Peter Greenaway – Drowning by Numbers (1988)

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Following his pair of despairing urban studies, A Zed and Two Noughts and The Belly of an Architect, director Peter Greenaway turned to the sardonic countryside of The Draughtsman’s Contract for another tongue-in-cheek murder yarn, Drowning by Numbers. Easily his most playful film in every sense of the term, this tricky and often charming film boasts some of his wittiest dialogue and makes for an ideal introduction for newcomers compared to his more experimental works. Continue reading

John Duigan – The Year My Voice Broke (1987)

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Danny Embling (Noah Taylor) must face the bittersweet aches and sometimes harsh consequences of growing up when his childhood love (Loene Carmen) falls for a troubled older boy (Ben Mendelsohn) and the three whirl amidst the excitement and confusion of their own budding sexuality. Set in 1952, in a small rural town in the Australian outback, this poignant coming-of-age film beautifully captures the exquisite torture of adolescent longing and alienation. Continue reading

David Cronenberg – Dead Ringers (1988) (HD)

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In Dead Ringers, David Cronenberg tells the chilling story of identical twin gynecologists—suave Elliot and sensitive Beverly, bipolar sides of one personality—who share the same practice, the same apartment, the same women. When a new patient, glamorous actress Claire Niveau, challenges their eerie bond, they descend into a whirlpool of sexual confusion, drugs, and madness. Jeremy Irons’ s tour-de-force performance—as both twins—raises disturbing questions about the nature of personal identity. Continue reading

Nigel Williams – Arena: George Orwell [5 Parts] (1984)

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Part One: Such Such Were the Joys
‘From a very early age, perhaps the age of 5 or 6, I knew that when I grew up I should be a writer …One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.’
George Orwell is one of the greatest writers England has produced. Tonight and for the next four nights Arena presents a unique full-scale portrait of this remarkable man, filmed in the places where he lived and worked and told in his own words and the words of those who knew him.
The first programme traces Orwell’s upbringing in a sedate middle-class home near Henley, his horrific experiences at preparatory school, his years at Eton and as a military policeman in Burma – and closes with his sudden and dramatic emergence as a writer with Down and Out in Paris and London, a book drawn from his experiences among vagrants, tramps and outcasts. Among those appearing are Jacintha Buddicon Sir John Grotrion, Malcolm Muggeridge Cyril Connolly and Professor Bernard Crick Continue reading

Marguerite Duras – Marguerite Duras: Worn out with Desire…to Write (1985)

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She was the sort of woman who spared neither herself nor others—and arguably qualifies as 20th-century France’s greatest femme de lettres. In this interview, the late novelist and filmmaker talks openly about the hardship and the romance of her childhood in French Indochina, sharing how this period haunted her life and shaped her work. Excerpts from her films and readings from her books by actress Elizabeth Rider and Duras herself—including The Lover, winner of the Prix Goncourt and translated into more than forty languages—bring to life those formative years in Vietnam. (52 minutes) Continue reading

Jérôme de Missolz – La mécanique des femmes AKA The Mechanics of Women (2000)

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The Mechanics of Women is based on the novel by Louis Calaferte and directed by Jerome De Missolz. It concerns one man’s obsession and one woman’s appetite, and the consequences of their ultimate meeting. A man is entering the final stages of a love affair. His girlfriend tells him a tale of a woman, lurking of the streets of Paris in a search of men to conquer. The man, obsessed with this image of the woman, embarks on a quest. He enters a series of brief sexual encounters in hopes of finding her. His mind flows between fantasy and reality as he relives a lifetime of hapless affairs and one-night stands. One night, he attends a party in the projects when he comes face-to-face with the object of his obsession…

Jerome de Missolz is a well-known documentary film -maker. He has also directed a number of television films on fashion, politics and social issues, including a potrait of Yves Saint-Laurent; < fascism: The Return >. < La Mecanique des Femmes > is his first feature. Continue reading

Jesus Franco – El ojete de Lulú AKA Lulu’s Talking Ass (1986)

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Jess Franco and Lina Romay co-directed this film, which is a vile, rather disgusting and lazy “comedy/porno”. The American title is Lulu’s Talking Ass so that should tell you something. In the film, a talking ass (provided by Romay) tells various sexual stories and we get to see the scenes. Even by Franco standards this thing here is pretty useless and the sex scenes never enter the erotic zone but instead go towards the vile level. Once again it seems this film was shot in the matter of days if not hours and it really shows on screen. I had to view the film in Spanish without any subs so I’m not sure if the “talking ass” has any good dialogue or not. The funniest moment of the film is when one of the male actors goes to switch positions and accidentally falls off the bed. Being Franco, he left it in the film. Franco’s opinion of the Academy Awards also gets a special mention since the talking ass comes upon an Oscar and does something to it, which I won’t mention here. Continue reading