Aki Kaurismäki – Varjoja paratiisissa aka Shadows In Paradise (1986)


Shadows in Paradise (Finnish: Varjoja paratiisissa) is a 1986 Finnish art house comedy-drama film written and directed by Aki Kaurismäki. The film stars Kati Outinen as Ilona and Matti Pellonpää as Nikander. Ilona is a supermarket check-out clerk who meets Nikander, a lonely garbage man, and they develop romantic feelings towards each other. Both of them are extremely shy so this hinders fast development of their relationship.

Shadows in Paradise was awarded the Best Film award at the 1987 Jussi Awards.

This is the first film in Kaurismäki’s Proletariat Trilogy (Shadows in Paradise, Ariel, and The Match Factory Girl). Continue reading

John Ford – The Quiet Man (1952)


The Quiet Man is a 1952 American Technicolor romantic comedy-drama film. It was directed by John Ford and starred John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara, Victor McLaglen and Barry Fitzgerald. It was based on a 1933 Saturday Evening Post short story by Maurice Walsh. The film is notable for its lush photography of the Irish countryside and the long, climactic, semi-comic fist fight between Wayne and McLaglen. It was an official selection of the 1952 Venice Film Festival. Continue reading

Robert Altman – The Player (1992)


The Player is a 1992 satirical film directed by Robert Altman from a screenplay by Michael Tolkin based on his own novel of the same name. It is the story of Griffin Mill (Tim Robbins), a Hollywood studio executive who gets away with murdering a wannabe screenwriter who Mill believes is sending him death threats.

The film, loaded with movie references and Hollywood insider jokes, is a critique of the Hollywood movie business, which treats artists poorly and sacrifices quality for commercial success. It might seem surprising that around sixty big Hollywood names agreed to play cameos as themselves in the film, but Altman himself admits that “it is a very mild satire” and it offended no one.[1] Continue reading

Alain Resnais – Aimer, boire et chanter AKA Life of Riley (2014)


In the midst of rehearsals for a new play, amateur dramatics proponents Colin and Kathryn receive the shattering news that their friend George is fatally ill and only has a few months to live. Life begins to come apart at the seams – not just for Kathryn, who was once George’s partner, but also for her friends Tamara and Monica. The full force of the emotional turmoil they experienced in their youth and their long-buried dreams are rekindled. Much to the chagrin of their respectable, middle-class husbands, the women begin to argue about which of them should be allowed to accompany George on a final journey …
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Jules Dassin – Pote tin Kyriaki aka Never on Sunday (1960)


Illia is Piraeus’s most popular person: an energetic prostitute, full of life and good humor.
Every day, she swims at the pier, entertaining the dock hands. Sundays she has an
open house with food, drink and song. Homer Thrace, an amateur philosopher from
Middletown, Conn., arrives in town to find out why Greece has fallen from ancient
greatness. He decides Illia is a symbol of that fall, so he sets out to study and to save
her. Unknown to Illia, he gets the money for the books and all else he gives her from Mr.
No Face, the local vice boss who wants Illia retired because her independence gives
other whores ideas. Whose spirit is stronger: Homer’s classical ideal or Illia’s? Continue reading

W.S. Van Dyke – I Love You Again (1940)


Plot Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Those popular MGM co-stars William Powell and Myrna Loy take a break from their usual Thin Man duties to star in the zany comedy I Love You Again. The film opens with Loy prepared to divorce her dull businessman husband Powell. A blow on the head causes Powell to remember his former life as a notorious con man. No one in town has any knowledge of Powell’s criminal past, a fact he hopes to use to his advantage. Loy, astounded at Powell’s sudden surge of amorous ardor, reconsiders her divorce. When she learns of his true identity, she is even more fascinated. Another blow on the head restores the non-criminal Powell–at least, that’s what he and Loy would like you to believe. The film’s highlight is a screamingly funny sequence in which Powell plays scoutmaster to a group of surly youngsters (including Our Gang veterans Carl Switzer and Mickey Gubitosi, aka Robert Blake). Continue reading