Vera Chytilová – Pasti, pasti, pasticky AKA Traps (1998)

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From starburstmagazine
For anyone feeling a little squeamish, of vegetarian inclination or just full from a hearty meal, the graphic opening scenes of Traps (or Pasti, Pasti, Pasticky to give its original title) that feature pig castration may prove a little difficult to stomach. These images also feel burned into your retina somehow; a poignant, pre-emptive piece of filmmaking that becomes disturbingly relevant later in the film. For Czech new wave director Vera Chytilovà, filmmaking was a mission. She became a dominant force in the industry and was often described as a militant feminist, although she preferred the term individualist. Traps bears many of the hallmarks that justify both these labels, and even now remains both boldly ambitious and deeply flawed. Continue reading

Wim Wenders – Die Gebrüder Skladanowsky AKA A Trick of the Light (1995)

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“A Trick of Light” is a silly yet sporadically entertaining pseudo-documentary in which filmmaker Wim Wenders, along with the help of several film school students, tells the story of the Skladanowsky brothers – Max, Eugen, and Emil. In the late 1800s, the trio invented a method for projecting moving images which they called a Bioscope; unfortunately for the siblings, Auguste and Louis Lumière also emerged at around the same time with a similar – yet vastly superior – device called the Cinematographe. Wenders alternates between re-enacted footage of the brothers’ misadventures and an interview with Max’s 91-year-old daughter, with the former shot entirely on a vintage, hand-cranked camera (lending such sequences the feel of an authentic silent movie). It’s all very cute and watchable, though one can’t help but lament Wenders’ ill-advised decision to weave fictional elements into the interview footage (ie Max’s elderly daughter is interesting enough to ensure that such shenanigans ultimately come off as distracting and superfluous). Add to that the utterly interminable end credits (which go on for 20 minutes!), and you’ve got a film that’s admittedly not as bad as some of Wenders other efforts but disappointing nevertheless. Continue reading

Tinto Brass – L’uomo che guarda AKA The Voyeur (1994) (HD)

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At a college in Rome, a professor, nicknamed “Dodo” is in a deep depression. His stunningly beautiful wife has just left him for another man. Dodo wants her back very badly and has erotic daydreams about her. A beautiful young student in his class asks him for a ride home and seduces the lucky man, but still he wonders about his wife and her lover. Wile visiting his father he meets his dad’s very sexy live-in nurse who takes care of much more then his broken leg. She tells Dodo of a beautiful young woman whose been having a sexual relationship with his father? Continue reading

Frederick Wiseman – La Comedie-Francaise ou L’amour joue (1996)

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From Allmovie.com
Frederick Wiseman was allowed to make the first documentary about La Comedie-Francaise, the French national theater and the oldest continuous repertory company in the world, founded in Paris in the late 17th Century. In the company’s prehistory, the Illustre Theatre was co-founded by Paris-born upholsterer’s son Moliere (1622-73) in 1643. Moliere’s company left to tour the provinces in 1645, and when they returned to Paris in 1658, the king granted a theater in the Louvre, the Theatre du Petit-Bourbon. This troupe became the core for the union of several companies into a new theater, officially titled Comedie-Francaise in 1681. Continue reading

Ginette Vincendeau – Encyclopedia of European Cinema (1995)

On December 28, 1895, the Lumiere brothers demonstrated their cinematograph to 33 people in Paris. Despite Louis Lumiere’s notorious declaration that “the cinema is an invention without a future, ” the occasion marks the birth of the movies. Written to coincide with the 100th anniversary of this seminal event, “Encyclopedia of European Cinema” is a celebration of the scope and variety of film in all European countries. Compiled under the auspices of the prestigious British Film Institute, this uses the expertise of over 30 international authorities on the subject. Continue reading