Jean Cocteau – Le sang d’un poete AKA The Blood of a Poet (1930)

1qTy6c Jean Cocteau   Le sang dun poete AKA The Blood of a Poet (1930)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Jean Cocteau   Le sang dun poete AKA The Blood of a Poet (1930)

Synopsis

A poet creates a drawing of a living mouth, which transfers to his hand when he tries to wipe it from the canvas. Later, when he touches a statue with his afflicted hand, the statue comes to life. As a punishment, the poet is condemned to walk the corridor of the Hotel of Dramatic Follies, where he spies on various tableaux directed by the statue.
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Jean Cocteau – La Belle et la Bete aka beauty and the beast (1946)

4sDE77 Jean Cocteau   La Belle et la Bete aka beauty and the beast (1946)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Jean Cocteau   La Belle et la Bete aka beauty and the beast (1946)

It has often been said that Jean Cocteau was the first major poet and writer to treat the cinema with total seriousness. But actually it was the cinema that made him into a major artist. “The movie screen,” he said, “is the true mirror refecting the flesh and blood of my dreams.” And one of his most poetic, dreamlike films was La Belle et La Bête.
Watching it now, you can’t feel its audacity as you might have done at the time. Faithfully, but not totally innocently, based on the fairy tale by Madame LePrince de Beaumont, it is almost purely visual, even if a Freudian analysis is possible. And it is certainly completely different in atmosphere and style from anything that had gone before, at least in the commercial cinema.
The team who made it in 1946 – and it was a team – broke a good many rules at the urging of Cocteau. Georges Auric’s memorable music didn’t so much underline the visuals as frequently cut across them, reaching a synthesis at vital moments. Henri Alekan’s equally extraordinary cinematography, which the studio described unsympathetically as “white cheese”, is the opposite of conventionally fantastic. Continue reading

Hal Hartley – The Girl From Monday (2005)

0nDjAy Hal Hartley   The Girl From Monday (2005)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Hal Hartley   The Girl From Monday (2005)

Independent auteur Hal Hartley wrote and directed this satirical exercise in what he calls “fake science fiction.” In the near future, following a violent overthrow of the American government, the United States has come under the rule of the MMM, a Multi-Media Monopoly which runs the country as a business. Every citizen now has a personal bar code, which is used to monitor his or her consumption of practically everything, including sex, now that aphrodisiacs have become the nation’s biggest consumer product. Jack (Bill Sage) and Cecile (Sabrina Lloyd) are two MMM executives who are vying for the same level of advancement within the organization, while William (Leo Fitzpatrick) is a member of the Partisans, a cadre of anti-MMM activists who are attempting to bring down the corporation’s rule, though they are regarded as both dangerous and powerless by MMM’s leaders. In the midst of this situation comes a beautiful woman from the planet Monday (Tatiana Abracos), who knows about Jack’s little secret — he’s a fellow alien hiding out on Earth. The woman has come to Earth to bring Jack back to planet Monday, but given the currently miserable state of Jack’s life, he’s more interested in having a relationship with her than heading back home. The Girl From Monday has its world premiere at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. — Mark Deming Continue reading

Rainer Werner Fassbinder – Lola [+Extras] (1981)

CMOiDSN Rainer Werner Fassbinder – Lola [+Extras] (1981)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Rainer Werner Fassbinder – Lola [+Extras] (1981)

Desciption from the Criterion version:
Germany in the autumn of 1957. Lola (BarbaraSukowa), a seductive cabaret singer and prostitute, exults in her power as a temptress of men, but she wants out–she wants money, property, and love. Pitting a corrupt building contractor (Mario Adorf) against the new straight-arrow building commissioner (Armin Mueller-Stahl), Lola launches an outrageous plan to elevate herself in a world where everything, and everyone, is for sale. Shot in childlike candy colors, Fassbinder’s homage to Josef von Sternberg’s classic The Blue Angel stands as a satiric tribute to capitalism. Continue reading

Jean-Luc Godard – 2 ou 3 choses que je sais d’elle AKA 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her (1967)

dthyf Jean Luc Godard   2 ou 3 choses que je sais delle AKA 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her (1967)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Jean Luc Godard   2 ou 3 choses que je sais delle AKA 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her (1967)

In 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her (2 ou 3 choses que je sais d’elle), Jean-Luc Godard beckons us ever closer, whispering in our ears as narrator. About what? Money, sex, fashion, the city, love, language, war: in a word, everything. Among the legendary French filmmaker’s finest achievements, the film takes as its ostensible subject the daily life of Juliette Janson (Marina Vlady), a housewife from the Paris suburbs who prostitutes herself for extra money. Yet this is only a template for Godard to spin off into provocative philosophical tangents and gorgeous images. 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her is perhaps Godard’s most revelatory look at consumer culture, shot in ravishing widescreen color by Raoul Coutard. (Criterion) Continue reading

Laïla Marrakchi – Marock (2005)

0415147 Laïla Marrakchi – Marock (2005)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Laïla Marrakchi – Marock (2005)

Marock is the 2005 Moroccan film by the female Muslim director Laila Marrakchi. The movie was very controversial as it deals with a Muslim/Jewish love between two high school mates, Rita and Youri. The film was 2006’s most successful film in Morocco, scoring more than 3 million dirhams at the Moroccan box-office, according to TelQuel.
The film was shown in Moroccan cinemas without being edited or censored.[citation needed] The title Marock is a play on words based on the French name of Morocco Maroc and Rock as in Rock’n Roll.

The universal language of youthful rebellion takes center stage in director Laïla Marrakchi’s tale of a Moroccan Muslim teen who falls for a handsome and progressive-minded Jewish boy. High school is drawing to a close for 17-year-old Rita (Morjana Alaoui) and her carefree friends, and as the footloose girls pound the pavement of Casablanca’s Anfa district, it seems that their summer of fun is already well under way. When Rita meets fun-loving Youri (Matthieu Boujenah) and the pair hit it off, her liberal Muslim family’s open-minds soon begin to close when they discover that their daughter’s new boyfriend is Jewish. Continue reading

Aleksandr Sokurov – Vostochnaya elegiya AKA Oriental Elegy (1996)

cover005 Aleksandr Sokurov – Vostochnaya elegiya AKA Oriental Elegy (1996)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Aleksandr Sokurov – Vostochnaya elegiya AKA Oriental Elegy (1996)

Quote:
Oriental Elegy (1996). Visually impressionistic, atmospherically dense, and narratively opaque, Oriental Elegy is the surreal journey of a displaced spirit (Aleksandr Sokurov) as he wanders in the interminable darkness through the temporal landscape of a quaint and isolated feudal-era fishing village. Guided by a series of faintly illuminated rooms, the wandering spirit comes upon ancient souls who take on physical forms as they recount their personal stories of daily existence, loss, and tragedy in the peasant community. Intrigued by his initial visit to a curiously distracted elderly woman, the spirit returns to her home in order to ask a fundamental question – “What is happiness?” – an existential query that is innocently answered with innate humility and accepted unknowingness. Through abstractly textured imagery and indelibly hypnotic dreamscapes, Sokurov composes a metaphoric, sensual, and evocative tone poem on a soul’s search for enlightenment and the essential survival of human consciousness. Continue reading

pixel Aleksandr Sokurov – Vostochnaya elegiya AKA Oriental Elegy (1996)