“Movies about making movies are usually concerned with the frantic desperation of a shoot, with crises popping up by the minute and everyone rushing about madly. Not so in Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s film, allegedly about his experiences making Whity on-location in Spain. The first quarter of the film is taken up with a long scene in a hotel lobby which might have been directed by Michelangelo Antonioni. The lassitude and sense of sexual longing is almost suffocating, as members of the film within a film’s cast and crew down drinks, break glasses, nuzzle on couches, or stare blankly into space. With the arrival of more money to continue the production and of the film’s director (Lou Castel playing a handsome version of Fassbinder) and the film’s star (Eddie Constantine more or less playing himself — there is even a reference to his Lemmy Caution character), the energy level picks up — especially when the director begins throwing hourly tantrums. And Fassbinder’s narrative becomes more fragmented, featuring short snippets of conversations among the various characters, most of them complaining about someone else on the crew screwing things up. In one long and very funny scene, the director carefully reads a newspaper containing an article about him while a half-dozen other characters around him drift away. There is some witty use of music, too; three Leonard Cohen songs from his first album drone on during the long opening scene in the lobby, and later, a party scene plays out to Ray Charles’ “Let’s Go Get Stoned.” This is all likely to be more amusing to those in the know about Fassbinder and his methods; less informed viewers are likely to see it as so much navel-gazing.” Continue reading
Defying by his parents, Hsiao Kang drops out of the local crammer to head for the bright lights of downtown Taipei. He falls in with Ah Tze, a pretty hood and their relationships is a confused mixture of hero-worship and rivalry that soon leads to trouble.
The defiantly independent French director Jean-Pierre Melville was an outsider by choice. He financed his films outside of the studio system and built his own studio for maximum independence. He loved American cinema and made his reputation with a brilliant series of cool gangster thrillers, beginning with elegant, elegiac Bob le Flambeur (1955) and culminating in the austere masterpiece Le Samourai (1967), with Alain Delon as an existential assassin, and the heist classic Le Cercle Rouge (1970).
Army of Shadows, adapted from the 1943 novel by Joseph Kessel about the early years of the French Resistance, is the third of Melville’s three dramas set during the Nazi occupation of France in World War II (after his debut feature, La Silence de la Mer , and his 1961 drama Leon Morin, Priest), but by far his most personal. During World War II, Melville was himself a member of the Resistance, worked for French intelligence in London, and served in the Free French forces in the liberation of Italy and France. “This is my first movie showing things I’ve actually known and experienced,” Melville told Rui Nogueria in Nogueria’s 1971 interview book with the director. Kessler’s book is a work of fiction, but the characters were inspired by real life figures. Continue reading
During the excavation of ancient Roman ruins, an old archaeology professor accidentally opens the gate between our world and the world of the dead.
1989: Mostra of Valencia: Palme d´Or (Golden Palm) Continue reading
Synopsis: from Olive Films
This one-of-a-kind western stars Joan Crawford as a saloon owner battling the local townspeople headed by Emma (Mercedes McCambridge), the local sexually repressed, lynch-happy female rancher out to frame her for a string of robberies. The title character played by Sterling Hayden is a guitar-strumming drifter with a dark past who was once in love with Crawford and has been offered a job in her saloon. Nicholas Ray’s epic western is considered on the most original westerns of all time – the women are far tougher than the men and some saw in the film a bizarre allegory for the McCarthy era Red Scare. In addition to the stars, Johnny Guitar is well stocked with great supporting players, including Ernest Borgnine, Scott Brady, Ward Bond, Paul Fix, Royal Dano and John Carradine. Classic score title song written by Peggy Lee and the film’s composer Victor Young and sung by Peggy Lee. Continue reading
Filmed on the Iran/Afghanistan border, KANDAHAR is a semi-documentary style movie that chronicles the perilous journey undertaken by an expatriate female journalist, Nafas, to reach the city of Kandahar, where she hopes to rescue her sister from committing suicide during an impending eclipse. However, Nafas’s odyssey is really little more than a device to lift the veil on the poverty and hardship of life in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.
Through a series of vignettes, the movie succeeds beautifully in revealing insights that are both fascinating and harrowing. It is almost impossible to imagine a culture so far removed from the relatively comfortable life enjoyed by more ‘civilised’ nations. Young boys rock back and forth, reciting the Koran while learning to become Mullahs, pausing only to recite the meaning and purpose of the sabre and semi-automatic machine gun when prompted by their teacher; young girls have lessons in how to resist the temptation to pick up possibly booby-trapped dolls; a doctor treats his female patient by speaking to them via children as they sit either side of a makeshift screen, and conducts his examinations through a small hole in the screen; the threat and consequences of land-mines pervade everybody’s life, and year-long waits for prosthetic legs are commonplace, so that prosthetics become a black-market currency. Continue reading
George (Gary Lockwood) is a disillusioned 26-year-old who has just quit his stifling job. He lives in Los Angeles with an aspiring young actress named Gloria (Alexandra Hay), who is none too pleased with his recent unemployment. Hanging over his head is the constant threat of repossession of his car and the virtual certainty that he will be drafted into the army. He sees a beautiful woman in a big car and follows her to her home in the Hollywood hills. A rock-star friend loans him money for a car and he follows the mystery woman to a photography shop. Lola (Anouk Aimée) is an older French model who poses for photographs to pay the bills. After he takes pictures of her, he begins to fall in love with the woman. Gloria discovers the pictures and throws George out of the house. He returns to the model and the two have conversation over drinks before ending up in bed together. Lola wishes to return home to be with her young son and is reluctant to get involved in a relationship. George’s relationship with Gloria ends when she leaves him over her failure to understand his motivations. He resigns himself to the fact he will be drafted and probably end up dead in a Vietnam rice paddy in this story of a young man in search of the greater meaning of life.