Matteo Scuro is a retired Sicilian bureaucrat (responsible mainly for the writing of birth certificates), a widower with five children, all of whom live on the mainland and hold responsible jobs. He decides to surprise each with a visit and finds none as he imagined. The film is a veritable travelogue across contemporary Italy, as Matteo journeys to Napoli, Roma, Firenze, Milano, and Turino to search for each of his children; he even spends one night on the streets among the homeless. Scuro returns to Sicily, visits his wife’s grave, and reports with irony that “stanno tutti bene” (everybody’s fine).
An American comedy film directed by Otto Preminger, starring Jackie Gleason and Carol Channing, written by Doran William Cannon and released by Paramount Pictures on December 19, 1968. The screenplay satirizes late 1960s lifestyle and its creature comforts, technology, anti-technology, hippies, free love and then-prevalent use of the mind-altering drug LSD.
Along with top-billed Gleason and Channing, Skidoo also stars (alphabetically listed) Frankie Avalon, Fred Clark (who died on December 5, two weeks before the film’s release), Michael Constantine, Frank Gorshin, John Phillip Law, Peter Lawford, Burgess Meredith, George Raft, Cesar Romero, Mickey Rooney and Groucho Marx playing “God” (making, at age 77, his final film appearance). Singer-songwriter Nilsson, who wrote the score and receives credit as a member of the cast, appears in a few brief scenes with Fred Clark, as both portray prison tower guards swaying to Nilsson’s music while under the influence of LSD.
Dušan Makavejev’s anarchic 1974 comedy goes even further than his previous W.R., depicting more trangressions than the average viewer’s imagination could conjure up.
From Time Out London:
Potentially one of the most scandalous films ever made—except that it has been little seen outside France and has not aged well. Seemingly completely episodic, the ‘plot’ follows the adventures of a beauty queen (Laure), a certified virgin who escapes a disastrous honeymoon with the richest man in the world to join a group of carefree sensualists. The latter are the once-notorious Otto Muehl troupe, who delight in pissing and shitting as a public spectacle. This is cross-cut with the journey of the good ship SS Survival (which sports Karl Marx for a masthead) on the Seine. Laure herself sought legal suppression of certain shots which, in their blanked out form, ironically suggest even more sexual activity on her part. Sadly, this highly idiosyncratic melange of sex and politics, for all its liberating pretensions, only served to put Makavejev’s career back a good few steps. –David Thompson Continue reading
A group of space researchers leaves earth to find freedom. Their spaceship crashes on the dark side of the moon. Shortly afterwards, all are dead save for the children and one adult. They create their own society, characterized by shamanism and the worship of fire. The last adult survivor is called the Old Man, who is both worshipped and loathed. The Old Man leaves the group of children for the mountains and sends his video diary in a rocket back to Earth. A space researcher named Marek (Andrzej Seweryn) receives the video diary and travels to the moon. When he arrives he is welcomed by the group of children as the messiah, seeing him as the reincarnation of the Old Man. Continue reading
September 16th 2011. The TV news networks, newspapers, blogs, websites and radio stations are all reporting on one story: Allegedly – star author Michel Houellebecq, winner of the prestigious Prix Goncourt in 2010, has been abducted. Some members of the media go so far as to suggest that Al-Qaeda may be involved.
For the next few days, the news ripples through literary circles and members of the press, feeding buzz and speculation. A brazen kidnapping? An identity crisis? A plan to escape abroad? A schizophrenic delirium?
Michel will never provide the media with any rational explanation for what happened to him.
Michel Houellebecq. Who is he really? A good writer? A great author? Even more than that? The most widely read living French writer in the world? The most hated and the most respected one? Does he deserve to be classified among those celebrated enfants terribles of our national prose, right there next to Artaud, Céline, Genêt or Gracq?
In a murky, sometimes confusing tale about a future dystopia in which people are waiting — and waiting — for a rescue ship called the Ark, there are several good one-liners, but they are outnumbered by the puzzling riddles and symbolism that permeate the story. The flotsam and jetsam of humanity are huddled together in an underground labyrinth after civilization as we know it has been obliterated by the Bomb. The survivors are protected by a dome which a repairman notes is bound to crack before the Ark arrives because it was constructed under a one-year plan. The hero of the film searches for the origins of the myth about the Ark and along the way falls in love with a prostitute. It seems the world’s oldest profession has also survived the nuclear holocaust. Continue reading
Three strangers arrive at a chateau inhabited by four women believed to be vampires. But are they vampires or are they under the hypnotic machinations of an old man? Rollin shot the first part of this film as a short subject to be billed with an American vampire film bought by a distributor that just over an hour (it too was designed for double billing). His producers were impressed with what he accomplished with next to nothing and asked him to expand the film to feature length. Thus, the first half hour (part one) is an intriguing short that makes the most of its found locations, make-shift production design, and available lighting (and a very early example of a turntable effect around two arguing actors to heighten the intensity of the scene). The second half (which necessitates resurrecting several of the characters that were killed at the end of the first and introduces the Queen of the Vampires played by Jacqueline Seiger (who was an instructor at Felix Guattari’s anti-psychology clinic at the time). Lacking the structure of the first part, the near-plotless remaining hour allows Rollin to cram in an entire serial’s worth of car chases, mad doctors, vampires, fist fights, and gun fire as well as several more arresting – and iconic in the Rollin oeuvre – images to bring the short to feature length. Part 2 features also Olivier Martin (the protagonist of Rollin’s LE VAMPIRE NUE – forthcoming from Redemption USA) and, despite his large role in the part, an uncredited Jean-Loup Philippe (co-writer and star of Rollin’s LEVRES DE SANG). Continue reading