Alfred Hitchcock – Vertigo [+Extras] (1958)

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Review
One of Hitchcock’s most discussed films. Retired police detective Stewart, who has a fear of heights, is hired by old school chum in San Francisco to keep an eye on his wife (Novak), eventually falls in love with his quarry and that’s just the beginning; to reveal more would be unthinkable. Alec Coppel and Samuel Taylor scripted, from the novel D’entre les Morts by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac. Haunting, dream-like thriller, with riveting Bernard Herrmann score to match; a genuinely great motion picture that demands multiple viewings. Continue reading

Pier Paolo Pasolini – Porcile aka Pigsty [+Extras] (1969)

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One of Pasolini’s most enigmatic films, it extends his cinematic obsessions into the realms of cannibalism and bestiality with two interweaving stories of two young men who become sacrificial victims of their different societies. One of them is a soldier and cannibal (Clementi) in a medieval wasteland and the other a son (Léaud) of an ex-Nazi industrialist (Tognazzi) in modern-day Germany. The young German is more attracted to pigs than to his fiancée (Wiazemsky). This rather silly parable, very much a product of the late 1960s, in which the bourgeoisie is caricatured, is filmed with such calm beauty and underlying disgust that it seems to gain in significance. Theorem (1968) and Pigsty were the only films in which the Marxist Pasolini dealt directly with the hated middle classes; thereafter he left the 20th-century behind until his final film, Salo (1975), which looks at even more extreme human actions. Continue reading

Eric Rohmer – Le Genou de Claire AKA Claire’s Knee [+Extras] (1970)

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Synopsis

“Why would I tie myself to one woman if I were interested in others?” says Jerôme, even as he plans on marrying a diplomat’s daughter by summer’s end. Before then, Jerôme spends his July at a lakeside boardinghouse nursing crushes on the sixteen-year-old Laura and, more tantalizingly, Laura’s long-legged, blonde stepsister, Claire. Baring her knee on a ladder under a blooming cherry tree, Claire unwittingly instigates Jerôme’s moral crisis and creates both one of French cinema’s most enduring moments and what has become the iconic image of Rohmer’s Moral Tales. Continue reading

Philippe Garrel – Le revelateur (1968)

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This film stands out as a fine example of the Zanzibar movement in France, and as a metaphor for the spirit of repression lived during that era. The film itself was recorded mostly near german concentration camps, and the crew had a lot of problems with the police, nonetheless they managed to shoot a really wonderful film, a continous portrait of escape through dark and gray landscapes much to the reminder of the wonderful text by Gorky, which starts: “Last night I was in the Kingdom of Shadows”.

–fitz Continue reading

Carmelo Bene – Don Giovanni (1970)

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More sombre, controlled and abstract than Bene’s earlier work, this is a baroque, ironic and claustrophobic avant-garde ‘restatement’ of the opera’s incest episode. Accompanied by Mozart’s score, this compulsive, cubist fragmentation of conventional plot in favour of a more profound exploration also utilizes complex, subtle montage, varying from minimal cinema to a sustained staccato rhythm. Bene is reconfirmed as one of the true iconoclastic talents of contemporary cinema. Continue reading

Various – Ro.Go.Pa.G. (1963)

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Description: This consists of four short films by different directors. Rosselini’s ‘Chastity’ (‘Illibatezza’) deals with an attractive air hostess who receives the unwelcome attentions of a middle aged American. Godard’s ‘New World’ (‘Il Nuovo Mondo’) illustrates a post-apocalypse world the same as the pre-apocalyptic one but for an enigmatic change in attitude in most people, including the central character’s girlfriend. In Pasolini’s ‘Curd Cheese’ (‘La Ricotta’), a lavish film about the life of Jesus Christ is being made in a poor area. The impoverished people subject themselves to various indignities in the name of moviemaking in order to win a little food. Finally comes Gregoretti’s ‘Free Range Chicken’ (‘Il Pollo Ruspante’) in which a family of the materialist culture inadvertantly illustrate the cynical, metallic voiced doctrine of a top sales theorist. Continue reading