Todd Solondz – Babysitter (1984)

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A student film with no synced sound, Babysitter is a humorous nine-minute short made as Todd Solondz’ graduate film for NYU film school in 1984. Eric Schwartzman narrates and plays the lead role of a young boy who tells his history with babysitters, and how his life was particularly touched by his last one, a teenager (Patti Seitz). Continue reading

René Clair – Tout l’Or du Monde AKA All the Gold in the World (1961)

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Synopsis:
The small village of Cabosse is renowned for one thing: the people who live there can enjoy a long and healthy life, thanks to the pure country air. Seeing a chance to make some easy money, businessman Victor Hardy decides to buy up the entire village and transform it into an upmarket community for the well-off. Within a few weeks, everyone in the village has agreed to sell his house to Hardy, except one man. The elderly Mathieu Dumont refuses to sell up because he is determined to preserve an old family tradition, namely that every Dumont who has lived in the Cabosse should die and be buried there. Hardy sees a potential ally in Dumont’s timid son, Toine, and wastes no time trying to win him round. However, his troubles are far from over… Continue reading

Agnieszka Holland – Aktorzy prowincjonalni AKA Provincial Actors (1979)

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Quote:
Talented Polish director Agnieszka Holland who would be better known in later years because of her films like Europa, Europa (1991) or some of her American works like Washington Square (1997), hits the mark early and again with this ostensible story about provincial actors in Poland. In reality, the comedy-drama can be read as a commentary on the contemporary Polish scene in politics and society. The story begins as a savvy director arrives in a small town to put on a stage play. His leading man is filled with insecurities and goes beyond the confines of his lead role to expand his part, restore his cut lines, and generally outdo himself while taking on some of everyone else’s job, including the director’s. No one wants to lose him because of his drawing power, and the director is caught in a bind. At the same time, the lead actor’s wife is slowly losing her chances at success, being relegated to a much lesser position in the troupe. This fine comedy won the Fipresci award at the 1980 Cannes Film Festival. Continue reading

Lina Wertmüller – Notte d’Estate Con Profilo Greco, Occhi a Mandorla, e Odore di Basilico AKA Summer Night (1986)

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Synopsis:
Fulvia is a wealthy industrialist whose made her money as part of a rich conglomerate that supposedly supports the environment. She and her cohorts are sick and tired of a boorish Sicilian renegade named Beppe. He has been behind a recent string of kidnappings and has cost the elite almost $100 million. Fulvia decides to get even. She hires a CIA super spy to snatch Beppe, and when he succeeds, the rogue is taken to Fulvia’s secluded island estate. There he is held for ransom, and taunted by Fulvia for being a brute. When Beppe demands sex as part of his sentence, things go from simple to complex in this crazy criminal scenario. Continue reading

Todd Solondz – Wiener-Dog (2016)

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Quote:
If you’re in the business of selling dog food, you’ll know that dog owners are in the habit of projecting their own personality onto their precious pooches. What then, does a Wiener-Dog have to say about its owner? Hell, what does a dog resembling a frankfurter have to say about life, death, addiction and despair? These are the (not entirely serious) questions posed in Todd Solondz’s latest film. A short, bittersweet comedy which connects four separate stories of everyday weirdness through the welcome denominator of dogs short in limb and long in torso. Continue reading