Yoshishige Yoshida – Honô to onna AKA Flame and Women (1967)

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Honoo to onma (lmpasse; the title translates as the more poetic ” Flame and Woman” neatly rendered in the French title, La Femme et la Flamme) made the same year as The Affair (whose Japanese title more poetically translates as “Flame of Feeling”), concerns the inability of a woman to find satisfaction in her traditional family s tructure. The heroine, Ritsuko, is married to Shingo, a design engineer. Shingo is unable to father a child so Ritsuko is artificially inseminated. The birth of a son, Takashi, however, does not help marital relations between husband and wife. When Sakaguchi, a doctor having marital problems with his wife, Shina, is revealed as the sperm donor, Ritsuko develops a passion for the doctor. Eventually, following other complications (Shina kidnaps Takashi and she tries to seduce Shingo), Ritsuko, Shingo, and Takashi are reunited . Continue reading

Basu Chatterjee – Sara Akash AKA The Whole Sky (1969)

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from IMDb:
Agra-based collegian Samar Thakur, lives in a joint family consisting of his dad, mom; brother Amar and his wife; as well as a married sister, Munni, who has been estranged from her husband. His parents force him to marry Prabha, who is a matriculate, much to his chagrin as this interferes with his future plans. The marriage does take place, and he soon finds that she is not only incompatible with him, but also not well versed in household chores – leading to arguments, abuse and neglect – that may result in the end of this marriage. Continue reading

Rainer Werner Fassbinder – Ich will doch nur, daß ihr mich liebt AKA I Only Want You to Love Me (1976)

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A man is interviewed by a sympathetic woman. His tale unfolds, of hard work that never pleases his parents, of a father who denigrates his efforts, of an indifferent mother. He builds them a house. Instead of offering their flat to him and his bride, they give the flat up, so he goes to Munich to work in construction, bringing his wife who is soon pregnant. They buy things on credit; he works overtime. He shows up with flowers and expensive gifts. When construction slows and he works less overtime, he cannot adjust his spending habits: he needs to be loved. Pressures mount. When he snaps, and violence ensues, who will be his victim? Continue reading

Peter Greenaway – The Belly of an Architect (1987)

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An American architect arrives in Italy, supervising an expedition for a French architect, Boullée, who is famous for his oval structures. Through the course of 9 months he becomes obsessed with his belly, suffers severe stomach pains, loses his wife, his unborn child and finally his own expedition. Continue reading

Juraj Jakubisko – Vtáckovia, siroty a blázni AKA Birds, Orphans and Fools (1969)

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Slovak director Juraj Jakubisko is often described as the Fellini of Eastern Europe. After the 1968 film The Deserter and the Nomads, he was put in exile in Czechoslovakia after the soviet invasion. With cooperation from a Paris film studio he made this film. Birds Orphans and Fools is a brilliant, surreal and underrated tragic comedy that not many people seem to know about. The story is about three orphans who have lost their families in war. Although the two men Andrej and Yorick and the lady Marta are adults, they act foolish like children trying to live life to the fullest. They resort with their landlord and other orphans in an apartment that is distorted with various shelves, cupboards and animals scattered about. But the main characters can’t block out the pain of living in a war torn country, and after Yorick is put in prison and returns a year later, things will never be the same. Towards the end the climax becomes maybe one of the most tragic in cinema history. This was the first film in Jakubisko’s trilogy of Happiness. If you enjoyed Jodorowsky’s Fando & Lis or Vera Chytilova’s Daisies, you have to see this film. Continue reading

Hiroshi Teshigahara – Rikyu (1989)

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Acclaimed director and headmaster of the Sogestsu school of flower arranging Hiroshi Teshigahara helms this elegant historical drama about tea master Sen no Rikyu. A Buddhist priest who talks of the beauty of a single flower or the shape of a hand holding a teacup, Rikyu (played by Rentaro Mikuni) not only perfected the art of the tea ceremony, but he was one of the primary arbiters of taste during his age. That era was a bloody one, culminating in the uniting of Japan’s disparate kingdoms by a series of strong leaders. The most ambitious and the most extravagant was Toyotomi Hideyoshi (Tsutomu Yamazaki), who favored flashy displays of wealth as much as he did violent conquest. Hideyoshi thought of the tea ceremony not as an art but as a show of refinement and power. In 1587 he held a ten-day tea-drinking orgy in Kyoto and Osaka. Hideyoshi chose Rikyu to oversee it and soon the buffoonish, violent leader and the reserved master were engaged in a thinly veiled clash of wills. Rikyu eventually does teach Hideyoshi that beauty is found in the minute. Yet when Hideyoshi receives both guns and a globe from Portuguese missionaries, he is overwhelmed with Napoleonic visions. When Rikyu expresses his reservations about Hideyoshi’s impending invasion of Korea and China, the potentate demands an apology. — Jonathan Crow allmovie.com Continue reading