Leonid Gayday – 12 Stulyev AKA Twelve Chairs (1971)

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Synopsis From Taste of Cinema
This film serves as an adaptation of the classic novel. Unlike so many films listed, it didn’t have a revolutionary effect in the film industry, nor did it criticize the Soviet Union. It has no special effect or imagery, but it is one of those films we love so much. The reason why this adaptation is so peculiar and differs from others is the main actor – Archil Gomiashvili, the man with amazing charisma and sense of humor.

One can even say that Gomiashvili wasn’t even acting as Ostap Bender, he was Ostap Bender. When we say Ostap Bender in post-soviet countries, the face of Gomiashvili istantly pops up. If you want to see a funny comedy which will leave you smiling even two hours after watching the film, then Twelve Chairs is the one.
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Chantal Akerman – Golden Eighties AKA Window Shopping (1986)

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Synopsis:
Three young women at a hair salon all like the son of the clothing store proprietors across the mall. Although Robby is selfish and shallow, he’s appealing to Lili, the salon’s manager, who’s trendy and also the salon-owner’s moll; to Mado, who’s innocent and sweet; and to Pascale, who’s intelligent but passive and downcast. Robby’s dad tells him to grow up and see beyond the mercurial Lili, so he proposes suddenly to Mado. She’s delighted, but the day before the wedding, Lili returns to give Robby another look. In the background, a Yank who was a soldier in France in World War II returns to Paris and tries to recapture the love of his wartime sweetheart, Robby’s mom.
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Albert Brooks – Lost in America (1985)

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Quote:
In this hysterical satire of Reagan-era values, written and directed by Albert Brooks, a successful Los Angeles advertising executive (Brooks) and his wife (Julie Hagerty) decide to quit their jobs, buy a Winnebago, and follow their Easy Rider fantasies of freedom and the open road. When a stop in Las Vegas nearly derails their plans, they’re forced to come to terms with their own limitations and those of the American dream. Brooks’s barbed wit and confident direction drive Lost in America, an iconic example of his restless comedies about insecure characters searching for satisfaction in the modern world that established his unique comic voice and transformed the art of observational humor. Continue reading

Billy Wilder – Sabrina (1954)

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Quote:
A Cinderella tale of the very best kind, Sabrina is a powerhouse of talent. Under Billy Wilder’s direction, Audrey Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart, and William Holden bring alive a wonderful love story full of comedy and drama that continues to surprise and delight with its unexpected turns. This new Centennial Collection release appears to not just add a bunch of new extras, but it also looks like the film image has gotten a second scrubbing. Well worth an upgrade. Continue reading

Paul L. Stein – One Romantic Night (1930)

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Plot: A fairy-tale ball, first kisses, broken hearts, and a beautiful princess wooed by a handsome prince. So much can happen during One Romantic Night! Two great ladies of the screen who could scarcely be more dissimilar – waiflike, vulnerable Lillian Gish (in her Talkie debut), who excelled at heart-wrenching melodrama, and barrel-figured, bulldog-faced Marie Dressler, who excelled at everything – make a marvelous team as a monarchical mother and daughter in a romantic comedy about love and marriage among the crowned heads of Europe. Based on Ferenc Molnar’s play The Swan, the film was remade in 1956 featuring Grace Kelly in Gish’s role, just before she became the real-life Princess Grace of Monaco. From the DVD! Continue reading

Mike Leigh – “Play for Today” Nuts in May (1976)

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Synopsis:

A faddishly earthy bourgeois couple travels into the country for a camping and walking holiday, but comes unstuck amongst the great unwashed. After a less-than-promising start, they befriend a trainee P.E. teacher from Cardiff, and all proceeds peacefully. However, when a pair of boisterous Brummies arrives at the campsite, clashing personalities soon see tensions rise to the point of violence, in Leigh’s riotously funny telefilm. Winning performances, instantly quotable dialogue, and potent social satire combine to enormously entertaining effect.

— Iain Stott (An Ozu a Day…) Continue reading