineix – Diva (1981)

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Modern noir meets high opera in the French suspense flick Diva. Delivery boy Jules has an opera obsession. He spends his small disposable income on sophisticated sound equipment and manages to bootleg a live performance of his favorite diva, Cynthia Hawkins (played by real-life opera singer Wilhelmina Wiggins Fernandez). But Jules is spotted making the recording by shady investors who want the tape. As if that weren’t enough, a second cassette, filled with enough evidence to topple an international drug and prostitution ring, makes its way into Jules’s mailbag. Writer-director Jean-Jacques Beineix does a terrific job of adapting Delacorta’s pulpy novel for the screen, keeping all the excitement while adding a layer of depth. A movie to make even a dedicated opera hater appreciate a perfectly sung aria, Diva has enormous loft apartments, thugs galore, gorgeous visuals, and a corker of a chase scene. Watch it–and watch your back. —Ali Davis Read More »

Chris Marker – L’héritage de la chouette (1989)

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Made as a series of 13 programmes about the influence of Greek culture in our society.

The Owl’s Heritage: Sequence

1. Symposium, or Accepted Ideas
2. Olympics, or Imaginary Greece
3. Democracy, or the City of Dreams
4. Nostalgia, or the Impossible Return
5. Amnesia, or History on the March
6. Mathematics, or the Empire Counts Back
7. Logomachy, or the Dialect of the Tribe
8. Music, or Inner Space
9. Cosmogony, or the Ways of the World
10. Mytholody, or Lies like Truth
11. Mysogyny, or the Snares of Desire
12. Tragedy, or the Illusion of Death
13. Philosophy, or the Triumph of the Owl
Read More »

David Lynch – Wild at Heart (1990)

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After breaking parole for self defensive manslaughter, Sailor Ripley and his girlfriend Lula Fortune head down the highway for sunny California. Lula’s mother sends out a private detective and a hitman after them. Sailor and Lula encounter an assortment of extremely bizarre “people” while discovering hidden secrets about one another. Full of lurid imagery and references to The Wizard of Oz. (Written by Jennifer Harrison)
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Paul Cox – Vincent [+Extras] (1987)

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Quote:
Though art is not my specialty, I do love to wander around a museum. It’s not something I do often, but I get that itch to surround myself with works that have stood the test of time. Gazing at such beautiful art stirs pangs of jealousy that I’m not able to do such things myself. But I know my limitations, and I will simply allow myself an occasional stroll through the controlled environment of my local museums. Shamefully, while I lived just outside of Washington D.C., I spent just one afternoon in its superb Smithsonian Museum of Art; and, on a recent trip to New York City, I nearly ran through the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In Ohio, where I have spent most of my life, the museums in Cleveland, Dayton, and Cincinnati don’t have the works we’d all like to see. I am actually quite selective in what I like, and that tends toward realism, impressionism, and a touch of surrealism. Contemporary art, cubism, and other abstract forms irritate me and implore me to return to the rooms that showcase works created before the twentieth century. Read More »

Romain Goupil – Mourir à 30 ans aka Half a life (1982)

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Documentary on the life of Michel Recanati, a leading figure in the May 1968 riots in Paris. He was also involved in the Revolutionary Communist Youth movement and anti-fascist campaigns. He was imprisoned briefly in 1973, and five years later committed suicide aged thirty.

This film won the Golden Palm at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival.
It often gets referenced as one of the greatest films about “1968”. Read More »

John Cassavetes – Big Trouble (1986)

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Quote:
A troubled production history notwithstanding, BIG TROUBLE remains a lighthearted updating of the classic film noir DOUBLE INDEMNITY. Alan Arkin stars as Leonard Hoffman, an insurance salesman and father of triplets. When it becomes apparent that his dream of sending his three sons to Yale is financially impossible, opportunity presents itself in the form of Blanche (Beverly D’Angelo), sexy wife of Steve Rickey (Peter Falk), who convinces Leonard to trick her husband into signing an obscure life insurance plan that promises a huge payoff if he dies while falling from a train. After the mission is seemingly accomplished, Steve reappears, confusing matters, and thereby sending Leonard’s life into an official tailspin. Director John Cassavetes is credited as the director of BIG TROUBLE; he actually stepped in as a replacement. Although the film is therefore not a unique Cassavetes document, it manages to breeze along, guided by the performances of Falk (a Cassavetes standby) and Arkin, stars of 1979’s THE IN-LAWS. – Marshall Fine Read More »

John Cassavetes – American Masters: John Cassavetes (1990)

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PBS documentary on John Cassavestes featuring comments from Peter Bogdanovich, Martin Scorsese, as well as Peter Falk and Ben Gazzara. Read More »