Gilles Carle – La tête de Normande St-Onge aka Normande (1975)

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Synopsis:
The demands of her family and the stress of daily life drive the mind of a woman into permanent fantasy as a way to cope.

Quote:
Normande St-Onge (Carole Laure) works in a drug store and dreams of being a cabaret dancer. Her mother, Berthe (Renée Girard), has been confined to a mental institution by Normande’s uncle, Jean-Paul (Denys Arcand). But Normande, who does not believe her mother is insane, releases her from the institution and brings her home. They live in a large house with a variety of eccentric characters, including Normande’s sister, Pierrette (Carmen Giroux), her boyfriend, Bouliane (Raymond Cloutier), and a strange magician named Carol (Reynald Bouchard). Also in the mix is a sculptor (J.-Léo Gagnon) who lives in the basement and is obsessed with creating a life-sized, nude replica of Normande. Continue reading

Marcel L’Herbier – L’affaire du collier de la reine AKA Queen’s Necklace (1946)

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One of the most expensive French films of the immediate postwar years, L’Affaire du Collier de la Reine is primarily a vehicle for the formidable Vivian Romance. The star plays an aristocrat in the court of Louis XVI, who helps engineer a scheme to divest the Queen of her royal necklace. On the verge of success, the “heroine” is found out, and forced to submit to whipping and torture. Continue reading

Francesco de Robertis & Roberto Rossellini – La Nave Bianca aka The White Ship (1941)

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Quote:
La Nave Bianca is a movie about a group of firemen on a Italian battleship, that takes part in a sea battle. During the battle one of the heaters is wounded and brought to the hospital ship, where he meets a nurse…
The film is intercut with documentary scenes from the movie La battaglia dello Jonio and the cast is completely non-professional. There has been an argument ever since about who directed the movie (Rossellini or de Robertis). A dissertation from 2002 (here on the tracker torrent) seems to decide this question finally in favour of Francesco de Robertis, who is most likely the writer of the script, main director and supervisor, whereas Rossellini merely took part in the production as learning assistant director. Continue reading

John Cromwell – Jalna (1935)

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In this adaptation of author de la Roche’s chronicle of the passionate lives of the strange Whiteoaks of Jalna, their beautiful family estate located in souther Ontario. The story begins as a young Whiteoak, a novelist travels to New York where he encounters a charming woman, marries her, and takes her back to Jalna. There she encounters many difficulties as she attempts to adjust to life with his odd family. It does not help that several soap-operatic events transpired while he was gone when his brother married the illegitimate daughter of a despised neighbor. One day a “sexy dame” suddenly shows up on the family porch. Soon she and the novelist are trysting away, but before he can consummate their affair he is killed during a terrible fall. The new widow then realizes that it is a different brother that she loves. They soon marry. ~ Sandra Brennan, All Movie Guide Continue reading

Roy Andersson – En duva satt på en gren och funderade på tillvaron AKA A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence (2014)

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Synopsis:
Like modern times’ Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, Sam and Jonathan, two travelling salesmen peddling novelty items, take us on a kaleidoscopic wandering through human destinies. A trip that shows us the beauty of single moments, the pettiness of others, the humour and tragedy that is in us, life’s grandeur as well as frailty of humanity. A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence was Awarded Golden Lion for Best Film at the 2014 Venice International Film Festival. Continue reading

Helmut Käutner – In jenen Tagen aka Seven Journeys (1947)

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Synopsis:

Told in seven chapters, Käutner’s first postwar film portrays the lives of average people overwhelmed and traumatized by the impact of fascism. Käutner uses the framing device of an automobile whose various owners serve as the film’s protagonists and initiate its episodic structure. The characters represent an interesting cross-section of the German people including a deserting soldier, a Jewish couple and a composer who has been labeled as subversive. During a time when most Germans wanted to forget the past, Käutner eschewed the controlled setting of the UFA studios and chose to film in the bombed out streets of Berlin, crafting a humanistic rendering of recent history. Continue reading

Walter Hugo Khouri – O Palácio dos Anjos aka The Palace of Angels (1970)

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Synopsis:

In São Paulo, the greedy Bárbara is not happy with her work in a loan and investment company. When her boss Ricardo invites Bárbara for a meeting at his apartment, he harasses her first and then he fires her. When Bárbara is walking on the sidewalk, a stranger offers a ride to downtown for her. While driving, the driver Rose offers a job in a brothel to Bárbara promising a very high income to her. When Bárbara arrives home, she tells the offer she had to her friends Mariazinha and Ana Lúcia. The trio decides to visit the place but they do not like the situation of being treated like objects. They decide to steal the database of the wealthy clients of Ricardo and offer their services in the own apartment. Sooner Bárbara invests a large amount improving the location that is known as “The Palace of the Angels”. Along the days they raise lots of money satisfying the fantasies of their clients but Mariazinha can’t stand the situation and returns to her hometown. Now Bárbara and Ana Lúcia
— Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (IMDb). Continue reading