Roberto Rossellini – L’Amore (1948)

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Two related vignettes which deliberate on the nature of human love and emotional attachment, both starring Magnani in the key role. In ‘The Miracle,’ a suggestible, innocent young mother-to-be deeply believes that her child was divinely conceived. A woman adjusts to her newfound solitude after her lover leaves in ‘The Human Voice,’ based on the one-act play by Jean Cocteau. The film is an homage to the great Anna Magnani, Roberto Rossellini’s two-part film features the Italian actress in Cocteau’s one-act play “The Human Voice,” in which she speaks to an unseen lover on the phone, and the controversial “The Miracle,” which casts her as a peasant who believes she has given birth to the new Messiah.
— www.virtualitalia.com Continue reading

Stanley Kubrick – 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

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A mind-bending sci-fi symphony, Stanley Kubrick’s landmark 1968 epic pushed the limits of narrative and special effects toward a meditation on technology and humanity.

The first movement of the symphony of 2001 is titled “The Dawn of Man.” After being chased away from a water hole by a group of rival apes, a band of apes is forever changed by the arrival of a stone monolith that seems to spark them to conceive of the use of tools.

The second movement takes place millions of years later, in 2001. A similar monolith has been discovered buried on the moon, and the chairman of the equivalent of NASA is sent in to control the situation.

The third movement is eighteen months later, as a manned ship journeys to Jupiter, where the second monolith is sending a radio signal. This ship is controlled by a cutting-edge HAL 9000 computer, which is capable of thought but also of eluding human control. Continue reading

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

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”.

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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