Jean Rollin’s third feature film Le Frisson des Vampires, alternately known as Thrill of the Vampires, Shiver of the Vampires and Sex and the Vampire, is one of the key works in his impressive filmography. A perfect melding of all of Rollin’s thematic obsessions, Le Frisson des Vampires is the director’s first masterpiece and one of his greatest achievements. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
A petty crook, in search of the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, hopes to cash in by befriending the heir to a huge fortune.
This was Jodorowsky’s sixth feature-length film, and his first British film. Filming was carried out in Gdansk, Poland. He was frequently threatened by the producers not to change anything in the script, effectively restraining further artistic involvement from his behalf. Jodorowsky has since disowned the movie. It was released in cinemas in London (May 1990), Italy (Il Ladro dell’arcobaleno, 1990), France (Le voleur d’arc-en-ciel, Paris, 1994) and, after, Spain (El ladrón del Arco iris, Cine Doré, Madrid, 2011); but it was never released in American cinemas.This movie, along with his previous Tusk in 1980, mark his most impersonal work, set far apart from his earlier work. It was discussed along with his other films in the documentary La Constellation Jodorowsky (1994). Continue reading
Bosnian-born filmmaker Emir Kusturica made this farce, set in a Gypsy settlement along the banks of the Danube, where three generations of characters burst forth in manic and frenetic displays of charm, confusion, and chaos.
Garbage dump godfather Grga Pitic (Sabri Sulejman) and cement czar Zarije Destanov (Zabit Memedov), both in their 80s, remain friends even though they haven’t seen each other in 25 years. Zarije’s son Matko Destanov (Bajram Severdzan) goes to Grga for a loan. Matko is double-crossed by his partner, gypsy gangster Dadan Karambolo (Srdan Todorovic), who demands that Matko’s son, Zare Destanov (Florijan Ajdini), marry Dadan’s small sister, Afrodita (Salija Ibraimova). Continue reading
“The Earth Is a Sinful Song” is the somewhat misleadingly lyrical title of this film. It is based on a novel set in Finnish Lapland in 1947-48 and concerns itself, in unusually intimate detail, with the lives of the inhabitants of a small, rustic community, and with particular emphasis on one family—an old man, his unhappy son, haggard daughter-in-law and teen-age granddaughter.
One is tempted to call these lives harsh and brutal. But that would be an urban judgment, passed upon people who exist so close to nature that the appearance of an automobile about midway through the film jars a viewer. No, these lives are simply different, stripped almost bare of what we like to call the amenities of civilization. They have no luxuries. Hardship is omnipresent. Death comes among them frequently, taking people and animals. Pleasures are simple—an outdoor dance (where a drifter is killed); drink; religion; the sauna; and sex, indulged in and depicted with a minimum of fuss.
The seasons pass. Lives change. People grow up, grow older, die, are killed, are born. The cycle is ancient and eternal; the landscape is literal paradise and figurative hell. — (The New York Times). Continue reading
Young Bodies Heal Quickly, Andrew T. Betzer’s first feature after a storied career as a short film-maker, is about as personal as a narrative fiction can get: Betzer wrote, directed, produced, edited and even color-graded the film. But in this case, “personal” doesn’t mean a regurgitation of the filmmaker’s latest breakup or childhood ups and downs. It means a highly idiosyncratic take on storytelling, in which the viewer is thrown in the deep end from the enigmatic first shot and carried along by the hurtling young bodies of two brothers who do a bad thing and have to get out of town fast. Set in godforsaken parts of Maryland and structured as a picaresque road film in five main episodes, Young Bodies Heal Quickly is as unpredictable as the boys’ off-the-grid father yet crystal clear in its intent to present an unflinching exploration of masculinity and the transmission of violence. If there is anything else out there like it, I haven’t seen it. Continue reading
Gilles and Christine a boy and a girl live in the outskirts of Paris, their families are ineffective and distant and they lead a purposeless life. They steal some records in a supermarket but she is caught and sent to a nursing home by force by her parents. She escapes and follows Gilles to a house where some other youths live. They then decide to go south: Christine has been told there is a commune there, where artists live. So they head south sleeping rough… Continue reading