Manoel de Oliveira – A Caça AKA The Hunt (1964)

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“A caça” is one Oliveira’s most distressing and mysterious films. Two boys, Roberto and José, enter a hunting ground, flooded with marshes. José falls into a quagmire and Roberto runs to the village looking for help. The locals form a human chain to save the victim…

“I conceived ‘A caça’ after reading in a newspaper that a boy was sucked down into a pit of quicksand and the other, due to fear, fled without helping him. The movie is based on this event.” In this laconic way, Oliveira summarizes his purpose. His first intention was to make a feature film about such an anguishing event. Continue reading

Patricio Guzmán – El Botón de Nácar AKA The Pearl Button (2015)

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Synopsis
The ocean contains the history of all humanity. The sea holds all the voices of the earth and those that come from outer space. Water receives impetus from the stars and transmits it to living creatures. Water, the longest border in Chile, also holds the secret of two mysterious buttons which were found on its ocean floor. Chile, with its 2,670 miles of coastline and the largest archipelago in the world, presents a supernatural landscape. In it are volcanoes, mountains and glaciers. In it are the voices of the Patagonian Indigenous people, the first English sailors and also those of its political prisoners. Some say that water has memory. This film shows that it also has a voice. Continue reading

João Botelho – Tempos Difíceis AKA Hard Times (1988)

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Even if adapted from Dickens’ Hard Times, the writer’s world fits perfectly in the Portuguese reality of these times. In a hamlet, that functions as a social microcosms, great wealth & extreme poverty mingle, so do culture, ignorance, perversion & ignorance. Griffith’s channelled via Júlia Britton. Continue reading

Manoel de Oliveira – O Velho do Restelo AKA The Old Man of Belem (2014)

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Glory is often met with opposition, and whether victorious or defeated, we always hold fate responsible. Don Quixote de La Mancha came along sixteen years after the defeat of the Invincible Fleet and has erred the Earth ever since. Today he will join a meeting between old friends in the garden of eternity, in which the glories of the past and the uncertainty of the future will be thoroughly discussed. Continue reading

Gábor Bódy – Kutya éji dala AKA The Dog’s Night Song (1983)

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In a story that hops around a little, a priest arrives in a village to go from person to person offering his own form of consolation or advice. On his list of “clients” is a former Communist Party official who is now wheelchair-bound because of a sniper’s bullet during the 1956 uprising; a woman dying of tuberculosis; an astronomer who sings with a punk rock group; a woman who leaves her soldier-husband to work in a nightclub; and their son. As these people suffer through personal travails, a surprise is in store for everyone — the priest is not exactly who he seems to be. Continue reading

Curt McDowell – Thundercrack! (1975)

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If you’re at all familiar with underground cinema, than you’ve probably heard tales about this flick for years. But actually seeing the damned thing is a different matter entirely. Crass, sick and hilarious, this no-budget b&w feature is filled with the essence of pure, undiluted cinematic derangement. Like the earliest works of John Waters, it revels in taboo-shattering shocks and an undying love for Hollywood kitsch. Glorious overwritten by George Kuchar, and directed by the late Curt McDowell (who was one of Kuchar’s first students), it’s a torrent of comically-lit cliches, heated to the point of lurid parody. The time: A dark and stormy night. The setting: An old, secluded mansion–the home of the terrifically obscene Mrs. Gert Hammond (Marion Eaton), who staggers about the place with heavy, mismatched eyebrows and a vomit-caked wig. Continue reading