Athina Rachel Tsangari – Chevalier (2015)


Manhood-measuring contests — in every imaginable sense of the phrase — are taken to brazenly literal extremes in “Chevalier,” the long-awaited third feature from Greek multi-tasker Athina Rachel Tsangari. Markedly different in focus and emotional temperature from her 2010 breakthrough, “Attenberg,” this committedly deadpan comedy of manners, morals and men behaving weirdly boasts a contained conceit seemingly ripe for unfettered absurdism: On a luxury yacht in the Aegean Sea, six male acquaintances embark on a rigorous series of personal and physical challenges, mercilessly grading each other to determine who is “the Best in General.” That Tsangari resists escalating the conflict, counting on subtle political insinuations to emerge as these perplexing social Olympics wear on, will leave as many viewers enervated as amused, but it’s an expertly executed tease. Continue reading

Henri-Georges Clouzot – L’assassin habite… au 21 aka The Murderer Lives at 21 [+extra] (1942)


Eureka, Masters of Cinema wrote:
One of the most revered names in world cinema, Henri – Georges Clouzot, made a remarkably self – assured debut in 1942 with the deliciously droll thriller The Murderer Lives at 21 [L ‘ Assassin habite au 21].

A thief and killer stalks the streets of Paris, leaving a calling card from “Monsieur Durand” at the scene of each crime. But after a cache of these macabre identifications is discovered by a burglar in the boarding house at 21 Avenue Junot, Inspector Wenceslas Vorobechik (Pierre Fresnay) takes lodging at the infamous address in an undercover bid to solve the crime, with help from his struggling – actress girlfriend Mila (Suzy Delair).

Featuring audacious directorial touches, brilliant performances, and a daring tone that runs the gamut from light comedy to sinister noir, as well as a subtle portrait of tensions under Nazi occupation, this overlooked gem from the golden age of French cinema is presented in a beautiful new high – definition restoration. Continue reading

Mauro Bolognini, Mario Monicelli, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Steno, Pino Zac, Franco Rossi – Capriccio all’italiana AKA Caprice Italian Style (1968)


The film consists of six short stories created by different directors, but all the stories share one thing: a warm irony to current events.

Italian PORTMANTEAU film, a bit uneven.

Segment four by Pier Paolo Pasolini is by far the best; a completely MINDBLOWING and DERANGED rendering of OTHELLO played in a puppet theatre with human marionettes!
TOTÒ has the main role in this, and also in segment 2, where he hates Italian beatniks and stalks them as THE SUNDAY MONSTER! Both segments are very funny in completely different ways, but segment 2 would probably not have worked without Totò.
Segment 5 is completely unlike everything else; four minutes short, based on a animated cartoon by Pino Zac, and with Silvana Mangano as the Queen of England, and with guest appearances by James Bond (model Sean Connery)! The other three segments are fully watchable, although not so FAR OUT as number 2, 4 and 5. Continue reading

John Waters – Mondo Trasho (1969)


Mondo Trasho is a 1969 16mm mondo black comedy film by John Waters. The film stars Divine, Mary Vivian Pearce, David Lochary and Mink Stole. It contains very little dialogue, the story being told mostly through musical cues.

A few excerpts from
” In the meantime, what we can do is to revisit the moment of transition between Waters essentially making movies on a lark with his reprobate friends and the Dreamland Studios team (as they called themselves) becoming serious about building careers in cinema on their own eccentric terms. That transition came with Mondo Trasho, Waters’s first feature-length film, and his first to receive any approximation of professional distribution. Mondo Trasho premiered, as usual, with a nine-showing engagement at the Emmanuel Church rental hall, but it was quickly picked up by the New York-based Film-Makers Cooperative as part of their fledgling effort to break into the distro business. The coop never managed to secure a booking in their home city, ironically enough, but they did send Mondo Trasho to Los Angeles. Continue reading

Todd Solondz – Babysitter (1984)


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)


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