Jan Troell – Ingenjör Andrées luftfärd AKA The Flight of the Eagle (1982)

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Based on the novel by Per Olaf Sundman, Ingenjör Andrées Luftfärd (Flight of the Eagle) tells the real-life story of a Swedish engineer’s attempted expedition to the North Pole in a balloon. Jan Troell directs this over two-hour adventure drama set in 1897. Max Von Sydow stars as Salomon August Andrée, the engineer who leads the tragic journey in a balloon called The Ornen (The Eagle). He is accompanied by explorers Nils Strindberg (Goran Stangertz) and Knut Fraenkel (Sverre Anker Ousdal). Ingenjör Andrées Luftfärd was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film in the 1983 Academy Awards. Using his experiences making this film, Troell went on to make the hour-long documentary En Frusen Drom (A Frozen Dream) in 1998 with archival information from the remains of the expedition found in 1930 on an island near the North Pole. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, All Movie Guide Continue reading

Krzysztof Kieslowski – Krótki film o zabijaniu AKA A Short Film About Killing (1988)

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Death from the very beginning — a rat decomposing in the water, a cat hanging from a railing as giggling children run off. In Krzysztof Kieslowski’s expansion of the Decalogue: Five segment (“Thou shalt not kill”), the commandment bounds individual and governmental killing into one object of anguished contemplation. Biblical intimations also figure in the bar exam summation (“Since Cain, no punishment has been capable of improving the world”) of apprentice attorney Krzysztof Globisz, one of the three Warsaw dwellers whose path ominously converge; the others are a 20-year-old drifter (Miroslaw Baka) and a jaundiced, middle-aged cabbie (Jan Tesarz). The obscured-vision effects of Slawomir Idziak’s dirty-sepia filters — characters encircled by soiling irises — suggest isolated realities clashing appallingly in the most excruciating murder since Torn Curtain’s farmhouse killing: a mid-ride throttling, Tesarz’s writhing foot emerging bare from shoe and sock, a heavy body dragged through an almost Tarkovskyan marsh before the final bludgeoning at Bakas hand’s. Continue reading

Brian De Palma – Body Double (1984)

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Brian De Palma’s trickiest and most ambitious movies often earn the harshest reactions from audiences and critics. Many of the filmmaker’s most sophisticated acts of cinematic gamesmanship are seen by much of the populace, assuming they’re seen at all, as operating on an aesthetic plane that’s roughly equivalent to a fitfully amusing midnight Skinamax entry. Body Double, Femme Fatale’s cynical older cousin, weathered many of the usual accusations of the director’s unoriginality and misogyny. Continue reading

David Cronenberg – Friday the 13th: Faith Healer (1988)

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comingsoon.net wrote:
SHOCK Revisits David Cronenberg’s Insane Episode Of FRIDAY THE 13th: THE SERIES.

FRIDAY THE 13th: THE SERIES was always an odd duck of a show. The spin-off series (which was also known as FRIDAY’S CURSE in some regions) had no relation to its big screen counterpart aside from the title, and it instead featured the weekly adventures of a group of characters running an antique store called Curious Goods, which was filled with cursed items.

The show had some dud episodes along the way, but it could be a surprisingly creepy affair at times and the premise of collecting haunted items was kind of inspired. It was filmed in Canada throughout its three season run and was shot on a strict ten-day schedule to help keep costs in check. Various guest directors of note passed through its hallways, including Atom Egoyan, Tom McLoughlin (who also directed Jason Lives) and Jennifer Lynch. Continue reading

Krzysztof Kieslowski – Krótki film o milosci AKA A Short Film About Love (1988)

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An obscured thief breaks into a school gymnasium at night to steal a portable telescope from the science lab. On the following morning, the thief, Tomek (Olaf Lubaszenko) sets up the telescope on his desk, facing the window of his room, and across the courtyard into an adjacent apartment. Later in the day, an attractive, hurried woman named Magda (Grazyna Szapolowska) stops by the post office in order to claim a money order after receiving a notification in her mailbox, only to be informed by the attentive young postal clerk, Tomek, that there is nothing being held at the station on her behalf. Back home, Tomek sets his alarm clock to 8:00 pm, the approximate time of Magda’s return home. Tomek would prepare his meals and dine in the privacy of his room, away from the curious gaze of his godmother (Stefania Iwinska), and spend hours observing Magda as she goes through the routine of her household tasks, often placing anonymous, silent telephone calls to hear the sound of her voice. Continue reading

Robert Altman – Secret Honor (1984)

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Robert Altman’s electric 1984 filmed version of the play by Donald Freed and Arnold M. Stone, starring the inimitable Philip Baker Hall as Tricky Dick, in a one-man show.

From Time Out London:
Alone in his study late at night, Richard Milhouse Nixon ponders the pardon he’s been offered for the Watergate scandal, and contrasts his secret honour with his public shame. Cue for raving resentment galore and perceptive insights into the politics of power and money. Made with a student crew at the University of Michigan, Altman’s one-man theatrical adaptation, for all its dense verbosity, is resolutely cinematic, employing a prowling camera to illuminate the dark areas of its melancholy, megalomaniac hero’s soul. While Baker Hall, ranting with drunken fervour at presidential portraits and a bank of security videos, suggests nothing less than a sometimes lucid, sometimes lunatic incarnation of mediocrity, irredeemably tainted by fame and failure. Fascinating stuff. –Geoff Andrew Continue reading