Carlos Saura – Elisa, vida mi­a AKA Elisa, My Life AKA Elisa, My Love [Uncut] (1977)

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Elisa, vida mía is a 1977 Spanish drama film written and directed by Carlos Saura. The film stars Saura’s long-term companion and frequent collaborator, Geraldine Chaplin. She stars alongside, Fernando Rey who won the Best Actor award at the 1977 Cannes Film Festival for his performance.

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‘ELISA, VIDA MIA’ By Vincent Canby Published: March 11, 1983

NEAR the end of Carlos Saura’s ”Elisa, Vida Mia,” Fernado Rey, in the role of an aging ascetic named Luis, talks movingly to his daughter, Elisa (Geraldine Chaplin), about his youthful artistic pretensions. He recalls that he used to spend hours and days polishing a letter, getting the syntax right, refining the thoughts and elevating the tone. Now, he admits, he prefers the spontaneous letter, unrefined, natural, with crossed-out words. Luis has no interest in Art. Continue reading

Carlos Saura – La Prima Angélica AKA Cousin Angelica (1974)

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The initial idea for the film came from a specific reference to a cousin Angélica, in a scene from Ana and the wolves (Spanish: Ana y los lobos), director Carlos Saura’s previous work. In Ana and the wolves there is an inconsequential bit of dialogue that occurs in the private conversation between the family matriarch and the title character. The old woman speaks of a certain cousin Angélica who, as a small child, coquettishly played with one of her sons. Building on that allusion, Saura and writer Rafael Azcona developed a script about the childhood memories of a man now in his mid forties and his flirtatious cousin, Angélica, on whom he had a crush when he was ten years old. These memories become the lure for the protagonist’s reencounter of his long suppressed past. Continue reading

Kon Ichikawa – Shokei no heya AKA Punishment Room (1956)

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Kon Ichikawa’s study of gang-related violence among the youth, ‘Punishment Room’, is a brutal and nihilistic work utterly barren of hope! Yes, just the way I like a movie to be. ‘Punishment Room’ is far from the same league as Ichikawa’s masterpiece ‘Nobi’, but it is a film I better would be able to say I enjoyed watching. Though it is not much less powerful and at the release in the 50’s it were met with angry protests from parent-groups, the Japanese government and even Shintarô Ishihara, the writer of the novel ‘Punishment Room’ is based on! Plot is centered on a disgruntled university student whose disrespect and ruthlessness against authorities finally lead to his doom. He humiliate his sick, but hard-working, father at the bank in order to get a loan to fiancé a huge party. The party scene features a cool jazz band and the camera often zoom in on the girls legs. While the party goes on our hero leaves in order to beat up some members of a street gang in a pool hall. Later he drug two girls together with a pal and they bring them to an apartment and rape them! Continue reading

Richard Rush – Psych-Out (1968)

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Jennie (Susan Strasberg) travels to San Francisco to locate her hippie brother Steve (Bruce Dern). She meets Stoney (Jack Nicholson) in a coffeehouse and he helps her look for Steve, who Stoney has seen in his various attempts to start a rock & roll band. Stoney and his pals transform the square girl into a swinging hippie chick, complete with a mod miniskirt. Along with their buddy Dave (Dean Stockwell), they search for Steve amidst the psychedelic splendor of the Haight-Ashbury hippie haunts. Dave is killed by a car when he wanders around in an STP-induced stupor. LSD, marijuana, and the good and the bad sides of hippie life are illustrated with non-judgmental accuracy. The soundtrack of the movie is a musical gem, complete with the international smash “Incense and Peppermints” by The Strawberry Alarm Clock. (The group reached the top of the charts with the song in October 1967.) Also on hand are the Seeds, although they don’t get to perform their best-known song, “Pushin’ to Hard.” (Seeds lead singer Sky Saxon would gain as much notoriety as an acid casualty as he would from his musical ability.) Also adding music are the Storybook and Cryque Boenzee. The latter group contained Rusty Young and George Grantham, who would join with former Buffalo Springfield members Richie Furay and Jim Messina from the legendary, long-lived country-rock band Poco. This time-capsulized gem was produced by Dick Clark, the world’s oldest teenager. (Allmovie) Continue reading

Catherine Breillat – 36 fillette (1988)

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Perhaps in stark reaction to the soft porn delusions of Hamilton’s work, Breillat decided to approach the subject of a young adolescent’s sexual education with a clarity and honesty rarely found in art in general, let alone film. Getting audiences to confront and deconstruct the cultural baggage they bring to sex remains at the centre of her more recent films Romance (1999), À ma soeur! (2001), Sex is Comedy (2002) and Anatomy of Hell (2004), but 36 Fillette, to this viewer, strikes the perfect balance between polemic, critique and compelling psychological study.

The film’s title refers to a little girl’s dress size and the little girl in question is 14-year-old Lili, played with chilling conviction by Delphine Zentout. Continue reading