Pier Paolo Pasolini & Giovanni Guareschi – La Rabbia (1963)

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La Rabbia employs documentary footage (from the 1950’s) and accompanying commentary to attempt to answer the existential question, Why are our lives characterized by discontent, anguish, and fear? The film is in two completely separate parts, and the directors of these respective sections, left-wing Pier Paolo Pasolini and conservative Giovanni Guareschi, offer the viewer contrasting analyses of and prescriptions for modern society. Part I, by Pasolini, is a denunciation of the offenses of Western culture, particularly those against colonized Africa. It is at the same time a chronicle of the liberation and independence of the former African colonies, portraying these peoples as the new protagonists of the world stage, holding up Marxism as their “salvation,” and suggesting that their “innocent ferocity” will be the new religion of the era. Guareschi’s part, by contrast, constitutes a defense of Western civilization and a word of hope, couched in traditional Christian terms, for man’s future.

the producer in charge asked Pasolini to do something with this news footage, without any constraint. But he was quite shoked by the result (he probably never saw a Pasolini film before…) and only after asked Guareschi to conceive a kind of anthitesis.
Pasolini then refused to be associated with the 2nd film and the whole wasn’t shown for 40 years… Continue reading

Mikhail Belikov – Raspad AKA Decay (1990)

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It’s a truly extraordinary film, easily the best we’ll see about Chernobyl, and criminally rarely seen. It has satirical and surreal moments, but is ultimately a damning indictment of everything about the country in the 1980s. The visual allusions to Eisenstein and Tarkovsky are beautifully appropriate…
Excellent NY Times review is here:
link Continue reading

Vincent Dieutre – Mon voyage d’hiver AKA My Winter Journey (2003)

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SYNOPSIS:

German filmmaker Vincent Dieutre is accompanied by a close friend’s teenage son on a trip to Berlin and in the process reminisces about his life as a gay man in his 2003 autobiographical documentary entitled Mon Voyage d’Hiver (My Voyage in Winter). Dieutre and his traveling companion, Itvan, visit numerous friends and landmarks, all holding special meaning to the 40-year-old filmmaker as they make their way to the German capital. As the pair grows closer as friends, Dieutre also takes on a paternalistic relationship with the boy as he details his own journey of self discovery — partially to assist Itvan with his own adult transformation, but also as a means for Dieutre’s own legacy to endure. My Voyage in Winter was selected for inclusion into the Forum Program of the 2003 Berlin International Film Festival.
~ Ryan Shriver, All Movie Guide Continue reading

Celine Danhier – Blank City (2010)

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Directed by French newcomer Celine Danhier, BLANK CITY captures the idiosyncratic, explosive energy of the “No Wave Cinema” and “Cinema of Transgression” movements. Stark and provocative, the films drew name and inspiration from the French New Wave, as well as Film Noir, and the works of Andy Warhol and John Waters. Filmmakers such as Jim Jarmusch, Eric Mitchell, Beth B, Charlie Ahearn, Lizzie Borden and Amos Poe showcased the city’s vibrant grit, and bore witness to the rising East Village art and rock scenes and the birth of hip hop. Short, long, color or black-and-white, their stripped-down films portrayed themes of alienation and dissonance with a raw and genuine spirit, at times with deadpan humor or blurring lines between fiction and reality. From Amos Poe’s enigmatic The FOREIGNER to James Nares’ comedic ROME 78 to Beth B & Scott B’s political BLACK BOX — the No Wave Movement was as varied as it was lively. Continue reading

David Gladwell – Requiem for a Village (1975)

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The idyllic, rural past of a Suffolk village comes to life through the memories of an old man who tends a country graveyard, in this extraordinary, little-seen film from David Gladwell. Although best known for his celebrated work as editor on Lindsay Anderson’s If…. and O Lucky Man!, Gladwell has, until now, rarely been recognised as the director of a number of ground-breaking films. Continue reading

Janet Bergstrom – Murnau’s 4 Devils: Traces of a Lost Film (2003)

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One of the cinema’s Holy Grails, Murnau’s lost Four Devils (1928) starred Janet Gaynor, fresh from Sunrise, in a circus drama set in Paris. In this 40-minute documentary, UCLA film scholar Bergstrom reconstructs the film through stills, set blueprints, and production drawings. Continue reading