Comedy

Bertrand Blier – Beau-père AKA Stepfather (1981)

Quote:
Remy is morose, nearing 30 with his career as a musician going nowhere and his eight-year marriage to Martine souring. Then, Martine dies in a car crash, and Marion, her 14-year-old, wants to stay rather than move to her father’s. Remy likes the idea: he loves her, he’s raised her, and she offers him emotional responsibility. Marion’s father objects, but she’s willful, so he relents. Soon, she tells Remy she finds him attractive, that she’s now “a woman,” and why can’t they be lovers. Remy is appalled, but weakens, missing her when she spends Christmas with her dad. What if they do become lovers? What next? And what if a woman more his age enters the picture? Read More »

Jean Renoir – Le caporal épinglé aka The Elusive Corporal (1962)

Synopsis:
‘An upper-class corporal from Paris is captured by the Germans when they invade France in 1940. Assisted and accompanied by characters as diverse as a morose dairy farmer, a waiter, a myopic intellectual, a working-class Parisian, and a German dental assistant, the corporal tries to escape from prison camps, sometimes making it a few yards, sometimes reaching the French border.’
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Antonio Pietrangeli – La Parmigiana AKA The Girl from Parma [+Extras] (1963)

Synopsis
Forced to leave her village because of a scandalous love affair with a seminarian, Dora looks for work and refuge in Parma, where she becomes involved with a petty criminal. Another of Pietrangeli’s bitter comedies of deracination, reflecting the sudden urbanization of Italy during the industrial boom years of the 1950s and 1960s. Read More »

Masayuki Suo – Shiko funjatta AKA Sumo Do, Sumo Don’t (1992)

Synopsis:
Kyoritsu University’s sumo club is in danger of being shut down after years of failure and general disinterest. The hopeless Aoki (a hilarious performance by Naoto Takenaka) is the sole remaining member of the school’s once proud sumo team. At the start of a new school year, however, Professor Anayama (Akira Emoto) manages to recruit four new members, an unlikely cast of misfits who seem to be capable of doing nothing but heaping further embarrassment onto the woeful team. Can this motley crew of ragamuffins revive interest in the traditional Japanese sport and return the school team to respectability? Read More »

John G. Adolfi – A Successful Calamity (1932)

Plot: Henry Wilton is an elderly millionaire saddled with his selfish young second wife Emmy ‘Sweetie’ Wilton and a pair of spoiled grown children (Peggy and Eddie). To test his family’s mettle, Henry pretends to have gone broke. Just as he suspected they would, his children rally to their father’s side and change their ways: Peggy forsakes the fortune hunter George Struthers for the nice young man she’s really in love with, the polo coach Larry Rivers; while Eddie applies for a demanding job and performs admirably. Only Sweetie seems to desert Henry. Written by Robert Read More »

Leo McCarey – Duck Soup [+commentary] (1933)

Quote:
The small state of Freedonia is in a financial mess, borrowing a huge sum of cash from wealthy widow Mrs. Teasdale. She insists on replacing the current president with crazy Rufus T. Firefly and mayhem erupts. To make matters worse, the neighboring state sends inept spies Chicolini and Pinky to obtain top secret information, creating even more chaos. Read More »

Aki Kaurismäki – Calamari Union (1985)

Quote:
Fourteen desperate men named Frank, band together to escape from a repressive section of Helsinki. An English-speaking non-Frank named Pekka joins the barroom conspirators, whose avoidance of last names, and any affect, help them outsmart overwhelming forces as they sneak through dark subway tunnels and alleys, hoping against despair to reach magical seaside Eira. The Calamari Unionists take advantage of unending night to venture their intrepid journey. Read More »